HEX-GOMOKU

Board change proposed by Edward Jackman

Hex-Gomoku is played on a empty hexagonal board.

 MOVE - On each turn, each player places a stone on an empty cell. GOAL - Wins the player that makes a 5 in-a-row with his own stones (3 possible directions).

 Winning RowsThese are the three possible rows that are used to win.

According to Edward, Hex-Gomoku seems that when played quickly over the board, draws are not universal.  Played by two non-experts by email, it seems hard to force a win. and played optimally, it might *not* be a draw, though it probably is. There are not enough directions to create attacks (instead of the four possible direction in traditional Gomoku). There are some games that tried to solve these problem, by adding more winning goals, like Boku (stones are removed by capture), Andantino (also win by surround groups) or Hexade (more winnable shapes).

When playing standard Gomoku, regardless of the skill of the players, eventually someone will stumble upon a forcing sequence and win. In Hex-Gomoku forcing sequences are less likely to fall in one's lap. Maybe it's more a more strategic game - that is, unless it truly is a draw with reasonable, conservative play.

In allowing diagonals rows in Hex-Gomoku, the game turns out to have a very big advantage to first player. Perhaps a way to remedy this, is to play on a smaller board (remove the two outer rows), and add the rule that the second plays also wins if the first player is unable to create a row, if all cells are occupied. But even so, the advantage seems overwhelming. Another possibility (better imho) is to introduce a 3-move equalizer, where the first player drops a stone, the second player does the same, the first player drops a third stone, and then the second player chooses his playing color. This should balance things as the players gather knowledge of the game tactics and strategy.

 Including Diagonal RowsThese are the extra three possible rows to win.

Another nice variant is SCORING HEX-MOKU: each 4 in-a-row values one point for the player. Wins the player that makes a 5 in-a-row or collects 7 points.