Classic games from cutlures around the world.
People have played games since the dawn of civilization, and quick placement games like Achi are found around the globe. This version originated in Ghana where it is often played by children using pebbles and a hand-drawn board. In England, fragments of the game were found dating back to the 3rd or 4th century. A version is played in India called "Yih" and the variation played in the Phillipines is called "Tapatan." Achi looks a bit like Tic-Tac-Toe (also known as Noughts and Crosses), but players can move their pieces after they are place on the board. A simple but challenging little game that has survived for centuries.
The game Brandubh is an Irish variation of ancient Norse games, and related to the Welsh game "tawlbrrd." A thousand-year-old carved wooden game board and pegs was found in Balinderry, Ireland. The original rules have never been found, but based on other games of that type, two sets of rules have been developed. The game is "asymmetrical" - meaning that the two players' sets of pegs are different, and their objectives are different. In both variations, the defender wins if they can get their King off the board, or to a specific place on the edges of the board; the attacker wins if they can capture the King before he escapes.
The name of this Japanese peg game means "it's your turn." A traditional game in Japan, the rules were refined in 1971 by Alexander Randolph for the Stancraft company. The game is unusual in that it can be played by two or three players, and that the players are not assigned a specific color of peg. Any peg can be played by any player on their turn, the objective being to form an equilateral triangle of any size in one color anywhere on the board. It's an entirely different challenge in Gamer and visualization, an innovative blend of pattern and planning.
The game of MuTorere originated among the Maori tribes of New Zeeland (though similar games are found elsewhere). No one knows how old the game really is, but when European colonists first recorded it in the 1850s, it had been around for generations. When the game was described by the famous game historian R.C. Bell in 1969, it found a new audience and became popular once again. It's a simple looking puzzle game for two, each player attempting to trap their opponent one step at a time. MuTorere is a great alternative to tic-tac-toe to introduce players to the genre of two-player puzzle games.
Seega - a game that has been played in Egypt for centuries, and spread throughout North Africa. Seega sets vary from finely crafted sets in ceramic and ivory to boards scratched out in the dirt using colored pebbles for the pieces. The game begins with each player's 12 pieces off the board, and a placement phase of two pieces at a time, turn-by-turn. Once all these are in play, the game becomes one of capture. Your opponent's pieces are captured by trapping one between two of your own orthogonally. Throughout this exchange, the center position remains immune to capture, but this is not such an advantage as it might seem. A deep abstract game, the moves are simple and quick.
This race game comes from the Moki and Hopi people of southwestern North America. There are several variations of the arrangement, including a version for four players. In all cases, each player has but one peg, and must race to the opponent's home space and back again to win. The movement is determined by a toss of casting sticks or coins, and there's a definitive push-your-luck aspect to these coin-tosses. Control of the center space is the real key to the game. Fun and straightforward, a series of games is typical to determine a final winner (best three out of five, and so on).