Hexade is Havannah's tactical support act. It does in fact somewhat hold the middle between this game and Gary Gabrel's Pente. It's very easy to learn, because its strategy is fairly straightforward. Tacticians will find it very rewarding.

  • The game starts on an empty board. Players move in turn to place one stone on an empty cell. White moves first.
  • Between white's first move and his second, there must be at least a two-cell distance. The diagram on the left shows a random first move with the forbidden area for white's second move. Black has no such restriction.

  • The game is won by the first player to complete a perfect six, which means creating:
    • six stones in a straight row, or
    • six stones in a compact triangle, or
    • six stones in a small hexagon,
    as shown in the right diagram, and well in such a way (here the 'perfect' comes in) that it outlasts the opponent's next move.
    If the opponent immediately destroys a six by capture, the game goes on.
  • Between white's first move and his second, there must be at least a two-cell distance. The diagram on the left shows a random first move with the forbidden area for white's second move. Black has no such restriction.

There are no restrictions to whatever stones are connected to a six. It doesn't matter for instance whether (or by whom) the cell inside a hexagon is occupied, or whether or not a straight six is an 'overline' of seven or more.

captureTwo adjacent stones of like color are called a 'pair'. If the placement of a stone results in one or more opponent's pairs being enclosed the custodian way (sandwiched between two enemy stones), these pairs are captured and removed from the board in the same turn.
Here a white play at 'A' captures two black pairs. A white play at 'B' makes the white pair save (for the moment), because pairs already enclosed cannot be captured. Of course white's capture of an enclosing stone may make his own pair vulnarable again.

Strategy is obvious: you need a simultaneous threat at some point and see if you can force the six to perfect. That's the nice thing about tactical games: you're not in the dark about what's going on. To compensate for the lack in strategical depth, tactics are manifold, subtle and resourceful.

Falco Freeling - Christian Freeling (The Pit 2008, 0-1)
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You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.

Hexade is featured in R. Wayne Schmittberger's 'New Rules for Classic Games' (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York - ISBN 0-471-53621-0), but has since then undergone a minor change of rules, namely the introduction of the perfect six as object of the game.

A close relative
In 2009 a friend of mine, Benedikt Rosenau, drew my attention to an open letter addressed to me by one Steffer Mühlhäuser, posted on the web in december 2003, and concerning a game he'd invented called 'AVA'. It's a funny story because he basically invented Hexade anew. Then he heard of Havannah, but soon found it to be an altogether different game. So he wasn't troubled by it, till the Essen Gamefair of 2003:
"Als ich in Essen auf der „Spiel 03“ zum ersten Mal meine Spiele in der Öffentlichkeit vorstellte, kam es zu einem kleinen AVA- Nachspiel.
Irgendwann kam ein junger Mann mit einem dicken Ordner an unseren Stand. Nach einem prüfendem Blick auf SIX und AVA und einer kurzen Nachfrage sagte er mir auf den Kopf zu: „Das Spiel gibt es schon.“ Ich war nicht weiter beunruhigt, gleich würde er Havannah aus dem Hut ziehen, meine Verteidigungsrede konnte ich auswendig. Was kam war viel schlimmer.
Der junge Mann blätterte in seinem Ordner und hielt mir kurz darauf „Hexade“ unter die Nase. Christian Freeling (der Autor von Havannah) hatte es irgendwann einmal als Vorspiel zu Havannah entwickelt. Aber weder ihm, noch irgend einem Spieleverlag erschien es wohl interessant genug, um damit auf den Markt zu gehen (auch das noch!). Da waren sie: „meine“ drei Gewinnformationen Linie, Kreis und Dreieck. Freeling bezeichnete sie als „perfekte Sechser“ Das war nun wirklich ein Frust.
I must correct the story on minor points. I invented Hexade shortly after Havannah, not before - there wasn't much to 'invent' anyway: the game was very much there the same moment I got the idea of the three 'sixes'. And the shapes themselves are not called 'perfect'. The perfect comes in where a six can no longer be broken up by capture by the opponent on his next move.

Steffen has his own game company called Steffen Spiele and he was fair enough to recognize my authorship, so he eventually transformed the idea to a game called SIX, which deviates sufficiently from the original concept to be considered in its own right. You can play it online at Yucata.de

External links

Hexade © MindSports
Java applet © Ed van Zon