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Alak (board game)

Alak is a one-dimensional board game and a close relative of the game of Go. It was originally described in The Planiverse[?] by A. K. Dewdney[?]; in 2001, Alan Baljeu[?] modified the game to its present state. The rules are as follows:
  • Black and white take turns placing stones on the line. Unlike Go, this placement is compulsory if a move is available; if no move is possible, the game is over.
  • No stone may be placed in a location occupied by another stone, or in a location where a stone of your own colour has just been removed. The latter condition keeps the game from entering a neverending loop of stone placement and capture, known in Go as ko[?].
  • If placing a stone causes one or two groups of enemy stones to no longer have any adjacent empty spaces--liberties, as in Go--then those stones are removed. As the above rule states, the opponent may not play in those locations on their following turn.
  • If placing a stone causes one or two groups of your own colour to no longer have any liberties, the stones are not suicided, but instead are safe and not removed from play.
Play continues until a player cannot place a stone on their turn. At this point, the number of stones on the board is counted; the winner is the one with the most stones.

Alak is playable on Richard Rognlie's play-by-eMail server.

See Tanbo for another game that can be played on a one-dimensional analogue of a Go board.


A Family for Go, Joao Pedro Nato and Bill Taylor. Abstract Games Magazine, Issue 13 (Spring 2003)

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