Ready to go on a space adventure? In Planet Hexx, each space cadet receives a top secret mission file and gets ready to explore space. We always love a good game with a lot of interaction between the players. Planet Hexx is sure one of them. The game comes with a rulebook like normal. However, in this game you tend to break the rules a lot. Knowing this, we couldn’t wait to find out how.
How to Play.
For the set up, give each player a random orange mission tile. Each player chooses one side to play from the double sided mission tile, this will be your goal of the game. Place the two starting map hex cards ‘The space base’ and ‘Delta colony’ on the table adjacent to each other. Delta colony receives five clear cubes and the ships from each player can be placed on the Space base. Deal matching colored wink counters to each player to help with counting actions or to help with certain events. Lastly, shuffle the hex cards into a deck and deal six cards to each player. You are now ready to explore space.
The goal of the game is to place sic hex tiles around your mission tile. The mission tile shows you what kind of tiles these have to be. This can be event tiles or map tiles for example. The first player to finish his mission, wins the game and can read the story of the mission out loud. On your turn, you may take up to three actions. If you have a map tile in your hand that you wish to place, take a map action to place the tile on the table. Planet hexes can not be placed adjacent to another planet (except when the cards tells you otherwise). Each planet hex has starting data for each player to collect. When a planet is placed, also place it’s starting data unless otherwise specified. Space hexes can be placed adjacent to any other map hex. Read each map tile well before placing, some map tiles may have a one time effect the occurs once played, or have different rules. Other map tiles may have a special relationship with another tile, like a wormhole tile which allows you to travel from one wormhole tile to another. Cards always overrule the rulebook.
You can also choose to move your ship. To do this, roll the die and move your ship a number of hexes up to the amount on the die. You may move freely through space, but you always have to stop moving if you go through a planet or visit a planet. Any remaining movement cannot be used after you stop on a planet. You can also not visit a planet two times in a row. Some map tiles also have movement restrictions. You can find any written rules on the cards. Edge restrictions will show a black and white line along the map tiles edges, this means you cannot enter the tile along the black and white lines.
When you land on a planet, you may also collect the data of that planet, data will help you complete your mission. You may take one data per visit unless otherwise specified. Collecting data is always optional and does not cost an extra action. If a planet has no more data to collect, you cannot pick up data this visit. Some map tiles allow you to collect data in different ways, like moving through tiles or when stopping on a specific tile after moving for example. If you are ever in doubt about what some icons mean, look at your reference card for a short term of each icon or check the rulebook for the full explanation.
If you have enough data and the cards you need for your mission in your hand, you can choose to upload. It costs three data to upload a card and the card has to match one of the free story points of your mission tile. Your ship also has to be located on a space tile. Once you upload a card, you cannot use the action on that card anymore. Some hexes you encounter will allow you to upload a card immediately. This means you don’t have to spend an extra action and don’t have to be located on a space tile.
If you ever need to discard one of your tiles, you can choose the refresh action to discard a hex tile and draw another hex.
Lastly you can play an event card from your hand as an action. Events have a one time effect that you can resolve before the cards are discarded. Read each card well and follow the text on the cards. Remember that cards always overrule the rulebook. Some event cards are labeled as surprise which means you can play them on an opponents turn. Remember to look on the reference card for any confusing icons or refer to the rulebook for the full explanation.
At the end of your turn, draw or discard up to six cards. If there are not enough cards, shuffle the discard pile into a new deck. The first player to complete their mission wins the game and can read the story of the mission out loud.
Playthrough of the game.
As we stared our mission as fresh space cadets, we had no idea what to expect. I had some cards that fitted the description of my mission file, so I figured it would be best to travel to the delta colony and take a data already. Five turns later, we had created one big chaos. There were tiles everywhere and many of them were not obeying the rules. We had a special moon that has to be placed next to a planet for example, tiles with many restrictions or planets that have delta but you can only gain them after certain tasks for example. On top of that, we both had events that not only interfere with many actions in the game, but also break the rules creating more chaos. I had uploaded five tiles out of the six to my mission, Tomasz had uploaded four. But since he had just made my lose my data, I now needed to collect new data this round. Little did he now that I still had an event card that allowed me to discard a card from his hand. If I just picked the right one, he would lose the tiles he would need for his upload. After reading his face from up close to see if I could guess which card I needed to discard, I chose the right card an set him back. Meanwhile I could collect data in my next turn and turn in the last card for my mission. I just hoped Tomasz would not have another weird event card that would interfere with my actions again. Thankfully he did not have anything making me win the game and complete my story.
We love this game. It’s short, easy and so chaotic. You also have a lot of interaction with other players. Things are never what they seem and do not go as planned in this game. You might be standing on a planet that another player decides to relocate, moving your ship with it. Or maybe another player will place a lot of map tiles with movement restrictions, making it harder to get to your goal. Then again, you might have events to make it harder for your opponents, or place everything back into order. We were also very happy with the small reference cards. There are many icons in this game and they can all be found on the reference cards. Also the turn summary is very well explained in short giving you a good reminder of what you can do. Every game we have played so far was completely different. Not only do you build a different map each time, there are also just so many unique tiles with different actions, restrictions, rule breaking texts, etc. No game is boring or repetitive. Also the stories you get to complete at the end of the game add a lot to the fun. Your mission file shares your story, but you fill in the blanks with the cards you upload, making the outcome often hilarious.
Planet Hexx is a space exploration tile board game with a lot of humor and manipulation cards. The rulebook is easy to learn and pretty short, but don’t expect each card to just follow the rules. There are so many unique cards in this game that it creates a lot of replayability. We found this game was awesome to play with two people already. But it’s also a very good game with more people. This game could also work well on small parties because of the theme and humor. We have a lot of fun with this game and Planet Hexx often makes it to our table after a heavy day of work for example. Since nothing in this game goes as planned anyway, you can’t really do much wrong and just have a lot of fun. It’s a great way to unwind in a fun way.