Tips On Playing


This page gives a few helpful tips on how to choose what moves to make. It isn't the whole story by any means, but it should be enough to get you started.

Look Behind When You Swap

Every time you swap, you leave a new opposing piece behind you. Be aware of how useful that connection may be to your opponent. Especially try to avoid connecting your opponent to one of the four sides of the playing field.

Territory Is Strength

Each side starts with 18 starting-sized pieces. Most moves will involve a split and a swap into a larger piece, with a consequent gain of territory. Each move you make that doesn't gain territory, probably means that you're falling behind. Consider moves that gain territory before moves that don't.

The question of when to make a move that sacrifices territory is a complex one. Quantity is only one measure of the strength of your position. But, other things being equal, if the opponent gets more than a couple of starting pieces ahead of you in territory, play could get difficult for you.

Look For Swappability

A cluster of pieces that can be swapped through is relatively weak. Try to avoid it in your own position, especially when making long splits. Long splits can be useful in various ways; but before doing one, always check to see if you'll be letting the opponent swap much smaller pieces into much larger ones; or swap pieces from a relatively useless part of the playing field, to a place that is more strategically significant.

Consider All Piece Clusters

Every time you move, be aware of your own piece clusters as well as those of your opponent. Do either of you have a winning move? How many pieces would your opponent need to flip in order to win? How many would you need? Can you break a connection of theirs, that they wouldn't be able to re-establish again on the next turn? Is there a connection of yours that is currently weak, that you could strengthen by splitting and swapping?

When In Doubt, Take Territory And Extend Clusters

If you have no clear path to strengthen your position or undermine your opponent, try to find a move that extends one of your clusters closer to winning, or that swaps a much smaller piece into a much larger one.

This is a drastic oversimplification. But both of those moves are aggressive in themselves, and it's better to play one of them, than a waiting move that gives your opponent a free hand.

Learn About Redundancy And Imperviousness

In terms of using piece clusters to connect point A to point B, some pieces within a chain are redundant with others; some chains of pieces are redundant with other chains because they both connect to the same side of the playing field; and some pieces are completely unswappable because of the configuration of their neighbor pieces. In order to win, your piece clusters will have to be redundant and/or impervious, or else your opponent will block you every time.