Hex in PostScript

11x11 Hex board
Hex is an intriguing two-person pencil-and-paper game that I first played in about 1974. When my son came home with a poor copy of poor copy of a pretty good hex board, and wanted to copy it some more so he could play it, I pulled out my "PostScript Language Reference, third edition", and coded up the following files. Print them to any PostScript printer (or GhostScript emulation), for some clean "original" hex boards.

The traditional full game uses an 11x11 board. Players alternate marking hexagons, trying to make a path from one side to the other. Every block is also an attack; every attack also blocks your opponent. There are no draws. While you're learning, try smaller boards.

You can prove that the first player must have a winning strategy, but actually finding that strategy becomes very difficult above board sizes 7x7. I'm convinced I can do it for 9x9 boards. Hex was discussed in the September 2000 Scientific American Mathematical Recreations column.

It should come as no surprise that you can read an excellent description of Hex at Wikipedia.

People with Microsoft-Windows computers often have problems printing PostScript files to their PostScript printers; this mystifies me, since it's so easy on unix-alike computers. If you have trouble, I think GhostScript can help; it's free, runs fine on all mainstream computers, and will preview and print PostScript files.

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Larry Doolittle
December 10, 2000