Review: Hex-A-Gon Is Great Fun

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Hex-A-Gon board game by Catalyst Game LabsHex-A-Gon board game by Catalyst Game Labs

Hex-A-Gon board game by Catalyst Game Labs

Overview: Hex-A-Gon from Catalyst Game Labs is an abstract strategy game which is one part Checkers and one part Peg Game.

Players: 1 to 5

Age: 13 and up (more like 10 and up)Hex-A-Gon Box CoverHex-A-Gon Box Cover

Retail: $39.99

Rating: Wunderbar! An enjoyable and straightforward strategy game, with great wooden pieces and quick play.

Who Will like it? This is the perfect game for children and adults who like more abstract play without trying to see 10 moves into the future. Your opportunities are largely created by the player before you, and the best moves have as much to do with what you leave for your opponents as they do with taking as much as you can. At 15 to 25 minutes, the game plays quickly enough to hold a child’s attention. This is an ideal game for kids ages 9 to 99 who like games similar to Chinese Checkers.

Theme:

Hex-A-Gon is light on theme. The hexagonal wooden pieces are called knights in the instructions, but that is all the theme we get. The lack of theme keeps with the abstract nature of the game. Any stronger theme would feel forced.

Components:

  • Game board
  • 60 hexagonal wooden playing pieces called knights
  • 10 small wooden pieces used for optional play

I love the smell of wood game pieces. There is something about the combination of stain and wood that reminds me of a woodshop. In Hex-A-Gon the wooden knights stand about two inches tall and are stained a dark brown. The board is sturdy, hexagonal in shape, and folds into a neat rhombus in the box. The only thing missing would be a smaller bag for the 10 small pieces which fit into neatly constructed holes in the bottom of ten of the knights. Used for the alternative rules, these small pieces can easily be lost among the 60 much larger knights.

Game Play:

The rules for the basic game of Hex-A-Gon are quite simple. The board has 61 hexagons. Players set up the knights in 60 of these spaces, leaving one empty space somewhere on the board. The first player uses one knight to jump over another knight into the empty space. He then captures the piece he jumped over and removes it from the board. Players may use the same knight to continue to jump over other pieces on the board as long as there is an empty space beyond the knight in which to land. However, when they jump, they may land in any one of three different spaces as long as it is empty. They may land in the hexagon directly in front of the piece their knight has jumped or they may land in the hexagon to either the right or left of that space. Once a player can no longer jump over another knight into an empty space, their turn is over. The player who has captured the most knights at the end of the game wins.

Hex-A-Gon in mid game with some knights frozen in placeHex-A-Gon in mid game with some knights frozen in place

Here knights laid on their side cannot be jumped

Catalyst has also included several sets of alternate rules. These options require hiding the small colored pegs in the bottom of ten of the larger knights. These are then randomly placed around the board and, depending on the set of rules, can have different effects. The most basic is to give simple points toward winning the game to the player who captures any of these colored pegs. Differing points are awarded based on the color of the peg. Another alternative uses the pegs to freeze certain knights on the board, making them impossible to jump.

Frankly, I did not find the alternative rules that compelling. Frozen knights seemed to slow the game play, and half the fun is trying to create long strings of jumps. Frozen pieces just got in the way. Changes in scoring introduced an element of luck which didn’t seem to match with the abstract strategy of the game. I’d say stick with the basic rules which are neat, clean, and provide a great game.

Conclusion:

Hex-a-Gon is a fabulous game. Much of its enjoyment comes through its quick play and easy to understand rules. I am sure that it will be a favorite among my children. Light strategy and a quick 25 minute playing time make it a great choice for an after school break before homework. Super fun!

Wired: Simple patterns, short play and easy rules make this a great basic strategy game.

Tired: The alternative rules aren’t necessary or compelling. Stick to the basic game; it’s great!

Disclosure: Catalyst Games provided a review copy of this game.

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