Phalanx is one of my first games, invented when I still played at Fanaat every week. The question I had asked myself was "what if an organism would emerge as a single seed on a large plane, capable of growing, moving, splitting, while in the distance similar but hostile organisms were emerging"? Note that I thought in 'organic' terms already, back in 1980. And the rules emerged without a wrinkle. We played on a large hexagonal board with a triangular tesselation and the only problem was playing with five players, because of an initial set-up. A small problem but one that eventually led to the use of 19-cell modules for multi-player versions.

Multi-player from the onset
Indeed it was and in retrospect it was a mixed blessing because there is a HUGE difference between playing with two or playing with more. The multi-player games were full of treaties and treason, diplomacy and alliances, collusion and kingmaking, in short various forms of social interaction that don't agree with a two player game. But we indulged in it till Martin Medema's Atlantis came along. After that it was more or less disregarded, even by its inventor and the two-player version was actually never played at all till some four decades later.

Multi-action turns
In a reorganisation of mindsports some years ago, it landed as a two-player game in the Pit but it kept the feature of an initial position because we had always used one in the multi-player version. But I don't like it in a territory game and I almost trashed it, but then the idea of using a 3-piece or 5-piece pie rule saved it. Both options are available and it made me re-evaluate the game. Because, well, it has a non-trivial multi-action protocol.
I realised, recently, that till the seventies games had turns in which you made one move. The full extent of multiple actions in a turn were captures in Draughts and castling in Chess. But in 1976 a David Wells game called Guerilla was published, in which groups of pieces could grow, move, capture and split, all in the same turn. I knew the game and it may well have pushed me in the direction of multi-action protocols, but I don't remember having considered it during the invention of Phalanx because that was a very short process.
Later a well known poster at BGG pointed out that Conquest is a multi-action-turns game that is even two years older, a pure abstract like the ones in this site, but hidden under an ancient war theme.
What matters about it is that nowadays there are more and better inventors. Multi-action protocols are quite common in new games, not only in my work but throughout the field, and Phalanx stood at the very beginning of that development.

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