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Abalone Swims To The App Store, But This Game Is No Wet Fish

March 22, 2013

Abalone® ($2.99) by Bulkypix is a strategy app based on the board game of the same name. Push your opponent off the board before you suffer the same fate. Time your strategy well or you’ll be caught on the outer edge with no way back in.

Players start with a select number of marbles on a board that features circular grooves. To move around on the board, slide a marble from one groove to another. You are allowed to move up to three adjacent marbles, as long as they are directly behind, or next to each other. In-line moves happen when two or more marbles that are parallel to each other move as a group. Broadside moves happen when two or more marbles that are side-by-side are moved.

To win the game, push your opponent’s marbles off the board. To push your opponent, you must do so with more marbles in-line than he or she has. For example, if your opponent has two marbles in parallel formation, you can’t push them unless you have three marbles lined up in parallel formation in front of them. If your opponent’s marbles are at the edge of the board when you push, you will win a point.

In “Level” mode, each round starts with a different number of marbles and a different number of points to earn. Once you’ve learned the basics, you’ll be tasked with completing difficult challenges that the game developers have laid out for you in the “Skill” section.

You can play in Free Play mode, which lets you compete against a computer-generated opponent in a full game. In Free Play, players start with 14 marbles on the board. You can switch the beginning setup between official and “Daisy.” You can also increase or decrease the number of pushes it takes to win between one and six, set a time limit for turns, and adjust your opponent’s skills for easy, medium, or advanced.

If you have a friend in the same room, you can start a two-player game using the pass-and-play technique.

I’ve never played this game before, but I was able to pick up the basics fairly quickly. It has a similar strategy feel to that of checkers. It is important to think a few moves ahead, but you must be willing to alter your plans according to your opponent’s tactics.

If you like checkers and are looking for something different, this is a great game to pick up and play. If you are familiar with the original board game, you’ll be delighted to try the game challenges in the Skills section. This app is perfect for fans of turn-based strategy games.

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