I Play Jeff Moore’s HEX!
HEX is a one page solitaire game by Jeff Moore, an established game designer and author on 1km1kt.net. HEX soon after it was created, inspired the author to issue The Character Sheet is the RPG Challenge, that has been on now for two years running, with 27: The Character Sheet Is The RPG Challenge II currently going, issued by Errin Famiglia. This game was one of the first that I ever downloaded from 1km1kt.net, and I’m glad I did. I was attracted by HEX as a solitaire one page dungeon adventure, featuring random dungeon generation, complete with encounters, treasures and goals. Its single page also holds a character sheet with XP advancements, all the rules needed for play and even the game’s dialogue: “A curse has infested an ancient keep near your town. The evil magic has filled the keep with monsters. Can you save your home from this Hex?” -a powerful hook.
HEX is an amazingly whole game, simple and clear in its one page presentation. The questions that are asked at the end of the game, should you roll 9 and Exit the Dungeon, along with the author’s encouragement to “Chronicle your adventures!” gave me the idea to write this review and include the following play record with my analysis.
So, I played HEX and after a few minutes of rolling dice and taking notes here is what I came up with:
Play Record 1
turn 1 Roll 5 Room Monster Corridor Action Fight Result H-1,E-1,X+1 HEX 5,5,1 lvl 1 Keys
turn 2 Roll 4 Room Monster Room Action Fight Result H-1,E-1,X+1 HEX 4,4,2 lvl 1 Keys
turn 3 Roll 6 Room Treasure Action Roll 2 Result get keys+1 HEX 4,4,2 lvl 1 Keys 1
turn 4 Roll 4+1 Room Monster Corridor Action Run Result move on HEX 4,4,2 lvl 1 Keys 1
turn 5 Roll 6+1 Room Stairs Down Action — Result lvl +1 HEX 4,4,2 lvl 2 Keys 1
turn 6 Roll 6+1 Room Stairs Down Action — Result lvl +1 HEX 4,4,2 lvl 2 Keys 1
turn 7 Roll 4+1 Room Monster Corridor Action Run Result move on HEX 4,4,2 lvl 2 Keys 1
turn 8 Roll 2+1 Room Empty Room Action Rest Result H+1,E+3 HEX 5,7,2 lvl 2 Keys 1
turn 9 Roll 5+1 Room Treasure Action Roll 1 Result get keys+1 HEX 5,7,2 lvl 2 Keys 2
turn 1 Roll 3+2 Room Monster Corridor Action Fight Result H-2,E-2,X+1 HEX 3,4,3 lvl 2 Keys 2
turn 11 Roll 5+2 Room Stairs Down Action — Result lvl +1 HEX 3,4,3 lvl 3 Keys 2
turn 12 Roll 3+3 Room Treasure Action Roll 5 Result get X+3 HEX 3,4,6 lvl 3 Keys 3
turn 13 Roll 5+3 Room Boss Action lose Result H-6,E-6,X-1/2 HEX -3,-2,3 lvl 3 Keys 3
I earned 3 experience points, I coudn’t buy any upgrades to magic weopon or magic armor.
I reached the 3rd level.
I found 3 keys.
I faced the level 3 boss. (evil Vampire)
I was forced to flee the dungeon after 13 turns of play.
Even though I lost, I enjoyed playing, and in real life I feel like I gained experience points, because I learned a few things and I was inspired by the concept. Now I am working on my own game Dungeoneers RPG! Unfortunately, the “Keys and Level” system for rolling on the Dungeon table, borrowed from Doom Semper Fidelis has a few small flaws as implemented in HEX. In order to have the opportunity to regain Health or Endurance, you must roll 1 or 3 on the Dungeon table. That means if you find a Key (meant to be a “Treasure”), you lose a chance to heal -and once you have a chance to roll a 9 and exit the Dungeon successfully (keys +3), you can’t heal at all. That could be a problem, because monsters always do damage if you fight them, and you can’t avoid taking damage from Traps or a Boss. If you gain even more Keys, it becomes possible to roll off the table. It also looks like it might be possible to roll too many 7’s and quickly reach way too high of a dungeon level, and therefore have the monsters, traps and boss become impossibly deadly. Making the “stairs down” optional until the character chooses to leave the level might help this last issue.