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Triapon

Description

Triapon

This abstract game is played on a triangular board with 45 holes (the longest row has 9 holes, the tip has one). It can only be played by 3 players exactly, and is, in essence, "Nine Men's Morris" for three.

Each player gets 9 playing pieces and play starts with placement of these pieces onto the board. Clockwise, each player places a piece onto a free space until all pieces are on the board. From then on, in each turn, a player must move one marble to an immediately neighboring empty space. When this result in one or more "Triads" (three uninterrupted marbles of that player's color in a straight line), then that player removes an unprotected marble from one opponent. Extending an existing Triad does not count as creating a new one. The first player who reduced both opponents to 2 marbles each, is the winner.

The designer has come up with a rules set that makes great use of the nature of a triangular grid, making Triapon a much cleverer strategic game than a simple connect-3 on a triangle. A careful observer will notice that, besides the obvious Triad that is made on neighboring rows, there are two other straight lines along which Triads can be formed. If a "short Triad" uses 3 neighboring rows, a "medium Triad" uses holes that lay one row removed from each other, and a "long Triad" even has gaps of 2 rows between the marbles.

Pieces get taken first from the opponent who has the most marbles left on board, and only vulnerable marbles can be removed. These are pieces that don't form part of any Triad, are in a Triad that gets crossed by a longer Triad, or are part of an extended Triad, but, when removed, leave the other marbles still in a Triad.

And in the Nine Men's Morris tradition: when a player is reduced to just 3 pieces, that player gains the option to move a marble to any free space. The moment that a player has only 2 pieces left, that player is eliminated.

This is, in broad lines, how standard Triapon is played. An entertaining variation in which blocking marbles are brought back onto the board is also included.

Publishing history: released in 2 versions by the Swiss "Murmel Spielwerkstatt und Verlag" in 1999. The packing is as clever as the game itself: the board edges flap up to form a pyramid shaped box, neatly holding all the pieces. The deluxe board, or "Triapon Classic", is made of 8-layer plywood and comes with 30 glass marbles (10 in 3 colors) in a pouch. The cheaper version is made of cardboard, has a picture of a famous Swiss Alp printed on the outside, and is hence known as the "Triapon Matterhorn" edition.

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