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Amazons (game)

Amazons is a board game invented by Walter Zamkauskas in 1988 as El Juego de las Amazonas.

Rules

Amazons is played on a 10x10 board by two players, White and Black (or Red and Blue). Each player has four pieces, called amazons. As shown in the diagram, the white amazons start on a4, d1, g1 and j4, and the black amazons start on a7, d10, g10 and j7. White (or Red) moves first and turns alternate.

A turn consists of a moving an amazon of ones own colour and then 'firing an arrow' from the amazon. An amazon moves like a queen in chess, except that it cannot capture. That is, it moves in a straight line, orthogonally or diagonally, through empty squares and landing on an empty square. After moving, the amazon 'fires an arrow' from its stopping square. This 'arrow' also moves like a non-capturing chess queen. The square where an arrow ends its move is then blocked to amazons and to arrows for the rest of the game, that is, neither amazons nor arrows can land on or pass over the square. Blocked squares are usually marked by small tokens.

The first player unable to make a move loses. (Drawn games are not possible.)

Territory and Scoring

Although it is not immediately obvious from reading the rules, Amazons is a game of territory. Each move reduces the available playing area, and eventually each amazon finds itself in a territory blocked off from all other amazons. The amazon can then move about its territory firing arrows until it no longer has any room to move. Since it would be tedious to actually play out all these moves, the normal practice once this stage of the game has been reached is to count the number of moves that each player has left and subtract half a move from the player whose turn it is to move; the winner is then the player with the most moves, and the difference is the score for the game. Scores are sometimes used for tie-breaking purposes in Amazons tournaments.

When scoring, it is important to note that although the number of moves remaining to a player is usually equal to the number of empty squares in the territories occupied by that player's amazons, it is nonetheless possible to have defective territories in which there are fewer moves left than there are empty squares.

Online Play

There are a few places on the Internet where games of Amazons are organized. Among them are:

  • Little Golem (http://www.littlegolem.net), which supports rated tournaments and individual unrated games in a 'turn-based' mode. The time control there is 10 days + 36 hours per move.
  • Richard's PBeM Server (http://www.gamerz.net/pbmserv/amazons), which matches players for e-mail games.
  • GGS (http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~mburo/ggsa/) (Generic Game Server), which supports real-time games for human and computer players.



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