Group: a group is an entire group of connected stones on the board of the same color. A single stone (unconnected to others of the same color) is also a group.
Overgrown: a group is overgrown when it has more than 5 stones in it.
Smothered: a group is smothered when there are no empty spaces adjacent to any of its stones.
- Each player owns 2 stone colors. To start, Player 1 places one stone of either of her colors on any empty space.
- From then on, starting with Player 2, the players take turns. On your turn, you must place 1 or 2 stones on any empty spaces. If you place 2 stones, they must be different colors.
- After you place your stone(s), capture all smothered enemy groups, and then capture all overgrown enemy groups.
- The first player to have captured X enemy stones wins.
Because your opponent can only place 2 stones on each turn, she can’t smother any group touching at least 3 empty spaces. So try to make sure your most important groups always touch least three empty spaces.
The board consists of concentric rings of hexagons. The the second-outermost ring seems important, because groups on that ring are hard to capture without losing a lot of stones.
When you make a size-5 group, it can no longer evolve, which reduces your flexibility. Don’t make a size-5 group unless what you gain from it is more valuable than the lost flexibility.
If your opponent has two size-5 groups of different colors that both touch the same empty space, she can’t place a stone there without overgrowing and losing one of her groups. So, if one of your groups touches that same empty space, your opponent can’t smother it without overgrowing and losing a group.
Likewise, if you have more than one size-5 group, and they’re different colors, try to prevent those groups from touching the same empty spaces.
If your opponent is making big groups aggressively, try playing "slow" by placing only one stone per turn. Your opponent may eventually overgrow to much, making it easy for you to storm back.