Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hobby #12: The Game of Amazons

The Game of Amazons, often called Amazons, is a board game with hybrid qualities of chess and go. It is a very interesting game and is not very difficult to learn.

Amazons is played on a 10x10 board, and has very simple rules. First you set up the pieces as shown in the image below.

You have 4 amazons, each of which move exactly like the queen in chess. They cannot capture other amazons. On the first turn, the white player moves one amazon and then fires an arrow. Arrow firing works like this: after you move, you can fire an arrow in a queen-like move from your resulting position. Amazons cannot move through arrows, and arrows cannot travel over arrows. The first person to run out of moves is the loser.

The Game of Amazons was first called "El Huego de las Amazonas", and was first published in an argentine puzzle magazine, "El Acertijo" in 1992. A man by the name of Michael Keller released an english translation, and published it in NOST-algia, a chess magazine. The game picked up a small following and took off from there.

Math time! Amazons is currently listed as the 4th most complicated board game recognized by wikipedia. It's game tree complexity remains unclear. It is within the range of 10^162 to 10^226.

Amazons is a very fun game that shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to learn. It's a deep strategy game, and there aren't any big openings or complicated theories to study. Just a fun, casual game for all to enjoy.

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