Goliath Games’ Exago (“hexagon” with a little off the ends…) is a strategic tiling game that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played Connect Four or tic-tac-toe. On the off chance that you grew up in an island culture that eschewed linear configuration skills in favor of more fractal or non-euclidean patterns, Goliath provides all the rules you need in order to play the game, plus colorful examples on two brief pages of instruction. Of course if you have trouble with curvilinear orientations you probably have issues reading anything…
Exago succeeds not in that its game play mechanics are especially original but in that it is so well designed, not to mention colorful, concise, and fun for up to 6 people.
Players try to align four of their tiles in a straight line. In a 3 – 6 player game, each contestant receives 6 hexagonal tiles of translucent plastic (red, green, yellow, blue, purple, or orange). The game contains 12 blue and 12 red tiles but those extras are used in a 2 player game. Play proceeds clockwise. Each person places one tile on the board. New tiles must connect to at least one of the tiles on the board. If there is no winner by the time the 6 tiles are placed, each player must move one tile of their color to an empty spot on the board.
As in most pattern completion games of this sort, participants have to choose between actions that complete their objective (four in a row) or frustrate their opponents. But while the mechanics and strategies are familiar (and quite fun), what makes Exago shine as a Major Fun game can be found in the design of the game. The hexagonal board comes in 2 pieces that slide and lock together. The board is a hexagonal grid that cradles each tile so that they do not shift or slide or jumble as new tiles are added. Best of all, each cell of the board is designed so that you can remove your tile by simply pressing on the tile’s edge. No need for fingernails. No tapping or prying. Just press on one side and the opposite edge rises out of the board for easy removal.
Thoughtfully crafted. Concisely described. Colorfully executed. Exago is Major Fun. I wonder if I can apply those same principles to my reviews…
Exago was designed by Mark Forsyth and is © 2004 by Goliath Games LLC.