Staff Writers Daniel Ortega-Venni and Joanna Yu spent several hours at the new Hex location on the Upper East Side, where food was had, games were played and upper east side stereotypes were confirmed.
If you’ve ever wandered a few blocks down from campus, you’ve probably seen Hex and Co, the excitingly unique board game café. While that was originally its only location, a new one has opened up on the Upper East Side on 1st avenue and 76th street. Not one to pass up the opportunity to find new ways to procrastinate (especially since this location is literally across the street from one of our’s home), we both went to the new location with two non-Bwoggers and present to you, in no uncertain terms, our thoughts:
It was quite busy when we walked in, and tables were already crowded with game players of all ages and sizes. It was a bit difficult to get through between the tables, but the atmosphere was loud enough that talking through the din to your friends across the table felt like part of the festive experience. On one wall were shelves completely stocked with games from top to bottom. Since our table was right next to this shelf, I, unfortunately, had the lovely experience of having my entire left foot stomped on by a man wearing heavy-soled oxfords, so if you do choose to pick a table near the game shelves, tuck your legs and feet in!
The stacked shelves may seem intimidating at first as you are overwhelmed with the choices! The shelves classify the games into either 2,3, or 4 or more player games. You may decide to go for a classic, like Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, or Checkers, or you may be feeling adventurous and go for a roleplaying game, or quest game like Catan.
One of the highlights was Superfight, where you assembled a fighter from cards and then argued why your fighter was better than your opponent’s until the rest of the table declared one as the winner. One of us became almost unstoppable with this combo:
We also played Sequence, which was a bit like connect-4 but with more strategizing involved. Each team had to get two sets of 5 markers in a row while blocking their opponents’ attempts as well. What made this game so fun was the element of unpredictability, as where you could place your next chip was heavily dependent on the card you drew; the next card you drew could literally determine the winner and the loser.
Splendor was another game we played and this was perhaps the most tedious. The goal of the game was to get to 15 points through purchasing cards that would add up to your total point value with gems. The trick with this game was to not aim too high in the beginning. If you set feasible goals for the cards that you wanted to purchase in the beginning, you would do better off the rest of the game than initially starting off with a single high-cost goal.
Spot It was the last game we played before Joanna left. She suggested it as one more quick game. You really need to be on your toes for this one, as you essentially need to have quick reflexes. the first player to spot the same icon on their card and the card on the deck gets the card, and the player with the most cards at the end of the game wins. After this game, I definitely felt like I needed to work on my observation skills.
This Hex and Co boasts a “full kitchen,” which means it has slightly more options than the one on the west side. Unfortunately, we didn’t order very much when we were there. One of us ordered a coffee, which was very average, and we also ordered tater-tots for the table (they were out of fries, sadly), which were fairly successful though they did take a while to get to us.
However, the most memorable thing that we had at the restaurant was by far the Pastrami Rueben sandwich. This was a monstrosity.
It was served between two hamburger buns with the thickest slices of meat I’ve ever seen in a sandwich. Not to mention they were so fatty! I literally spent about 5 minutes just deciding the best place to bite into the sandwich, only to quickly find out that there was no logical place to bite into it because you still looked like a wild animal all the same, teeth tearing into the meat, wondering if you’d ever survive this sandwich long enough to be able to register for classes. I eventually just gave up and started eating the pieces separately. The one saving grace was the sauce, which was a “special sauce” and it was indeed ‘specially great. (I’ll leave now).
Moreover, as we were in the midst of a game, we overheard an upper east side mother ask for chocolate milk for her son. Of course, they didn’t have any, but the chef offered to mix some chocolate syrup with regular milk, and it’ll be the same thing essentially. Who knew that the chefs at Hex were such creative solution makers? We truly learned how to improvise, adapt, and overcome that day.
So, if we were to say one thing about the menu, it is to choose wisely.
Difference Between the Two Locations:
The differences between the two are somewhat mild. To start off, Hex and Co East is a little more compact than the one on the West. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course, because it does make it seem a bit homier in some ways than the west side one. However, trying to navigate through people is nigh impossible when it’s busy and it makes everything feel slightly chaotic.
Additionally, there are fewer games in this location, partly due to (again) the size. This is also probably due to the relative newness of the location itself and it’s very likely that as more games get brought in, the better the selection will become.
If we’re being totally honest though, you don’t come to this café to eat (ironically), you come to play games with friends. That’s the lure of Hex and, therefore, in spite of the above, it is definitely worth the check out if you ever find yourself on the upper east side. Come here with friends for a fun study break!
Photos courtesy of Bwog staff