Hex Roller

Hex Roller

RRP: £9.99
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RRP £9.99
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HexRoller is a roll-and-write game in which each round players draft two of the dice rolled, then fill in spaces on a hexagonal grid, attempting to both complete regions and create lines of identical numbers in order to maximize their score. Who can use their bonuses at the right time to zoom into the lead?
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Category Tags , SKU ZPG-18329G Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Quick yet thinky
  • Portable
  • Perfect as a solo game or any number of players
  • Relatively inexpensive

Might Not Like

  • Cheap feeling dice
  • No player interaction
  • Lack of theme may not appeal to some
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Description

HexRoller is a roll-and-write game in which each round players draft two of the dice rolled, then fill in spaces on a hexagonal grid, attempting to both complete regions and create lines of identical numbers in order to maximize their score. Who can use their bonuses at the right time to zoom into the lead?

 

Hex Roller is a new game by Pegasus Spiele. It is a Roll and Write game for any number of players. You’ll need your wits about you if you want to roll your way into the lead.

What’s in a name?

The name probably says it all; this game involves hexagons and rolling dice. Full Stop. I do quite enjoy puzzles, particularly those with a mathematical angle. I prefer games with a positional and spatial element too. The problem I have with some roll and write games is the luck element. The numbers on the rolled dice will ultimately determine an individual’s absolute score. However, in true r-n-r fashion, players will all play the same dice. This means I will only have myself to blame if I don’t do well.

Gameplay

Hex Roller is very easy to pick up. Seven or eight D6 dice are rolled and grouped according to their value. The dice are numbered 3 through to 8. All players use the same dice results and choose two groups of numbers. Each number is written onto a player’s sheet in the form of an interconnecting chain, starting at the previously written or printed number of that value.

The player’s sheets have a series of hexagons. These are the cells that contain numbers. These are in groups, to make bigger hexagons. Six are printed around the central hexagon. The grid also contains a scattering of 12 pre-printed numbers in pairs (from 3 to 8). In order to score points, players want to place their chosen numbers in certain positions:

  1. Creating an unbroken number chain between a pair of numbers
  2. Filling an outer hexagon with seven numbers (six around the edge and one in the middle)
  3. Completely filling the central area with digits

There is an incentive to use all six numbers, not just the higher values. I call this the “diversity tracks”. Each pair of numbers chosen from the roll of the dice is also recorded. You can earn more points for using a longer sequence of numbers (starting from 3). To assist gameplay, there are three bonus actions, each of which can be used once per game. However, using any of them will mean a player forfeits some bonus points.

Once the dice have been rolled six or seven times, and the diversity track is filled, you simply need to tot up the scoring sections to reveal the winner. Simple.

Thoughts on Hex Roller

I must confess, when I opened the box, I was a little underwhelmed. I had seen others unboxing games containing huge numbers of components with punch out cardboard etc. But then I stopped and thought, “No, this is an r-n-r. All you need is dice, pen and paper!”

The box doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. There is no mapping as in Cartographers or train tracks like Railroad Ink. Sure, Pegasus Spiele could have dressed up the game with a theme, but there is no real need to. I can actually think of a number of different scenarios or themes that would work well given the mechanics of the game. But all you fundamentally need to do it select groups of dice and write them in a chain on your paper.

The enclosed rules (in English and German) are very clear. The examples of play with scoring outcomes are always a help. That said, this is not an overly complicated game. With a single read of the rules, my son and I were up and running (or should that be rolling) within a minute. Our first game took about 12 minutes including scoring at the end.

Our first playthrough left us strangely cold, but then something happened about halfway through the second game. Suddenly it dawned on us both that this is a very clever little game. Its gameplay is very smart. The placement of the printed “starting” numbers is such that it is not possible to connect every one of the numbers. However, the higher values have greater distances between them. Therefore, trying to complete that particular path comes with a greater risk, yet is rewarded appropriately.

Other paths to victory

Yet scoring paths are only one part of this “pointfest”. The six hexagons (which resemble flowers to me) around the edge all have scoring opportunities. If you can double up filling a few of these, together with making a path, then you are really “on a roll”. I also appreciate the diversity track. This scoring element rewards the player who uses even the lowest value dice. Depending on how the earlier part of the game has played out, one may be looking for lower value dice rolls, not just to complete a path, but to get a spread of numbers too. Sometimes in Hex Roller, the lower numbers have a greater value than the higher.

Hex Again

Players will often all select the same numbered dice. These are the groups of three or four dice with the same value.Even so, this does not translate to an identical scoring opportunity. The outcome depends on where you place each number, as well as the values chosen. This means it is rare to get a tied final score, although we have found that all our scores are really quite tight. Pegasus Spiele seem to have got the balance of scoring about right.

Hex Roller comes with a large pad of pre-printed sheets. These should last for a number of months. I am certainly considering laminating a few of these and using white board pens. This will increase the replayability and save me having to consider photocopying them in the weeks ahead. The playing area is just too complicated to be re-drawn by hand.

The colours on the paper are quite plain. In certain light, I find it difficult to see the symbols in each of the hexagonal “florets”. But after a few games one knows how to score and does not need these aids.

2-4-1

I do like the fact that the game sheets are double-sided. The “B” side is a seven dice, six roll game that is just as entertaining as its larger companion. This just gives a slightly different emphasis on scoring. We almost always play two games back-to-back (literally) during an evening.

One thing that is a niggle is the dice. The numbers are clean and clear, but the dice are small, lightweight and of different colours. Why? For a “roll and write” the “roll” element makes up half of the game. These dice feel cheap. They do the job but they do not feel very special. The colours have no bearing on the game at all. I actually find it confusing when grouping the dice. My brain tells me to group by colours (that’s the easiest thing to see) rather than by numbers.

If colours must be used, paint each face a specific colour to correspond to the number. This would then make the game appeal to younger children. They could use the colours to shade/draw their paths. This could make up for the lack of theme in what is perhaps a somewhat dry game. This may seem like a little thing, but it would broaden the game’s appeal. As it stands, it would be appeal to older teenagers but there is nothing to grab younger kids.

Final Thoughts on Hex Roller

For my family, with a bunch of teenagers, after several run throughs, we have really warmed to this filler game. Most games involve just six or seven rolls of the dice and are over within a quarter of an hour. We have taken to pulling the game out at the end of the evening meal while we are sitting at the dining room table. It is quick and straightforward, yet requires thought and consideration of probabilities and some risk taking.

It is very portable. With a dice tray (Zatu do a lovely hexagonal one) we could see ourselves playing this on a car journey or when travelling. Hex Roller is definitely a “roll and write” unlike any other “roll and write” game, so it is one that will be staying with us.

Thank you to Zatu Games and Pegasus Spiele for gifting this game for review.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Quick yet thinky
  • Portable
  • Perfect as a solo game or any number of players
  • Relatively inexpensive

Might not like

  • Cheap feeling dice
  • No player interaction
  • Lack of theme may not appeal to some