Hex: The Full Story is for anyone - hobbyist, professional, student, teacher - who enjoys board games, game theory, discrete math, computing, or history. hex was discovered twice, in 1942 by Piet Hein and again in 1949 by John F. nash. How did this happen? Who created the puzzle for Hein's Danish newspaper column? How are Martin Gardner, David Gale, Claude Shannon, and Claude Berge involved? What is the secret to playing Hex well? The answers are inside...
FeaturesNew documents on Hein's creation of Hex, the complete set of Danish puzzles, and the identity of their composerChapters on Gale's game Bridg-it, the game Rex, computer Hex, open Hex problems, and moreDozens of new puzzles and solutionsStudy guide for Hex playersSupplemenetary text for a course in game theory, discrete math, computer science, or science history
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Number of pages: 298
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Click here to see a review of the book, along with some Hex puzzles set by Oliver Roeder of FiveThirtyEight.
"The full story of the game of Hex as told in this ambitious book is in fact two rather distinct stories. On the one hand, there is a deeply human story of how the game of Hex came about and how it has developed over the years; this is a fascinating historical tale full of interesting and often brilliant characters. On the other hand, there is also what is essentially a mathematical story of the game itself; what mathematical theory is involved, what sort of strategies are needed to play the game well, how Hex is similar to or different from games such as chess and Go, and how well computers do playing against expert human Hex players.
[. . . ] The story of the birth and early
success of Hex has been meticulously researched here and is extremely well
told. In particular, the book contains many wonderful old photographs. [. . .] At
this point humans still seem to have an advantage over computers on 13 x 13
boards and larger, but as the authors say, 'The story of Hex continues'"
-MathSciNet Mathematical Reviews, American Mathematical Society
". . . this is
not a mathematics textbook, and people who are not terribly interested in
mathematical proofs and reasoning will still find much of interest here. In
addition to discussing some of the mathematics behind the game, for example,
the book also addresses at great length the history of Hex [. . .]. In addition
to tracing the history of Hex, the authors also include lots of actual puzzles,
with solutions, and discuss at length aspects of Hex strategy. Games that are
related to Hex, such as Bridg-It and Rex (also known
as "reverse Hex"), are also discussed. [. . .] Because of its
mathematical content, instructors of courses in subjects like game theory or
discrete mathematics might want to flip through it as a potential source of
lecture material. People interested in the history of mathematics might find
some of the biographical and historical detail here interesting. And of course
anybody who enjoys the game of Hex will find much of here interest as well.
It's a fun book."
-Mark Hunacek, MAA Reviews
strategy game raises at least two mathematical questions: which player (first
or second) wins with best play? and how? Complex games with ad hoc rules (e.g.,
chess) generally lack symmetry sufficient to fuel mathematical analysis, but many
games of elegant simplicity still prove fiendishly hard to crack. Topological
principles inspired the creation of Hex by Piet Hein in 1942. Actually a family
of games, Hex is played on rhombuses of various sizes paved with hexagonal
cells; players alternately take control of cells while aiming to forge a path,
however contorted, connecting opposite sides of the rhombus. Famously, while
John Nash proved first players win with best play, his non-constructive
argument offers no insight into the ideal strategy. Complete computer analysis
now handles up to 10 x 10 Hex, but Hein's original 11 x 11 version probably
offers complexity sufficient for decades more of vital play. The present volume
covers history, variant forms, underlying mathematical ideas, information about
exhaustive small-board strategies, and state-of-the-art computer play on
full-sized (11 x 11 or 13 x 13) boards. More systematic but less up-to-date,
Connections Games by Cameron Browne complements the current volume."
-D. V. Feldman, University of New Hampshire, CHOICE Reviews
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