If you liked Dorfromantik, then it’s likely that you will enjoy Hexagourds as well, although the two games are in many ways quite different. Hexagourds clearly takes inspiration from the blockbuster Dorfromantik by borrowing the main mechanics of placing hexagonal tiles and chaining them for combo points, but adds some innovative features that give new directions to the gameplay.
Just like in Dorfromantik, your main task is to place the tiles in an optimal way to build up long chains of the same element, like in a domino sequence, thus stacking up on combo points. The long trail of houses or the big patches of forests / grains have now been replaced by cute round pumpkins and goats eating haystacks. Hexagourds has less variety of tiles / biomes, which makes it a bit less complex than Dorfromatik, although without diminishing the entertainment that this kind of game gives you – it just feels easier, more accessible in some ways, because it’s simplified.
One big difference from Dorfromantik is the fact that the grid is limited and you can’t expand your construction infinitely – in Hexagourds the grids have standard dimensions, and at the beginning of a game you are required to pick one of the 7 predetermined sizes. Currently there are 7 preset levels to choose from, each of them introducing a new feature / type of tile / building and you can also create a custom level by selecting the grid side together with a combination of tile types you desire to have on your map. Limited grids alter the gameplay to some extent, since your strategy has to be adjusted so that your tile chains are contained in specific limits.
Hexagourds’s point system works pretty much like in Dorfromatik: the longer the chain, the more points you get. However, there’s a completely new mechanic that affects the way you place tiles: the vines of the pumpkins will spawn new pumpkins every 3 turns in the direction in which they’re oriented, therefore your placement will be slightly different now. If Dorfromantik teaches you to place trees next to trees and houses next to houses, in Hexagourds you’ll want to place the pumpkin tiles so that the vines fill in the empty spots, thus producing more pumpkins and completing the chain when the growth turn arrives. Similarly, you will want to chain the hay tiles so that the goats can progressively eat them (there’s a cute mechanic where they move from tile to tile and eat the hay they find, giving you lots of points).
In Dorfromantik I disliked cases in which I ended up having a hole in my map simply because I couldn’t get a tile fitting all the surrounding biomes, but Hexagourds removes this restriction completely, making the placement of the tile fully flexible. Additionally, there’s a very creative feature that will allow you to reposition your biomes: a new special tile containing a wheelbarrow which you can use to move elements from one tile to another, thus helping you “rearrange some bits of your chain”, or even connect separate chains into a longer one.
If in Dorfromantik the points were needed to unlock new challenge types, new tile types, biome customization options, but in Hexagourds they have no purpose apart from getting your name on the leaderboards and obtaining some specific Steam achievements (for example reaching 1 million points). The points you gain per turn can also be multiplied by placing down buildings outside the grid – these are resource-specific buildings, boosting only their type of resource. There are no level targets, but each level has a randomly generated optional quest that requires you to have a hexagon tile with some specific positions for the elements placed on it (achievable by using the wheelbarrow).
Hexagourds has less complexity than Dorfromantik, but the game’s goal is to keep it as simple and uncomplicated as possible, delivering a pressure-free, stress-free, relaxing experience. It doesn’t stand up to being an equal competitor to Dorfromantik, but it does stand out through its own unique features. Playing it was a lovely experience.
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