Abalone Rules

Abalone is a territory control game famous for its hexagonal board and white and black marbles. The goal of the game is to eject your opponent’s marbles from the board.

Contents of the game

The game contains:
– 1 Board
– 48 marbles (14 black and 14 white)
– 1 instruction book

Setting up the game

  • To determine who goes first, both players can draw lots (black ball goes first), or they can agree.
  • They must stand on each side of the board and place their marbles.
  • 5 marbles fill the first row, followed by 6 marbles and then 3 marbles, leaving 2 empty spaces on each side.

Winning the game

The first player to push 6 of his opponent’s 14 marbles off the board wins the game. The objective is to eject the opponent’s marbles out of the hexagon.

How to play ?

  • There are two possible actions: move your marbles to a free space or push your opponent’s marbles.
  • The player can choose to move a single marble or a column of 2 to 3 marbles.
  • The player is allowed to make only one move per turn.
  • The opposing team’s ball can either be pushed into an open space or off the board.

Moving a single ball

  • A ball can be moved in any direction: forward, backward, left, right or diagonally.
  • A single ball may not push another opposing ball.

Moving a column of balls

  • A column consists of 2 or 3 balls directly adjacent to each other and lying in a straight line.
  • A column can be moved to an adjacent free column. This is possible as long as all the balls move in the same direction.
  • A column can be moved in a straight line as long as it does not change the alignment of the balls.
  • A column can be moved to the left or to the right if a space is free. This is the “in-line” movement.

Situations in which a ball or column cannot be pushed by another column

  • If a ball is between enemy files, it cannot be pushed because there is no space available.
  • If there is an empty space between a lane and an opposing ball, the opposing ball cannot be pushed.
  • A ball or a column cannot be pushed by an arrow movement.
  • A 3-ball column cannot be pushed, no matter how many balls are in the opposing column.
  • A column of more than 3 balls cannot be moved.

Sumito and Pac

  • Sumito is when a column of balls is in numerical superiority against the opponent’s column (Example: 3 balls against 2, 3 balls against 1, and 2 balls against 1).
  • Sumito is only possible if the two columns of balls are in direct contact.
  • Pac is when the balls aligned by the two opponents are in equal strength. (Example: 3 balls against 3, 2 balls against 2 or 1 ball against 1)
  • When there is a Pac, neither player can move unless the Pac is broken.
  • If either player lines up more than 3 balls during a Pac, the extra ball is not considered. (Example: 4 balls to 3 = 3 balls to 3.)

Variations of the game

It is possible to play Abalone with several players. To do this, extra balls of different colors must be added to the game.
In some tournaments, each player is given a limited time. This is called Blitz.
In a Blitz contest, the game is won when 4 opposing marbles are ejected.
It is also possible to start a game by not respecting the starting position. Each player takes a turn to lay down their marbles one by one.

Rules in PDF

Discover the rules of Abalone in pdf.