Pente is similar to the game “Go” in its equipment and layout, but is far simpler in many respects. Don’t let its simplicity fool you however, for there is much strategy to be had here!
Number of Players
A 19x19 square grid
Each player has a large number of flat stones or checkers (about 20 or 30 should be enough). Each player’s stones are a different color from one another.
No setup is required, but players should decide who will play first (traditionally, the pieces are considered to be x’s and o’s, with x’s playing first).
Just as in the game “Go,” pieces are placed on the intersections of the grid squares and not inside the actual squares (as in checkers). The first player to act places a single stone on the centermost intersection. After that, both players may place pieces anywhere on the board they wish (although tournament rules dictate that the “x” player may not play a stone within 2 spaces of their first stone for their second move). Players alternate turns, by playing one stone at a time. Once a stone is placed on the board, it stays where it was placed for the rest of the game unless captured.
Pieces can be captured two at a time, no more, no less. To capture two of an opponent’s pieces, the pieces must be adjacent to one another. The capture can then be made by surrounding the pieces on both sides (in a straight line) with two of your own pieces. The captured pieces are then removed from the board. Any time two pieces become sandwiched between two of an opponent’s pieces, they are captured UNLESS a player places two stones inside an existing “sandwich.” In other words, a player may not capture two of their own pieces for an opponent.
Be the first player to either capture 5 pairs of stones (a total of 10 pieces), or to get 5 or more stones in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally).