I like abstract games! What does that mean! What is an abstract game! Why am I using the exclamation point for questions! 😛
Board Game Geek defines Abstract Games as follows:
An abstract strategy game is a strategy game that minimizes luck and does not rely on a theme. Almost all abstract strategy games will conform to the strictest definition of: a gameboard, card, or tile game in which there is no hidden information, no non-deterministic elements (such as shuffled cards or dice rolls), and (usually) two players or teams taking a finite number of alternating turns.
Wikipedia uses the following definition:
An abstract strategy game is a strategy game in which the theme is not important to the experience of playing. Many of the world’s classic board games, including chess, Go, checkers and draughts, xiangqi (Chinese chess), shogi (Japanese chess), Reversi (marketed as “Othello”), nine men’s morris, and most mancala variants, fit into this category.
When I was growing up I played a lot of standard games like Sorry and Risk and Monopoly. As a teenager I grew to hate Trivial Pursuit. 😛 I also played checkers, chess, and tic-tac-toe. And I liked puzzles. Not jigsaw puzzles, but math or physical puzzles. As my interest in board games was rekindled I learned about an entirely new (to me) category of abstract games.
Board Game Geek has 850 pages (not games, pages of games) in their Abstract Strategy category. 😮 I don’t have that many, but I do have quite a few! One of the ones I have owned the longest is called Arlecchino aka Arlekino. I have no idea where I got the game. It was published in 2010, but it’s not available on Amazon at the moment, there is one active auction on eBay (from Canada, eh), and nothing in the eBay history for the past 90 days.
Arlecchino is the Italian name for Harlequin, a type of comic servant character.
The cover art for the game shows lots of colors, so perhaps it was inspired by a colorful clown outfit. Unlike most of the abstract strategy games that I know it goes up to four players. Tiles are moved based on color. The piece is moved once for each occurrence of a specific color on the tile, and the goal is to jump (remove) tiles of your opponent. Like many abstract games, the rules are simple to explain but deeper strategies and tactics can be revealed over time.