Welcome to ATGN’s exclusive hands-on preview of the upcoming ‘polyhedral battle dice game,’ Hedron. Hedron is the brainchild and debut tabletop game of Brisbane designer, Jason Kotzur-Yang. You can read more about Jason and the trials and tribulations of game design at End Game Games. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Jason and test drive his creation; and to attempt to continue my streak of beating people at their own games!
A game of Hedron only requires polyhedral dice, game cards and a game board
It is immediately apparent that Hedron is all about efficiency. It has been designed to be played anywhere, with minimal setup and rudimentary game pieces—each player’s ‘army’ is made up of a standard set of polyhedral dice (D%, D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 and D20). Jason has come up with a novel way for these dice sets to ‘battle’ each other using an intuitive rules set and a dynamic game-board system. The game can be played on a variety of either a ‘high-ink’ or ‘low-ink’ standard rectangular printed boards, or a custom board can be assembled using a set of hexagonal tiles. The final configuration of the board/tiles and the rule set is yet to be determined but the game is, nonetheless, at an advanced stage of development (9 months according to Jason) and we were able to enjoy a fairly intense and balanced duel!
Brief Rules Description
Hedron is a game that needs to be played for the rules to sink in. I was initially flummoxed by the barrage of numbers and sequencing included in Jason’s patient explanation, but after 5-10 minutes of gameplay I had a firm handle on things and was enjoying myself immensely as I chained together moves for my hedron ‘space-being’ dice. Here’s how it works:
The game feels complex to begin with, but is intuitive when up and running.
Each die/hedron has an energy value according to the face-up number. You begin a move by spending energy on a chosen hedron (and reducing its energy/health number accordingly) and then sending it on its merry way a corresponding number of spaces on the board. If that hedron ends up adjacent to a friendly hedron then it transfers its energy so that the new hedron can now speed off in another direction (the new hedron can move the same number of spaces plus an additional one but without lowering its own current energy number). In this way you can chain the movement of your dice to gain maximum strategic value. The chain ends when there is no adjacent friendly hedron for the energy to transfer to, or if the last hedron stops adjacent to a loathsome enemy hedron. In this case, the energy is transferred as ‘damage’ which lowers the enemy hedron’s energy/health value according to the energy transferred and built up during the chain of moves. If the hedron’s energy/health is reduced to zero or less then it is destroyed (yay, violence!).
Move your dice into a position to strike down your enemy!
The goal of the game is to destroy your opponent’s dice and gain points until the end-game is triggered (when a player reaches the 90-point threshold). Remaining players are allowed one last turn before points are tallied and the winner is determined! The gameplay also includes a deck of cards that represent special abilities that your dice can perform such as healing, extra damage, kamikaze explosion or the always entertaining ‘ram’ ability. In a clever twist, these special abilities are dependent on ‘flux’, or rolling your dice that are not currently in play (ie: destroyed dice). This allows for a tension whereby you must decide whether it is better to redeploy your dead dice, or keep them on the bench as fuel for your special abilities.
The flux cards are heaps of good fun.
I enjoyed a brisk and entertaining test game with Jason as he showed me the ropes using a high-ink A4 board. We both initially jostled for position in the centre of the battlefield which contains a hexagon that allows you to score points simply by occupying it. I learned to use the super-sweet ram ability that bumps enemy hedrons instead of damaging them. This allowed me to occupy the centre hexagon while sending the former occupier careening off into the distance!
Fighting over the centre hexagon!
Then Jason took the kid-gloves off and proceeded to assassinate my dice with extreme prejudice. He even killed my D20 which is the centrepiece of the army and is worth double points if slain. Luckily I was able to use the ram ability to fend off his attacks by pushing his dice off the edge of the board (a novel way to destroy your enemies!). But, just when it looked like I was gaining the upper hand, Jason set off a long chain of moves that ended in a kamikaze explosion, killing 2 of my dice in a blaze of glory.
Jason considers his options.
I countered by redeploying my D20 at a rather healthy 14 energy and hoped to find an opening to attack. I spent a turn dealing some damage to Jason’s D20 and he immediately sent it back to his territory in retreat. I thought about this for a while and realised that my newly deployed D20 had enough energy to make a long-range raid. I spent 9 of its 14 energy to race off deep into Jason’s base alongside his wounded D20. For extra style I revealed a ram card to send his centrepiece sailing off the edge of the board. I scored 20 points and hit the end-game threshold. After points were tallied I emerged the narrow victor by a 127 to 117 score-line (my proud record intact)!
Hedron is a fun and compact game that makes clever use of a familiar gaming apparatus. In many respects it reminds me of chess as it involves game-pieces of contrasting power levels that move around the game board eliminating each other. It is also reminiscent of King of Tokyo in that the centre of the game-board is useful for scoring points. The game is currently enjoying a successful Kickstarter campaign and I highly recommend backing this excellent product and supporting one of our most promising home-grown tabletop game designers.
Thanks to Jason for giving us an early look at his nifty creation.