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Takat is a two-player abstract strategy game invented by William Wragg in late 90's. This was a finalist in the 2002 Unequal Forces Game Design Competition and this is the most important fact in short Takat history.

BoardEdit

The board is made up of 7 circles arranged in a hexagonal grid making up a large hexagon. Every other circle on the outer ring is coloured red:

       ___
   ___/RED\___
  /   \___/   \
  \___/   \___/
  /RED\___/RED\
  \___/   \___/
      \___/

Although the board can be made up of Hexagons instead.

PiecesEdit

  • White - 6 flat light discs (Backgammon or Draughts pieces)
  • Black - 15 flat dark discs (Backgammon or Draughts pieces)

StartEdit

One player picks white and the other black. White makes the first move. All pieces start off the board.

GoalsEdit

The white player must get 1 stack of six:

     [   ]   [XXX]   [XXX]      A stack can be made up from any combination
     [   ]   [XXX]   [   ]      of pieces.
     [   ]   [XXX]   [   ]
     [   ]   [XXX]   [XXX]      [   ] = White   [XXX] = Black
     [   ]   [XXX]   [XXX]
     [   ]   [XXX]   [   ]
  ---------------------------

The stack can be made up of black pieces as well as white pieces, or can be made up of just one colour. Even if the black player makes the stack, it still counts.

If white immobilises black, then white wins.

Black must immobilise white.

MovesEdit

Each turn a player may enter a piece of their colour onto the board or move a piece of either colour which is already on the board.

A player may enter a piece of their colour onto the board on any empty circle, except for the very central one. Black must not have less pieces on the board than white, if they do then they must enter a piece onto the board, if they can't then they are allowed to move instead.

A player may move any single piece of either colour (except for safe pieces - see later). The piece being moved must be from the top of a stack or be a single piece on its own. No piece from inside a stack may be moved, and only one piece may be moved per turn. A player may not move a piece just moved or entered by the opponent.

The moves which the piece may make are as follows:

             ___
  (a)       /   \                              
           /    _\/                        
                                      [   ]
        [   ]   [   ]                 [   ]
     -------------------   -------------------   A piece can be moved onto
                                                 the top of an adjacent piece
             ___                                 which is on the same level
            /   \                                as it.
           /    _\/
                                      [XXX] 
        [XXX]   [   ]                 [   ]
        [   ]   [XXX]         [   ]   [XXX]
     -------------------   -------------------
              __
  (b)        /  \                              
            /   _\/
           /                          [   ]
                [XXX]                 [XXX]
        [   ]   [XXX]                 [XXX]
     -------------------   -------------------   A piece can be moved onto
                                                 the top of an adjacent piece
              __                                 which is one level up.
             /  \                                 
            /   _\/
           /                          [XXX] 
                [   ]                 [   ] 
        [XXX]   [   ]                 [   ]
        [   ]   [XXX]         [   ]   [XXX]
     -------------------   -------------------


  (c)     ________\                                 
                  /                    
        [   ]                         [   ]
        [XXX]   [   ]         [XXX]   [   ]
     -------------------   -------------------   A piece can be moved to an
                                                 adjacent stack or empty
                                                 circle without moving up or
                                                 down a level.
          ________\
                  /                    
        [   ]                         [   ]
     -------------------   -------------------


  (d)                                                      
                __  __             A piece can be moved from the top of a
               /  \/  \            stack to the top of any adjacent lower
              /        \           stack, or an empty circle.
             /  [   ]   \
            /   [XXX]   _\/
          \/_   [XXX]
                [   ]   [XXX]
        [   ]   [XXX]   [   ]
     ---------------------------

Safe PiecesEdit

There are two kinds of safe pieces: temporarily safe pieces, and permanently safe pieces.

Temporarily Safe PiecesEdit

Any two pieces of the same colour stacked directly on top of one another are safe, and the top piece can only be moved by the player whose coloured pieces they are. The opponent can still place additional pieces on top of the safe pieces.

                   [   ]      The top piece can only be moved
     [   ]         [   ]      by white.
     [   ]         [XXX]
  -----------   -----------


                   [XXX]      The top piece can only be moved
     [XXX]         [XXX]      by black. If the second stack is
     [XXX]         [XXX]      on a red circle then neither black
     [   ]         [XXX]      or white can move the top piece
  -----------   -----------   (see permanently safe pieces).


                   [XXX]      The top piece can be moved by
                   [   ]      either player.
     [   ]         [   ]
     [XXX]         [XXX]
     [XXX]         [   ]
  -----------   -----------
Permanently Safe PiecesEdit

Three pieces of the same colour stacked directly on top of one another are permanently safe when on a red circle, and the top piece cannot be moved by either player. Additional pieces can still be placed on top of the safe pieces. The examples below all assume that the stacks are on red circles:

                   [   ]      The top piece can be moved by
     [   ]         [   ]      neither player.
     [   ]         [   ]
     [   ]         [XXX]
  -----------   -----------


                   [XXX]      The top piece can be moved by
     [XXX]         [XXX]      neither player.
     [XXX]         [XXX]
     [XXX]         [XXX]      
     [   ]         [XXX]      
  -----------   -----------   


                   [XXX]      The top piece can be moved by
     [   ]         [   ]      either player.
     [XXX]         [   ]
     [XXX]         [   ]
     [XXX]         [XXX]
  -----------   -----------

Two stacks of four or more, with the same coloured safe pieces as their cap (either temporary or permanent) cannot be adjacent to one another.

              __  
             /  \                  The move shown in the diagram is not
            /   _\/                allowed, as there would be a stack of
           /                       five next to stack of four, both with
                [XXX]   [XXX]      the same coloured safe pieces capping
        [XXX]   [   ]   [XXX]      them.
        [   ]   [XXX]   [   ]
        [XXX]   [   ]   [XXX]
     --------------------------- 
               _
              / \
             /   \                 The move shown in the diagram is not
            /                      allowed, as there would be a stack of
          \/_   [   ]              four next to stack of four, both with
                [XXX]   [XXX]      the same coloured safe pieces capping
        [XXX]   [XXX]   [XXX]      them.
        [   ]   [XXX]   [   ]
        [XXX]   [   ]   [XXX]
     --------------------------- 

NotesEdit

The colour of the pieces only matters when entering a piece, or making safe pieces. Other than these the pieces can be viewed as common, and can be moved by either player.

For beginners it is easier to play white than black. This does not reflect an intrinsic bias to white within the game, but rather the number of pieces black has to deal with compared to white. After 3 or 4 games a beginner should become reasonably proficient as black and start to be able to play black to the same level as white.

Stalemates may appear to be more frequent than they are when learning to play the game, but black can usually move to release more pieces, or change a vital stack causing the apparent stalemate. In these circumstances, black will usually win shortly afterwards. So players should bare in mind that stalemates are actually very rare.

RememberEdit

Any combination of pieces can make up a stack, and if black makes a stack of six then white still wins. If white immobilises black then white wins. A player can never enter a piece directly onto the top of a stack or onto the central circle. They may only enter pieces onto an empty circle which is not the central one. The central circle can only be moved into.

HandicappingEdit

If playing against a weaker player, then the following handicapping rules can be used:

(1) The weaker player moves first, whatever colour they are playing.

(2) The weaker player can enter up to six of their pieces onto the board, on any of the empty outer circles, before the game starts. The entered pieces must all be adjacent to each other:

          ___
      ___/[X]\___      This is allowed as each of black's entered
     /   \___/[X]\     pieces are adjacent to one another.
     \___/   \___/
     /   \___/[X]\
     \___/   \___/
         \___/
          ___
      ___/[X]\___      This is not allowed as not all of black's
     /   \___/[X]\     entered pieces are adjacent to one another.
     \___/   \___/
     /[X]\___/   \
     \___/   \___/
         \___/

If (1) does not give the correct bias then use (1) and (2) combined, first with just 1 piece entered. If this still isn't enough then continue entering pieces - up to the maximum of 6 - until the bias is corrected. After the game has been played many, many times, it might be noticed that either black or white, tends to have the advantage. I have played the game for quite some time, and it appears to be evenly matched, but further play may prove otherwise. The handicapping rules above can be used to correct any bias.

Larger BoardsEdit

The board is made up of circles in a hexagonal grid making up a large hexagon. The board can be any size, but a board size of 7 is quite sufficient for interesting play.

       ___
   ___/RED\___
  /   \___/   \
  \___/   \___/
  /RED\___/RED\
  \___/   \___/
      \___/

n=7

           ___
       ___/RED\___        Where to place the red circles can be worked out
   ___/   \___/   \___    by starting on the outer circles and alternating
  /RED\___/   \___/RED\   red and white all around the edge. Then on the
  \___/   \___/   \___/   next ring in alternate red and white, but making
  /   \___/RED\___/   \   sure no two red circles are adjacent to one
  \___/   \___/   \___/   another. Continue in to the next rings until no
  /RED\___/   \___/RED\   more circles can be made red.
  \___/   \___/   \___/
      \___/RED\___/
          \___/

n=19

Where "n" is the number of cells making up the board.

PiecesEdit

White has n-1 flat light discs (Backgammon or Draughts pieces) E.g. for the larger board above where n=19, white will have 19-1 = 18 pieces. Black has 2n+1 flat dark discs (Backgammon or Draughts pieces) E.g. for the larger board above where n=19, black will have (2x19)+1 = 39 pieces.

GoalsEdit

The white player must get (n-1)/6 stacks of six E.g. for the larger board above where n=19, white will have to get (19-1)/6 = 3 stack of six. If white immobilises black, white wins. The black player must immobilise white.

ClarificationEdit

No player may make a stack taller than six.

Basic TacticsEdit

WhiteEdit
  • Try to keep the white pieces mobile, and as high up a stack as possible.
  • Try to build a high stack capped with white safe pieces, on the central circle.
  • Try to build and make good use of zebra stacks, as all the white pieces can still be thought of as mobile.
         [XXX]      A zebra stack - alternating black & white pieces.
         [   ]
         [XXX]
         [   ]
      -----------
  • White has an advantage early on in the game, so try to gain a good position for the later part of the game.
BlackEdit
  • Try to bring on the black pieces as soon as possible, as the more pieces that black has in play the better.
  • Try to avoid the central circle, as white can use pieces there to its advantage, but make sure that white doesn't gain advantage of the centre.
  • Try to avoid stacks of five, unless part of a your strategy.
  • Try to make all the black pieces safe.
  • Try to build wells - high stacks surrounding an empty or low stack, from which a piece once inside cannot get out.
  • Bare in mind that a piece just moved by a player cannot be moved by the opponent until the next turn, as good use can be made of this in the later part of the game.
  • Take note that if white only has a single piece left which they can move, then black will never be able to move that piece, and should think about releasing additional pieces for white to use, as this will usually make it more difficult for white to win.

External links Edit

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