Game Concept

Neo-Hunt is a board game about highly advanced cyber varans in special testing zone or battleground. Their mission is simple: destroy as many trooper units or other varans as possible before being destroyed or until there are no more troopers left.

The battlefield for cybervaran trial use is a hard one, with descending and ascending platforms, stairs, doors and force fields. Thus occassionally it is very hard to move from one sector to another, when sometimes it is very easy.

Neo-Hunt is based on Neo-Troops cybervaran roleplaying game. In roleplaying game, varans work in a group, but in Neo-Hunt, they are pitted against each other and troopers, so their internal varan mapping system does not work. And althought in RPG it is possible to die for one shot, that would be not very entertaining for board game.

Neo-Hunt is the second edition of the previous Neo-Combat cardgame. Many new things have been added (like gaming board, troopers and dice), and gameplay is much faster. Each player now controls only one varan, however.

Neo-Hunt is for 2-6 players, but for 5 or 6 players, there are some rules modifications, see miscellaneous rules. Gaming time is around 1-2 hours, depending on trooper deck size.


For convenience, all references to players are with feminine form 'she' (or her). Readers may substitute 'he' or 'him' as needed to. Just writing 'he or she' to every place would have been a bit exaggerated.

Latest Modifications

(Only for local use, since last Tuesday)

Game Pieces

In Neo-Hunt, there are several gaming pieces: 80 action cards, 18 varan cards, 17 trooper cards, 7 order cards, 12 gaming pieces (6 multi-color varan pieces and 6 gray trooper pieces), 7 sector tiles (hexagons) and multiple six-sided dice (d6 from now on)

See total list of sectors and cards

Sector Tiles

The gaming board of Neo-Hunt is made of 7 different hexagons (called sectors from now on) which are used to generate a circular board. Every sector is two-sided, so it can be used face-up or -down. Each sector has a type, and different rules apply to each of them:

Some of the sectors have one or more exit points blocked by a wall. No varan or trooper may move through that point, nor shoot or throw grenades.

Varan Cards

Each player has one varan, which has an aim to kill and destroy as many troopers and varans as possible. Each varan has 2 basic attributes:

In addition to basic attributes, each varan has one or more specials attributes:

Only one 'gun' special attribute can be used during one attack, but accurate gives bonuses to both rapid fire shots, for example.
For 'sensors' and 'avoid', redundant uses do not entitle for extra card: you cannot keep on spotting the same target and drawing cards.

Trooper Cards

Trooper cards are much alike varan cards, but they do not have any 'speed' attribute, and they do not use flamer or sniper special attribute. Troopers are immune to 'out of ammo' card and they never conduct assaults nor throw grenades. Troopers are always visible, but their type can be hidden.

When the trooper initially appears, its type is hidden (the trooper card is face-down). As soon as there is a revealed (or visible) varan in same sector or someone shoots at troopers or troopers have change to shoot at someone (target must be chosen before the card is turned over), the card is turned face-up. At that time, Hunter-Killer starts to conduct its auto-search. Note that if you attack from the same sector as in which the trooper is, you can first reveal yourself and then, after trooper is turned face-up, conduct your attack.

Any player may investigate the trooper type before it is revealed with a Spot! card, as long as the trooper is already on the board. Arriving troopers cannot be checked out.

Action Cards

All actions and movement in Neo-Hunt is done with action cards. All references to deck and cards refer to action cards unless noted otherwise. Action deck is used again and again and thus shuffling is needed even as often as once per turn, but because of the nature of the game, very superficial shuffle is usually sufficient.

Every action card has one target sector, one action choice and possibly one special effect:

Place card is a action card under varan, trooper or grenade. The target sector in card is used to tell the place, and other parts of the action card mean nothing.

Service is a special effect, which is left next to target varan and is get rid during 'service' phase (see later). Only one service card is removed per service action, and only if the action is not used otherwise (starting to regenerate).

Game Flow

Beginning the Game

Each player select one varan piece, and corresponding order card is taken to form a order deck. The gray trooper card is added to order deck and the rest of the varan colors are put aside.

Shuffle trooper cards and deal at least 7 troopers cards to form trooper deck. The number of cards in that deck mainly determines the length of the game, and can be anything from 7 to 17. Put the rest of the trooper cards away, without looking at them.

Shuffle sector tiles and create a circular board from them, with one piece in the middle and the rest six around it. Tiles are randomly aligned, but following rules apply:

Shuffle varan cards and deal one varan per player, face-up. Shuffle all action cards into main deck and deal 11 cards per player. Each player then selects one sector card (not Hide) from her hand as starting point for her varan and sets that card next to varan, face-down.

After each player is ready, all these cards are revealed and put face-up under the varan card as initial varan location. Each player may then make one move with her varan, by selecting a suitable sector from her hand (see moving) and putting it under the varan card, on the top of the initial location, face-down. If the player cannot or does not want to make any initial move, she starts with cloaked, not hidden varan.

No player may play any special effects during the initial set-up. The play now starts with first turn.

Ending the Game

Each time a varan kills a trooper unit or another varan, the owner gains one kill. If the varan is killed, one kill is lost, but the player can then re-enter the game with new varan (see below), adding any new kills to her total. If the player had no kills when her varan is wasted, she continues with zero kills.

The game ends when at the start of the turn there is no more troopers left in the trooper deck nor on the board. The game also ends if there is only one player left and no-one wants to enter the game, or if all varans were killed during the last turn.

When the game ends, the player with most kills wins. For next game, the winning player has to choose her varan. If there was any players without any kills at all, they get to choose after that, starting from the player who had her varan first killed etc. Rest get random varans, as does any player taking too much time choosing her varan.

If kills are tied, player with original varan wins. If still tied, the entire game is tied and no one wins.

Varan State

Each varan has a cloaking system which allows almost complete invisiblity in normal conditions. However, the varan can be somehow tracked down with scanners and if the varan shoots, it might give away its hiding place.

In Neo-Hunt, there is 3 different states for a varan: The state of the varan is modified with these keywords:

The player may, at any time, reveal her varan, if need to. This can be used when the varan is in same sector with troopers or if the player wants to prevent troopers from arriving or leaving.

Varan Location

Each varan is located at one sector in the board. However, because of the varan cloaking system, the exact place might be unknown to all other players. This is achieved by using multiple place cards under the varan card.

Place card is a normal action card - the sector marking in that card is used to mark the sector in which the varan is (or has been). All place cards are put under the varan card, so that new one is always put on the top of place card pile under the varan card.

The varan always has at least one place card under it, which is the initial position of the varan. This cannot be Hide card and is always face-up. If the varan card has no other place cards under it, the varan is automatically (at least) cloaked, not hidden.

When a varan moves, its owner takes a new action card and puts it under the varan card, face-down (on the top of previous place card) - this is the new location of the varan, but is is unknown to other players. It might be the same sector, Hide or any adjoining sector. Other players may spy this with 'Spot!' card, but that does not entitle them to attack. And as the varan again moves, a new card is added into pile.

However, if the varan ever does any action which reveals or shows it, its location becomes known - take the latest place card which is not Hide and put it under the varan card as new initial place, face-up, and put all other cards into discard pile. The varan cannot regain its hidden status without moving again.

When a hidden varan does something which makes it spotted, the owner must show the latest place card - if it is Hide (and not the last face-down place card) , it is put into discard pile and the owner must show the next one etc. until the location is known.


When an attack (shoot or assault) is conducted, the attacker chooses a target and rolls d6 for hit:
  Visible targetVisible target in cover Cloaked targetCloaked target in cover
To-hit (d6): 4+5+5+6
+1 if attacker has 'accurate' (shoot) or 'fighter' (assault)
+1 if attacker is using flamer against single target
-1 if defender has 'fighter' and is in same sector as attacker

An unmodified 6 always hits regardless of modifiers. If the attack hits, it does 1 point of damage (big gun possibly 2) and attacker can play any number of extra damage cards, but only one of each kind and not those already affecting the target.

The target may then use 'heavy armor' and 'Flesh Wound' to reduce damage.

If the final damage from entire attack is over 2 points, it is reduced to 2. This includes both berserk assault dice, both rapid fire shots or ammo explosions with big gun.


Explosions occur when grenades detonate, Hunter-Killer is destroyed or Ammo Explosion special damage happens. If any of these happen, following rules apply:

The player causing the original explosion may play extra damage cards and gains any kills caused by the explosion. Killing your own varan does not earn you a kill, however.


Two extra damage cards, 'Flame Up' and 'Ammo Explosion' (against Flamer varan) cause target to burst into flames. Such a target is automatically visible and may take further damage from the burning, the ignitor rolls d6 at the end of each of the target's action:
1Flames are extinguished and the card is put into discard pile
2-5Fire keeps burning but no further effect
6The fire causes additional hit (extra damage cards can be played and haevy armor works)

If a flamer varan has both the ammo explosion and flame up, roll only once and if the flames are extinguished (via roll or card play), both are removed. If the varan ever walks into sector with active sprinklers, burning cards are automatically removed.

Game Turns

Turn Order

Neo-Hunt is played in turns with predefined phases.

  1. Draw cards: each player draws action cards to fill her hand to 9 cards
  2. Reinforcements: new troopers may try to arrive, plus new players and players without varans can re-enter the game
  3. Action rounds: 5 separate action rounds are played, one by one. During each round:
    1. Each player select a card from her hand and puts it face-down next to her varan
    2. In random order each one select an action
    3. Arriving toopers may enter the board
  4. Clean-up: all remaining grenades on the board explode, and all temporal effects like sprinklers and last shooting cards are put into discard pile (service and place cards are left). If they are arriving troopers which failed to enter during this turn, remove them from the game.
  5. Discard: any player may discard any number of cards from his hand.


If there are any cards left in trooper deck, one or more troopers may try to arrive this turn. From the deck, as many cards as there is players is dealt, one by one. If the card is any border sector (not Hide nor the center sector), one card is drawn from the trooper deck and put face-down next to the board, with sector card under it, face-up. This is the location in which the trooper tries to arrive (see trooper arriving).

If there are no troopers in the board at all, at least 2 new troopers try to arrive, so cards are drawn until that many legal sectors are drawn (or the trooper deck runs out). Likewise, the maximum number of trooper cards on board and trying to arrive is 6, so do not draw more cards if that maximum is reached.

Varan Reinforcements: if a new player or a player with dead varan wants to join the game, a varan card and 9 cards are dealt to that player. She then chooses one card without 'Hide' or center sector, and places that card next to her varan, face-down. An order card is added to order deck, if there is not already. The player can now join the game during action phases, see below.

Action Order

Order deck is shuffled at the start of the each action round, and after all players have selected their action card, the topmost card is dealt and turned over - actions are performed in same order as cards are in order deck, in which they are dealt one by one (without looking at the next ones)

If a player uses some card to modify the order (Reactive Move or Run&Hide), any grenades thrown by that player explode according to original turn.

Varan Action

When it is player's turn to choose her varan's action, the player has three choices:

  1. Use the action card as movement. The sector in card must be legal sector to move into, and the varan must have speed left. The action card is put face-down under the varan card, varan becomes hidden (if it is not already) and its piece is removed from the gaming board. (However, if the varan moves into a tile with working sprinklers (special effect) or the varan has its cloak damaged or the varan is burning (see special damage) the varan stays or becomes visible - the new placecard (unless it is Hide) is put face-up under the varan and all other place cards are removed.
  2. Do the action in card. The varan shoots, assaults, throws a grenade or does some servicing. See next chapter.
  3. Do nothing. The card is put into discard pile. The player may discard one card from her hand and draw a new one to replace that.

If the player has a new varan which has not yet arrived, she may choose to reveal the face-down place card next to varan, setting this place as varan's starting location. The player then continues the game normally, with varan in that location. Before the varan has entered the board, the player cannot play any cards.

Varan Moving

A varan can only move to same sector or any adjoining sector without blocked entry, or use 'Hide' sector to hide into current sector (useful against Spot! and troopers). Any other sectords cannot be used (if any illegal moves are found, the player is either immediately dropped from the game or she loses one victory point, whatever others decide)

In addition, a varan can only mode 'speed' times per turn - if it has speed 1 and has already moved once, it cannot move anymore during this turn. This means that the player cannot use 'Run&Hide' special effect either. Hide is counted as move, too.


In Neo-Hunt, there is 4 different kind of basic varan actions (in addition to moving):

Trooper Action

Any troopers onto board (or trying to arrive) are handled in the following order, with only one action per trooper. Any player can handle the troopers, as any cards drawn are shown to each player.

  1. Hunter-Killer search: if there is a revealed Hunter-Killer on board, draw one card: if it is a sector in which the Hunter-Killer could shoot, all varans in that sector are revealed. Otherwise, the Hunter-Killer performs a deep scan, and every player must reveal their varan's last place card - Hide cards are discarded but other ones reveal the varan.
  2. Burning troopers: draw a card for each. If it is Hide, they succeed to extingush the flames. Otherwise they move to target sector, and if it is illegal, they do nothing. Troopers in 'pits' sector (Bridges and vats) fall into their death if they draw same sector letter, with kill going to the original ignitor. Hunter-Killer ignores any flames (but may extinguish them, see below).
  3. Shooting troopers: if troopers can see any visible varan, they shoot at it. If they only see cloaked varans, they shoot them.
  4. Moving troopers: troopers that cannot attack any varan try to move. Draw a card: if it is 'Hide', troopers search the current sector and all varans therein are revealed (Hunter-Killer also extinguishes any fires burning on it). If any varans are revealed, return to previous step if there are any troopers left which have not yet done an action. If the card is a sector, one egible trooper moves into that sector. Draw as many cards as there was moving troopers.

When shooting, if there are several equal targets, the target is randomly selected for each shot. When moving and searching and shooting, order of the troopers is some common method, like from left to right.

Hunter-Killer: If revealed, this special trooper has its special searching rules and does not panic if burning. In addition, if the Hunter-Killer is destroyed, it immediately explodes just like a grenade.

Arriving Troopers

If there are any troopers not yet on board but next to it, waiting for their turn to arrive (a place card was drawn to them during reinforcement phase), roll d6 for each. On roll 4+ the trooper arrives to that sector and starts to act from next round onward. Otherwise it waits for one round and retries later. The trooper can wait from turn to turn.

Miscellaneous Stuff

Five and Six Player Neo-Hunt

To prevent deck saturation, special rules apply to Neo-Hunt game with 5 or 6 active players:

If the active player count changes via varan elimination or late join, hand size is modified accordingly starting from the draw phase.

Player Interaction

Optional Rule 1: Triple-Card Discard

If this optional rule is used, after reinforcement phase before action rounds any player may discard 3 cards with same sector (or Hide) or Grenade or Service action, and draw 2 new cards.

Optional Rule 2: Time Limit

When there are no newbies in the game, it is recommended that some time limit is used during action card choosing: when the first player puts down her choice of the action card during action rounds, she may start to count to five (in seconds), and after that draw a random card from each players who has not yet selected their card as their action card for this round.

Similarly, when it is a players turn to choose either move, action or no action, other players may count to five and force player to choose 'no action'

[NEO-HUNT and NEO-TROOPS © Kalle Marjola 1998-2000. All rights reserved. Last modification 04.09.2003]