Our 2-player kick continues right on into this week’s thrift store find, Abalone by FoxMind. After playing a few rounds of Pagoda and losing handily to our youngest daughter playing Pylos, I was ready to tackle this game that has been on my wantlist for quite some time.
I have seen Abalone for sale numerous times at our local Barnes & Noble, and although I was attracted to the design, really didn’t know anything about the game. I guess that’s what prevented me from picking up a copy at retail. Then seeing it at our local Goodwill for $1.88 got me excited to finally try it out! And I’m glad we did – it is very different than other 2-player abstract games in our collection.
When you typically see a game like this, the goal is usually to eliminate your opponent by positioning yourself to jump over their pieces. Abalone has a similar mechanism in that you are trying to capture their marbles, but there is zero jumping allowed! Keep reading, you’ll be surprised at how this works.
Each side is set up identically at the beginning of the game with all your marbles grouped on your side of the board. On your turn you make only one move. This move is only one space, and only if there is an adjacent free space. But it is not limited to just one piece – you can move up to three during your turn! The only limitation is if you move more than one, you must move them in the exact same direction as each other.
So how do you capture your opponent’s pieces? You have to maneuver your marbles to be able to push them off the edge of the board. Of course there are special rules regarding this as well. In order to push, you must have more of your own marbles lined up to push your opponent. Since you can only move up to three marbles in a turn, you can only push groups of 2 (or singles) – if your competition has three, they can’t be pushed.
The first player who is able to push six of their opponent’s pieces off the game board wins Abalone. Recommended for ages 7+ and lasting around 30 minutes per game, this “Game of the Decade” is well worth the $33 list price. You can find it at a discount on Amazon or bid on a number of used copies on eBay.