These eight games make up the core of Christian Freeling's work.
If abstract strategy games matter at all, then these do matter.

Grand Chess is a natural evolution of Chess towards completeness in terms of implied pieces. It seeks to add a new chapter to Chess.

In terms of combinations Dameo offers everything Draughts has to offer, but it is far more decisive. The differences in pace implied in linear movement also expand the range of standard tactics.
Dameo would not have existed without Croda by Ljuban Dedić.
Emergo is the essential column checkers game, and the closest any game may ever get to being 'poetry in motion'. It is also the only column checkers game that did not emerge as a 'columnification' of an existing game.
Emergo is a joint discovery of Christian Freeling and Ed van Zon.
Calling Sygo 'Go on Speed' is a metaphor, but not a bad one. Sygo has no cycles and Symple's move protocol with its embedded balancing mechanism requires no komi. It features capture and the drama associated with it, and due to the possibility of 'seki' it can end in a draw.
Symple's object merges territory and connection. Its move protocol features a dilemma between starting a new group or growing all existing ones. Its embedded balancing mechanism is highly sophisticated. Symple is a joint discovery of Christian Freeling and Benedikt Rosenau.
Storisende intricately merges the two most prominent goals in the realm of abstract strategy games, elimination and territory. It does so with uniform material and a simple unified behaviour. That inherently makes it a significant game. It's unique characteristic wasn't intended, but it emerged during play.

What goes around comes around
Shakala may be seen as The Glass Bead Game 2.0, with a wider range and greater adaptabiliy of strategies, and an extended array of tactical tools.
China Squares is the very cold twin of China Octangle, in which mandatory placement and the existence of a group penalty for every separate group of stones may force players to create new groups and collect the penalties that come with them.
In addition here are ten more games by Christian Freeling that live up to a place in the ArenA.

Yari Shogi is 'westernized Shogi'. It takes some of the most prevalent characteristics of the game, like forward orientation and piece promotion, to extremes and puts them in a logical framework based on the rook, the bishop, the knight and the Shogi pawn.
Where Yari Shogi is 'westernized Shogi', Dragonfly 'easternizes' Chess by introducing Shogi's treacherous paratroopers. The game is not wanting of complexity, so it features only the three basic pieces.
Since captured pawns do not return, the game has no endgame like Chess. With all pieces in play at all times, it eventually topples one side or the other.
Few games ever evolved successfully from one grid to another, and Draughts is probably no exception. Hexdame is a literal translation of Draughts to the hexgrid. The main difference between the games is that Hexdame knows no one-on-one opposition, resulting in similar tactics serving a different strategy. As a weapon it should be less drawish, but it is still far from being a match for Dameo.
Bushka is a checkers game based on 'contact capture' and fully exploits the possibilities of this strangely neglected method of capture that only survived in one traditional game called Fanorona. The basic framework is taken from Draughts, but Bushka also doubles as the cradle of Dameo's linear movement.
Io may be qualified as 'free Othello'. It uses the one-bound-one-free opening protocol to get to an initial position for the 'free placement' phase in which placement is obligatory, but capture is not.
A territory game based on growth, movement and capture. It emerged in 1980 as a multi-player game with multi-action turns, which was revolutionary in itself. It re-emerges now as an actual predecessor of Mu and Storisende.
Of all games that can end in a draw, Havannah must have the smallest margin. The game is not the implementation of one basic idea, but rather a lucky merger of three related winning structures, the interaction of which makes it feel like it is positioned somewhere between Go and Hex.
Starweb awards points to groups containing one or more of the board's 18 corners in a way that makes connecting them very advantageous. Having the most points wins and in case of an equal score the second player wins. Its extremely simple rules render a game of high strategy!
Scware is an inticate square connection game based on the Symple move protocol and its embedded balancing mechanism. A simple generic restriction rule solves the diagonal crosscut problem.
"Christian Freeling has invented a mancala that will make you want to forget all the previous ones you've played."
Wayne Schmittberger, editor of Games Magazine.

The same holds for Chess, Shogi, Draughts, Mike Zapawa's Constitutional Draughts, Frisian Draughts, Stapeldammen,
Go, Rosette, Hex, Mark Steere's Oust, Andrew Lannan's Scaffold, Kanare Kato's Meridians,
Luis Bolaños Mures' Ayu, Stigmergy (with Steven Metzger) and Lifeline (with Michael Amundsen).

"Chess is a sport, a violent sport."
Marcel Duchamp

Japanese Chess poses a major challenge to the western game as a sport weapon. Despite its respectable age there's nothing archaic about it. This in sharp contrast with the Chinese branch that failed to evolve and froze into Xiangqi.

"If you find a good move, look for a better one" (Shogi proverb).
A fair century of playing and analyzing have eventually exposed this great game as too blunt a weapon, at least in the international sports arena. Draughts in match play is as dead as the dodo. Like many physical sports, it needs an upgrade in material. This is somewhat hard to swallow for dedicated Draughts players.
If a king moves to either capture or offer itself for capture, it moves unobstructed like in International Draughts. Otherwise, it cannot move over a square where it would be captured by an opponent's king.
This is arguably the best solution ever to eliminate draw problem!
A game that relates to International Draughts like Armenian to Turkish. It introduces square capture in an otherwise 'diagonal' game in a topologically rather curious way, by going 'back to straight' using only the diagonal grid of the parent game.
Stapeldammen is a great column checkers game based on International Draughts. Like Emergo it has no promotion, but it has Draughts' initial position and direction of play. It simply accepts the consequences: a piece on the back rank is stuck and depends on forced backwards captures to get 'into the field' again.
Mark Steere's Oust is an elimination game that opens a realm of its own. It has simple and clear mechanics that serve its theme intuitively, yet result in a game the strategy of which may appear very counterintuitive. A beautiful organism with ways that aren't yet fully understood.
Kanare Kato's Meridians is an annihilation game that makes a very fundamental use of the 'Line of Sight' mechanism that started with Mike Zapawa's territory game Tumbleweed.
Lifeline was inspired by Meridians and Go, but generalises the capture condition: instead of tightly surrounding a group (Go) or depriving it frome line of sight contact (Meridians), it's necessary and sufficient to deprive it from any path of empty cells to any same coloured group.
Go is arguably the essential territory game. However, even Occam's Razor cannot prevent the complexities arising from cycles, "ko" being the most basic one. Go's rules appear simple and concise, but the devil is in the details. Yet Go has an almost universal appeal, and there is a broad concensus about all but the most eccentric positions.
Mark Berger's transposition of Go to the triple contacts of a hex grid is probably the best and most pure variant around. Due to a structurally lesser number of liberties the game uses the 'rosette', six like coloured stones around a small hex, as an additional safety mechanism. Groups containing a rosette live unconditionally.
Stigmergy is a territory game based on Lines of Sight and invented by Luis Bolaños Mures and Steven Metzger in 2021. It originated as a Tumbleweed variant.
Ayu is a game of unification invented by Luis Bolaños Mures in 2011. Luis also invented Yodd and Xodd, ingenious games on the same theme, but with very different mechanics.
Scaffold is a cousin of Scware that you can find above. Both have the same goal and both use a multi-action placement protocol. To solve the diagonal cross-cut problem, the inventor came up with a solution that is simple and brilliant at the same time.
Think about a placement and connection game on a diamond shaped hexgrid, and you'll end up with Hex. The Danish mathematician Piet Hein found that out, as did his American collegue John Forbes Nash. Hex is essential, simple and very deep. If one thing can be said against it, it would be that it requires a considerable insight in strategy before tactics can be appreciated.
Grand Chess, Dragonfly, Yari Shogi, Dameo, Hexdame, Bushka, Emergo, Storisende, Sygo, Io, Havannah, Starweb,
Scware, the Glass Bead Game and Shakala © MindSports
Symple © MindSports and Benedikt Rosenau
Hex was independently invented by Piet Hein and John Forbes Nash.
Rosette was invented in the seventies by Mark Berger aka Richard Kramberger.
Oust © Mark Steere - Ayu © Luis Bolaños Mures - Stigmergy © Luis Bolaños Mures and Steven Metzger
Constitutional Draughts © Mike Zapawa - Frisian Draughts, Stapeldammen © unknown
Scaffold © Andrew Lannan - Meridians © Kanare Kato - Lifeline © Michael Amundsen and Luis Bolaños Mures
All apps by Ed van Zon