Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Hex, The Game

The origins of Hex can be read about here.

The basic objective of this mathematically strategic game is to build a solid line of markers across or down the board – making either a horizontal or vertical unbroken line.

This one has been on our (er… my) agenda for a while… today I finally decided it was time.

First up was making the board.
This would be rather simple if one had a working printer. You could just visit, say… here…. for a print-out.
It would also be simple if one happened to have a small enough and sturdy geometrically correct hexagon.
Or if one had intimate knowledge of geometry and could fashion a board in a few seconds.

But of course none of those things apply here!

Had to make a hexagon, first.

I began with a one inch square. It has to be as exact as possible. Not as easy as it sounds to make, but eventually I had success.

Cut out a square inch, as exact as possible. I used mat board (which is like very heavy poster board) for the game board, and for the hexagon template.

First I found the exact center, and marked it on two opposite sides.

For the flat top, I marked off the 1/4 inch points of either side of the middle 1/2 inch

and then drew a line to the 1/2 inch point drawn before.

I cut it out.

I kept alternating the hexagon around, and looking to see if it was straight – which it wasn’t, so I trimmed tiny bits off of it until it looked even from all angles.

Hex gameboards are either made with nine or eleven across and up for a beginning board, or thirteen for a more serious board, or they’re made with fourteen for competition or tournament boards.
I figured eleven would do it for us.

I drew a line at the bottom of the mat board, for a straight starting point.

Angling the hexagon with points faced up and down, I started tracing around the hexagon to make the board.

Eleven across, and then eleven high, making a rhombus.


I traced my lines with a sharpie to finish them off,

and then covered the board with contact paper.

For our first games, we used little ceramic tiles,

and then I realized that little pieces of natural clay would be tactilely pleasing…

So I pounded, pressed, and rolled clay,

and then cut out small circles – that would easily fit inside our game hexagons.

You could certainly use little glass stones, or any number of other materials for game pieces. Clay was rather soothing -and accessible- to me.

With the pieces cut out,

we set out to make little bowls to hold them.

We used natural clay again, with pressed and cut out bottoms, and then coiled the clay around to shape our bowls.

Traditionally the games pieces are black and white, we’re leaving ours to the naturally white clay, and will leave our little bowls as well.

Certainly not perfect, but beautiful, none-the-less, I’d say.

Happy gaming and thinking to you!

1 comment:

Sam said...

Ooh, how did I miss this before? Love the board and the lovely bowls - I'll give that a go. And it reminds me that I was making Othello(Reversi) clay pieces and got interrupted half way through. I'm inspired to finish it now :-)