Our A to Z playthrough of our gaming shelf finally got to the “A”s – this week was Abalone.
Basic Info: Abalone
Time: 30 Minutes
Designer: Michel Lalet, Laurent Levi
Artist: Michel Lalet, Laurent Levi
Publisher: Fox Mind (our copy)
This is an abstract strategy game for two players. Each player starts with 14 marbles in either black or white on a hexagonal board. On each turn, the players push marbles around the board, with just a couple of rules – 1, 2 or 3 marbles that are currently in a line can be pushed at a time, they can only each go one space, and they are pushed along either a parallel or orthogonal direction. You can push your opponent’s marbles along a parallel line, as long as your line of marbles has more than your opponent’s (so 2 marbles can push 1, 3 can push 2 or 1). The goal is to push six of your opponent’s marbles off the board first.
Abalone has the feel of a game like chess or checkers with a lot of thought between each move – planning where you opponent might go and trying not to let your marbles become isolated near the edge of the board.
There is something very satisfying about pushing the marbles around. The tactile nature of the game and the feel of the marbles clicking into the board just feels good.
However, Abalone isn’t really our taste. Neither of us can remember purchasing the game or ever playing it before. We couldn’t see ourselves pulling this off the shelf ahead of nearly any of our other games.
How is it as a 2-player game? This is designed as a 2-player game, so clearly it works well with just two players.
How about the art? Well, there isn’t exactly much art with this – it’s black and white marbles on a hex board. I suppose there is design – this wouldn’t work as well with other types of pieces, but it is minimalist.
Will this stay in my collection? No, I think this will move on before too long.