Ah, Hexes. The building blocks of the board game world. Without them we’d never have such beauties as Heroscape, Catan or Survive! I mean… We might, they just would use squares or something. That’s beside the point. Hexagons have been utilized in the board game world as a way to easily piece together boards and bits in an interesting and intuitive way. And in the instance of hexaGONE it’s also a fun way to add a pun to your abstract game title while also referencing the core components.
hexaGONE is published by 2 Handsome Games and plays from two to four players in about 30 minutes. It consists of a deck of cards, a fancy velvet bag and, you guessed it, a whole bunch of hexagons!
The goal of the game is to collect the most points by creating shapes to match one or more of the face up cards on the table. All tiles are placed into the bag and shaken up and each player takes three for their starting hand. The deck of cards are shuffled and set aside, and at the start of a player’s turn one card is flipped face up. Each time this is done the cards slide down, with the newest card staying closes to the deck. There can only ever be three cards showing, if a fourth is drawn, the card that has been out the longest is discarded. Each player starts the game with a hand of three hex tiles. On their turn, after flipping a sequence card, they can play either pass, recycling tiles in their hands for new ones from the bag, or they can play as many as they’d like. To play a hex tile they place it on the table. If there is already one or more hex tiles on the table, it must be placed with its side adjacent and touching the side of an existing tile. Alternatively, they can play a green action hex, which allows them to take one of a number of actions. The tiles themselves come in green (the only ones that aren’t actually placed on the board but instead are used and discarded), blue, white, and white “cracked”. A player can score points on their turn if they are able to successfully recreate a shape from one of the face up sequence cards with the tiles placed on the table. When a shape is created to match one of the cards, a player can claim the card. In doing so, all “cracked” tiles used to recreate the shape represented must be discarded. At the end of their turn, a player draws up to three new tiles, with their end turn hand max being six tiles. Once the bag runs out of tiles, the end game is triggered and each player (including the one that ended the game) gets one more complete turn. Whoever has the most points from collected sequence cards wins the game.
I always appreciate it when I can sit down to a game and have a pretty decent grasp on how it’s going to play with a cursory glance at the rulebook. What hexaGONE manages to accomplish is that, plus the addition of some unforeseen strategic depth. Deciding when to use some of the special green tokens, or to hold off from playing all of your hexes so that you have a larger hand for your next turn really makes you think. Your opponent(s) are looking for an opportunity to claim the sequence cards, and the more you give them to work with the easier that’s going to be. But you have to at least lay SOME groundwork in order to score a card. Timing is just as important as a keen eye. Which reminds me, having to find the types of patterns you’re looking for in a sea of hexagons gave me a headache in a better way than I’d hoped. It makes it all that important to be aware of your surroundings, because there’s more than one way to view the play area.
What hexaGONE is at its core is a few-frills abstract strategy game of tactical decisions and spatial awareness. Which is to say, it’s not a game that I’m particularly good at, but it’s one that I was able to understand how to play in a matter of minutes. With this particular genre of games, it’s the least that I can hope for. The concept of looking at a hand of tiles and trying to desperately make the right kind of shapes out of the colors and options available to you. I like that your options are just limited enough to avoid someone taking too long of a turn, but with the hexes offering a number of ways to build off of what’s on the table.
In a nutshell, hexaGONE is precisely what I expected it to be after reading the rulebook. Which is great! That is if you don’t mind a nice, breezy abstract game about placing hexagon tiles into particular shapes. It’s clean, it’s neat, and it’s the type of time killer that can be enjoyed with just about anyone.
Making slave Leia into a Sith lord turned out remarkable for this cosplayer. That’s what I love about cosplay: you can be anything or anyone. The only limitation is your imagination (and possibly your budget and/or sewing skills). Which do you prefer, Jedi or Sith? I’m more Gray, personally.
Prince Nuada from Hellboy. This cosplay is spot on and I love everything about it. Did you know that Hellboy is getting a movie reboot? That’s fairly exciting if you are a fan of the franchise. Not sure how I feel about it though. I enjoyed Ron Perlman as Hellboy and Guillermo del Toro’s vision. But I’m hopeful, as more Hellboy = a good thing.
The Die Laughing RPG is in its final day on Kickstarter!
Have you ever wondered if you could make it to the end of a horror movie alive? Wonder no longer
Die Laughing is a short-play, GM-less, horror-comedy story game. Players portray characters in a horror-comedy movie and everyone’s going to die. It’s just a matter of when it happens and how funny you can make it. When your character is gone, you become a producer on the movie and continue to influence it and mess with the other characters right up to the end.
It plays in 1-2 hours. No significant prep required other than reading the rules.
And you MIGHT survive!
Die Laughing is the third RPG from NerdBurger Games, the game design imprint of Craig Campbell.
Keyforge, a new card game designed by Richard Garfield and published by Fantasy Flight, uses an automated process to randomly generate names for each of its decks. Some of these randomly generated deck names have been rather unfortunate, such as the “Titanflayer, the Farmer of Racism” or “The Emperor that Pays for Boys”. Others are kind of amusing, such as “The Woman who Headbutts Sharks” and “The Boy who Basically Headbutts Heaven”. Others are kind of neat, such as “The Soldier that Vaporizes Space Valhalla”. Have you purchased a Keyforge deck yet? If so, what name did you get?
The video below takes a look at some of the rather unfortunate Keyforge deck names.
I really like coordinating couple’s cosplays. And it doesn’t get much better than Star Wars. These two costumes, a bounty hunter and a Twi’lek, are great and seeing outstanding cosplays like this is a huge reason why I enjoy going to conventions. What is your favorite alien race from Star Wars?
Quick-paced dexterity games, especially those with direct player competition, are just plain fun. There is something about pitting your skill (or lack thereof) against the skill of your opponent that makes playing these type of games enjoyable. Recently, I got my hands on the game Pucket, and it delivered the most enjoyable experience I’ve had from this type of game in many years.
Pucket Tabletop Dexterity Game - YouTube
For starters, Pucket is extremely well produced. It looks nice because it is nice. Pucket is amazingly hand-crafted, and it looks beautiful. Taking the game out of the box (which also looks great and how everything is packaged is well thought out), it is immediately apparent that you purchased a high quality item that was built to last. The board itself has a super smooth surface and the pucks effortlessly glide over it. You can read more about Fair Trade craftsmanship of ET Games (the publisher) here: https://playetgames.com/about/fair-trade/
Playing Pucket is fun for the entire family. In my household, we’ve all played against each other and no matter who is playing against whom, playing Pucket usually ends in boisterous bouts of laughter. After playing a few times, I’ve found that a gentle launch of the puck works best. At first, this was very counterintuitive to me as I want to really launch the puck into my opponent’s side of the board. However, there is a moved called the “Cardinal’s Revenge” which happens when your puck goes through the gate, bounces off the other side, and comes back through the gate to stay on your side. This is almost maddening, and the first time it happens to you, you’ll bellow in perplexed frustration. On one occasion, I was able to send the puck through the gate, have it come back for revenge, and then go through the gate for a third time and end up staying on my opponents side. That was amazing!
As fun as playing Pucket is against an opponent, my son enjoys playing the game by himself. It is fun for him to try and get all the pucks to the other side. He’ll do this for about 30 minutes at a time. I’ve also sat down by myself and starting playing, trying to improve my skill. When Pucket is left out on the table, it is difficult not to sit down and play.
I imagine Pucket doing really well in certain bars I’ve been to. So much so that I’m almost considering opening up a tavern or pub just so I can have a section where Pucket and other games like it are always set up and ready to play. Since I mentioned bars, one of the downsides to some bars is how loud they are. And that’s really the only complaint I have about Pucket. It is a loud game. When those pucks hit the gate they do so with a loud smack. In a pub this probably wouldn’t be noticeable, but at home it can be a bit of a distraction if you aren’t one of the players.
While I got the premium edition of Pucket, which can be found on the publisher’s website I’ve recently learned that there is a mass market edition that is sold at Target and on Amazon. Whichever version you choose, Pucket is a fantastic game and makes a great gift. Go out there and get your puck on!
Marvel’s Black Cat. I always enjoy the Spider Man comics that feature Black Cat. Even in high school, Peter Parker always had a way with the ladies. Have you read any of the new comics where Mary Jane is with Tony Stark instead of Peter? It’s about enough to bring out the pitchforks. For those that are really into Spider Man and Black Cat, I found this cool salt and pepper shaker set.
Exploration and discovery and travel have been key elements of human history since the dawn of time. That drive for discovery permeates creative endeavors all the time. Books, television, movies, paintings and even games love to embrace the travel. That’s accomplished differently in each medium, which begs the question: how do you condense all of that into a particular product? TrikyTrail believes that the answer can simply rest in a deck of cards.
TrikyTrail Travel Card Games isn’t only a single card game, but rather it attempts to be the Swiss Army Knife of geographical themed gaming. The core of the game itself plays a little like Uno. There are suites and numbers. On your turn you must play a card from your hand that matches either the number or suite of the previously played card. Each card will have geographical information printed on it, and players are required to read either the name of the country or the capital city as they play the card or they face a penalty. Much like Uno, there are also wild cards that have varying effects on other players; there’s even a “Guardian Angel” card to protect you from potential attacks.
Now, I mentioned that it was a little like a Swiss Army Knife. I was given the “Africa” deck, one of the many themed decks available to purchase. This deck contained well over 200 cards, of which had trivia, countries, vocabulary words and factoids about specific locations. All of this plays directly into the theme of travel. However, also printed on these cards are two complete decks of playing cards and a Neapolitan card game (of which I haven’t the slightest idea how to play). So, with this deck that was sent to me, I am able to play TrikyTrails, as well as a vast number of standard card games and even more if I take the time to learn it. If that weren’t enough, part of the Kickstarter campaign is the introduction of an AR app that will allow you to use your phone to see the objects on the cards come to life. It’s ambitious, to say the least.
The term that comes to mind with TrikyTrail is “Jack of all trades, master of none”. It’s a game that’s simple, but incredibly bloated with everything it tries to do. The core game itself is familiar and has a nice visual appeal to it. Then there’s the additional decks of cards making this a seemingly ideal travel game as you can pack a number of games in the same box, even on the same components. But with the deck size being over 200 cards for the one I was sent, it’s a little unwieldy. If this is going to shine anywhere it’s in the educational value. I was homeschooled and as such loved the “games” we could play for school that stealthily crammed in educational aspects. That’s what this is. Under the guise of a card game that allows you to travel around the world, you learn countries, phrases and factoids about far off lands. I need to point out the biggest miss on the educational front, however, and that’s the lack of a map on the cards. Sure, you only have so much space, but it seems an oversight that you learn a country but have no idea where it’s actually located on a particular continent. Once the AR gets up and running I can see this being an incredible engagement tool for younger kids as well. It adds nothing to the game, but it is eye catching and fun. Also, each card has a QR code leading to a link with more information on the specific country.
As a game, separated from any educational merit, TrikyTrail is lacking. It’s essentially one of a million card games of its type, and despite having some neat art and ideas behind it, there’s really not much more to it than play a card or draw a card. Even the abilities with the wild cards can get a bit dry. There’s a little trivia on some of the cards, but the more you play through the deck the easier it is to pass those (again, marks for education, but not necessarily game-play). It isn’t that I have a ton of bad things to say about this game, it’s that there isn’t much to say period. Take a look at the game and you know exactly what you’re getting: an overly bloated deck of cards with a mediocre game but some cool geographical flash cards. It’s fabulous school item, but that’s really about it.