Cameron Browne (c) 2009
Boloko is a non-linear race game played on a compact board.
Start: Two players, White and Blue, each have 10 pieces of their colour arranged on the board as follows. The board has walls that form a single corridor that folds back around itself.
Each player rolls a six-sided die and the highest roll starts (repeat if tied).
Play: Players then take turns rolling two six-sided dice and moving one or more of their pieces according to the die pips shown.
For each die, the player moves one of their pieces forward as many cells as there are pips showing. However, if the die shows 1 pip then the piece may jump the adjacent wall (if there is one) to land on the other side, instead of moving.
Pieces can only ever move forward, i.e. white pieces can only move to whiter cells and blue pieces can only move to bluer cells. Pieces may move over intervening pieces or stacks of either colour during a move; it's the landing points that are critical.
If a piece lands on a single enemy piece, then that enemy piece is pinned until the attacker moves off it. Pieces cannot land on an enemy piece that is stacked above the board level.
Rolling doubles allows double movement, as if the player had rolled four of the same number.
Aim: The game is won by the first player to form their pieces into a single group touching the track end of their colour (i.e. the far track end). The pieces do not have to stay as a group during the game.
For example, neither player has won the game shown on the left below. The white pieces are separated by a gap and the inner blue piece is separated by a wall. The game on the right shows a win for White, who has formed the white pieces into a single group touching the white track end..
A game in progess (left) and a game won by White (right).
Not all cells allow pieces to jump a wall; some corner cells have no adjacent wall(s) leading forward.
Despite appearances, the track is 1 cell longer than a Backgammon board(!) making this a space-efficient way to represent the Backgammon track.
Wall jumps add a non-linear element that shortens the game. The fact that there is no bearing off phase makes the game shorter and alo reduces the luck element after the players' pieces have passed each other.
Rolling a 1 is a strong move. Rolling double 1 can be devastating!
Players who prefer standard Backgammon (Portes) over Plakoto may choose to play with the rule that enemy pieces landed on are blotted and sent back the starting cell at the appropriate end of the track rather than pinned.
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