Bromsgrove Abstract Strategy Boardgames Club
Abstract strategy games are pure information games with no element of chance or of hidden information. The most well known in the UK are probably games like chess and draughts.
The Bromsgrove Abstract Strategy Boardgames club is different from the many single game clubs in that we play a wide variety of games from those with ancient origins such as Mancala or Nine-Men's-Morris to rare or newly invented games like Abolone or La-Trel. We play games from around the world including Japanese games like Shogi and Go, international variants like Turkish draughts, Xiangqi from China and even Dan-Chi from ... Redditch.
The games we play are normally one on one. We don't play card games, games involving dice or games based on chance. (With the exception of randomised setup systems such as Fischer Random Chess). The main types of game we play can be classed as positional, connection and mathematical.
Inventors of new abstract strategy games sometimes visit us with new, unreleased games to test them out and get feedback. If you are interested in bringing in a game for us to try out, please contact Tony (details below).
We gather every Monday evening at 7:30pm in Bromsgrove. Players range in experience from Mind Sports Olympiad Champions to absolute beginners. We're all beginners at something and there are games that tax players from all backgrounds.
If you are interested in joining in please contact Tony Boyle either by phone on (01527) 836568, or by email at tony < at > bromsgrove‑abstract‑games.org.uk
Games "in the box"
Traditional English form played on a 8x8 board. Also called Checkers. Black moves first.
Played on a 10x10 board with flying kings and majority captures
Played on an 8x8 board with a flying king. If there are possible captures by kings or by men then a capture by king must be taken
Played on an 8x8 board with majority captures. Men cannot capture kings.
Played on a 10x10 board with flying kings and majority captures. Captures can also be made horizontally and vertically.
Played on an 8x8 board. Moves are horizontal and vertical. Kings move as a rook in chess.
Similar to Turkish with additional diagonal movement, but not capture
A draughts variant invented by Emmanual Lasker, former world chess champion
A variant of draughts invented in Redditch where you must move onto matching central symbols by capture
Similar to international draughts but on a hexagonal tiled board. More information available here
Standard Western chess
Imagine standard chess, but with drops à la Shogi ...
Fischer Random Chess
One approach to break away from set piece openings
Also known as Japanese Chess. Very different from Western chess: it is played on a 9x9 board; most pieces only move one square; pieces can promote into a different form in the opponents camp; captured pieces can be dropped back onto the board
Although we only play standard Shogi, there are a whole family of variants from the tiny 5x5 minishogi to the glorious, unplayably excessive 25x25 Tai Shogi - 254 pieces of 101 separate kinds including a teleporting Emperor!
Here are some printer friendly concise rules
Lots more information available through Roger Hare's Shogi site
Chinese chess. Again quite different from Western chess. Played with cannons, chariots, elephants and mandarins. Many pieces are restricted to particular areas and the powerful cannon can only capture in conjunction with another piece. More information
available at Chess Variants.
Closer to Western chess than many variants but with restricted movements of many pieces including the bishop & queen. More information
available at Chess Variants.
Fairly similar to Chinese chess but with no river and different moves. More information
available at Chess Variants
Played on circular board of four rings of 16 squares. This gives the board the same number of squares as a standard board whilst being topologically equivalent to playing on a cylinder i.e. the board is continuous with only two edges not four and a "horizon" for ranged pieces. More information on wikipedia
A hybrid chess-draughts game. Ranged pieces with multiple jumping takes. Here are some concise rules
A game played on a chess or draughts board. Bit like a mass battle of chess pawns to reach the end of the board.
Othello / Reversi
Othello is a slight variation from the old Victorian game Reversi which was registered by a Japanese games company in the 1970s. (The difference is that Othello has a set starting position and shared pool of pieces)
An ancient and elegant game played by placing black and white stones on the vertices of a 19x19 board. Simple rules but complex play. With the ability to play anywhere on the vast board, there is a greater emphasis on reading patterns than in exhaustive reading of possible moves. Players must find a good balance between winning local tactical situations and efficiently creating footholds across the board. Once placed the stones do not move, but can be captured by being encircled. As the game progresses the board is filled with beautiful patterns which form and reform.
Played on a Go board and won by placing 5 stones in a row.
A variant of Gomoku played on a 15x15 board with some additional rules for professional play
A modern, western variant of Gomoku played on a full 19x19 Go board. Either connect 5 in a row or capture five pairs of stones
An ancient game from Africa
An original and intriuging game invented by Ulf Åberg. Ulf has come to visit us several times now to show us the classic and mini variations.
As the name suggests it has elements in common with Mancala combined with a towers of discs like the Towers of Hanoi puzzle. Can be tricky to get to grips with for the first few games, but well worth the effort.
More information including the rules and a software version of the game on www.quincala.eu
Sumo with balls
Lines of Action
A connection game played on an 8x8 board
Played on a circular board with moons, planets and solar systems
A connection game played on a hexagonal board
An ancient Viking game
Nine Men's Morris
Also known as Mill or Merrills. An old and deceptively simple game.
Who can reach the centre first? Easy to learn, but very very engaging! Board game and mobile app available on their website
An interesting mix of arithmetic and draughts-like elements. The pairing of pieces in a capture determines your score, so quick arithmetic is required to choose the right move.
As mentioned above, if you're interested in playing a wide variety of abstract strategy games in the Bromsgrove, Worcestershire or South Birmingham area, please contact Tony Boyle either by phone on (01527) 836568, or by email at tony < at > bromsgrove‑abstract‑games.org.uk
Where game descriptions and rules are listed I believe them to be either: games in the public domain; transcriptions of materials already available publicly; descriptions of local rule interpretations as taught by other players.
I have attempted to avoid infringing any copyrights or similar rights. If I have infringed any in error then I will take down any disputed material at the rights holder's request.
Where material has been based on material from elsewhere, the original source is referenced where possible. Changes are made only where required to extract the rules alone in a form suitable for use with sets used at the club.
Queries about the site should be directed to webmaster <at> bromsgrove-abstract-games.org.uk. The purpose of this site is to aid players at the club to learn new games and to join in.