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Zig Zag
Other Names: ZIGZAG,
ZigZag
Inventor: Clark Daniel
Rodeffer & Amanda Joy
Lemons Rodeffer, 2006
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: USA

Zig Zag was invented by Clark Daniel Rodeffer and Amanda Joy Lemons Rodeffer in January 2006. They are living in Ann Arbor MI, USA. This mancala game was a discipline of the 7th Annual U-Con Abstract Games Tournament in 2007 and again at the 10th Annual U-Con Abstract Games Tournament in 2010 and the 11th Annual U-Con Abstract Games Tournament in 2011. It can be played online at Richard's PBeM server. Clark has also invented many other games including some very unusual mancala variants: Cow Poke, Spectral Reapers, and Tea Party.

Overview

Zig Zag is a semi-multi-lap mancala game for two players.

Equipment

Method of Play

The game begins with empty storehouses and five seeds in each of the 12 pits. Situate the board horizontally between the two players. Each player uses the storehouse on her right to store captured seeds, and always begins sowing from one of the six pits on her own side of the board.

Vailungthlan2

Initial Position

Each player, on her turn, lifts all of the seeds from one of the non-empty pits on her own side of the board, and sows them, one at a time, in a zig zag fashion, with the start of the first lift (called a "lap") sowing toward the center line of the board. When the end of the board is reached, continue sowing straight across, then zig zag back in the other direction. For example, if South wants to sow the five seeds in the light grey pit, she would sow zig zag, beginning toward the center, and the board would then look like this:

Zigzags1

What happens next depends upon where the last seed lands.

1) If the last seed of the current lap falls into a non-empty pit on the opponent's side of the board (as in the example above), or into an empty pit on her own side of the board, that player's turn is over, and her opponent's turn begins.

2) If the last seed of the current lap falls into a non-empty pit on the player's own side of the board, she lifts all of the seeds from that pit, including the last one sown, and sows them, one at a time, in a zig zag fashion, continuing in the same direction the last lap was going when it ended. Unlike the first lap, this may not necessarily be toward the center line of the board. For example, in the above diagram, if North lifts the six seeds from the dark pit in the center (marked light grey in the diagram below), she would sow zig zag, beginning toward the center line, until the last seed falls into a non-empty pit on her own side of the board. Then she would lift the six seeds in this pit and continue sowing until the last seed is dropped into the pit from where the first lap began. The board would then look like this:

Zigzags2

3) If the last seed of the current lap falls into an empty pit on the opponent's side of the board, she captures all of the seeds (if any) from the pit on her own side of the board directly across from the pit into which the last seed was sown, and places them into her storehouse. Her turn is then over, and her opponent's turn begins. For example, in the above diagram, if South lifts the seven seeds from the last but one pit on the right (the light grey hole in the diagram below), she would sow zig zag, beginning toward the center line, until the final seed falls into an empty pit on her opponent's side of the board. Then she gets to capture the eight seeds from the opposite pit of her own side (from the pit marked with an X) and places them into her storehouse. The board would then look like this:

Zigzags3

RESTRICTION: If your opponent sowed a non-capturing single seed into an empty hole on your own side of the board across the center line, you are not allowed to sow the same seed back where it came from unless it will capture seeds. This is to prevent endless cycles before the end of play, but (to mix metaphors) such a maneuver might be used tactically as a ko threat to force an opponent into zugzwang.

The game ends when no more seeds can be captured. Due to the forced first lap sowing toward the center line, this usually happens when there are two or fewer seeds remaining on the board. The player who last made a capturing move is awarded these remaining seeds. The player who captured the most seeds wins.

External Links

Copyright

© Wikinfo.
By: Clark D. Rodeffer & Amanda J. L. Rodeffer
Under the CC by-sa 2.5 license.

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