David Parlett's Katarenga games
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Battle Stations

A capturing game for two
Example game

Start with an empty board and eight pawns each in hand. Play consists of two phases:

Stations You each in turn place a pawn anywhere on the board (left diagram).

The battle With all 16 pawns in place, you each in turn capture an opposing pawn, following normal rules of movement and capture. If you can capture you must. If you have a choice of captures you may make any one. If you can't make a capture you must pass, and keep doing so until either you can capture or you both pass (right diagram).

When both pass the game is won by whoever has most pawns left on the board, or, in case of equality, by the second player. The winner scores 1 point for each of their own pawns left on the board.

You each take turns to play first, and a match is won by the first player to reach an agreed aggregate of points.


Despite its extreme simplicity, Battle Stations is very tricky to play. The game shown above shows the order in which pawns were initially placed, with the first player (Black) gaining a 2-point win. The captures (x) were: 13x12, 10x11, 3x2, 4x3, 9x14, 10x5, 9x4, 10x13, 7x6, 16x15, 1x8, 10x1, 7x10. White can't take 7 with 16 because of the intervening red square..

Experience suggests that blues are strong placement squares and yellows probably weakest.

Rules of movement


A pawn moves from red like a rook, from yellow like a bishop, from green like a knight, from blue like a king. From red and yellow it can move any distance up to but not beyond the next square of the same colour in line of travel. (Return).

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