Thursday, September 8, 2011

Messing with Y

Y is a game that is very similar to Hex: players take turns claiming hexagons with the hope of connecting sides. In Y, however, the board is a triangular array of hexagons, and the goal of each player is to connect all three sides instead of just their two sides. Perhaps more surprising than the Hex Theorem is the Y Theorem: if all hexagons are colored, exactly one contiguous group of same-color hexagons touches all three sides.

This game plays similarly to hex, except that there are, like, 1.5 sub hex games going on at the same time. Ernie has taken a quick liking to this game; he's very good at beating me before I know I'm beaten! To escape this dilemma, I proposed that we give this the same treatment we gave to Hex: let's force adjacent play. We spent a bunch of time trying out different starting positions, and unfortunately it always seemed that the first player to move had a strategic advantage, even if that first play was on different ends of the board (or smack in the center, of course). This means the second player always wants to evoke the pie rule. Earlier this week, we sat down for a few games and taped them. Our first game has Ernie starting in the center. Spoiler alert: he manages to get to all sides, but the game is quite close!

In the next two games, we try instead from the middle of one of the sides. These are both great games! We are already getting a handle on how this game works.

I'm not sure, however, that I like this as much as Adjacent Hex. Of course, I've gotten more interested in FLex (Follow-the-Leader Hex) so perhaps it's time for a game of FLY!

Does anyone have a story to share about trying out an "adjacent-enforced" version of another game?


  1. My favorite way to play Y is: on each turn, drop one stone, and move another friendly stone one space in any direction. This creates more dynamic and interesting tactics.

    An even more interesting use for this mechanic: to solve the "crosscut problem" which normally prevents Hex from being played on a square board. The result is a game called Slither.

    It's an incredible game, though it's hard to convey why it's so amazing. Playing it is the only way to grok it's greatness. It's completely obliterated my interest in most other connection games.

  2. Hello, I am reading your blog and thought you would be interested in my little game, Zuniq: