Yavalath

Overview
Yavalath is a two-player abstract board game played on a hexagonal board that was designed by a program called Ludi (invented by Cameron Browne) in 2007. 

Board

Yavalath is played on a hexagonal board with five cells per side:

Object of the Game
The goal of Yavalath is to place four stones in a row or to force an opponent to place three stones in a row.

Play

The game begins with an empty board.

Each player has an allocated color: White or Black.

Starting with White, players take turns placing a stone of their color in any empty cell on the board.

Since the first player has a distinct advantage, the pie rule is generally used to the game fair.  This rule allows the second player to switch colors as his first move.

End of Game

The game ends in one of the following cases:

  • One of the players wins a game by making a line of four (or more) stones of his color.
  • One of the players loses a game by making a line of three stones of his color without making a line of four stones the same time.
  • The board fills up before either player wins or loses. In this case the game ends up in a draw.

Variants
  • Three-Player Version.
    This variant is played according to the same rules, except that players must block the next player's win if possible, and any player forming a line of three stones without also forming a line of four stones is removed from the game (but not their stones). The winner is either the last surviving player or the first player who forms a line of four stones.
  • Five-not-four.
    This variant should be played on larger boards, i.e. six cells per side. A player wins a game if he forms a line of five stones of his color. A player loses a game if he forms a line of four stones without simultaneously making a line of five stones of his color.

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