In the game of Hex-hex, our gaming group gets into some rather interesting debates as to how particular timing and effects. This is one of my favorite aspects to the game, though it can cause things to become rather heated at times.

There is a card interaction which sparked special debate last game, which I pose to the members of the boardgames.SE community to add their input.

For those who are unaware of the game, the rules are located here, but the short version of it is that it plays like a complicated game of hot potato. A hex passes around and you should continue passing it around through the use of cards, and if you cannot respond to the hex, it explodes on you, giving the person who most recently passed it points and causing you to lose points (in most situations).

Important excerpts from rulebook for this question:

Play only when hexed: These cards are time bombs. Most are either good news for you or badnews for someone else. But here's the trick... they only trigger if the Hex actually "goes off" on you. That said, you can't simply choose to be Hexed. So, if you have cards that would allow you to pass the Hex, you must play those first. But when HEXED as a result of having no other cards that allow you to legally pass the Hex or because another player causes the Hex to "go off" on you prematurely (as with the card, Stun) they must be played, for good or ill. If you hold more than one card of this type in your hand, choose one to play for each time you are HEXED.

Similar paragraph elsewhere:

A player may also become HEXED as a result of certain cards (Stun, Maddening Compulsion) which cause the Hex to "go off" prematurely. Players may not, however, simply allow themselves to be HEXED if they have the means to pass the Hex instead. Nor can players cause themselves to be HEXED by naming themselves the target of the Stun or other similar cards. (Someone might be tempted to do so if they hold a card that gives a benefit to being HEXED, like 'Level'. But don't let 'em.

And a specific card:

Foretell: play immediately when dealt. Draw a card. This Round, all players must sequence their cards and stack them face down in front of themselves. Cards must be played in this order, starting with the top card.

It also does mention in the rules "Follow the specific instructions on the card. Where those instructions conflict with the genreal rules printed on this sheet, the card prevails."

The specific situation: Foretell had been drawn as the cards were dealt to all players. One of the players, we'll call him player A, had the following hand and chose to order it as: "[Turn aside left], [Level], [Null], [Knock-aside left], [Turn aside right]"

Level is a play only when hexed card which when played by someone not in the lead sets their score tied with the current voice-leader.

Play began and player A was forced by Foretell to use his Turn aside left when he was first targeted. The player to his left then played Maddening Compulsion Right (All players are now compelled to pass this Hex to the Right by any means possible. If they cannot, they are HEXED). As the hex is now in front of player A again and the top remaining card in his hand is Level (which does not pass the hex, much less to the right) it explodes and the player wanted to gain the benefits of Level. Someone tried to null his Level, but then he nulled that player's null, letting it stay in effect.

Should the player have been allowed to order his cards in such a way that he buried cards which are legal to play (which he would have been forced to play had foretell not been active) so as to have his beneficial play only when hexed card higher on his stack? (Satisfies the rules of Foretell, but violates rule of needing to play a card if able)

Would this have been different had he not had a Turn-aside-right card, but instead something else that could not send it to the right but in the same order with Level potentially higher than other cards which might have happened to be legal plays under different circumstances? (satisfies rules of foretell and satisfies rule of needing to play a card if able, but little way of knowing this would happen)

Would this have been different had he had the same hand but his level card was on the bottom? Would he be allowed to play level then? (If yes, then does not satisfy foretell, but does satisfy play only when hexed)

Perhaps a house rule to rectify the situation would be that when under the effects of Foretell, play only when hexed cards must be placed at the bottom of your hand but may be played out of order when hexed.

1 Answer 1


I'm glad you enjoy this aspect of Hex, but the poorly-written rules and bountiful edge-cases are, in my opinion, maddening :).

If I'd been there I'd have argued that "Level" would have worked for him in this situation but only if he had no other cards in his hand that would have been legal plays. Since he had "Turn-aside-right" then "Level" doesn't work in this case and he's hexed.

But it's definitely ambiguous. I don't think I like your proposed house-rule as it undermines the chaos that Foretell is meant to impose, but maybe you should experiment.

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