Mammalath is an animal-themed board game inspired by the idea of having a winning condition and a losing condition that’s a subset of the winning condition, as seen in Yavalath (by Cameron Browne’s Ludi) and Manalath (by Dieter Stein and Néstor Romeral Andrés). The goal is to capture three squares in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row which don’t contain animals. However, if you make three in a row and at least one animal is in those cells, you lose! (Think of the members of an animal activist group getting angry at you for capturing the animals.) To win, you must strategically free the animals while going for three in a row.
Start of the game
The board is 6x6 by size. The spaces contain 6 each of 6 animals (red armadillos, orange badgers, yellow cougars, green deer, blue elephants, and violet foxes), distributed randomly. One player plays with black tokens, the other white tokens; a randomly-chosen player starts.
In a player's turn, a player must do one of three things:
- Place a token of your color (on a space with or without an animal, but without a token already).
- Release three consecutive animals, on spaces with or without tokens, in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line, removing them from the board.
- Release all the animals of one type (for example, all of the foxes), on spaces with or without tokens, removing them from the board.
After performing one of these three actions, the turn passes to the opponent.
The first turn and the swap rule
On the first turn, the first player must play a token. The second player then has the option, for the first turn only, of switching that token with one of their own.
End of the game
The game ends when one of the following happens:
- A player has tokens on three consecutive spaces in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row, at least one of which still contains an animal, and loses.
- A player has tokens on three consecutive spaces in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row, none of which have animals, and wins. (If you fulfill the winning condition and the losing condition at the same time, you still lose.)
- One player plays all 18 of their tokens (without making a winning or a losing formation). The game ends in a draw.