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The Game of Havannah


Havannah was invented by Christian Freeling. It is another game that deserves to be more widely known. Havannah is one of the games supported by the GoRilla SGF editor [ gorilla.html ]. Here is an introduction to the game.



( A game in progress. )


The Game

Havannah is a connection game played between two people across a hexagonal board. One player takes white, the other black. Both players take turns to place a piece of their colour on the board. Both aim to form one of three types of connection: either an enclosing circuit, or a link that connects any two corners of the board or one that connects any three edges. The winner is the first player to create a connection. White starts. A game is drawn if neither player is able to form a connection. This is possible, but rare.

Three Types

( The three connection types. The enclosing circuit must completely surround at least one node, occupied or not. The corner nodes do not belong to the edges. )



An Unequal Game?  The first player will always be one tempo ahead in the race to form one of the connections. To overcome this advantage a swap rule could be included in the rules; to give the second player the option to swap after the first player has made his first move. If swapped the colours are reversed and the first player will play against his own first move.

One variation that I would like to suggest to the swap rule is to allow a swap after the first player has made his second move. This might lead to a more varied choice of openings.

( To swap, or not to swap? )


More Information

The GoRilla Game Editor.  GoRilla is an SGF reader that can be used to analyse and review games of Havannah ( and also of Go / WeiQi / Baduk, Unlur, Othello / Reversi, Hex and Kropki ). It is a compact, non-commercial program, and is available from my web page [ gorilla.html ]. I hope you will find it a useful product.

Play by eMail.  Havannah can be played by eMail via Richard Rognlie’s PBeM server [ http://www.gamerz.net/pbmserv/ ].

MindSports.  Havannah is also popular at MindSports [ http://www.mindsports.nl/index.php/arena/havannah/ ]. This site gives more information about the history and strategy of the game and gives you a list of other online sites where Havannah may be played.

Havannah on Wikipedia.  [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Havannah_(game) ]