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Title: Abalone
Design:
Laurent Levi and Michel Lalet
Producer: Goliath
Number of players: 2 (or 3 with an expansion)

Abalone

(11K)

Components:
A plastic gameboard, 14 white and 14 black balls. There are extra sets of balls for sale, so you can play also with 3 players.

The goal: By tactically moving your own balls, you have to push 6 other balls off the board.

(6K)

the starting line-up

Movement: In turn the players make 1 movement. A movement consists of 1, 2 or 3 lined-up balls. These balls can move in a straigth line or can move sideways. So a single ball can move in 6 directions, a row in 2 directions straight or in 4 directions sideways.

(6K) (6K)

in a straigth line - sideways

Pushing: Whenever a row is moved in a straight line, it can push other balls. A row of 2 can push a single ball and a row of 3 can push 1 or 2 balls. You can only push if there is a free space behind the pushed balls. This space can be on-board or off-board. This last option is the key to this game. you have to push the balls off-board.

(6K) (7K)

pushing by black is not allowed - black pushing a-b not allowed / black pushing c-d allowed

The end: As soon as a player loses his 6th ball, he loses the game.


Valuation: A touch of genius. I cannot say it in other words. Such simple rules and absolutely brainteasing. Everybody can play it instantly. Especially the big designs on game fairs are fabulous. Absolute great !

Strategy: Because there are 6 directions, the situation is changing constantly. A row of 3 balls is very strong, but only in 2 directions. From the other 4 directions it is very vulnerable, even for rows of 2. So you have to play as a condensed group. But to win, you have to go to the edge of the board to push to other balls off. And as soon as you go to the edges, your position weakens.

Spelmagazijnby Ronald Hoekstra - 1999