So, what was the largest poop ever deposited onto the permafrost of Pliocene epoch by a woolly mammoth?
Whaaaaaaa? I have absolutely no idea and, frankly, think it’s a ridiculously obscure question to ask in a pub-quiz.
So What’s All The Fuss About?
Enlightenment? Deep learning? Pub quizzes? Well, maybe a smidge of all three contribute to the fuss here. Trivia is the basis of this game, but there is something a little different in Hexaquest compared to the run-of -he-mill Trivial Pursuits style games. General knowledge is obviously a key component here, and there is nothing wrong with expanding our knowledge base, however, this game is definitely not a pure luck of the draw game… and as a side note, I have always hated trivia games where completely obscure questions with no control of difficulty thwart my chances of victory…
Hexaquest has a particularly interesting hex-tile system that allows players a degree of control over the difficulty, subject matter and acquisition of points… but more on that later
This is trivia with strategy!
Immersion or Subversion?
The game makes no pretense about glam themes ham-fistedly plastered over a general knowledge based game. The immersion here is not about aesthetics, rather it is purely through our personal gaming strategy- choosing the best way to navigate through the array of hex tiles (details on their importance later), selecting subject areas where our knowledge base may be strongest and wisely choosing the difficulty levels of each question… oh, and of course, demonstrating to the world just how much we know (or, in my case, don’t know. I have two degrees and yet I am still absolute pants at general knowledge quizzes)
Roll a 4 and on a green space to get a science question… hmmmm… this game is definitely not that! This must be clearly stated from the start. The game comes with a vast array of hex tiles, each with a coloured side and a number side. This point is crucial to variability and strategy. The tiles are laid out on the table in a random (player’s choice) pattern showing either the question category colour or number side facing upwards. The layout of said hexes provides us with the basis of the game. We chose an unblocked hex (one not completely surrounded by others) and attempt a question based on the chosen hex. If we select a coloured hex tile, our fellow players draw the top question card from the corresponding question deck, then we turn the tile over and look for the number on the reverse side. This indicates which question we have to answer, and, of course, dictates the difficulty level (1-5). For tiles showing the number side, we follow a similar procedure by which we select these hexes knowing the question difficulty, but not the category. Pick a hex and flip it to reveal the question category colour.
If we are a total genius and answer our question correctly, we keep the selected tile, and score its number value as victory points. There is a push your luck element where we can bank points, or choose to roll over points and attempt a further two questions. Success will net high points, but failure at any point will result in all points from that turn having to be discarded
Following this procedure each turn, we are able to make informed decisions about our journey to victory, choosing categories we are comfortable with or taking chances with difficulty levels of unknown categories. There is a small element of luck in what question, what difficulty or category we get, though nothing in comparison to the random luck other trivia games
Wood Chits And Cardboard Bits:
I have a prototype of the game sent, but even so, the hex tiles are nicely weighted, well finished pieces, the cards are clear, colourful and legible. This is definitely going to be a quality game
Meeples and Standees:
Designer: Martin Soederhamn
Publisher: Tumbling Heads
Playtime: 15-90 minutes
Age of Consent: 14+
Gangs of One: 2+ (although perfectly playable solo)
The game is designed for 2 or more players, of which I doubt there is an upper limit (assuming a room/table can accommodate vast crowds of players. However, a solo player can play by simply covering the answer to the appropriate question, whilst attempting an answer in an attempt to accrue as many points as possible.
I wondered if a card with a question sized slot cut into it might help, so that only the question is revealed (keeping the answer concealed) and I did muse on the idea of some form of solo variable win condition deck of cards, such as scoring a certain number of points in several different categories, as well as a target victory point total… I am sure there could be numerous other ways to increase the challenge for a solo player and I know the designer is certainly thinking about the solo direction
The Real Nitty Gritty
- Winners and Losers: As this is general knowledge, we could all be considered winners and losers, but with the strategic hex tile selection, I’d say that this is competitive but never leaves a player feeling worthless
- Rules is Rules is Rules: Probably one of the shortest and most simple rulebooks I have encountered. Setup and rules all fit on a compliment slip sized sheet of paper. Easy to understand and very quick to get into a game
- Lucky Bugger: Our choices will dictate the type and difficulty of questions we must answer, and although there is still a luck-of-the-draw element from the question card draw, we do have much more control over our destinies than similar trivia games
- Lows and Highs: I don’t see that there are any lows to this game. It is quick, strategic and very entertaining. Each new game feels very different to the previous due to the randomised set up of the hex tiles
- Footprints All Over My Table: Even with all piles of question cards and all hex tiles set up, we only need about a 70cm x 70cm area… maybe even less
- Set It Up Just To tear It All Down Again: The game box has card organisers in it, so setting up the question decks takes only a few seconds. The hex tiles can be rapidly (randomly) deployed as they are drawn from their bag and may take little more than a minute or so. Obviously some players may deliberate where they place each tile which will extend set up somewhat, but even so, the game action should start well within five minutes
Me, Myself and I:
I have tried this out both solo and multiplayer, and it is safe to say it is so much more fun than traditional trivia. The fact that players have a degree of control over their destiny… to be able to plan and build strategies is rather refreshing. It is also pleasing to have questions of graded difficulty. This opens up the field to tactical strategy… many simple questions to build up points gradually, or a few difficult, risky questions to attempt to build up a score quickly.
Definitely entertaining and far more engaging than regular trivia games, especially the player choices in and around the hex tile selection.
I’m not a huge fan of push your luck games (and this really is only an optional element to the game) but it is fun to try and hedge our bets from time to time, especially when we feel confident about a subject.
The base game has a shed load of questions and I know there are a wide selection of expansion question categories planned which will only serve to increase the longevity/replayability of the game
Yay or Nay?
Selecting a difficulty 5 question, Hexaquest correctly answered and earned the right to roll the BsoMT 1d8 die… for a magnificent 7
Right, time to don my brass deerstalker, just to give me the appearance of an intellectual, and get to boosting my general knowledge…so, what does Wikapedia have to offer…
Something For The Weekend, Sir?
Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tumbling-heads/hexaquest
Hexaquest Instergram: https://www.instagram.com/hexaquest/
Hexaquest Twitter: https://twitter.com/HexaquestGame