Salta

Overview
Salta (meaning "jump" in Italian and Latin) is a two-player abstract board game invented by Konrad Heinrich Büttgenbach in 1899.

Board

Salta is played on a 10x10 checkerboard.

Each player has 15 pieces (green and red): five pieces with 1 to 5 "stars", five pieces with 1 to 5 "moons" and five pieces with 1 to 5 "suns".  The initial position of the pieces is shown on the following illustration:

Objective
The goal of the Salta is to be the first one to bring all your pieces to the last three rows preserving the configuration (i.e. 1 to 5 "stars" from the left to the right on the 8th row, 1 to 5 "moons" on the 9th row and 1 to 5 "suns" on the 10th row from the player's perspective).

Play

Players move alternately one piece per turn, starting with the player with the green pieces.

A piece may move to a diagonally adjacent unoccupied cell in any of the four directions.

A piece must jump forward over an adjacent opponent's piece if the next cell is unoccupied. Only one jump is made per turn and it is mandatory to make a jump. If there are several options to jump then the player can choose whatever option he wants.

It is forbidden to leave the opponent without legal moves (i.e. to block all his pieces).

End of Game

The player wins when he makes a move that results in all his pieces being located on the last three rows in exactly the same configuration as at the beginning of the game.

One exception is made to this rule for balancing the game.  Since the player with green pieces has the advantage of the first move, the red player gets one extra turn after the green player achieves his goal.  If the red player succeeds in achieving his goal using the extra turn then the game ends in a draw.

120-moves rule

There is a special rule in the game called "120-moves rule".

If neither player reaches the goal position by the time 120 moves have been made by each player, the game enters the "scoring" phase. During this phase each player tries to bring all his pieces to his goal using the minimum number of moves, as if the board was clear of opponent's pieces. The winner is the player who made the least number of moves to bring his pieces to his goal. If both players made the same number of moves the the game ends in a draw.

There is a variant of the game with the "simplified" version of the scoring phase. In this variant both opponent's and friendly pieces are ignored so the player may just summarize the distances between each of his pieces and their final position.

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