Variants using the same equipment
Hex with slightly different winning goal
The rules of hex can be changed in this way. Red can win by connecting top, bottom and at least one among left and right. In alternative, it can win by having two groups, one connecting left, right and top and the other connecting left, right and bottom. Blue wins are symmetrical, with left and right swapping roles with top and bottom. Like Hex, there are no draws in this game, and there are also no "races" (unlike Chameleon). This game is nearly identical to Hex. If i recall correctly, it has been invented by Mark Steere.
Reverse Hex is Hex played under the misère condition, that is, the first player to build a chain between their edges loses. Like Hex, the game cannot end in a tie. It has been proved with a non-constructive proof that the first player has a winning strategy on any empty NxN board if and only if N is even. The game seems quite interesting when played on small boards (like 8x8) and with the swap rule.
Little is know with certainty about Reverse Hex strategy. Apparently what is good Hex (centre, corners, "defensive" play and virtual connections) is really bad Reverse Hex. It is usually possible to see some moves ahead because good moves are often good for both players. Despite the appearances the opening and middle-game phases are fairly important.
Adapted with permission from Cameron Browne's PBeM Help files.
Chameleon was discovered by Randy Cox in early November 2003, then independently rediscovered mid November 2003 by Bill Taylor after an idea by Cameron Browne. Interestingly, there is a good reason for the proximity of these independent discoveries, as both were motivated by the upcoming deadline for the 2003 Shared Pieces game design competition.
The game was originally called Goofy Hex then Funky Hex by Randy, but was first made public under the name Chameleon and that has stuck. This name refers to the fact that players tend to change colours based on their environment; the fact that Bill's eyes pop out when he sees a good move has nothing to do with it.
Two players, Vert and Horz, take turns placing either a red piece or a blue piece on the board.
Vert wins by completing either a chain of red pieces or a chain of blue pieces between the top and bottom board edges. Horz wins by completing either a chain of red pieces or a chain of blue pieces between the left and right board edges.
If a move results in a connecting chain for both players, then the mover wins.
A win by Horz:
A win by Vert:
A win by the last mover:
Playing Chameleon is a constant tightrope act. In most connection games, each player can concentrate fully on pushing their connection as hard as possible. However in Chameleon players must keep their connections strong only in their direction or risk having them stolen. Players must consider the implications of each move very carefully.
Chameleon has a similar feel to Jade but with clearer goals.
One of the most interesting aspects of Chameleon is that it inherently solves the first move advantage problem which plagues most connection games. While opening in the centre is a winning move in Hex, it is a death sentence in Chameleon. The first player's best opening move is well away from the centre and any opponent's edge.
Chameleon should be played on larger boards. Games smaller than 10x10 tend to degenerate into a race after only a few moves.