David Parlett's Katarenga games
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And Quartermaster: two Nim-type games for two
See also: Battle Stations | Big Bang | Central Park | Colorado | Congress | Cornered | Greengage | Isolation | Katrominoes | Kings Cross | North West Passage  Sardines | Troika

This fast little game is played on just one quarter of the board, which starts empty. The first pawn may be placed anywhere, but each subsequent pawn must be placed en prise to the previous one. The last player able to place a pawn wins, and scores 1 point for each and every pawn on the board.

First pawn placed

The leftmost image shows White starting on a green square (1), requiring Black to reply on one of the squares a knight's move away (marked X). Black chooses a blue square (2), requiring White to reply a king's move away (marked X). The last image shows White winning with (9), scoring 9 points. But Black should have played (8) to the red square between (1) and (4), thereby, with correct play, eventually winning 15, unless White foresees loss and resigns earlier.

The first player tends to win more often, but the second scores higher for winning. Play up to a target score of 15 points, which will usually take two or three games to reach (or more, if you tend to resign early).

The first player Sample game should always win by choosing the right start square. Dr. Ariel Arbiser, of the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Buenos Aires) sent me some examples of winning openings. Here's one (right): White starts at green d1, to which Black replies red c3, as blue b2 obviously loses to yellow a1. Altering any of the Black moves shown here produces a win for White in fewer moves. Move 13 could equally well have been played to yellow b4.


In this variation the 16 playing squares are not necessarily those of one of the quarterboards. Instead, the first pawn may be placed anywhere on the full 8x8 board, and the "quarter" area of 4x4 squares is not established until it is defined by the two pawns placed furthest away from each other.



Pawns move from red like a rook, from yellow like a bishop, from green like a knight, from blue like a king and not beyond the next square of the colour it started from. It may not jump or land on another pawn except to capture one of the opponent's.