Six review - by Colin Young

Written by Jon-Paul D / Published June 25th, 2012 / 0 Comments

Our abstract tournament takes place this evening (Monday, June 25th), starting at 7pm.  One of the games featured in the tournament is Six, which is reviewed below by one of our Game Gurus, Colin Young:

Games for two players tend to be designed with a more direct idea of competition in mind. Unlike games for three players or more, two-player games pit one individual against an opposing individual. Classics of the genre, such as GoChessCheckers, involve an intellectual stamina, a mental endurance test in which both players seek to stay one step ahead; the idea being that the loser is the individual who cannot maintain the strategic thinking necessary and falls prey to some small slip. The experience can be quite civil, an enjoyably convivial competition, but such games are possessed of an aggressiveness that most games lack.

Six is an abstract two-player in the tradition of such mental calisthenics, a game that demands its players stay at attention. The rules are simple: place a red and a black hexagonal piece side by side. That is the starting set-up. Red plays first and must play a hex to touch the initial black piece without touching the initial red. From there, each player on their turn must place a piece anywhere connecting to the board. When a player runs out of pieces in their supply, they may move a previously played piece to another location on the board. Victory is awarded to the player who can create of three six-piece patterns: a triangle, a row or a ring. Veteran gamers will recognize certain similarities with the two-player hit, Hive (a café favourite). However, where Hiveresembles Chess without a board, Six is Connect 4 for grown-up gamers, a bitter war waged in black and red.

The only criticism that could be leveled against the game is that it has no end-game timer – there is no built-in mechanic to progress the game towards a definitive conclusion. If both players played perfectly, the game would never end as each player would shift another piece in an endless succession of moves. The rebuttal to that valid criticism, however, is that there are no perfect players to enact this hypothetical situation. Eventually someone will slip, and that is the draw of games such as these; it is not simply the out-thinking, but the out-lasting. Such a mechanic is not for every player. Indeed, several games under one’s belt are needed before such endurance is developed. However, for the players that seek a purer form of board game competition, Six should find its way onto their table with all due haste.

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