The Game of Unlur
introduction to this challenging board game. Invented
by Jorge Gómez Arrausi, Unlur won the 2002 Unequal Forces Game Design
by the Abstract Games magazine. It is one of the games that can be
played online on the
Gorrion Server. Please do try it.
progress. It is black to move. )
game is a connection game played between
two people across a hexagonal board. Both players take turns to place a
piece on the board. The objective is to be the first to complete a
of pieces that connects edges of the board. The player with the black
attempts to create a Y, a chain that connects three non-adjacent edges
of the board while the player with the white pieces attempts to create
a line, a chain that connects opposite edges of the board. Corners are
common to both of the adjoining sides.
Winning connections. )
The Foreign Connection
Both players aim
a winning connection yet the following diagrams show positions in which
black cannot form a Y and in which white cannot form a line.
To avoid such
situations, the following rule was
introduced. A player
will lose if he creates a connection that the other player needs to
For black this is a connecting line and for white this is a connecting
Y. So, black aims to create a Y but has to avoid forming a line, and
aims for a line and needs to avoid a Y. Corners are common to both of
adjoining sides. In the diagrams above black has lost because he has
a losing line ( left ) and white has lost because he has created a
Y ( right ). The rule guarantees that one of the players will
win. The rule permits a player to make a move that simultaneously
both a winning and a foreign connection. That player will have won.
( Winning even though the foreign connection has
The Contract Battle
White has an
because it takes fewer moves to create a line than to create a Y.
To make the game equal Black needs a few compensation pieces.
a feature that is unique to Unlur. The players start by playing out a
short contract battle to decide the colours. They
take turns to place a black piece on the
until one of the players feels that the black pieces are
to counterbalance the white advantage and declares that he will play
remainder of game with the black pieces. The game then continues with
other player taking the white pieces and making the first white move.
is only one rule: a black piece cannot be placed on the edge of the
board during this contract phase
( because an edge placement can be a weakness for black. )
In the following
white has just made his first move. The chances for both players are
considered to be fairly equal.
The Game Board
can be played on a range of board
sizes. Size 8 ( 8 cells along each edge ) should be the minimum for a
good game. Size 10 for more serious play. Size 12 if you want a deep
and challenging battle.
three winning patterns that can occur. A winning pattern
makes it impossible for one of the players to form a winning connection
and a win will automatically fall into place for the other player.
Three Edges Pattern.
The following diagram illustrates a winning pattern for
black. White cannot win because he needs one of the edges that
are controlled by black.
The following diagram illustrates a winning pattern for white. White
controls two opposite edges and one of them is needed by black in order
to create a Y. White, however, can create a winning line.
Opposite Edges Pattern.
The following diagram illustrates another winning pattern
for white. Both black and white have control of opposite edges and
their chains of pieces touch. Black
cannot win because he will form a
losing line if he attempts to create a Y. White, however, can create a
Links. An article
about Unlur following its success in the Unequal
Design Competition used to be available at the web site of the Abstract
Magazine at [ http://www.abstractgamesmagazine.com/unlur.html
]. An archive copy
is available at [ Archive
- Unlur ].
Game Editor. GoRilla is an SGF
reader that can be used to analyse and
review games of Unlur (
and also of Go / WeiQi / Baduk, Havannah,
Othello / Reversi, Hex and Kropki ). It is a compact,
program, and is available from my web page [ gorilla.html
]. I hope you will find it a useful product.
The Gorrion Game Server
Unlur is one of the games played online on my game
]. Please do join in the fun. I am 'dashstofsk' at the server and will
challenges to a game.