Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Enrique Duenas

Gen X Games


No. of Players:

G@mebox Star



G@mebox publisher Frank Schulte-Kulkmann writes about the game:

I was lucky to have the game explained to me by its designer Enrique Duenas, and together we went back to the Arthurian time into a conflict between to rival kingdoms. Even though three different houses can be chosen by the players (Arthur's court, Morgause and the Saxons, the wild Picts), the game is a pure two-player game so that there will only ever be two active houses at the same time. To increase variety even more, each house possesses a deck of 6 unique Leader cards, but only 4 randomly drawn leaders will be used for a house during each game.

During the course of the game the players will battle for different territories, trying to win territories with a total value of 7 victory points in order to gain a predominant position and thus win the game. There will always be three territories available for invading, and during their turns the players will reveal and place hex-shaped army tiles into two of these territories, slowly building their ranks until the maximum number of army hexes on a given territory has been reached. When this happens, a battle will commence, with the players trying to defeat the units of their opponent at that territory.


Even though there is a lot of dicerolling involved to determine the outcome of a battle, the general approach is quite strategical since each battle runs through several phases corresponding to the troop types. So, the Archers and Dragons are the first to attack and cause damage, followed by Cavalry and finally Infantry. Provided enough hits are rolled, this means that some troops will be taken out before they can even act on the battlefield, thus weakening the opponent's retaliation.

However, there are quite a few other factors which also influence combat, and prominent among those are some tile placement rules which need to be observed. So, archers are stronger if they don't stand in the frontline, and the dice values of tiles of the same class can only be added together if they are standing adjacent to each other. However, tiles may also not be surrounded on four or more sides, because in this situation the tile cannot maneuver anymore and looses its full dice value.

Other tile abilities are influencing the player initiative and the question who goes first in battle, and as you can see the dispatching of tiles to a landscape is not just a question of combat strength but also of army order and special abilities. Even more, battle also is influenced by the use of artifact cards and leader abilities, and so the performance of a number of battles is the central part of Hexcalibur.


Quite well thought is also the fact that the battles are divided into phases and rounds, giving the players an opportunity to react if the battle runs badly. So, a player actually may withdraw to save his most powerful units, but it will lose him his next turn if he was the defending party. On the other hand the players also have to be careful not to use all their strong units in an early battle, since only one of the winner's surviving units goes back into his barracks, whereas all other tiles of the winner will be removed from the game, forming a permanent garrison which guards the newly won territory.

Even though the concept to fight over a number of landscapes is not new (Kenjin, Titanium Wars etc.), the way Enrique Duenas has dealt with the topic is quite charming, allowing a nice implementation of a medieval battle without introducing too many details. Army tiles, character cards and items work nicely together, and each battle poses a challenge of its own when the players's different types of arms come to attack in the individual phase.

I liked Hexcalibur a lot, both for its good balance between tactics and balance and it's appealing illustrations. Finding good 2-player games is not always an easy task, but Hexcalibur really is a positive example!

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany