Starting Spacing

I’m seriously enjoying this game. I’m working on some strategy and tactics. These are first thoughts.

Reach of the Sword: The Sword move cumulative with your standard move, gives your attack a total reach of two intersections away, plus a dog leg which allows for greater variability and utility. In order to engage in a sword move, you want your opponent to enter this range first, so that you can respond with your attack safely. Black moves first, they will want an initial spacing of either four or six. At a range of four, with both black and white set up on their respective front line, white would come into range after a single move each from black and white. At a range of six, both sides set up on their back line, two complete rounds would bring white with in range. With Black moving first, it is a good idea to make black set up first as well, allowing white to see black’s position before deciding on his own starting position. The corollary for white is obvious, they want a starting spacing of five, bringing black into striking range after his second move. Neither three, or seven are possible. Which means that if Black sets up on their front line, White wants to set up on their back line, and vice versa.

“Backwards Diplomacy” - Trading places with your opponents pawn is an obvious way to advance quickly, but it can also be an effective defense. If your further down the field, you may want to maneuver your pawn to be closest to an opposing pawn that is threatening your back line. Then playing Diplomacy, you switch them, moving your opponents pawn back, away from your own back line, and interposing your own pawn between it and your own back line, a good position to attack with Sword or defend with Stronghold.

Strongholds are slow. Moving out of a Stronghold doesn’t allow for much movement, you can’t push with the associated “regular move”. So get out of them move or two earlier then you might otherwise think. Trying to use a pawn out of a Stronghold at the last moment will only work if your opponent moves in close, and even then you have to “beat him to the block”, placing your pawn, not near, but actually ON a key intersection before your opponent does.

Anyone else got any thoughts?

Hi Mstone,
Thanks for posting. I’m glad you like the game!

Your observation about the range of the sword move is correct—two intersections! But I disagree with setting up all pieces on your back line. It’s too easy to lose control of the middle and too difficult to develop a multi-piece attack.

And your thoughts on Diplo and Stronghold are spot on. I often use Diplo on defense, holding onto a card until I need it most. I also use Strongholds to “short circuit” Diplo attacks from my opponent to give me a clear running lane to a corner win.
For Strongholds, I like to plant them in my opponent’s territory and then use them as a surprise attack to either threaten a corner move or a sword attack.


Considering that your opponent is unlikely to set up all his pieces on the front line, it would be unlikely that you would end up setting up all your pieces, in response, on the back line. Also the spacing, Even for Black, Odd for White, is subject to numerous other factors. Moves to the side take a turn, but don’t necessarily close distance, which would throw off the advancement into range and would need to be taken into account. You can even intentionally set up on the front line, as white, with the knowledge that if you make a side move, you essentially “added” one intersection to the closing distance. The important thought, you want your opponent to enter your sword range on his turn, allowing you to strike first.

I’ve got lot’s more coming, trying to figure out a way to do diagrams. Anyone have suggestions?

An electronic version of the rules would be a good start. I could tweak the included pictures.

Would love to see your diagrams. I believe you can embed pictures in the forum threads.