ABOUT TOWN: Game on; 

  • M Stefan Walker with his Hexix abstract strategy board game at Greenfield Games in Greenfield.  Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • M Stefan Walker with his Hexix abstract strategy board game at Greenfield Games in Greenfield.  Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Hexix abstract strategy board game at Greenfield Games in Greenfield.  Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Hexix abstract strategy board game at Greenfield Games in Greenfield.  Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 12/23/2018 9:59:41 AM

GREENFIELD — The most memorable nights of freshman year at college for the Greenfield High School Class of 2016 valedictorian, between studying mathematics and computer science, were late nights in his dorm room with his roommate. 

Two years later, M Stefan Walker, who was attending the University of Vermont, has taken a break from college to focus on what came out of those storied nights. If you want to know more about it all, just head to Greenfield Games and ask for the abstract strategy board game Hexix.

Walker, 20, developed a board game out of those four-hour game strategy sessions that has quickly taken off. It’s no longer a dorm room prototype, but a high-demand game. It received recognition from within the gaming community at the Boston Festival of Indie Games in September — this is without mentioning the digital version of the game that is still in development. 

“It’s kind of crazy how big the game has become, to what it takes to keep it going,” Walker said, reflecting on the game recently at Greenfield Games. “We have a team of five, including myself, working on the tabletop game — testing rules and all that stuff — and the digital game, which has been in the works for maybe eight months.” 

The board game, which involves no luck, is based on strategy. It may seem simple at first, but can quickly become quite complex in thought. In some ways, it was modeled after chess, but involves playing dice and a handful of straightforward rules. 

“I really wanted to make a game as simple as I could — make it while still having a lot of strategic depth and choices that impact the game,” Walker said. 

His goal was to develop a board game, and for awhile, he was developing duds that “didn’t have a solid core or weren’t very fun.”  

When tinkering with game ideas, he eventually worked into Hexix.

“By the end of the summer, I had this idea for a game, and it sort of had its roots in games I played in the past,” he said, which led to more of a time commitment to the development. 

“This game mixes mechanics in a way that I hadn’t really seen before, and I really liked how it played out,” Walker said. 

Soon his friends — and friends of friends — started coming over to play this game, which works both casually and competitively. 

Completing the game required some more attention, so Walker decided to take a semester off from UVM. In the meantime, he continued to work at HitPoint Studios in Greenfield, where he had interned this past summer, and where he develops games and works on code. 

When preparing for the Boston Festival of Indie Games, which they had to be accepted into, Walker realized they needed to formalize the game. He marks it as a turning point and the time when they decided to financially invest in the game. 

“I can’t say how much the games costs, but I can say I invested quite bit of my summer earnings into the game,” Walker said with a smile. “It was enough that it was just on the border that if this doesn’t work out, ah, that’s kind of a lot of money.” 

Regardless, it’s been a great learning experience for him, he said, but he hopes the game can be self-sustaining, which it is on a path of being so far.

“The gamble has paid off, I suppose,” he said. 

“It’s kind of surreal. I don’t know if I’ve fully taken it in,” Walker said. “The project keeps going forward. Oftentimes, I’m wrapped up in what’s next. When I do take a step back, it’s kind of crazy. It’s really cool, too, to connect back to this community that I grew up coming to the store.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264




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