Object of the game
Abalone is played on a hexagonal board. Each player has 14 marbles.The object of the game is to eject six of the opponent's marbles from the board. Players move in turn, black begins.

Moving your balls
At his turn a player may move 1, 2 or 3 of his balls in any of the six possible directions, provided there is an adjacent free space.
  • Not more than three balls of the same colour may be moved in a single manoeuvre.
  • A move may not be for more than one space at a time.
  • When moving 2 or 3 balls, they must all be moved into the same direction. 
Note: the original Abalone-rules allow moving the balls in two ways:
  • In-line: forwards or backwards on the same line where the balls lay.
  • Broadside: the balls move in a diagonal line.
Push your opponent
In order to push your opponent's balls, your balls must to be numerically superior to your opponent's balls.
  • 2 push 1
  • 3 push 2
  • 3 push 1
Opponent's balls may only be pushed "in-line", when in contact and then only provided there is a free space behind the marble(s) in the defensive position. A player is never obliged to push.

A ball is ejected when it's pushed off the board. The number of ejected balls are shown on both sides of the board. If you eject six of the opponent's balls, you win the game.

  • Keep the balls close to the centre of the board and force the opponent to move to the edges
  • Keep the balls close together for increased defense and attack, especially in a hexagon shape to be able to push or defend in any direction
  • Pushing the opponent off the board is not usually a good idea if it leads to weaknesses in the player’s geometry
Avoiding draws
The dynamics of the basic game may have one serious flaw: it seems that a good, conservative player can set up his or her marbles in a defensive wedge, and ward off all attacks indefinitely. An attacker may try to outflank this wedge, or lure it into traps, but such advances are often more dangerous to the attacker than the defender. Thus, from the starting position, it takes little skill and no imagination to avoid losing, and nothing in the rules prevents games from being interminable.

Because it is boring for games to be drawn out indefinitely, serious Abalone players tacitly agree to play aggressively. A player who forms a defensive wedge and makes no attempt to attack is therefore likely to be a novice who might lose anyway. Nevertheless, the possibility of any competent player bringing the game to a standstill, and successfully avoiding losing to even a championship-calibre player, remains troubling.

There are several possible solutions to this conundrum. First, in tournaments, a judge may penalize a player for playing defensively. This solution is somewhat unsatisfactory, given that a judge may not always be present, and that "defensive play" is a subjective notion.

Second, several variations of the rules of play have been developed for the same board and balls, None of the variations has the same appealing simplicity of the original.

The third, and perhaps best, alternative starting positions have been designed to make the formation of stalemate wedges less likely. Experiments are still underway to find an opening position, which neither devolves into a draw nor gives too great an advantage to the first player. One popular attempt is the Marguerite (daisy) positions, another versions of which are displayed above in the diaporama.
    Article plus récent Article plus ancien Accueil