Havannah


Havannah

Havannah is an abstract strategy board game invented by Christian Freeling. It is played on a base-10 hexagonal board, ten hexes (cells) to a side. The depicted board is base-8, a good size for beginners.Havannah belongs to the family of games commonly called connection games; its relatives include Hex and TwixT.

One player plays as Black; the other plays as White. White starts, after which moves alternate. The rules are as follows:

*Each player places one stone of their color on the board per turn.
*Stones are never moved, captured, or otherwise changed.
*A player wins when they complete one of three different structures from unbroken lines, or paths, of connected stones, all of their colour:
**A "ring" is a loop around one or more cells (no matter whether the encircled cells are occupied or empty);
**A "bridge", which connects any two of the six corner cells of the board; or
**A "fork", which connects any three edges of the board; corner points are not considered parts of an edge.

An example of all three winning combinations is shown at right. The structure in the centre of the board is a ring; the structure on the left-hand side is a fork; the structure on the right-hand side is a bridge.

While draws are technically possible, in practice they are extremely rare.Tactics are much easier to master than strategy, and differences in playing level are considerable.

Although computers can play some abstract strategy games better than any human, the best Havannah-playing software to date plays quite weakly compared to human experts. In 2002 Freeling offered a prize of 1000 euros, available through 2012, for any computer program that could beat him in even one game of a ten-game match.

The game was published for a period of time in Germany by Ravensburger.

References

* http://mindsports.nl Official Site, supports offline/turnbased playing
* http://senseis.xmp.net/?Havannah Havannah article on Sensei's Library.
* [http://www.gamerz.net/~pbmserv/havannah.html Havannah web page] on Richard Rognlie's Play-By-eMail Server
*Schmittberger, R. Wayne. "New Rules for Classic Games." ISBN 0-471-53621-0
* http://www.iwriteiam.nl/Havannah.html Formalisation of the game
* http://www.itsyourturn.com Began offering offline/turnbased playing in June 2007


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