Havannah

Overview

Havannah is a two-player abstract game played with black and white stones on a hexagonal board, invented by Christian Freeling in 1976.  It belongs to the connection family of games such as Hex , Y , Atoll and Gonnect .

In 2002 Christian awarded a prize of €1000 for a program that would beat him once in a ten game match, before the summer of 2012.

Board

Havannah is played on a hexagonal board with 8 or 10 cells per side.

Objective

The objective of the game is to be the first to create a ring, or a bridge or a fork:

  • ring is a loop of stones of like color, around one or more cells (these may be vacant or occupied by stones of either color).
  • A bridge is a closed connection of stones of like color, between any two corners.
  • A fork is s closed connection of stones of like color, between any three sides (corner cells do not belong to either side).

 

A black and a white ring

A black and a white bridge

A black and a white fork

Draws are possible in Havannah, but they are extremely rare.

Play

The game starts on an empty board.

Each player has stones of his allocated color: white or black.

Players take turns putting one stone on a vacant cell.  White begins.

Since the first player has a distinct advantage, the pie rule is sometimes used to make the game fair, in particular 'base-8'.  This rule allows the second player to switch colors as his first move.

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