In February 2013 a lightning stroke the power line in my street, burning my desktop’s PSU, motherboard, VGA and somehow even the HD. The motherboard’s heroic fuses managed to save the processor and all the memory sticks, so thank you Gigabyte, your sacrifice won’t be forgotten. I had lost my gaming platform (working platform too, but who cares when gaming is compromised!) and turned my eyes to board gaming.
I discovered this thing called PNP: Print and Play games, that people can print and assemble on their own. I had just read The Player of Games, by Ian M. Banks, and felt inspired to create my own game.
I considered a way to make Chess fun, Go a little bit livelier and Risk enjoyable, as well as eliminating any form of random luck (card drawing, dice rolling) from it, creating a pure skill game. (Later I’ve found out that Hexa Sea is kinda like the board version of Advance Wars.)
What kind of game is this?
Hexa Sea is an abstract Wargame played on a modular map that changes every new game. You set hold on the map, build new units and fight your enemy off the map.
Its victory condition is similar to chess’; the game is won when you capture a certain piece of the adversary’s army. But if Chess were like Hexa Sea, you would start the game with just the pawns. You need to control territory in order to be able to bring more units to the board, with different capabilities. As in Go, you expand your control over the territory and prevent your adversary from doing the same. The capture mechanics are a bit different than chess’, for not every unity can capture all the other unit types, and not every unit can control territory either. The territory mutates as the players build different maps for each game. This also leads to different styles of game, and you might end up developing preferences on certain types of maps.
The game has a slow start, but it builds speed as you conquer more territory and the first skirmishes begin. It requires a great effort in planning ahead your moves, and adapting to your adversary’s reactions. There is a mathematical elegance in tracing the quickest route around the map to victory while fooling your adversary into another direction. It’s also a game where a silly mistake can cost you heavily, while making space for great comebacks. It can end quickly with blitzkrieg campaigns, as well as drag itself for long, ending up in a draw (which is really really rare, but can happen).
It’s simple, but it squeezes your brains out. You can read a review by Blank Wall Games here (the current version addressed the issues pointed in the review).
How to Play:
Yes, it has a lot of parts. Cutting the Hexas can be a pain, if you glue the images over hard cardboard. Assembling the 3d pieces is fun at the beginning but with 72 of them to make, it gets tiring. I’d recommend for you to take it easy, spread your work over a couple of weekends. Treat it as a model assembly hobby, and you won’t get stressed by it. I’d also recommend gluing coins or buttons underneath the pieces to give them more stability and avoid toppling them as you play. Alternatively, you could make your own designs for the pieces, build them out of clay or wood. Half the fun is in building the game, trust me there.
2nd place on Best Wargame
2nd place on Best New Mechanic
3rd place on Best Art/Graphic Design
3rd place on Best Overall Game
BoardGameGeek is THE WEBSITE on board games. It’s better than Wikipedia. I learned a lot there, still am learning in fact. If you like board games, first place to go about it online is BGG.