Board Sizes Hex, Havannah

8 replies. Last post: 2022-04-17

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Board Sizes
  • T0afer at 2022-04-03

    Been playing a lot of 15x15 hex on Board Game Arena and is by number of games my most played size of hex.

    So much so that playing on 13x13 feels strange and 11x11 feels tiny.

    I've only played a few 19x19 games here and there. I wanted to know if anyone has played 16x16,17x17, or 18x18.

    19x19 feels huge compared to 15. Like a bigger jump from 15 to 19 than 13 to 15 somehow.

    Kind of want to know what a 17x17 feels like in comparison.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-04-05

    Size 15 feels big to me still. Although I enjoy playing on all the sizes available here.

  • Tom Ace at 2022-04-05

    On 20 years ago the options were 10×10, 14×14, 18×18. Most games were 10×10 which seems so tiny now.

  • hexanna at 2022-04-05

    Larger boards seem more strategic and smaller boards more tactical (or you could view it as the tactics are much more complicated on larger boards). I find that on 11x11 and 13x13, corner play is really important and directly influences tactics in the middle of the board, and in many cases it's clear who's winning after 10-15 moves.

    On 19x19 (which I'm not very good at), corners and ladder escapes feel a bit less important compared to all the empty space in the middle of the board. Really with two closely matched players you'll probably need to “use” the whole board, whether placing stones or creating templates with carriers on empty hexes. You could have several local fights, slowly interacting with each other without really touching the corners, something I don't see in 13x13 except very top-level games (between bots).

    I'm curious what a swap map for 19x19 or larger boards would look like. My prediction is that a4 and obtuse corner are still winning even on massive boards. A stone can only do so much, and a4 feels like it does more than “half a stone's worth.” Middle of your own third row (like j3 on 19x19) could be losing, and probably gets weaker with even larger boards. Probably on 100x100 you could even play middle of your own 9th row and still be connected to the top edge (depending on whether such a template exists), so playing on the third row would be quite weak.

  • T0afer at 2022-04-07


    Is that just because of starting out on smaller boards you think or? I'm certainly new enough to hex that my only real understanding of the differences is that 15x15 and 19x19 give me more chance to abandon lost areas and trying fighting elsewhere with the possibility of a comeback.

  • T0afer at 2022-04-07

    @Hexanna I still don't have a great feel for swap maps on any size board. And have been mostly taking a few of happy hippos swap map opening and applying them from 13x13 to most of the boards I play. So far given my level its been ok for me.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-04-11


    I think that to gain legitimate appreciation for the bigger boards, you have to clock in enough practice on smaller boards to understand tactics

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2022-04-17

    I think it's best to start with very deep understanding of small boards to get rid of most delusions that each of us creates for positions that we cannot comprehend.

    Once you develop certainty towards corner and local patterns then you can start slowly shifting towards bigger boards, applying the same logic and eventually any size behaves predictably.

    For me after 20 years in the game it doesn't make much difference what size I play. Eventually it's all a sum of local (dis)advantages, trying to fit one with another.

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