Monday, 6 February 2012
abalone, abalone, my kingdome for a balone
Digging around in the cupboard on Saturday, I found a game called Abalone. Who knows how it got there. This cupboard has all kinds of stuff in.
I quite like games. This one was announced as 'Game of the Decade' at the International Games Festival in Cannes at some point in the past, and over 3,000,000 boxes/copies/whatevers have been sold. That's a big number, even if you're used to the kind of sales we get in literary fiction. Is it really as good as Carcassonne, I thought? Or Settlers of Catan? I looked at the back.
There are two chaps in bad dinner suits. They are 'the creators'. Here is the blurb:
One more move. You seize your opportunity. As you push the shining line of marbles, tipping your opponents colour of the edge one final time, you know you've won at abalone. The six you need to win sit on the sidelines, in the gutter. Your victory is clean. Black and white. Next time will be different. As you penetrate deeper into abalone's spell. Sharpen your attack and round off your defence. Look. Plan. Weigh up your options with every move. abalone. Addiction in a game.
ab is a latin prefix meaning never. so you are never alone with abalone.
When twisted 90 degrees clockwise, the abalone logo reads: 3, 2, one. Fun-damental! as 3 pushes 2, 3 pushes 1 and 2 pushes 1.
Convincing stuff, but does anyone independently agree with this assessment? My favourite bit of the Wikipedia page reads:
The dynamics of the basic game may have one serious flaw: it seems that a good, conservative player can set up his or her marbles in a defensive wedge, and ward off all attacks indefinitely. An attacker may try to outflank this wedge, or lure it into traps, but such advances are often more dangerous to the attacker than the defender. Thus, from the starting position, it takes little skill and no imagination to avoid losing, and nothing in the rules prevents games from being interminable.