Emergo boardHexemergo is a literal translation of Emergo to the hexboard and the rules are the same, but their consequences are not. In Hexemergo combinations as a rule can be kept rolling for much longer. Of course movement and capture are in six rather than four directions and there are 37 cells instead of 41 squares. But for the rest, things are pretty much the same. Or are they?

'One versus one with equal caps' is a win in Emergo and a draw in Hexemergo. On the other hand, being completely blocked is a draw in both, but it is almost impossible to achieve in Hexemergo. There's one curious case of instant 3-fold possible in Hexemergo and none in Emergo, but for the margin of draws this difference is hardly significant. The margin is extremely low in both.

The diagram on the left shows the position of the 'instant 3-fold' below, in another representation.

Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view this Hexemergo Game. A curious case of instant 3-fold

To get a taste of what can happen on the hexboard, have a look at the above curious case of 3-fold, with no equivalent on the square board. White's position is hopeless, of course, but ... see what happens.


Tactics generally tend to dress more capricious on the hexboard, but in Hexemergo they are over the top. In the above example white makes two moves, after which things run their own course. That happens quite often in Hexemergo - things running their own course. A perceivedly well calculated combination may go haywire by the slightest oversight, turning the board into a whirlpool of unforeseen captures, the outcome of which is in the hands of fate.
Nothing wrong yet, though. Capricious games where chances may turn several times have their own charm.

Initiative may be more prolongued than in Emergo too, especially with a strong piece, because of a property of the hexboard. If during leapfrogging the opponent's piece ends on the side, a player can more often than not draw it back into the field by a move parallel to the side. This way to keep the initiative is not possible in Emergo.

Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view this HexEmergo problem! 7- versus 4-cap, defender in opposition
Opposition in Hexemergo is always diagonal opposition.

Here the moves that draw black back into the field are white 3 and 8.
This type of move to continue a combination is impossible in Emergo.

Still nothing wrong yet, though. And in over the board play nothing will ever be wrong because players just cannot calculate deep enough without losing track.
Hexemergo's flaw was spotted by Ed van Zon, in correspondence play. When playing white, he employed the usual Emergo strategy of trying to keep the game as flat as possible during the entering phase, always taking care not to lose the right on the first move after the entering phase. Next he carefully sifted through the many possible feeding combinations to find a straight knock-out.
Hexemergo's flaw is that it is so rich in combinations that his quest invariably succeeded, i.e in correspondence play white has a something of a winning strategy.
In over the board play having the first move after the entering stage isn't bad either, but without the trial and error analysis inherent in correspondence play, it is seldom decisive.

And the flaw is no reason to not enjoy the game's intricacies.
Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view this HexEmergo problem!
1e4f5! e6f7? leads to an even position after:
1ge7x
2fd7xe7f6!
3d75xdf6x
4e4g6xeg5x
5g64xg5f4!
6ge4xd54
7ec4xdb4x=
g76 gf7 is symmetrical.
2ef6ge6x Counterclockwise capture loses te same way.
3f5x Miniature magic!

Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view this Hexemergo Game.
Example game
In this game between the inventors, white manages to keep the entering stage flat. Yet his initial efforts to create some muscle go astray and after some twenty moves each, black seems to call the shots with a solid 4 and a clear target: the four black prisoners under a single white man.

On move 23 however white finds a deep combination, involving two points where black has a choice of capture, that not only liberates a large stack, but rolls right into victory.

How we invented ... Emergo
Using the Hexemergo applet
External links


Hexemergo © MindSports
Java applet © Ed van Zon