Towers Abstract strategy stacking game

I designed Towers as a minimal strategy game for two players. It consists of a minimal ruleset, takes only a few minutes to play, but has complex dynamics and requires quite a bit of thinking to play.

All ages can play

You already have the game board and pieces

Check out the body language (of those chairs!)


Setup

You need 36 towers, stackable game pieces, in two sets of 18. For example, you could use

  • Lego or Duplo bricks,
  • (MB's) Connect Four pieces,
  • poker chips,
  • game pieces from other stacking games, like DVONN,
  • checkers pieces (not enough in one set ...),
  • coins of two colors (not easy to play/count),
  • ... you sure have an idea now

Towers is played on a square 6x6 grid, for example use

  • paper & pencil,
  • part of a chess board,
  • ...

To start, the towers are placed in a checkers pattern on the grid and the players decide who begins.


One rule

Each turn, a player stacks one of his towers on a neighboring tower, but only if the targetted tower is smaller or of equal height.

Each of two players controls towers of one color. A tower is controlled by a player if his color is on top.

A turn in the game consists of moving a tower to one of its (max) 4 directly neighboring spots on the grid. The attacking tower is stacked on top of the attacked tower. A move is legal when the attacked tower is at most as high as the attacking tower. A tower may move to an empty neighboring spot.


For example ...

The yellow player stacks a tower on top of the neighboring tower.

 

A tower is always moved as a whole. A tower may move to an empty spot.

A tower can only conquer a neighboring tower when this neighbor is smaller or equal in size. A player is allowed to conquer and merge his own towers.

 

It is illegal to move a tower on top of a bigger tower, independent of who is in control.


Goal

The goal of the game is to gain control over as many game pieces as possible.

The game ends when it appears that no more towers can merge in a finite number of rounds.

Example of a draw: One player, who controls a tower of 16 pieces, may keep the other player from merging his two smaller towers by endlessly moving in between these two towers.


Variants


Challenge

Can someone crack a winning strategy?


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