Surakarta, a nice strategy boardgame

This week, Leiden University is hosting the 15th International Conference on Advances in Computer Games

The results for Chess are in and Komodo wins the 2017 championship:
Apart from Chess, it is interesting to see how many different games are participating in the event. After looking at a list of games (huge!) I found the game of Surakatra that apparently was played in one of the earlier computer game events.

A new strategy game, well for me at least, as I never saw or heard about this game before so what to do on a sunday at home with kids? Try it out! 

What is Surakatra?

  • A two player strategy boardgame
  • Capture opponents pieces by using the ‘corner loops’ or ‘rails’
  • Move a piece one step horizontal, vertical or diagonally
  • Capturing can be done if you can directly land on an opponent piece via a loop.
  • You can not jump over any piece nor your own
  • You can not capture by moving, only by using the loops
  • You are allowed to move in any direction also backwards

The board looks like this:


The 6×6 board has dots and a dot can contain one piece only. The game starts with both players having twelve pieces, or marbles placed on opposite sides of the board.


Now from this start the pieces can move one step over the lines. The red and green loops can not be used yet, because no piece is able to land on an opposing piece via the loops. But that will soon change…

Experience?

We played a few times and found it takes some practice to understand the flexibility of the loops. Once both players are occupying, say the red trail with pieces, we found players can have multiple capturing moves in a row, each taking turns of course!


The above is from one of the first games. After a few games we found that

  • Corner pieces are weak and can get trapped as the only move they have is stepping their tows on the red trail
  • The center places are strong
  • The spaces in the centre that have both red and green loops are very dynamic!
  • Capturing can go on a few turns when multiple pieces of both players are on one of the loops

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Conclusion

A nice little game! Easy to understand, very dynamic in capturing moves. The loops make it difficult to see what is going to happen. Complexity and simplicity makes Surakatra (wikilink) a very good addition to our game repertoire.

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