Manalath
A simply difficult game for 2 players

Material

  • Hexagonal game board with 61 spaces
  • 30 white and 30 black pieces

The Manalath board

Pieces of the same color placed on adjacent spaces are called a “group”.

A white group and two black groups.

A group of 4 pieces is called a “quart”. A group of 5 pieces is called a “quint”.

Objective

Players win as soon as they have a friendly quint on the board. However, they lose if they finish their turn with a friendly quart on the board.

Play

The board is initially empty. White starts.

Players take turns. On their turn, players choose a piece of any color (i.e. a friendly or opponent piece) and put it on an empty space.

Notation example: a1w specifies: a white piece w is placed at a1. Similarly, a1b would specify a black piece at the same place.

A piece may not be placed such that a group of more than 5 pieces is created.

If, at the end of a player’s turn, …

  • there is a quint (a group of 5) of their color, they win
  • there is a quart (a group of 4) of their color, they lose

The winning and losing conditions for a player are checked after their move, only on their own turn.

An end condition is effective when it occurred first and cannot be averted.

White to move. Black has just completed a white quart playing i1w, which White can’t defend. Even if White is going to play on one of the three marked spaces e2w, d2w, or d3w building a quint, the game is lost for White as the losing condition was created first and is still active after White’s move.

White has played at e8w. Black can’t play at c7, d7, or e7; neither a white nor a black piece. c7w, d7w, and e7w are all quints for White (and White can play somewhere else in the next turn). c7b does not obstruct White to build a quint in the next turn, d7b is an immediate loss because of the black quart, and e7b is simply illegal.

Only if a player cannot make a legal move (which is rare) they must pass. However – even then – a possible end condition may become effective.

If both players must pass, the game ends in a draw.


マナラス

First sketches: 2006
18 July 2012: First published version
8 May 2014: Wording of end condition changed, suggested by Ken Shoda


マナラス

First sketches: 2006
18 July 2012: First published version
8 May 2014: Wording of end condition changed, suggested by Ken Shoda