Palago is a two-player strategy game with a simple aim: Complete a closed creature of any shape, in your colour.


Definitions:

Tips and Straights: Every tile consists of a tip and a straight of both colours.


Match: Whenever tiles touch, both colours of all connecting sides must match.



Palago: All the tiles already played on the table are referred to as 'the palago'. The palago must never be separated into two groups of tiles.



Start the Game:

  • Choose a colour each (upside down tiles can be used as a reminder) and draw a tile to see who starts.
  • The first player places two tiles in the middle with both colours matching.
  • Players continue taking turns, always placing two tiles per turn, and obeying the basic rules.



The Basic Rules:

  • At least one of the two tiles must connect to the palago (the tiles already played).
  • The two tiles being played must touch each other.
  • All touching edge colours must match.



The Winner:

  • The first player with a closed creature of their colour is the winner, except that eyes do not count.
  • The creature must be closed in the inside too.
  • Only one tile needs to be played, if that tile results in a win for either player.
  • A player loses if they close creatures of both colours on the same move.
  • Palago can be played with any number of tiles. The game is drawn if the tiles run out before either player wins, although with 48 tiles this is unlikely.




Holes:
Holes are fun and allow for some sneaky tactics, because only one tile needs to be played if it wins the game. In fact, single holes can not be filled in any other way. Of course, larger holes can be played into at any time.


Strategy and Tactics:

Players are allowed to place their tiles near the palago (but not touching it) to see the effect of a move before confirming it.

There are six possible opening moves, and the figure below appears to be the best for yellow. Other openings can lead to a quick loss so be careful.
The following diagram shows a direct attack, where blue could win with their next turn. Such direct attacks need to be defended immediately.
The usual winning tactic is to develop two threats that are not simultaneously defendable. In this diagram there is nothing blue can do on their next move to stop yellow from winning.


Double or Triple tips can be dangerous. The diagram below shows how to turn a triple tip into a double threat, and an inevitable win for blue.




To summarize, Palago is fascinatingly balanced between attacking and defending strategies. In fact, early in the game it can be wiser to defend without counter-attacking. This is because a player's overall position deteriorates with each attack while defending often seems to improve it. Then, when the timing is right, players should go on the attack and try to convert their superior position into a win.






Copyright 2009, Colour of Strategy Ltd. All rights reserved.
Last update: December, 2009