Vex III: Historical Entities
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Vex is a series of collectible, tradable, playable card games on flags. This box contains 60 cards, drawn from a random selection of 200 cards in the series which includes historical flags and flag characteristics. Everything needed to play Vex III is included in this box and rules to five different games are included inside.
When I was a child, I was always fascinated by the World Almanac my father bought each year. One of the pages that fascinated me the most was the full-color layouts of all the world flags. I love flags and once thought about collecting them but the time and the expense of that is rather prohibitive. Fortunately, I now have a collection of flags that fits in a rather small box, thanks to VEX Flag Card Game (Six Sided Simulations, 2003 Daniel Broh-Kahn). VEX is a collectable card game that features flags as its base. Im not usually a big fan of CCGs, but having little flags was pretty neat, so I tried it out.
And I must say that VEX is probably the coolest CCG Ive ever collected. Each deck comes with about ten games that can be played using the cards. However, it must be said that it seems obvious that the games were designed trying to find some way that these cards could be put into a game. There are about fifteen different games total, and while some are only a little fun, others are enjoyable, if only for the reason that one is using little flags.
Vex currently comes in five different sets each set made of 200 different cards. A deck is made up of sixty random cards from each set. Each set features a different set of flags.
Set I Nations of the World (probably the most popular, as it has the most recognizable flags.)
Set II States and Provinces
Set III Historical Entities (opponents of the CSA flag shouldnt buy this set. J )
Set IV Cantons and Prefectures
Set V International Entities (also includes signal flags.)
There are no booster packs, so if one wants to collect the entire set, they either have to buy it directly from the publishers website www.sixsided.com , or try to get it by buying decks. Only one deck is needed for any of the games included in the rules. Each set has a different set of rules, including different games. All the sets are easily interchangeable.
Each flag card has a picture of the flag on it in as close to proportion as the card will allow. Then, there are different statistics around the outside of the card. On the left of the flag, there are small colored boxes denoting each color of the flag. On the right side of the flag are the dates the flag was/is used, and when the flag was adopted by the country/state/entity. Underneath the flag is the name of the country/state/entity, the region of the world that entity is found, and a small chart showing how the flag is used. Above the flag are the numbers showing its proportion, symbols denoting special features (one solid color, striped, etc.), and other symbols denoting characteristics of the flag (animals, stars, etc.) Finally, in the top right hand corner is a point value for the flag (from 1-9) used in certain games.
I wont really go into the details of how the games work. Suffice it to say that one of them the main game is very similar to Rummy, and most of the games use all the different characteristics of the cards in some way. Games range from golf to spaceship combat which seem really weird when played with flags.
Some comments on the game
1.) Components: The flags are just plain-out cool. They look neat, are a good size, and all the statistics around the outside add to the aesthetic value, rather than detracting from it. Everything is very clear to read and the cards are of good quality. The boxes are brightly colored each set a different color as well as the backs of the cards. Having the backs of the cards in different colors really doesnt affect game play, and its an easy way to sort out the cards.
2.) Rules: The rules for most of the games are rather clear I was a little uncertain on some of them. We found ourselves modifying them often, which isnt a bad thing, the cards just seemed to lend themselves to certain ideas. I found that the game is extremely easy to teach, and people are eager to play it seeing all the colorful flags.
3.) Collectivity: Some people will never buy a collectable card game. I understand the reasons for doing so, but this game is not quite like other trading card games. First of all, there are no rare cards, and every card in a deck is different. Only one deck is needed for the games, and because the cards are just flags, there really isnt any need for one to get certain cards in their deck. However, if you are a person who must have the whole set, then I would just recommend buying it directly from the company. The decks are random but do follow a certain randomized pattern, so that its quite possible to buy two decks that are extremely similar and have forty or so cards that are the same. So, if you must have every card, you could invariably be frustrated, trying to find them all.
4.) Game play: The games were fun, but really each one that I played (I havent played all fifteen) I could have played in a different game and had more fun because the other game is more polished, etc. Yet, playing with the flags was a lot of fun, so I dont think that the VEX cards will go to the back of my shelf any time soon.
5.) Educational: You know, I really learned a lot about flags playing this game. I knew a lot of the flags in sets 1,2, and 5 but saw a whole lot of new flags when playing with the other sets. I used the decks successfully in my history class I teach, and the students not only had fun with the cards but learned some things about flags, geography, political entities, etc. One game that I made up in class using the whole classroom, actually turned out to be more fun than any included with the box.
6.) Fun Factor: VEX was fun but mostly because of the collectable flags. If the game ever ceases to be fun, I can always mount the cards up on my wall (I might buy an extra deck and do that anyway!) because of the wow factor. When I visited the flag store at Mall of America last year, I was surprised at how expensive flags were. Now I have all these flags, at the fraction of the cost. I think thats pretty nifty.
7.) Stats: Im mostly a math teacher, and statistics is something I really enjoy. So, when I saw this game on the website and the papers included in the decks full statistics on all the cards in the game, I was overjoyed. Obviously flags are the designers passion. He loves them, and knows all about them, and is determined to pass that knowledge on. Knowing how many flags have red in them is probably not that important, but I enjoyed reading about it, and so might you.
If you like flags at all, this is the game for you. If you like history, geography, politics youll probably like this game. If theme and color means nothing to you, then this may not be your best bet. However, Ill wager that most folks will enjoy the games therein, and that VEX has a chance of garnering audiences that other games could not reach. Dont let the trading card game nature of it scare you off, the game is quite fun, and youll find that buying a deck or two will give you a whole bunch of little flags. And even if you dont like the games, I find it hard to believe that anyone would dislike the flags.