[HEX] HEX vs. MTG ~ General System 〜

Today, let’s take a look at the general design of the HEX and Magic.  How do they compare?

RPG Analogy

Throughout this article, I will put a subsection called RPG Analogy.  Here basically I compare the similarities between the two games (HEX and Magic) is whether beyond the game genre or not i.e. so many RPGs are out there now, and you can argue at one point certain things were unique to the RPG but there are so many overlaps/standardized pieces within the genre itself and many games share them.

If you like FPS or any other genre, I am sure you can come up with the similar analogy.

Deck Size

In both games, deck sizes are 60 for standard play and in draft mode they are 40.  Both games use resource dedicated card which are included in the deck.

Magic should certainly get the credit here for gold standard.  Though this piece alone is hard to claim for copyright in my opinion because many other TCG uses similar if not identical deck size.  For those games that do not have dedicated resource cards, 40 is usual number for the deck size.

RPG Analogy

At least in console RPG world, my recollection is original RPGs were always 1 character travelling the world but later one came up with party based system.  Now a days, many RPG uses standard active party size of 3-4.  Can any company claim using their specific party size as a copy?

Goal of the game

The goal of the both games are to take the opponent’s life down to 0, which starts from 20.

However, the representation of the life are different between the two games.  In Magic, it is the player who has 20 life point.  Whereas in HEX, it is a champion who has the health of 20.

Are the difference simply just on the naming?

Absolutely not.

The champion’s in HEX have their own special ability.  When the champion gets sufficient charge, the champion can use the power.  In standard format of the Magic, this is not something you can replicate because there is no analogy.  It is not same as you using a instantly activated card from your hand.  Champion’s power can be used even when you don’t have any card in your hand or on the board.

Furthermore, though it is still in development, HEX made it clear that in its PvE mode champions can have equipment preset to it before the match.  This is very unique element of the game, and deserves dedicated article on its own.  So I won’t go too much in detail here.

But also you can imagine the potential of the current design.  The champion system is not unique to the HEX.  World of Warcraft TCG, Shadow Era, Hearthstone, Carte etc. has one.  All the games listed here have cards that directly equips to the champion, which are different from PvE equipment I am referring to in the paragraph above.

This concept should be easy to understand.  Normally Champion is just standing there, and use occasional special ability.  But by equipping your champion, he/she can directly attack opponent’s even when you have lost all your cards on the board.

The basis of the mechanics is here in the system.  HEX can certainly easily implement this, which is again not something you can do in standard format of the Magic.

Let’s take a look at example.


Form of the Dragon

The card on top is from HEX, and the bottom is from Magic.

Again, it is hard to believe the two were created by just a coincidence, and it is safe to assume Form of the Dragon from Magic inspired the The Wrath of Zakiir in HEX.

Although they are similar in concept, two are different.

In Magic, there is no champion therefore the card is represented as an enchantment type, which stays on board.  But your opponent have a way to counter which is to use enchantment destruction type card.

Whereas in HEX, your champion became a Dragon and it is a magic acted on it.  It is possible for HEX to eventually release a way to revert champion back to normal, but that will require special card.

Also, the texts are different. 5 damages on the Magic are now only 3.  The champion’s life won’t go down to 5.  It is no longer automatic attack but rather you decide when to attack as long as you have charge power and so on.  If one makes an argument of the card having the same stat being a copy/duplicate, then certainly card like this should be treated completely opposite.  Same casting cost but effects of stat are different.

RPG Analogy

This is like a direct analogy to character’s health point.  Whether it is max health after the highest level or the initial health at level 1, I don’t think any company can claim certain health point value as their own.


Both game uses the system where attacker selects to attack but the target is always set to opponent’s champion/player.  Then the defendant decides whether to block or not.  Also, both system resets all damages at the end of the turn.  This is in contrast to some other games that uses cumulative damage system i.e. does not reset after end of turn, and games that allow complete control to the attacker i.e. attacker decides who to attack including opponent’s creature/troop on the board.

So the combat system is essentially identical between the two games.

RPG Analogy

Some RPG uses automatic reset of the damage after each combat and other does not.  Some RPG has action like combat mode and others use command based.  I am sure these were unique to one game at the time of introduction but can any company claim the copyright?


General flow of the game consist of multiple phases that occurs in the sequential fashion.  In both games, the sequences of the phases are the turn starts, draw card, take main phase 1, combat phase, main phase 2 and end of turn.

However, this system is used by many other games now a day.  It is actually harder to find a game that is based on taking opponent’s life down that is not using this general flow.


I personally classify TCG into two main categories based on how the game turns flow.  In dynamic interactive play type game, which magic and hex are, you get a chance to interrupt opponent’s action during their turn.

RPG Analogy

Those RPG that uses command based battle, some uses turn based system i.e. the game will wait forever until you make your decision, and then enemy attack back, and your turn come back i.e. purely turn based.

Whereas in other games such as Final Fantasy, the battle keeps going on even when you don’t select a command.  Your characters become ready to attack/select command whenever they are charged.  In the mean time, enemy also does the same i.e. gives the feeling of interactive play style without actually utilizing action game like battle system.  This sounds very similar to dynamic interaction play in TCG in my opinion.


In summary, the general game design between the HEX and Magic are very similar.  Although it is hard to deny that the HEX was inspired by Magic, and many of its fundamental design are coming from it, I am not sure if the similarity is beyond the game genre.

Magic is undoubtedly a Pioneer in the field of trading card game, but it has been 20 years since its introduction.  General concept/design overlap at this point is something to expect is in my opinion.  Now obviously, degree of how much overlap is acceptable and not be called “clone” always exist.   That is the reason why I will continue with this series to take a closer look at other pieces of the games in more detail.

For now, I say two are similar in general design but this level of similarity may be related to the games are in the same genre.  Certainly, I don’t think factors listed on this article alone are not enough to decide whether two are clones.


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