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Waverley

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Julian Clarke writes:-

Number of Players : 2

Duration : 5 – 45 minutes

Complexity (Learning) Low

(Playing) Med-High

Manufacturer : In Games

Designed : C C Quinlan & P Wild 1982

Sold by the Design Centre, in London – which is an achievement in itself.

My Rating : 9/10

Waverley is a 2-player game, the aim of which is to build a chain of adjacent pawns from any side of the board to its opposite side.

The board is square, & is a grid of spots, joined together orthogonally by dark green lines & diagonally by light green lines. There are no lines crossing the very centre of the board. Two adjacent edges are coloured red & the other two are coloured black.

Two lines of three pawns of each colour are place radially from the centre towards the edges of the opposite colour. Each player takes 5 disks (counters) & five pawns of their own colour & places them to the side. They keep the remaining 8 pawns in front of them. The game is now set up.

The game is played in 2 phases, placement & movement.

Pawns are placed alternately, on any point on the board with the exception of reserved spots (& spots occupied by other pawns). Reserved spots will be explained later. Once a player has placed all 8 of his initial set of pawns, he starts into the movement phase. This may happen at different times for each player.

In the movement phase, a piece may move along a dark line to an adjacent spot.

During both phases, instead of placing or moving, a player may opt to jump an opponent’s piece. This is done along the light lines (diagonally). The piece jumped is removed & place on either an edge spot of its own colour, or an empty reserved spot of its own colour, by choice of the owning player. Any number of jumps may be strung together in one turn.

Reserved spots are created by forming a diamond (i.e. 4 pieces connected by light lines). The centre spot, if unoccupied, can be made a reserved spot, placing a counter onto that spot. Optionally, a player may place one of the reserve 5 pawns onto the reserved spot as well. Should an existing reserved spot again become the centre of a newly formed diamond, a reserve piece may be placed at this point too. Reserved spots can never be moved or removed, nor may an opponent use them for any purpose. Diamonds are only usable in this manner in the turn they are formed.

If a player forms a square of 4 pawns, (on adjacent spots connected by 4 dark lines), this unit becomes a grid. During the movement phase only, this grid may be moved as a unit any distance along dark lines (orthogonally), until it reaches the end or is blocked by another piece.

As stated before, the winner is the player who first connects opposite sides by an unbroken chain of adjacent (in any direction) pawns – note that reserved spot markers do not count towards this. Each point is adjacent to up to 8 others.

Review

This game is simple in its design, & elegant in its play. It requires players to watch their opponent’s pieces as much as their own, as otherwise their opponent may complete a line immediately before they themselves would have done. (This has happened to me a lot – I just didn’t see the line there). Being foiled once a line is almost complete, usually means that the offensive player suddenly becomes the defensive player, whilst trying to get a new line going. Often a broken line causes a better opportunity to present itself, but usually also giving the opponent a golden chance to dominate. Most winning lines are actually not noticed by the loser, rather than achieved against opposition, so there is a constantly shifting emphasis of offence to defence, N-S to E-W lines. Additionally, jumping does not really help much either, though it can break a line at a critical point, because if too many are removed, the opponent could form a line along the edge of the board from side to side.

I have played this game many times, usually against an opponent who beats me at most other games, but in this one I have a 60-70% record, which is about the only game where I can claim better than about 30%.

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