Here you'll find the rules of some traditional abstract games alongside some excellent modern ones. Most of them (and eventually all of them) can be played in the Pit, and free downloadable applets are provided to store the games offline.

XiangqitraditionalChinese Chess
Congoinvented byDemian Freeling
Chess960invented byRobert James Fischer
Crodainvented byLjuban Dedic
Pilareinvented byJorge Gómez Arrausi
Focusinvented bySid Sackson
Explocusinvented byMartin Medema
Othellocontested by mr. Lewis Waterman and John W. Mollet Esq.
Gonnectinvented byJoão Pedro Neto
Lines of Actioninvented byClaude Soucie
Breakthrough 2invented byDan Troyka
Penteinvented byGary Gabrel
Amazonsinvented byWalter Zamkauskas
Ordoinvented byDieter Stein
FanoronatraditionalMadagascar's National Game
MorabarabatraditionalSouth Africa's National Game (well ... almost)
Nine Men's MorristraditionalWidely known as Mills, Mühle, Jeu du Moulin, Molenspel.

All applets are by Ed van Zon.



Xiangqi
Xiangqi is an archaic Chinese chess variant, with a totally different character than western Chess. Its most outstanding feature is the division of the battlefield in two camps, separated by a 'river'. In the camps, the generals occupy 3x3 headquarters they may not leave, assisted by two 'mandarins', who must share five of the headquarters' nine cells. Another piece, the 'elephant', is restricted to a mere seven cells of its own camp.

Seasoned players are of course totally familiar with the Chinese symbols for distinguishing pieces, but beginning players may profit from the westernized symbols used in the applet below.

We're not re-inventing the wheel, so instead of repeating the rules here , we'll provide the links to some excellent Xiangqi sites, where just about everyting about the game can be found:

External links - international


External links - dutch / nederlands


Applet
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 download applet play online a word on notation
You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.

Java applet © Ed van Zon



Congo

Applet
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Congo, invented by a seven year old in 1982, in little more than an hour, went on to become the second most popular Chess variant at the games club 'Fanatic' at Twente University, the Netherlands.

Congo takes pride of place on the cover of David Pritchard's 'The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants' (G&P Publications, P.O. Box 20, Godalming, Surrey GU8 4YP, UK. - ISBN 0-9524142-0-1).

You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.

Rules
The applet shows the board with the pieces in initial position. There are two players, black and white. White begins. Players move - and must move - in turn.

Object
  • The object of Congo is to capture the opponent's Lion. There's no rule against a Lion moving into check: it is simply captured. Since players must move on their turn, this effectively makes stalemate a win.

The Lions
  • The Lion is the proverbial King of this jungle. With one exception he may not leave his 3x3 castle. Inside he moves and captures as the King in Chess.
  • The mutual check rule: If Lions face one another along an open file or diagonal, both are in check and the player whose turn it is can capture his opponent's Lion and win. This is the exception mentioned above.

The river
With the exception of the crocodile, that cannot drown, and the Lion, that cannot enter the river, pieces are subject to the following:
  • A piece that ends its move in the river must leave it next turn or drown.
    A drowned piece is removed at the end of the turn. The piece may not have moved at all, for instance because its Lion had to move out of check (!), or may have moved within the river, or even, in the Monkey's case, out of and back into the river. In the latter cases any captures made are legal.

Example endgame
Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view the Congo Player! In the diagram the white Lion cannot move to the d-file because it will be captured. Anticipating that the zebra moves as the knight in Chess, white must NOT move b2-c4+, because the black Lion would move to the c-file, pinning it in the river where it would drown, and thus drawing the game. As it is, the game is won: in Congo a Lion and any piece, including a pawn, always wins against a bare Lion.

Pieces
moving
  • The Zebra moves as the Knight in Chess.
  • The Elephant moves one or two squares along ranks and files.
    The two-square move is a jump to the target-square, unaffected by intervening pieces of either color.
In the diagram the elephant can capture the black pawn.
Two elephants leapfrogging a file, are known as the elephant roll.

moving
  • The Giraffe may move and capture jumping to the second square along ranks, files and diagonals. The move is not affected by intervening pieces of either color. In addition the giraffe may move, but not capture, using the king's move in Chess.
    The circled squares are the ones onto which the giraffe may move, but not capture.

moving
  • The Crocodile moves as the king in Chess. When on land it also controls the file towards the river, including the river square.

moving
  • Inside the river the crocodile controls the whole length of it.
    Crocodiles cannot drown.

moving
  • The Monkey moves like the King in Chess and captures a piece by jumping over it along rank, file or diagonal to the square immediately beyond, which must be vacant for the capture to take place.
    A monkey may - but is not obliged to - make multiple captures in the same turn. During a multiple capture it may visit a square, including river squares, more than once, but it may not jump the same piece more than once.
    The drowning rule only applies if it ends its move in the river.
    The monkey jumping the Lion terminates both the move and the game, as illustrated in the diagram.

movingPawns
Congo pawns are very logical in their forward movement, less so in their abilities of retreat. Yet, here it is:
  • A Pawn moves and captures one square straight or diagonally forward. Across the river it may retreat one or two squares straight backward, but it may neither capture nor jump a piece in doing so.
  • A pawn promotes to Superpawn upon reaching the back rank. A superpawn has the additional power to move & capture one square sideways. It may now also retreat in a diagonal direction, and this ability no longer depends on its position with regard to the river.

External links


Congo © Demian Freeling
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Chess960
Chess960, or Fischer Random Chess. is a chess variant invented by the late former world champion Bobby Fischer. He modified the rules of Shuffle Chess in such a way that castling possibilities exist for all starting positions.
It was originally announced on June 19, 1996, in Buenos Aires. Fischer's goal was to create a chess variant in which chess creativity and talent would be more important than memorization and analysis of opening moves. The initial position is set up subject to certain rules, resulting in 960 possible initial positions, hence the name 'Chess960'.

Rules
Chess960 differs from Chess only inasfar the initial set up of the pieces is concerned. After that, the game is played in the same way as regular Chess. In particular, pieces and pawns have their normal moves, and each player's objective is to checkmate the opponent's king.

The starting position for Chess960 must meet certain rules. White pawns are placed on the second rank as in regular chess. All remaining white pieces are placed randomly on the first rank, with the following restrictions:
  • The king is placed somewhere between the rooks.
  • The bishops are placed on opposite-colored squares.
  • The black pieces mirror the white pieces (as in Chess).

Note that the king cannot occupy a cornersquare because there would be no room for a rook. The starting position can be generated before the game by for instance a computer program or dice.

Rules for castling
Chess960 allows each player to castle once per game.
Castling however differs substantially from regular Chess, yet the outcome is forced into a Chess-like configuration, with the king on c1 (c8) and the rook on d1 (d8) in 'C-castling', notated as O-O-O, and the king on g1 (g8) and the rook on f1 (f8) in 'G-castling', notated as O-O.
It is recommended that a player state "I am about to castle" before castling, to eliminate potential misunderstanding.

Castling may only occur under the following conditions.
  • The king and the castling rook may not have moved before.
  • The king may not be in, move through, or end up in check, that is: no square between the king's initial- and destination-square (inclusive) may be under attack.
  • All squares between the king's initial- and destination-square (inclusive), and all squares between the rook's initial- and destination-square (inclusive), must be vacant except for the king and castling rook.

In consequence of these unusual castling rules, in some starting positions, the king or rook (but not both) may not move during castling.

Note: with due reference to "Why do great players make poor inventors?", in the Pit the Chess960 applet has three 'modes', depending on the presence, and if, nature, of castling:
  • Mode 1: CG-castling.
    This is the form of castling Bobby Fischer advocated. It is called CG-castling because the king ends up either on the C-file or on the G-file.
  • Mode 2: modified traditional castling.
    This is the form of castling John Kipling Lewis advocates in the Chess variant pages. Inasfar as castling is logical in a shuffle variant, we consider this an improvement. In his own words: "It seems that simplification of the castling rules for Chess960 could help promote the game for beginners, streamline the rules and reconnect the game with it's historical roots".
  • Mode 3: no castling.
    Castling is justified in Chess because there's a persistent problem concerning rook-development, based on the initial position (concerning the king's safety, the first question that poses itself is: "how safe exactly should a king be in a chess game?"). In Chess960 the problem may exist in certain types of initial positions, but only in a minority of cases. Even then it poses no different a problem than do lots of other positions - no Chess player has a smooth game every game.
    Castling is a weird move to begin with, but especially in shuffle chess. However, we do support the other '960' rules. Bishops should be on different colored squares, and putting the king in between the rooks is a nice way to implicitly bar the king from the corner squares, where he would appear less than courageous at the start of the battle.

Example games
Note: All castling is 'CG-castling'

Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view the Chess Player!
 download applet play online a word on notation

Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view the Chess Player!
Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view the Chess Player!


External links

Chess960 © Robert James Fischer
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Croda
Croda was invented by the Croation mathematics professor and Draughts master Ljuban Dediç in order to create a draughts game with a smaller margin of draws. He did so by basically replacing the sideways move of a man in Turkish Draughts, by a diagonally forward move. It's easy to argue the game's superiority to Draughts: anyone but a draughts player can see that.
I remember two successive Draughts worldchampionship matches between Dutch grandmasters Harm Wiersma and the late Jannes van der Wal, in which only one decision was reached in forty games. In both cases, Ton Sijbrands, who covered the games for one of the daily papers, ran out of adjectives to describe the draws - thrilling draws, exciting draws, blood-curdling draws, abysmal dangers allowing only the narrowest of escapes, etc. It became really funny when a journalist put all headers together on the backpage.
It showed what everyone except draughts players can see: top level Draughts is as dead as the dodo in match play.

Croda in turn sparked off Dameo.

Applet
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You can download this MindSports applet, which doubles as a Dameo applet and is tailored to save games played in the Pit or the ArenA, offline.

Rules
The rules mention men and kings. A king is a promoted man. If the difference doesn't matter, they may also mention pieces, for instance 'the number of pieces on the board'.
The applet shows the board and the pieces in initial position. There are two players, black and white. White begins. Players move, and must move, in turn.

Object
If a player has no legal move he loses the game. This may come about either by being eliminated or being blocked completely.

movingCapture has precedence over a non-capturing move. If the player to move has no capture to make, he must move a man or a king.

Moving a piece - promotion
A man moves one square forward, either straight or diagonally. The diagonal move of a man is the only diagonal move in the game. All other moves, whether capturing or non-capturing, are orthogonal only.
If a man ends its move on the opponent's backrank, it promotes to king. This marks the end of the move.

A king moves any number of unobstructed squares horizontally or vertically, like the rook in Chess. Kings may not move diagonally.
An important detail concerning promotion and capture has to be addressed. Be it first established that completing a capture always has priority! Since men capture by jumping opponent's pieces forward, sideways and backward, a situation may arise where a man, in the course of a capture, visits the backrank without ending its move on it.
In that situation, the man is not promoted.

All capture is orthogonal only. Capture is compulsory and has precedence over a non-capturing move. Majority capture precedes over a capture of less pieces.
  • If a man is on a particular rank or file, and next to it is a square occupied by an opponent's piece, then the man captures the piece by jumping over it to the square immediately beyond, which must be vacant for the capture to take place.
    If the man can proceed in a similar way in another direction, except a 180 degrees turn, it must do so, taking care beforehand to establish the route that brings the maximum number of captured pieces. A captured king counts as one piece.
    If there's more than one way to meet this criterion, the player is free to choose.
  • A king looks along open ranks or files. If it sees, at any distance, an opponent's piece and immediately beyond one or more subsequent vacant squares, it captures by jumping the piece and landing on one of these squares.
    A king is subject to the same rules regarding majority capture: if it can proceed in a similar way in another direction, except a 180 degrees turn, it must do so, taking care beforehand to establish the route that brings maximum number of captured pieces. A captured king counts as one piece.
    If there are more than one way to meet this criterion, the player is free to choose.
Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view the Dameo Player! The expression '...it captures by jumping the piece and landing on one of these squares' does not necessarily imply choice. In fact, during the capture the king will usually have no choice because it is subject to majority capture. After jumping the last piece it may have choice where to land.
  • After - and only after - a multiple capture has taken its complete course, the captured pieces are removed from play.
  • In the course of a multiple capture a piece may visit the same square more than once, but it may not capture the same piece more than once.
Both rules are illustrated simultaneously in the coup turc: The final capture of the king stops at e3 because the man on d3 has already been captured, while the man on e2 is still covered by the already captured man on e1!

  • The game may end in a draw by 3-fold or mutual agreement.

Croda © Ljuban Dedic
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Pilare

No applet
Pilare initial positionPilare is a board game designed by Basque game author Jorge Gómez Arrausi. It won a proxime accessit award in the games creation contest of Tona, 2005.
Arrausi is arguably the best human Lines of Action (LOA) player of the world. He lives in Basuri near Bilbao. Pilare is a 'stacking game', which resembles mancala games since pieces are sown in a mancala-like manner. On the other hand, it has a certain affinity with other elimination games that employ stacks or columns, like Focus and Explocus. And as in these games, one must embark on a journey littered with unsettling tactics before the contours of strategy emerge. In Pilare its all about the creation and defense of large columns that can smear their content over a large area, diminishing the opponent beyond recovery. Easier said than done of course.

Rules
The game is played on a 6x6 or 8x8 board. There are two players, Red and Black. Each player has ten (fourteen) men in his color. There are an additional 36 (64) neutral black men in the game. The diagram shows the 6x6 board with the pieces in the initial position.


Object
The object of Pilare is to leave the opponent without legal moves.

Mechanics
Starting from the Red player, each player picks up any whole stack of men with his color on top (a single man is considered to be a stack too).

After picking up the stack, the player places its bottom man on a square that is horizontally or vertically adjacent to the source square. If the square is not empty then the new man is placed on top of the square's stack. Then the player takes the next man from the bottom of the stack and places it on a square that is horizontally or vertically adjacent to the previous square. The player continues distributing the stack, until all its checkers are placed on the board. After placing each checker the player can change direction but it is forbidden to make a 180 degrees turn.

Here's a 'before and after' example that should be self explanatory:
Pilare movePilare result

External links

Pilare © Jorge Gómez Arrausi



Focus
Focus was invented by Sid Sackson.

focusRules
Focus is played on a square board with some of the corners removed. Here is the board with the pieces in the initial position. Players move, and must move, in turn. White moves first.

In Focus stacks of men emerge in any combination of colors. A stack is owned by the player who's color is on top.
  • On his turn a player moves a man or a stack of men horizontally or vertically, based on the number of pieces to be moved (e.g. one piece moves 1 square and a three-piece stack moves 3 squares). Stacks may be split in this process: a player may choose for instance to move only the top man (1 square) or the top two men (2 squares) of a higher stack.

  • When a stack grows over five pieces tall, the remaining men are removed from the bottom of the stack. Men of a player's own color become 'reserves' to be re-entered into the game at a later time, while pieces of the opponent's color are captured.
  • Instead of moving a piece, a player may choose to enter one of his reserves on any square of the board, whether vacant, or occupied by a piece of either color.


Object
A player wins when his opponent cannot move a piece, nor enter a reserve on the board.

Note: Focus gave rise to Crossfire.

Applet
Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view this Focus Game.
 download applet play online a word on notation
You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.


External links

Focus © Hasbro
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Explocus
Explocus was invented by dutch game designer Martin Medema.

explocusHybrids usually make bad games, like Lasca mixing checkers with the 'column capture' mechanism. Occasionally though something new and original emerges, like João Pedro Neto's Gonnect, using the rules of Go for a different objective, or indeed Martin Medema's 'Explocus'.
As it happens, I was present at its first presentation at the games club Fanatic at the University of Twente, and I'd never seen a game with such capricious tactics and such dramatic turns of the proverbial tables.
As it turned out, I'd even played a minor role in it. At the time I had a subscription to the english 'Games' magazine and I had even ordered all back issues. In one of them a game called 'explosion' was described.
Martin had put the mechanism it was based on - towers of men 'exploding' the moment their height reached or surpassed the number of neighboring squares - to a far better use by employing the 'Focus' rules of movement.
A very lucky merger resulting in a most unusual game.

Rules
  • The diagram shows the board with the pieces in the initial position. Players move, and must move, in turn. White begins.
  • A piece may be a single man or a column of like color of two or three men high. 'Mixed' columns are not possible in Explocus.
  • On his turn a player must move one of his pieces, which may be a single man, or a whole column, or part of a column, that is the top man or the top two men.
    The move must be in a straight (i.e. orthogonal) direction, and exactly as far as the moving piece is high, that is: 1 square if a single man moves, 2 squares for a column of two and 3 squares for a column of three.
    The target square may be vacant or occupied by either player. If occupied by an opponent, the man or column present there will immediately change color.
    Note: In actual over-the-board play this was rather cumbersome. Here the applet comes to the rescue.
  • Definition:
    The 'capacity' of a square equals the number of (orthogonally) adjacent squares it has, that is: 4 in the center, 3 on the sides and 2 in the corners.
  • If a piece landing on its target square causes this square to reach or surpass its capacity, the column concerned 'explodes', that is: its men are distributed, one on every adjacent square, while any remaining men stay on the target square. Any opponent's pieces thus covered, again immediately change color.
  • Chain reactions:
    If men exploding onto adjacent squares in turn cause these squares to reach or surpass their capacity, the columns concerned explode likewise, which may lead to an extended chain reaction that eventually comes to an end. If a player is faced with more than one exploding square, he is free to choose the order in which to execute the explosions.

Object
  • The object is, not surprisingly, to eliminate all the opponent's pieces.
Note: In a sense, Explocus is the very opposite of Havannah: there's a simple evaluation function that with the current clockspeed outplays humans almost invariably. Ed has implemeted it on the Zillions game machine, as well as its hexagonal version Zillions Hexplocus.

Applet
Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view the Focus Player!
 download applet play online a word on notation
You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.


Explocus © Martin Medema
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Othello
More than a century ago a game called 'Reversi' appeared in England. There's a dispute about it's precise origin: on the one hand a mr. Lewis Waterman claimed to be the inventor, on the other a John W. Mollet Esq. contested this claim on the grounds that Reversi was merely an adaption of his game 'Annexation'. Will the truth ever emerge? Who knows, and, for that matter, who cares?
Certainly not the Japanese Tsukuda Company who trademarked the name Othello for an ever so slight variation of the game more than a century later and marketed it with great success. Currently it rests with Anjar Co. Int. Licensing.

Othello ® Anjar Co. - Int. Licensing
Java applet © Ed van Zon

Caroline Sandberg-Yukiko Tatsumi (WK finale 2007, 0-1)
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Reversi or Othello mode
The applet shows the initial position in Othello mode. In Reversi mode play starts on an empty board and the players first take turns to fill up the 4 central squares. Disregarding rotations and reflections, there are two possible outcomes to start the actual game from. The rules from that point on are the same as in Othello mode.

You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.

Rules
  • The players share 64 bi-colored stones - black one side, white the other.
  • Black starts. Players must move on their turn, unless they cannot legally move. In that case the turn goes back to the opponent. If neither can move legally, the game ends.
  • A move must be a 'custodian capture': the stone played must trap at least one opponent's stone or unbroken row of stones, between itself and an already present stone of like color. It can do so in up to eight straight and diagonal directions simultaneously. Captured stones are reversed immediately

Object
  • The game ends by one player's resignation or if both must pass on successive turns. The winner is now the player with the most territory, that is: the highest number of stones on the board.

Strategy
The starting point of all reasoning is obviously the fact that there are four corners where a man cannot be captured and becomes an anchor to capture along the edges. The fact that corners are strong makes the adjacent cells weak, so these should be avoided ...
And so on: the basic reasoning is well known, and 'minimal capture' - capturing as little as possible during the earlier stages, to reduce the opponent's options - also seems to apply. The finer points of strategy are admittedly no less of a mystery to me than those of its hexagonal version MacBeth.

External links - international

External links - dutch / nederlands

External links - computer

wofWorld Othello Fedederation
novDutch Othello Association



Gonnect

Applet
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 download applet play online a word on notation
Gonnect is a connection game invented by João Pedro Neto in 2000, that is sometimes rather accurately described as 'a love child of Go and Hex'. It basically links the rules of Go to a different object: to estabish aan 'orthogonal' connection between opposite sides of the board, left-right or bottom-up as the case may be.

You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.


Rules
The rules of Go apply, except:

  • Players may not pass.
  • The pie rule: White may choose as his first move to exchange places with Black.
    The MindSports applet is not suited to handle the pie rule - so unless players are willing to make a slight detour, black moves first.
    The detour is this: If two players decide to use a pie, black moves first too. If white decides to accept it as his first move, he declines the challenge (the usual way: by choosing 'resign' in the command menu) and starts a new game with the same move.
  • Note: suicide moves are illegal (as in Go).
Object
  • A player wins if he is first to create a chain of (orthogonally) connected stones between any two opposite board sides (left-right or bottom-up) or if his opponent has no valid move.

Notice that the "no pass" rule, together with the "no suicide" rule, implies that there are no safe uncapturable 'two-eyes' structures: sooner or later a player needs to fill them in order to keep moving.


External links

Gonnect © João Pedro Neto
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Lines of Action

Applet
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 download applet play online a word on notation
Lines of Action (LOA) is a connection game, albeit non-typical. Claude Soucie invented it around 1960. Sid Sackson (1969) described it in his first edition of 'A Gamut of Games'.

You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.


Rules
The game is played on a chess board. Some players, like us, prefer a monochromatic board. There are two players, White and Black. Each player has twelve men, shown in the initial position.

  • Black moves first, after which players alternate moves.
  • A player to move must move one of its pieces. A move takes place in a straight line (along files, ranks, or diagonals), exactly as many squares as there are pieces of either colour anywhere along the line of movement.
  • A player may jump over its own pieces, but not land on them.
  • A player may not jump over the opponent's pieces, but can capture them by landing on them.

Object
  • The goal of a player is to form one connected group with all of its pieces. The first player to do so is the winner. Connected pieces are on squares that are adjacent through the king's move in chess.
  • A single piece is a connected group.
  • If a move simultaneously creates a single connected unit for both players, it is a draw.
    There's some discussion regarding this rule. Claude Soucie sought to eliminate draws, but the draw rule is now most widely used.
  • A player who cannot legally move must pass.
  • 3-fold is a draw.


External links


LOA © Claude Soucie
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Breakthrough

No applet
Breakthrough initial positionBreakthrough is a two-player board game invented in 2000 by Dan Troyka. It has great simplicity and great strategical depth as its hallmarks.

The game should not be confused with Christian Freeling's earlier game of the same name.

The diagram shows the board with the pieces in the initial position.

Rules
The game is played on a 8x8 board (or indeed any rectangular board of sufficient size). There are two players, White and Black. Each player has 16 pieces in his color.


Object
The object of Breakthrough is to reach the opposite row with one of the player's pieces.
No draws are possible in Breakthrough.

Mechanics
  • White moves first, after which players alternate moves.
  • A piece can be moved one square straight or diagonally forward if the destination square is empty.
  • A piece can move into a square that is occupied by an opponent's piece if and only if that square is one step diagonally forward. The opponent's checker is removed and the player's checker replaces it.

Here's an xample of possible moves and captures:
Breakthrough moves

External links

Breakthrough © Dan Troyka



Pente
Five-in-a-row games are very old. In Japan they have been played on the 19x19 Go board for over a thousand years under the names Gobang and Gomoku. The rules were simple: players alternate to put a stone on a vacant point, and the first player to get an unbroken row of 5 stones, horizontally, vertically or diagonally, wins.
It has been proven that with the above 'free rules' the first player has a win.

In the year 1899 the Japanese players began to play more organized, so they changed the name for serious playing from Gomoku to Renju, five pearls, in a row. In Renju the first player is subject to a number of handicaps, to ensure balanced play. If you want to read more about Renju you are welcome to visit RenjuNet.

Pente, was introduced by Gary Gabrel from Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA at the end of the seventies and became very popular in the USA in the first half of eighties. The game adds an interesting twist to the general five-in-a-row idea: pairs of opponent's stones that are straight or diagonally adjacent can be captured in the 'custodian fashion', that is: by sandwiching them between two of one's own stones. The object is two-fold: either one creates a straight or diagonal line of 5, or one captures 5 pairs of stones.
It should be mentioned that the game of Pente strongly resembles the Japanese game of Ninuki-Renju, that had its own organization in Japan from 1923 till 1940, when combat progressed to a larger area.
In 1983 Gary Gabrel, then president of Pente Games, Inc. announced the sale of Pente to Parker Brothers Game Co.
The current copyright holders are Hasbro.com.

In 1984 Rollie Tesh, former Pente champion, suggested Keryo Pente, in which the capture of triplets is also allowed. This effectively prevents a well known defense in regular Pente: extending a threatened pair to make it a triplet. The alternative to a line of 5 is now 15 stones.

Pente served as the inspiration for Hexade.

Rules
The game starts on an empty board. Players take turns to put one stone. White begins.
captureObject
The game is won by the first player who:
  • creates a straight or diagonal line of 5 or
  • captures 10 (keryo: 15) stones.

Capture
Pairs of opponent's stones that are straight or diagonally adjacent can be captured in the 'custodian fashion', that is: by sandwiching them between two of one's own stones. As in othello, it is the act of sandwiching that brings the capture: black can make a double capture at A, white can play safely at B.
In keryo pente triplets can be captured likewise.

Applet
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 download applet play online a word on notation
You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.

The Pente applet can be set to pente, keryo-pente, renju and ninuke-renju mode.

External links

Pente © Hasbro.com
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Amazons

Applet
Sorry, you need a Java enabled browser to view the Amazons Player!
 download applet play online a word on notation
The Game of the Amazons was invented in 1988 by Walter Zamkauskas of Argentina. El Juego de las Amazonas (The Game of the Amazons) is a trademark of Ediciones de Mente.

You can download this MindSports applet, which is tailored to save games played in the Pit, offline.

Rules
The game is played on a 10x10 board. Some players, like us, prefer a monochromatic board. There are two players, White and Black. Each player has four amazons, shown in the initial position. A supply of markers (checkers, poker chips, etc.) is required in over the board play. Here the applet takes care of that.

White moves first, after which players alternate moves. Each move consists of two parts:
  • Moving a friendly amazon as a queen moves in chess: it may not cross over or land on an occupied square or a 'block'. Blocks result from the second part:
  • Once arrived on the target square, the amazon fires an 'arrow' that, again, flies like a queen in chess and under the very same conditions: it may not cross over or land on an occupied square or a 'block'. However, on the square where it lands, which is the moving player's call, a new block emerges.
  • Both parts are compulsory.

The last player to be able to make a move wins. Draws are impossible.

External links

Amazons © Ediciones de Mente
Java applet © Ed van Zon



Ordo

No applet
Ordo initial positionOrdo is a very 'organic' game with an original way of movement and capture, invented by Dieter Stein in 2009. The inventor proceeded with a faster but not necessarily better version called Ordo-X.

The diagram shows the board with the pieces in the initial position.

Rules
The game is played on a 10x8 board. There are two players, White and Black. Each player has twenty men in his color.


Object
The object of Ordo game is to reach the opposite row with one of the player's men. A player can also win a game by capturing all opponent's men or by breaking the group of opponent's men in such a way that the opponent is unable to reconnect his group on his next move. White moves first, after which players alternate moves.

During the game, after a player's move, all pieces of that player must be connected (orthogonally or diagonally ) in one single group. If the group of player's men is disconnected as a result of capture move made by the opponent, the player must make such a move that reconnects his group again. If no such move is possible, the player loses the game!
There are two kinds of moves: single checker moves and ordo moves.
  • A single man can move straight forward, diagonally forward or sideways in a straight line any number of empty squares. It may end the move in an empty square or a square occupied by an opponent's man, which is then captured and removed from the board. The only case when a single man can move backward or diagonally backward is when the group of player's checkers is disconnected and he needs to reconnect it. Below is an example of all possible moves that can be made by the highlighted man:
    Ordo moves
  • The ordo move: 2 or more men that are connected in a straight horizontal or vertical line (an ordo), can move side by side any number of empty squares They may only move orthogonally (not diagonally) forward (if they are horizontally aligned) or sideways (if they are vertically aligned). They may not capture. The only case when an ordo can move backward is when the group of player's men is disconnected and he needs to reconnect. The diagram shows two examples of possible ordo moves (there are many other possible ordo moves possible in the diagram):
    Ordo moves

Draws are impossible in Ordo.

External links

Ordo © Dieter Stein



Fanorona

No applet
Fanorona initial positionFanorona is the national game of Madagascar and has three standard versions: Fanoron-Telo, Fanoron-Dimyand, and Fanoron-Tsivy, the difference being the size of board. Fanoron-Telo is played on a 3×3 board and the difficulty of this game can be compared to the game of tic-tac-toe. Fanoron-Dimyand is played on a 5×5 board and Fanoron-Tsivy is played on a 9×5 board. We will call Fanoron-Tsivy from now on Fanorona since it is the widest-known variant.

There's quite another way in which the game is unique: it is the mother of all forms of contact checkers, or karate checkers if you like, which to my knowledge amounts to precisely one other game, namely Bushka.

I have no idea why capturing a man by leapfrogging it has given rise to a whole class of games throughout the cultures of the world, whereas the at least as logical hitting it karatewise has only blossomed in Madagascar, at least till Bushka's arrival.

Rules
Fanorona is played on a board with a grid of 5x9 points connected with lines indicating valid movements as in the diagram.
There are two players: White and Red. Initially 22 pieces of each color are placed on the board as shown.


Object
The object of Fanorona is to capture all opponent's men.
Players move in turn, starting with White. There are two kind of moves: non-capturing (called paika) and capturing moves:
  • A paika move consists of moving one piece to an adjacent point along any drawn line.
  • A capturing move results in removing one or more pieces of the opponent. A capturing move is mandatory: if a player on his turn can capture some pieces of the opponent then he is obliged to do so.

There are two kind of capturing moves: by approach or by withdrawal.
  • By approach - if a player moves one of his pieces along a line to an adjacent point and the next point on the same line is occupied by an opponent piece then the opponent piece is captured and all successive opponent pieces that lie in an unbroken row behind it on the same line are captured as well.
  • By withdrawal - if a player moves one of his pieces along a line to an adjacent point and the previous point on the same line is occupied by an opponent piece then the opponent piece is captured and all successive opponent pieces that lie in an unbroken row behind it on the same line are captured as well.
  • If a player makes an approach that is a withdrawal at the same time, he has to choose one or the other.
  • The capturing piece is allowed (but is not obliged) to continue making successive captures, removing captured pieces after each single step. It can stop at each step, but making a step implies making the capture. Multiple capture is faced with the following restrictions:
    • A capturing piece is not allowed to arrive at the same point twice during the same turn.
    • It is not allowed to make two successive capturing steps in the same direction (the possibility can arise if an approach can be made following a withdrawal on the same line).

Draws are possible in Fanorona.

Example
Fanorona example
The white man makes a multiple capture in four steps
Fanorona example
Leading to this result
  • Step 1 captures the man on D5 by approach.
  • Step 2 captures the man on E4 by withdrawal. Now the capturing stone may not proceed with CB4 to capture the man on A4, because it would be a capture in the same direction the of the capture by withdrawal on the previous step.
  • Step 3 is a simultaneously an approach and withdrawal, so white must choose: he chooses to capture by approach (C1 and C2).
  • Step 4 captures A5 by approach. Now no further captures are possible, because C4 has been visited already, and C5 is occupied.
    Had white chosen to capture C5 on his third step (and not C1 and C2), then C5 would have been vacant, and a fifth and sixth step, B4-C5-D5, would have been possible, capturing A3 by withdrawal and E5 by approach. This would have captured one man more, but not have prevented the final outcome: white loses.

External links



Morabaraba

No applet
Morabaraba initial positionMorabaraba is based on the traditional game Nine Men's Morris. There are two material differences: the board has four additional diagonals and each player has twelve men (or 'cows', but we'll leave flying cows to the movie Twister) instead of nine.

Rules
Morabaraba is played on a special board with 24 cells connected with lines indicating valid movements as in the diagram.
There are two players: White and Red. White moves first after which player's alternately move.
The board is initially empty and each player has 12 men of his color 'in hand'. Sometimes only eleven men are used, to prevent draws caused by a full board in gridlock. We use twelve because the chances of such a gridlock are remote.


Object
The object of Morabaraba is to capture at least 10 opponent's men or to block all opponent's men completely.

There are three stages in the game:
  • Placing the men.
  • Moving the men.
  • Flying the men.

Placing the men:
  • Each turn consist of placing a man on a vacant cell.
  • The aim is to create a 'mill': a row three men on any line drawn on the board. If a player forms a mill, he may remove (capture) one of the opponent's men from the board. However, a man in a mill may not be removed unless all of the opponent's men are in mills, in which case any man may be removed.
  • A single placement may create more than one mill, but only one man may be removed.

Moving the men:
  • After all the men have been placed, each turn consists of moving a cow to a vacant adjacent cell, provided there is one. If no captures were made in the placement stage, the board is full and the game ends in a draw.
  • As before, completing a mill allows a player to remove one of the opponent's men. Again, this must be a man which is not in a mill, unless all of the opponent's men are in mills, in which case any man may be removed.
  • A mill may be broken and reformed repeatedly by moving a man back and forth. Each time the mill is reformed, one of the opponent's men may be captured. However, if the same move breaks and forms a mill, the man may not be moved back on the player's next turn.
    Of course, by breaking the mill the player exposes the men which were in a mill to the risk of being captured by the opponent on his or her next turn.

Flying the men:
  • If a player has only three men remaining, desperate measures are called for. This player's men are allowed to 'fly' to any vacant cell, not just adjacent ones.
  • Of course, if one player is down to three men and the other player still has more than three, only the player with three men is allowed to fly.

End of the game:
  • A player wins if his opponent cannot move, or is down to two men.
  • If both players are down to three men and neither player captures within ten moves, the game is a draw.

Example
Morabaraba exampleHere's an example of a 'double mill' where white could capture every time the white man moves. This is allowed in Nine Men's Morris (though diagonals don't count there) but not in Morabaraba. Each time it moves, White should insert a different move before moving it back again. Of course this need not to prevent him from capturing all the same: after GD1 he may proceed with G41, closing the same mill with a different man.

External links



Nine Men's Morris

No applet
Nine Men's Morris initial positionNine Men's Morris is an abstract strategy board game for two players that emerged from the Roman Empire and persisted throughout Europe and beyond. An oldie if there ever was one.

Rules
Nine Men's Morris is played on a special board with 24 cells connected with lines indicating valid movements as in the diagram.
There are two players: White and Black. White moves first after which player's alternately move.
The board is initially empty and each player has 9 men of his color 'in hand'.


Object
The object of Nine Men's Morris is to capture at least 7 opponent's men or to block all opponent's men completely.

There are three stages in the game:
  • Placing the men.
  • Moving the men.
  • Flying the men.

Placing the men:
  • Each turn consist of placing a man on a vacant cell.
  • The aim is to create a 'mill': a row three men on any line drawn on the board. If a player forms a mill, he may remove (capture) one of the opponent's men from the board. However, a man in a mill may not be removed unless all of the opponent's men are in mills, in which case any man may be removed.
  • A single placement may create more than one mill, but only one man may be removed.

Moving the men:
  • After all the men have been placed, each turn consists of moving a cow to a vacant adjacent cell.
  • As before, completing a mill allows a player to remove one of the opponent's men. Again, this must be a man which is not in a mill, unless all of the opponent's men are in mills, in which case any man may be removed.
  • A mill may be broken and reformed repeatedly by moving a man back and forth. Each time the mill is reformed, one of the opponent's men may be captured. If the same move breaks and forms a mill, the man may be moved back and forth, creating a mill every time.
    Of course, by breaking the mill the player exposes the men which were in a mill to the risk of being captured by the opponent on his or her next turn.

Flying the men:
  • If a player has only three men remaining, desperate measures are called for. This player's men are allowed to 'fly' to any vacant cell, not just adjacent ones.
  • Of course, if one player is down to three men and the other player still has more than three, only the player with three men is allowed to fly.

End of the game:
  • A player wins if his opponent cannot move, or is down to two men.
  • If both players are down to three men and neither player captures within ten moves, the game is a draw.

Example
Nine Men's Morris exampleHere's an example of a 'double mill' where white can capture every time the white man moves. This is allowed in Nine Men's Morris but not in Morabaraba. Each time it moves White may capture an opponent's man. Oh joy.

External links

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