Havannah | Opening principles Hex, Havannah

7 replies. Last post: 2017-03-09

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Havannah | Opening principles
  • Force majeure at 2017-03-07

    After 3 months of playing Hex, I decided to give Havannah a shot. Although there are many similarities between both games, such as local fights, shapes, edge templates etc., when playing in opening phase I feel totally lost. Due to the simple fact that edges are not related to players' colours, achieving game’s objective seems utterly counterintuitive to me. Do you have any tips, basic opening principles, materials etc. that would give any “feeling” of the Havannah’s opening? :)

  • lazyplayer at 2017-03-08

    bartosz, i’ve also zero experience in havannah, but i’m fascinated by your question...

    have you looked at games of strongest players? have you found something interesting?

  • lazyplayer at 2017-03-08

    i also invite you to play hex live on iggamecenter.com, because i think LG timer is just too slow for learning...

  • christian freeling at 2017-03-08

    Havannah definitely has opening principles and if you consider my rating, it has evolved somewhat beyond me. I’m not particularly well wired as a player, generally speaking, and (or rather ‘because’) I hate analysis. But the ‘counterintuitive’ feeling may be due to the fact that Havannah is actually a race game masquerading as a connection game. For a Hex player that is an unfamiliar situation. 

  • lazyplayer at 2017-03-09

    christian, interesting point, indeed it’s race aspect (opponent reaching goal before player)... combined with multiple possible goals for player...

    i would also expect a very strong central bias (because center helps for all potential threats), but I’ve not seen this in games I’ve observed...

  • hyperpape at 2017-03-09

    It’s not out of the question to play in the center. Here is one game where a very good player played the opening move at J10 (not sure if this game had swap or not). http://littlegolem.net/jsp/game/game.jsp?gid=1747932&nmove=27.

    I think the introduction of swap made the first move in the center unappealing, which is to say that if you could make the move without swap, it would be pretty nice. My personal guess is that playing the second move at J10 after the first move is near the side/corner might be too slow. But I’m not one of the top players. 

    Here is another discussion: https://www.littlegolem.net/jsp/forum/topic2.jsp?forum=50&topic=580. 

  • lazyplayer at 2017-03-09

    hyperpape, nice link.

    indeed i’m now thinking that my expectation was wrong, because i had missed that in havannah center is not the fastest way to some goal...

    so i just agree again with christian, the race aspect is really critical

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