Exploring other board games -- a challenge

Interesting way to package and market a variety of games


Random Gaps Pie Rule Go

Coming back to this idea, I think I described a pretty solid line-up here, especially as Tumbleweed continues to grow with the support of Go players.

What if we were to use this as a base and add other suggestions onto it?

Are there are any other games that we’d be interested in playing as part of such a tournament?

To order them by age:

  • (Modern) Shogi 16th C.
  • Amazons 1988
  • Chess960 / FR Chess 1996
  • Arimaa 2003
  • Tumbleweed 2020?
  • RG Pie Go 2021

Thue-Morse Go (2019) would also be interesting to include.

Perhaps the thing to do would be to remove shogi and place it in a “traditional games” section with international (Western) chess, xiangqi, and standard Go (or similar choices), and treat the remaining five as constituting a “modern games” section.

Let me also suggest no-castling chess (proposed by Kramnik in 2019, obviously not for the first time).

I’ll likely play as long as Arimaa is there, but here’s a potential (heavily biased) lineup just a for comparison. I basically chose the game in each category I subjectively think is best, and the categories are also the categories I think are best, so all in all it’s a very biased list.

  • Chess-likes: Shogi (Try Rule)
  • Go-likes: Go (NZD Rules)
  • Arimaa-likes: Arimaa
  • Static Connection Games: Havannah
  • Dynamic Connection Games: Lines of Action
  • Draughts-like: Dameo
  • Tumbleweed-like: Tumbleweed
1 Like

What is try-rule shogi?

Also, are there other Arimaalikes besides Arimaa itself?

Just a proposal to resolve king entering by giving the win to whoever gets their king to the square the opposing king started on first, instead of the impasse process with point counting. It has support from various pros, but is not official to my knowledge.

I don’t know of any other Arimaa-likes. Maybe abalone? Or Arimaa could be classified as a Race game.

1 Like

Directory of Alek’s (@AlekErickson) game videos on his channel.

  1. ACNOS
  1. Benediction
  1. Tumbleweed

Here’s another format idea for the cross-game championship.

  1. First month: four Go variants, one / week
  2. Second month: four chesslikes, one / week
  3. Third month: four other games, one / week


  1. Thue-Morse Go
  2. RGPR Go
  3. Tibetan Go
  4. Sunjang Baduk
  5. Shogi
  6. Chu shogi
  7. Xiangqi
  8. Jianggi
  9. Tumbleweed
  10. Amazons
  11. Backgammon
  12. (A) Mancala

And ofc we could be more or less strict on whether we want all the games included to be perfect-information on not.

I’ve had some fun before playing multiple games simultaneously (but between the same two people), such as chess+go or go+tumbleweed.

Combining multiple territorial games is especially nice, since you can combine the scores.

For instance, 13x13 go + hexhex8 TW (since they’re both 169 intersections). One can use chinese rules 0 komi for go, with a 2-stone pie, to make it as similar as possible to TW.

It would be even cooler to play such that you have to pick in which of the games to make each move, but that’s a big hassle to do online :stuck_out_tongue: Just playing two simultaneous normal games (on OGS and IGGC respectively) is much easier.


Yeonwoo playing it, with thanks to @S_Alexander for the video.

BGJ #15 (Autumn 1971), Odd Notes on Go, J. T. Fairbairn

Here is a useful hint from the famous 11th century classic, Tale of Genji, for Go players whose wives or girl friends don’t see eye to eye on spending so much time on Go. It is a game called Rango, played only by women in the Heian period, which involves balancing the greatest number of stones possible on one finger.

Last weekend I spent almost an entire day (from around 10:30am to 10pm with a break for lunch) playing Paths of Glory, a card driven wargame depicting the First World War. I wouldn’t bother posting in here since I think it’s a bit off topic, except that I found this article: Applying Go concepts to PoG.

This article analyzes Paths of Glory using key concepts from Go, including Sente, Gote, Katachi, Atsumi and Aji. These concepts give an elegant framework for seeing PoG and provide a better lense for seeing strategies than more familiar chess concepts like gambits, openings, defenses etc.

Unfortunately you need an account (free) to download any files from BGG, and anyway the diagrams are using some old software so it’s a bit hard to read if you’re not familiar with the game. So I re created them using the latest version of the Vassal module, and will quote some of the article.

In Go there are two basic kinds of Katachi ‘shape’: Sabaki Katachi ‘light shape’ and Omoi katachi ‘heavy, clumsy shape’. Naturally one goal in Go, just as in PoG, is to exert maximum influence with each play… In Figure 4 the Russian defense is very spread out and clumsy. Each point is vulnerable to attack since it is not well defended with just one army, and the AP [Allied Powers] player would need to spend many operations to activate armies to gather for an offensive. This is as example Omoi Katachi. Even though it seems like the Russians are defending a line, they actually are fairly vulnerable in this set-up because each area has only a relatively weak defense

Figure 5 shows a ‘lighter’ formation and is based on Pei v. Mecay (pbem championship 2002). Here (Summer 1915) the Russians are focused on counterattacking into Austria-Hungary, though this attack never developed. The Russian Sabaki formation combines good defensive capabilities with good offensive ones, and is a nice flexible formation. We note that there are 4 stacks of 3 Russian armies, making it easy to redeploy this considerable force with the play of one 4-ops card.

Figure 6 shows the Russian redeployment with one operation. Now the inferior German force in the north is under serious pressure, and the CP player will need to respond to this. Figure 7 shows the situation at the beginning of Winter 1916. The Russianshave created a serious threat though their Sente move, and the CP must play an OPS card to withdraw the threatened German army as their first impulse.

I’ve actually played this game several times before, but I am far from an expert, either in the history or in the strategy of playing this particular game. But even so this was really surprising to me, the position that the author describes as “heavy” is recognizable from my games, trying to protect your supply lines. The “sabaki” formation appears to leave a gap around Warsaw, where the Central Powers player could send German armies into Russia. But in fact that supposed weakness is probably hard to exploit, when analyzing the position closer.

The discussion of sente and gote in the article is also interesting but, I tend to feel that those are easier to apply to many games, since initiative is such a core concept in any games but especially two player games. Still, I still feel that this article is one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen trying to view another game through the lens of Go.

(By the way, bugcat if you would prefer this thread be for abstracts only, just let me know :joy: And I’ll make another thread for general discussion of various other games.)


By the way, bugcat if you would prefer this thread be for abstracts only, just let me know

Not at all – the more the merrier.


ninuki renju

Ninuki renju is similar to renju without swaps, but ninuki allows for the capturing of pairs of stones. In addition to making a five in a row as in renju, capturing five pairs of the opponent’s stones is another way to win the game. The game Pente is a simplification of ninuki renju.

Invented by Kubomatsu Katsukiyo.


It is quite an interesting problem to watch a game with which one is totally unfamiliar and try to guess what the rules are. The two astronomers took turns placing pieces of jebb (a type of rock - s) on a board which had been marked off into eleven segments, each having room for only one piece. A long period of thought preceded each move, although sometimes a player would put down his stone and pick up some others.

Later that day Yendred informed us that this was a very popular Punizlan board game called “Alak.” One side has white pieces and the other black. If a contiguous set of one color is surrounded (at both ends) by two pieces of the other color, then that player gets to capture all the pieces thus surrounded.


After the contact ended, Ffennell (one of the Earth scientists) took a pad of paper and drew a row of eleven squares on it. Then he collected pennies and nickels from everyone in the room.

“The game of Alak,” he said, “is basically just one-dimensional Go, a well-known board game here on Earth. Let’s try a few games!” I was too tired to stay on, but Lambert and Chan remained to play. The other two followed me out of the laboratory. Dawn was streaking the early Friday sky.

From the 1984 book Planiverse by A. K. Dewdney.


They’ve set up an indiegogo now that the Kickstarter goal was reached

So there we were on the “Big Island”, Ernest Brown and I, exploring the “Place of Refuge” --an ancient, sacred Polynesian site for conscientious objectors, when came upon a rough-hewn stone game board filled with black and white stones. If you saw the photo on the AGA’s web site last week, you may think we’re playing go, but it’s actually konane, a unique Hawaiian game that was already an old tradition when James Cook discovered the “Sandwich Islands” and wrote about it. The board (…) is more than 1000 years old. Konane is sometimes called “Hawaiian checkers”, but it also has something in common with Chinese checkers and peg jumping games.

– Roy Laird, writing in the AGA E-Journal 7 March 2005

The Wikipedia page elaborates that “before contact with Europeans, the game was played using small pieces of white coral and black lava”.

Apparently this silver general drop, from last year’s shogi Kisei match, was a myoshu that could only be uncovered by AI after 600 million playouts.

More about it here.


great find by @adam :

Ko Shogi


Looks tremendously complex… adding different characteristics to go stones :scream:

1 Like