Hexagony Game Review
Abstract games have taken a back seat of late. Games like Seafall and T.I.M.E. Stories popularise the trend in game design towards pushing the boundary of story telling in table top games. Abstract games have been a harder sell to an audience that wants more adventure, more story progression, and more powers and abilities. Yet if I can convince you of anything it is that abstract games still have a lot to offer the gaming community. Behind the majority of games we play are mechanics that abstract games distill down to their core and present as a concise yet rich way of engaging in play. HexAgony is an abstract game designed by Andy Allan and published by New Entertainment. I was introduced to the game recently and was pleasantly surprised that it rekindled in me the joy of simplicity done well, and the fun of playing a game without cumbersome set up or having to trawl through thick rule books. Winning the game is simple, score more hexagons than you opponent, but being able to do that is a little tougher than it seems.
The game is made up of plastic hexagons comprised of three colour segments, white, blue, and red. Despite the simplistic nature of this design attention to detail has been applied. The hexagons are sturdy with a bit of weight and a nicely designed bottom that sits flat without shifting. There are three solid colour tiles, one of each colour, and 48 multicoloured tiles.
8 years and overs.
15-30 minutes game play.
Set up 1 minute.
Each player selects a colour to score. They proceed to play tiles by taking a tile form their personal pool and attaching it to one already in play. When a tile is placed all colours must connect with like colours on other tiles in play. As tiles are placed the colours will form red, white, and blue Hexagons. Once all tiles are used, players score their hexagons comprised of their colour. There are rules for larger hexagons, but that is in essentially the game.
As you play it feels like there is little you can do to stop your opponent from scoring hexagons. Yet the longer the game progresses the more options open up and soon you are faced with the choice of playing a piece to advance your score, or to play a piece to hinder your opponent from scoring. Playing interception means distracting you from your goal, but the real challenge is to block your opponent while opening up options for yourself. The game pace can seem level until pathways break open and the game bursts into a flurry of tile laying. This pace that ebbs and flows keeps you alert and mindful that with each time you score, you are potentially opening up the game for your opponent.
HexAgony fulfils that need for a quick and fun strategy game. It takes only a minute to set up, as much time to learn, but provides a lot of enduring entertainment. The best part is that abstract games like HexAgony are highly repayable as there is no need to try and sustain a story, or justify actions. Finishing a game of HexAgony is also aesthetically rewarding when you see the geometric patterns sprawl across your table. This game also slots beautiful into a travel bag making it a perfect game to take with you on holiday.
Lately I have really been taken by some of the abstract strategy games being released, Hive, Onitama, and now I add HexAgony to my collection. It is a perfect game to act as a filler, or just a casual game among friends.