Bao : Expert Level 1/3

The beginning

Photo 1
The top two rows belong to opponent player. You own the bottom two rows. The line of centre indicates the zone of contact between both territories. In photo 2 the numbers represents the number of seeds in each hole in the starting position.
Photo 2
First stage
In order to capture seeds from the opponent you must satisfy three conditions:
  • there must be one or more seeds in your own hole in the front row
  • there must be one or more seeds in the opposing hole in his front row
  • you put one seed from your stock into the appropriate hole in your front row
photo 3
Photo 3 shows a situation in which you can capture. You can capture by taking a seed from your stock and placing it into the hole with 7 seeds. Now this hole contains 8 seeds. Take the seed from the  opposing hole. Now you have captured that seed. In Chess or Checkers the opposing pieces are removed from play; in Bao the captured pieces (seeds) are brought back into play immediately. It is important to know that you have to capture if there is a possibility to do so.

The capture that the player executed was the only possible one. Although he had other holes with seeds, none of them had seeds in the opposite holes.

Put the captured seed in the extreme left or right hole of your front row. Captured seed(s) are always entered in these first holes, never in the second or another hole. Let us reconsider photo 3. If we enter the captured seed in the extreme left hole, the situation in photo 4 arises:
 photo 4
Because it landed in an empty hole, the move ends here. We have seen a situation in which we captured one seed and entered it in our front row.
Suppose we capture a hole with more than one seed, what will happen? Take all the seeds and  sow them in your front row, beginning in the left or right hole.

Sowing means that one seed is put in the hole that lies next to the hole that received the previous seed.
Always sow one seed a time and never skip a hole. See photo 5. Capture the 3 seeds opposing the hole with 7 seeds.
Photo 5
If you capture by placing a seed in the hole and taking the opposite seeds, then the situation in photo 6 will occur:
Photo 6
Sow the seeds you just captured (3 seeds), starting from the left side. The result is photo 7:
Photo 7
The last seed falls in the third hole from the left. The move then ends, because the last seed fell in an empty hole. It is also possible to enter the seeds from the right side. In that case, we end up with the situation in photo 8. The last seed falls in the third hole from the right (which is the sixth from the left):
Photo 8
Until now you could choose whether to enter the seeds from the left or the right. But there are situations in which you cannot choose. You cannot choose if you capture seeds from the two holes on either end of the board. In that case, you must enter the captured seeds on the same side where you captured them.
Photo 9
If you capture by placing the seed from your stock in the hole with one seed, you capture 4 seeds. These four seeds have to be sown from the left; you are not allowed to sow them from the right. If you capture the 3 seeds opposing your two, you also must sow them beginning in hole one. If you capture the 5 seeds opposing your three, you must start sowing from hole eight. If you capture the 6 seeds opposing you four, you also must enter them starting from the right side. See page 2.

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