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Conrad Zimmerman avatar 3:56 PM on 03.15.2008  (server time)
On the Table: Hex Hex

While I adore video games, I'm equally fond of board and card games. On the Table is a weekly feature of my cBlog that examines some of these analog entertainments. If you have a suggestion for a game to appear in this column or suggestions on how to improve it, please let me know.

Very short post this week (comparatively speaking), as I'm on my way to Los Angeles to see the greatest sketch comedy group ever perform together for the first time in ten years at the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre. Rawk.

Hex Hex, 2003 Smirk & Dagger

My friends and I are vindictive bastards and this really shines through in the games that we play. Any time we can stab one another in the back is a good time. This week's tabletop game provides us with ample opportunity to do just that.

Hexes and some modifications that occur to them.

Hex Hex is a card game that functions similarly to Hot Potato. At the start of each round, a "Hex" (represented by a hexagonal chit) is directed from the starting player to someone else sitting at the table. The player who receives the Hex must then play a card from their hand to redirect it to another person, and so on. If a player gets the Hex but has no means remaining to send it away, it detonates and they lose points while the player who gave it to them gains some. Once all Hexes have been dealt with, the round ends and a new one begins.

Examples of Hex Hex cards.

The cards vary in complexity. Most will simply move the Hex to a player's left, right or directly across the table. Others will add other effects to the Hex in the process, such as doubling the damage it causes, restricting movement to a single direction or throwing another Hex into play. Some cards can nullify a Hex entirely or force it to go off immediately when played. Rounds quickly become chaotic affairs and it can be difficult to keep track of what's going where and when if you aren't paying attention.

Hex Hex Next, 2005 Smirk & Dagger

An expansion, Hex Hex Next, was released in 2005 which, sadly, I have not had the opportunity to play. It can be played independent of the original game or in conjunction and apparently adds a significant number of new cards.

With a game of Hex Hex only taking about twenty minutes to complete, even with shuffling and dealing cards, it's ideal for quick pick-up games in between something more serious. I would normally recommend a game like this for casual tabletop players, but the complexity of monitoring the movement of Hexes once more than one hit the table, along with all the potential modifications that can be done might make it a bit confusing for people not used to games with changing rule systems.


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