Jul 12, 2010


Back in the fall of 2008 our daylight basement flooded. I had always joked that if we ever got water in our basement we could open the rear sliding glass door and let the water pour down the hill. The joke was lost of me that day as it damaged several of my board games as we furiously worked to move them to the garage as the basement would be out of order for many weeks to come. Did I mention that this was a daylight basement for a house with a downhill back yard? Abalone was among the slightly damaged games and while it was only the box becoming a bit water logged it was a sad day... just not as sad as it was for my War! Age of Imperialism board game.

I was surprised and happy to see that Abalone landed on the Android market a few days ago at the low cost of $0. I still hadn't had a chance to play it so I pulled it down and have played several games of it throughout the weekend and finally managed to win one against the AI about an hour ago.

Abalone is a simple abstract strategy game played on a... well, look at the screen shot if you want to see the shape of a board it's played on. The game does offer rules, but they reference fictitious diagrams making me wonder if they were just lifted verbatim straight from the game. In a nutshell you take turns trying to push your opponent's marbles off of the board with the winner being the first to 6. On your turn you can move a line of up to three marbles by one marble in any direction so they can slide like a snake in a line or move as a group one marble over. If other marbles are in the way you can push them provided you have more marbles in your line than your opponent does. You can never push your own marbles.

There's not much to talk about in the graphics department and even less to talk about in the sound department. The controls allow you select a marble or group of marbles with a swipe and then click on another space to indicate the direction of your move. The spaces are a bit on the small side so that's not exactly perfect, but it works. What I was impressed with was the AI... it gives you a decent fight. Perhaps if I knew and understood the intricacies of the game better I'd be disappointed, but if you haven't played Abalone before this might actually inspire you to get the real thing. The game does allow hot seat play against another person, too.

All in all this is a nice, free game to feed your brain with. 4/5 stars for a decent job and a giveaway price tag.


  1. Wow! I loved this game growing up! Not sure why it got an average star rating. Beat the CPU on the first game.

  2. I wondered, based on other comments about the AI, whether it taking me several games was me being new to the game. After playing it seems like the basic idea is to clip a marble off from the crowd and then push it off the board. I need to play a few more games and see if it's still a challenge now that I'm starting to understand the strategy of the game.