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Saturday, October 8, 2016

What The Hex?

Today we returned to Sure Shot Coffee in Fishers to play the Smirk & Dagger card game, HEX HEX.  As a delightfully new addition to Sure Shot’s menu, there is now an option for a Peruvian pour over coffee.  It was rich, bright, and had a very smooth finish.  My vanilla iced latte was very good and I’m glad to see Sure Shot has added crushed ice to their coffee.  Steve joins us this October as a mummy and as always, enjoys being in the spot light of tabletop gaming.  HEX HEX is a fast-paced, 3 to 6 player card game, in which you are trying to place a hex on the other players around you and the object is to get the hexes away from you and put them on other people as quickly as possible. There’s a lot of little aspects to these cards, so like our other reviews, this will be summed up enough to give you the gist of the game.

The primary 94 card Hex deck is made up of various types of cards. These are known as Basic Deflections, Enhanced Deflections, Counter Hexes, “Play Only When Hexed”, and Play When Dealt / Standing Effect. Each of them have different effects which allow for various types of attacks. The game begins with the player to the left of the dealer. This player casts the first Hex, NOT with a card, but by saying aloud, “HEX-HEX” (target player name). The named player is now the intended target. That player then takes the red Hex token in front of them and has to choose what card they will play to deflect or cast a different effect to warrant a surprise attack on the entire group. Play continues in rapid-fire succession as player after player deflects the Hex around the table. At some point, a player will be unable to pass the Hex, either because they hold no cards in their hand or the cards they are holding do not allow them to pass the Hex. When this occurs, that player is Hexed, and they lose one point of their voice on the voice card. Under normal circumstances, when a Hex occurs upon a player, the Hexed loses one point of Voice. If the Hexed would lose additional voice through the boost of a card, the player who targeted them still only gains one voice. The voice token is moved along the scoring track on the voice cards. If a card calls for you to discard a card from your hand, then you discard face down in front of you. If a card calls for you to discard at random, then another player choose the cards blindly for you.

The end of the round is triggered once all players have had a turn dealing and casting a Hex.  The player with the least share of voice selects a player to deal the last hand and then begins the round by casting the Hex.  The player with the most voice at the end of a set number of rounds wins the game.  There are two different versions of HEX HEX, there is the card game you see here, and another referred to as HEX HEX XL. The XL is nothing more than better components in a full size box. Granted the storage is better, but it’s obviously no where near as portable as this version.  I would not say this is a game that we would recommend to a lot of our friends. Granted we haven’t played this game much, but any game that requires the closing effects of a card to be handled in a game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors' is not exactly something we are very enticed by.  We’ve played and owned other Smirk & Dagger games so it’s a little disappointing to see this one fall a little flat for us.  It’s unfortunate because the game itself has potential, but some of the choice of integration was just weird and only hurt the game rather than helped it succeed. We can appreciate some of the mechanics as it is a party game, much more than a strategy game, but it’s just not that great. The iconography and quality of the cards is quite nice! It really gives off that dark vibe for a stab-your-neighbor-in-the-back kind of feel. The packaging for the first version (while very portable) is not very good considering everything (including tokens) is just shoved in the box and could easily fall out if you aren’t careful.

This game is REALLY easy to learn and play so some people may like that, but the type of repetition in HEX HEX and overall weight of the game is not for us.  The integration of some of the rules (rock, paper, scissors) is just strange.  Why not have a real condition more pertinent to the game that allows a decision to be made?  This doesn’t seem to be like Smirk & Dagger to make a game like this, but we still respect their other games.  This one, while it does carry some good qualities, is just not one that will see our table very often, but it could work for someone else.

Overall Pumpkin Rating: 5.5/10

Game Mechanics:
1) Hand Management
2) Take That

Have any questions or thoughts?  Leave a comment below.

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