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Abalone is a very elegant french game from the 90’s, invented by Laurent Lévi and Michel Lalet. Your 14 marbles have to push 6 opponent marbles out of the hexagonal board. The game conveys the value “together we are stronger” – you need to have more marbles aligned to be able to push.


The marbles can only move to nearby squares, you need to ensure some connection between all and find “good moves order” in order to optimize your position and outmaneuver your opponent.


The game is very positional and requires good computing, you need to see multiple moves ahead in most basic reference puzzles to see the correct path. The starting position “Belgian Daisy” is used in top tournaments to create entropy, and acts as a sandbox in which both players have more possibilities to shape the properties of the field they will evolve on – it’s fun.


Here is an midgame situation from a game played by Tal Hai and Marc Tastet on during the Mind Sports Olympiad World Championship : we can see White managed to get the center but in return his shapes are weak, and Black just created a very strong non-defendable push – in appearance. If White moves the 3 marbles in the center toward the left, he will be able to push d3 into c3 to block later on.


Vincent Frochot.
Eight-time Abalone World Champion