Friday, August 18, 2023

Honeycomb Cavern does its job as a pleasant diversion

 Honeycomb Cavern is the latest game I’ve tried by Alexander Shen.

The theme is that Shen’s reoccurring character Sadie Cat, an adventuring dog with a cat’s tail, has fallen into a collapsing cavern. Fire breathing statues keep her from just walking straight out so she must zig zag her way to freedom.

In practice, it’s a Roll and Write where you are drawing a line on a hexagonal grid. You know, one that looks like a honeycomb.

Three dice get rolled. One die is the direction and you move the difference of the other two. You can’t cross the line but you get three jumps which let you move three hexes in any direction without drawing a line.

Roll two of a kind so you only have two numbers to work with? Pick one for direction and the other for movement. Three of a kind? You get a free jump.

Now, reaching the edge and ending the game is extremely easy. But your real goal is to earn points. Each hex is worth zero to four points. Now you have a reason to stay on the board for as many moves as possible.

I’ve found that Alexander Shen has a real knack for making casual, coffee-break length games and puzzles. Honeycomb Cavern is from 2017 and proves that Shen has been good at this for a while. The game looks like it’s about escaping but it’s about pushing your luck. How greedy can you be without trapping yourself? It’s a nice solitaire but it’s real strength is as a multi-player, trying to beat everyone else at the table/

I have found Shen’s games and puzzles to be a very good way to decompress and Honeycomb Cavern fits right in. 

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