Full Report for Arimaa by Aamir Syed, Omar Syed

Full Report for Arimaa by Aamir Syed, Omar Syed

Designed to be hard for computers to play!.

Generated at 06/09/2020, 20:43 from 1000 logged games.


Representative game (in the sense of being of mean length). Wherever you see the 'representative game' referred to in later sections, this is it!

The rules below may be incomplete in places. For the full rules, see the official Arimaa site.


Add a piece
Just click in the space. Major pieces are added most important first, rabbits will be placed automatically.
Click and drag from start space to finish space
Click and drag from the pulled piece to the destination space
Click and drag from your piece to the push destination


First white places all their pieces on their two closest ranks, then black does the same.


Each turn consists of 4 actions. Each action may be one of the following:

Move a piece orthogonally one spaces
Move a piece to an empty space, then move an adjacent enemy piece of lesser strength into the vacated space. This counts as two actions.
Move a piece to an occupied space, then move the displaced piece into an adjacent empty space. This counts as two actions.

You may not push and pull in the same action.

A piece standing next to a stronger enemy piece cannot move, unless it has an adjacent friendly piece.

A piece standing on a trap (black square) is captured if it has no friendly adjacent piece.


The following are the win/loss criteria in order of importance. They are only checked at the end of a complete turn:

  1. If your rabbit reaches your goal (back rank), you win.
  2. If your opponent's rabbit reaches their goal (first rank), they win.
  3. If you captured all your opponent's rabbits, you win.
  4. If you lost all of your rabbits, your opponent wins.
  5. If the next player has no legal moves, they lose.
  6. If a player repeats a position three times, they lose.


General comments:

Play: Combinatorial

Mechanism(s): Capture,Movement

Components: Board

Level: Standard

BGG Stats

BGG EntryArimaa
BGG Rating7.25564
BGG Weight3.5238

BGG Ratings and Comments

paldepind10I used to play a lot of Chess but after discovering Arimaa playing Chess just isn't the same anymore. Because Arimaa is actually a lot more interesting and fun.
scirel10One of the best strategy games ever developed, and easy to learn too.
Askes_far10My favorite two-player abstract. A very interesting evolution of Chess. Opponents are hard to come by though.
cerberus1389.5J1 C1
caradoc7.2An excellent little two player game. The weighted pieces are really nice. There is obviously a lot to think about, and whether this game appeals will depend on whether you like abstracts. I am not a big fan of abstracts, but this is a solid game.
fogus5.2[2015.01.01] - 7.0 Good first play, but my mind wants to think in Chess terms. [2015.07.20] After a dozen or so bot plays I'm really lukewarm on this game. The addition of 4-sub-move moves is interesting on first glance, but seems designed solely to thwart computers. I suspect that a smaller number would have added more tension to the game.
candoo6The combinations and permutations of this Chess inspired game is mind boggling. Just gotta find hours to explore the possibilities.
andydj179Played on a standard chess board and pieces (though, I've made my own pieces and board for ease of play). Much more fun than chess!!! Btw - there is something like $17,000 reward for anyone who can make a computer program that can play this game well.
dolzandavid6.5A fascinating game that will inevitably get compared to chess, although the only thing in common between the two is probably an 8x8 board. The game is very deep, so deep in fact that one can not possibly ever check all legal moves - which is an excellent thing, because this way one cannot help his game by memorizing play sequences, which is one of my main complaints against chess. The game also has a simple winning goal, one that can be achieved even with numerical disadvantages, therefore the game is very dynamic and sometimes one can witness the most amazing turnarounds. One of the very best abstract games.
adamscott7Interesting Chess variant. I'd like to play it more, but that looks unlikely since I don't know anyone who is into the game. Can be played on a normal chess board.
johncf101810This keeps growing on me despite the complete lack of interest for the first few games. Highly recommend the iphone app.
AltugasN/A(Not played yet).
freechinanow7Arimaa is an interesting abstract! A little slow to develop but definitely doesn't play like any other game. Not a chess variant, that's for sure. Our game didn't last the 60 minutes that is stated on box (more like 15-20). Perhaps because we are both new to this. Certainly with more consideration the game would slow down a bit. Otherwise, and interesting mix of pushing and pulling rules and forcing opponent pieces into "traps" to capture them (instead of simply landing on them). Looking forward to more plays of this one!
MisterCranky9I am so impressed to find this in BGG! One of my all-time favorite games, and my favorite chess variant by FAR.
Aiken Drum6I like this game. It's a chess like type of game, so very difficult to get to the table. But there's always hope.
eitak3aN/AA fun alternate use for a chess set.
farsidehobbes4Okay chess variant, but I would much rather play Tzaar or Dvonn from the Gipf series when I'm looking for a 2-player abstract. I enjoyed my play, but don't have to seek further ones since I feel like I got all I need to out of the single play.
99of910My favourite game.
breakmanynecks5HAVE PNP VERSION, making 3D version
Aurendrosl8.5The deeper strategy is definitely above my head, but I like this one. I especially like how the emphasis is on position, not on killing off your opponent's pieces. My only gripe is that the length can be a bit too lengthy, to the point where it may be better to invest your time into a different game instead.
gexthegecko7After one play, the game seems a little too slow for me.
Crumbo5I like it better than Chess. It's clearly a very good design with tons of replay value. But, it's still an abstract game and I prefer games with more theme.
Spirit of 7010I've only played this online v.s. some of the simpler AI programs, but I really like it, so far! This is another one I have yet to get to the table, and it may be awhile, as my significant other and most of my gaming buddies aren't all that in to abstracts.
roric3210An absolutely brilliant chess-like abstract. The emphasis is not so much on eliminating your opponent's pieces but instead having the tactical advantage. Intense and beautiful.
Bitomurder5For a game that wants to replace chess it does a sad job of it. Its ok, but its nothing to get excited about.
nycavri9Z-Man set owned. Greatly enjoying the literature and diving headfirst into the site. . . stalled on the bot ladder, but looking forward to getting regularly schooled (and hopefully learning a thing or two) in the World League. [Update. Real life got in the way of my World League participation, but playing Auto Postal style has got me excited about the game again. Both currently available books on the game are excellent reads.] I do not log my plays against bots, only humans, but wanted a place to keep track of my Arimaa.com Gameroom plays. This'll do: Games played: 55 (30 as Gold, 25 as Silver) Wins: 25 Losses: 30 As of 11/11/13
DBAL5147Whip this out for your chess playing friends and watch their heads explode. What, no scripted openings???!!!
enemyoftheworld7A chess-family abstract with an interesting flow. With 4 movement points per turn, the boardstate can change a lot between turns, so the tactical decision tree expands and contracts a good bit during the game. Like many chess-likes, planning begins turn 1 and doesn't really quit, but with variable setup and more maneuverability, it's a bit more chaotic (player-driven chaos) ... certainly less programmed. It just seems in the early going that you're more likely to lose than to win. By that I mean, the endgame is driven by a mistake by you or your opponent and more rarely by a clever "winning move". With skilled opponents, this can make the game drag on and then be less satisfying when it does end.
Windu4710Best chess like abstract game. In my opinion is even better than chess.
aquoiboniste7Like chess, this is a serious strategy game in which losing a piece through a single mistake condemns you to half an hour of pointless struggle against certain defeat. If that's the type of game you're looking for, it's fine.
JohnnyDollar9.5Received in trade for Pandemic.
Ender WigginN/AGot this in a Tanga Mystery Game box. Haven't played it, probably never will, would love to get rid of it as it just looks boring as hell.
YHGan10I played it several times, then move on to the myriad of board games, and came back realizing why this is such a good game.
ct5150N/Aunplayed Fighting Animal themed Abstract Strategy - Grid Movement ([b]2 player[/b]) _Weight 3.52 ♥ 60 min
gmcnishN/APlayable with chess set. 1-1-2-2-2-8 Possible icehouse? 2 x8 trios, then base/mediums of similar colours to distinguish?
AbstractStrategy4I understand that this game is the new bees' knees in terms of being difficult for AI to play since Go has been more or less conquered. I'm wondering however if that is just because it is reasonably difficult to play for humans and not well known enough for programmers to bother spending time on generating AI that could play it. Or perhaps the AI just finds it as boring as I do. LOL. I mean, it would be pretty hard to program an AI to consistently beat a human at an unrigged game of Snakes and Ladders (Snakes and Chutes for our American friends) but that doesn't make it a great or interesting game, it just means there is no strategy. All jokes aside, I have certainly played worse games and there is certainly strategy in Arimaa but it's basically at the very cusp of 'games that are so uninspiring to me that I probably wouldn't bother to play them'. I do find the movement interesting in that all pieces have the same movement and only outrank each other in terms of ability to push, drag and freeze but that seems to be where the intrigue ends. It's too easy for both players to defend their back row and too hard to capture anything. The most fun I had in the game was getting to say phrases like, 'You've frozen my bunny' and 'It appears my cat is stuck to your camel'. I won and I'm still not excited by it. Sorry. I wonder, too, who is the Lee Sedol or Garry Kasparrov of Arimaa against which we are measuring this, I'd like to know?
Meneldor9I dont exactly "own" this, one can create it from a Chess board, but I am intrigued with this one as the author created this one to be more simple in rules for children, and to make it hard for a computer AI to solve it.
Gregarius6On the surface, it has some similarities to Chess, but the goal actually feels more like Quoridor. Players have an array of different animals whose size represents their relative strength. These pieces can push or pull smaller pieces to block or destroy them. This can be prevented by having two or more of your pieces adjacent. This encourages cohesion among your pieces and makes breaking away both difficult and risky. The goal is to get your rabbit (the smallest piece) all the way across the board to your opponent's back row. I liked it. It's definitely very deep. It's not as quickly accessible as Hive, but it does offer some good strategy problems. One of the keys to the game is the fact that each player makes four moves on a turn. That can make long-term planning very difficult and unpredictable. Overall, a good game.
IdahoEv10Absolutely my favorite game. I'm only a mediocre player myself, but I find it fascinating as both a game and as an AI programming challenge.
checkmate1236Very fun so far. I've only played a dozen games and all against bots though. Good potential though.
BoxerN/AI like this game as a chess variant
scottredracecar9Fantastic abstract. The online implementation is marvelous. I would like to play my commercially produced copy, but my most dependable opponents are currently the online bots.
Anakin19817An excellent abstract that of course is inlfuenced from Chess. You can even play it with a normal chess set if you put the 4 black holes in the places that ought to be. Even if you don't like Chess (Who doesn't like Chess though?) you should give it a try.
beaglestormN/ANew in shrink
qwertqwert10Great game, totally awesome.
2ndPlace9Z-Man version.
endou_kenji960 P:11
airship51N/AZ-Man edition.
Felimid5Tried one game of this today (9-24-2011) with Mr. Billington, but it's too much like Chess for me (and not even fun Chess). I asked if he wanted it; he did; so it's his now. We both agreed that the rules should've been play-tested and fine-tuned a little more.
ericools8.5A very good two player game. Simple rules, hard to master. Similar to Chess.
epicgamer7Fun Chess-type game that I would much rather play than Chess.
Fenriz4.5A VERY deep game. Much deeper and more challenging than Chess, believe it or not. And that's the problem...it's too deep and frustrating to be great fun. I want a game, not a migraine.
nejlepsi10Beautiful game.
BastardCafeN/A3 MISSING
Fritzlein10As of April 2007, after more than four years and 50,000 online games, Arimaa is proving to be an extremely deep game. Theory on how to play well is still rapidly expanding, due to active play and discussion at http://arimaa.com/arimaa/gameroom. Top-level games from a year ago seem antiquated, and this happens year after year. Each of the four annual World Championships has been won by a player who learned how to play less than a year earlier, and who absorbed all of the existing theory while contributing new ideas. The prevailing strategies from a few years ago have not been discarded, but have been subsumed in a larger strategic universe. Arimaa is often referred to as a chess variant, but it plays very differently. Blockade and breakthrough are critical themes. Capture is often more like a dam breaking under pressure than lightning striking from across the board. Early suspicion that the game would devolve into defensive maneuvering has proven unfounded, as powerful offensive strategies have been discovered. The defensive dual-lone-elephant opening, which once dominated top-level play, is now only part of a complicated mix of opening ideas. Rabbit advances which were once frowned upon as too risky for the attacker are now judged as strategically advantageous in many circumstances, and absolutely essential in some. There has yet to be a draw between human players. Because creative thinking is so useful, Arimaa makes a superb human vs. human contest. Even so, much of the fun at present is that humans can still beat the best computers. Moreover, the advantage the best humans have over the best computers has widened in each of the last three years. The top human players can overwhelm the top bots tactically as well as strategically. Apparently imagination, planning, and judgment outweigh mere calculation. Not only is it fun to beat the silicon monsters, it is good to have one's intellect challenged in way that doesn't call for brute force "If I do this, then he can do that, then I can do this, ..." etc.
grmagne10I never thought I'd discover a better abstract strategy game than chess, but it happened.
Talisinbear10Really nothing to shave rating points of for. EXCELLENT!
DKahntN/AA nice variant to chess.
Playoria10Actually, I own chess set so I guess I could say I own Arimaa set. I commented already but I will do again. I love this game. Perhaps, it is deepest game in chess family.
Loizz_669.5Fun + Depth = Arimaa
Brennus6.5X-Mas gift from Rebecca, 2009. Doesn't get virtually any play at my house. Chess and chess-likes just don't do it for my wife or the other folks I game with.
runningbird10I believe this to be the perfect game. Easier to learn than chess, but at the same time having much deeper, infinite strategies. I can't say enough about this game. Try it online, and buy Karl Juhnke’s (Fritzlein) fascinating and informative book beginning Arimaa. If you stick with it, you will find that the game gets deeper and deeper, and you will find yourself getting better and better.
Flavorman20006.5Seems like you just go in with your elephant and start pillaging and bring a rabbit along and you should win pretty quickly. Going to have to play this a few more times and see how some strategies will play out.
duchamp9.5DIY copy made out of an Othello set plus the Z-Man edition. Outstanding combination of several ancient mechanics, put together to a fantastic abstract.
glanfamN/AThe designer should have let Zev design he pieces.
big_buddha7Good brain-burner
ChristianDK5I don't really like Arimaa that much.
bponnaluri4Arimaa has an interesting design with zero luck, However I’m not a fan of how Arimaa is only a 2 player game, and the design isn't enough to make me enjoy it.
fehrmeister8The best thing you can do with a Chess board and pieces other than playing Chess.
greatredwarriorN/ATraded away in Math Trade for Polarity
naveed10This is the only game I like to play these days..... Played over 2000 games. Its very addicting.
ATURN5I found this game to be a bit dry, not sure why.
fateswanderer6A game designed to be hard for computers to brute force! The wikipedia entry under Computer Ineptitude descibes the mechanisms: * 4 consecutive moves on a player's turn - hurts alpha-beta pruning - magnifies the branching factor * capture difficulty - makes positions hard to score (material advantage is easy to score) - prevents pruning because there are few "obviously good" captures - positional play more crucial since it's more prevalent - eliminates endgames that are solved with retrograde analysis (working backwards) or tables - makes a defensive style possible, where an opponent must accumulate small long-term advantages that computers can't gauge well * no standard deployment - eliminates an opening book
Inkwan10This game is crazy complex strategically, but so easy to learn! It is so much faster than Chess in that allowing 4 moves per turn really allows the board to change quickly, the start is much faster, and the mid-game strategies last virtually the whole game. The effect in my novice mind is that this makes the game more fun. It is also easier to teach how to play. Plus, no openings to learn!
Dolus10While I own a copy, most of my plays are online plays. My playing has slowed down recently, but I always look forward to playing and studying the game. Arimaa is similar to Chess, but a completely different game. There are so many branches that can be taken, it's hard to know what the right move is, and the game is so young that even current Arimaa pros are always discovering new strategies and tactics!
BoardGameNerds91. Intro: This is my favorite abstract game. 2. Weight: Heavy 3. Audience: Appeals to all ages and types of gamers. This chess with a theme. 4. Players: 2 player 5. Solitaire: no 6. Bits: The pieces are very good, however I expect this game will catch on and the pieces will start being like chess. 7. Rules: The rules are concise, clear and short. If you are a moderator for the game its easy to explain in about 5 minutes. 8. Setup: 5-10 minutes 10. Game-flow: This game is prone to analysis paralysis 11. Randomness: None. 12. Interaction: This game is as confrontational as chess. 13. Downtime: Depends who you play ...analysis paralysis. 14. Fun: The unique board, the movement by the different pieces, the hierarchy of the pieces and unusual win condition make this game engaging to the point of addictive. Victory in this game is very satisfying. 15. Theme: The theme is like the reality show Survivor. Its booting the other team members of the island through strategy. 16. Recommendation: I recommend this game for the those who love classic games like chess and for gamers that love abstract games. I think this is a great game to show children.
ClockworkMoxie8Not being a huge chess fan, this game has replaced that classic abstract for me. Simple to teach and quick, Arimaa is a great addition to any abstract gamer's collection.
bshirley7Very nice two-player abstract. I much prefer it over chess.
megamau9Great Game. Although it can be played with a standard chess set, I wastly prefer the Z-Man edition, and I would like also a bigger and heavier custom one.
avapoet9Just about my favourite 2-player game. The world needs more of this.
CaptainPB6Finally I can win a game on a chess board. worth trying out. don't shy away from buying it because if you pull out chess pieces almost can guaruntee they will suggest you play chess instead. pieces are light, you think they look metallic, but they aren't.
AbelianGroupN/AI play via Android version of David Wu's excellent bot
Figgyroo5It's fun, but difficult to play/teach.
funkhauser6An interesting game, but the pace is a bit slow. I never felt any drama.
ddubois10If I have a chess set and I'm teaching some kids how to play a game (scout camp, party, boardgame night), I'm teaching them Arimaa, not chess. Instead of having to trudge through teaching them how each different piece moves/captures, castles, the spastic pawn, all I have to teach them is: 1) You win when you move your little guy to the other side. 2) Everyone moves the same, forward/back/left/right (except littlest guys can't go back). There are no diagonals for anything. 3) Big guys freeze little guys, unless you have a friend. ("Aaiii! I'm scared stiff!" and "Go on buddy, you can do it!") 4) Big guys push (or pull) little guys around "just like your brother". 5) You'll fall in the hole unless you have a friend. "Grab my hand, I'll save you!" But there are more compelling reasons to advocate this game over chess than the ease of selling/explaining it to children. The comments about draws, computer dominance, book openings, and so forth have been made elsewhere, and better, so I won't repeat them here.
Jeromeo10I never could play chess. I can move the pieces, but I've not learned the plays. Arimaa was my first chess-variant, and I love it!
marwan_marwan10Simple to learn, impossible to master. This game would beat out chess anytime, anywhere. I haven't met anyone who hasn't enjoyed playing it. Love it.
ececec3I picked this up in an attempt to want to play a chess type game again, but it just didn't draw me in. I found the rules to be extremely confusing, especially rules involving push/pull near the traps. Very neat idea, just not for me.
familywontplay6.5This is an excellent 2-player game, with some very clever mechanics. I have rated it lower than it should be because it is a brain burner, and I like faster play. I think it is like chess, but harder. In fact, perhaps the hardest game I have ever played.
cadavaca4It fulfills its design goals admirably, but the gameplay just feels too robotic for my taste.
AaronM6We gave this its initiation. The rules were simple and quick to pickup (though we forgot the freeze rule during our first few plays). Each of the rounds we found ourselves brutalizing the opponents force with the elephants and running a rabbits through to the finish. This game has a very 'in your face' feel to it. It's like chess, but more primal. Not nearly as strategic, but a whole lot more tactical.
elhnadN/Aarimaa.com boardspace or igg
AgentPLE8Really cool abstract. Would like to play more :)
ghostofmerlin5Okay, but at the end of the day I just don't like chess, or games like chess. Purged.
bwolfheart10My favorite game. The only game I've rated at 10. This is a superior two player abstract strategy game. BALANCED, easy to learn and play! A battle of the minds and on the board! Don't be caught off guard! Keep your wits about you! Could easily become a classic from under the radar and be as revered as GO and overtake Chess! Fun and exciting. This game really rewards creativity and observation and intuition. The more you play the more you develop. I have won on enough occasions when the odds weren't in my favor, unlike many other abstracts. Arimaa has elegance, challenge, incredible depth, variations, choices, colossal branching factor, no "If I do this your best move is this", no memorized openings and patterns. I truly enjoy playing the game with limited time with an opponent. It forces us to make quick decisions judiciously. Which in turn helps the brain to learn to think quick. Can you get one of your weakest pieces to the other side as stronger pieces do all they can to slow and even squash your advances?
dreadpirate9I would much rather play this than chess any day.
Furan6Smart one, but I'm nowhere interested in playing it again.
robinz10I don't get to play this in person, as none of the people whom I game with (including my wife, my only regular 2p opponent) is a fan of 2-player abstracts. But I have played a lot of games - usually "postal" (that is turn-based) ones - on arimaa.com, and am convinced that this is not only by far the best modern 2-player abstract, it is one of the greatest games ever in this category, much better than chess, and at least on a par with Go. It is well-understood enough that there are plenty of strategic resources out there to aid new players (and to help more experienced but still relatively weak players, such as me, to improve), so that one feels like one is actually playing according to a plan rather than just making random moves - but with still plenty of uncertainty as to even relatively fundamental principles, such that even the strongest players often disagree about the assessment of a position. Games between players of similar strength always feel like a tense struggle in which one slowly tries to improve one's position and make progress, while trying to prevent the opponent exploiting your weaknesses - but the game is almost never over until almost the very end, as twists and turns abound, and especially in the endgame, which can be quite explosive, and is unlike the endgame of any other abstract I can think of. Arimaa is scandalously under-rated here on BGG. It certainly isn't a game that will interest most BGG users - but any with any interest at all in 2-player abstracts absolutely should give it a go. You will not regret it.
Ayanami77Ivy6Played a few more times, yep, don't get it. The movement is just so slow in this game. I would rather play chess and I am not the biggest fan of chess.
Gemelli237An elegant little chess-style game for two players.
nwtoughguy10really fun and easy game to learn but tons of depth. i love chess but hate alot of the theory you have to memorize. this game is perfect for me.
forseti8558.1*Beautiful homemade copy, received as a Christmas gift Excellent Chess-variant. The pacing is interesting and hard to gauge. Shifting incentives make for tricky decisions.
dogzilla99N/ASorry about the geeklist
froody10Super deep game. I'm still learning after 1000+ games.
dralvaroN/APresente para meu pai
dispatch1347119.1Omar Syed had the idea of creating a game using a chess set, with a high branching factor but simple rules, to show that humans are still more intelligent than machines. It worked, and through his hard work Arimaa became one of the most successful modern abstracts, with a community of players, 2 (!) books (for comparison, there is one book about Hex, a much older game, and few other abstract books) and an annual world championship competition, as well as the open challenge to programmers to build an AI worthy of being crowned the best player on Earth. Arimaa is intriguing, deep, challenging and above all, fun! The feeling when you slip a rabbit through your opponent's defence to goal is very satisfying.
Gamegrunt4After a valid attempt to like this game I've determined that it leaves me flat. As an alternative to chess I would recommend Shogi, although western chess is in no need of improvements.
CDRodeffer6After seeing the commercial sets, I prefer using a normal Chess set and some coins to mark the trap spaces. Chess pieces might not be as representative of the various animals, but they are a lot easier to distinguish at a glance. As for the game, it's a good game, but hard to play well. I can see that it would take quite a while to develop any meaningful long-term strategies.
Carthoris7I expect this rating to rise with repeat plays.
DeanMary5OK abstract stategy game, but I miss the ability to "capture" most pieces and remove them from the board.
Sepp9A great abstract game. I love the deliberate design to defeat computer analysis and prevent over analysis of openings, both of which killed chess for me. My only criticism of the game is that it can be played with a chess set. It makes one think it's a chess variant when it is a totally different game. I bought Z-man's very nice edition of the game so I won't be confused by chess pieces seeming to do strange things, e.g. an apparent king pushing an apparent queen into a trap space. It looks much nicer to see an elephant pushing a camel!
russ9I'm not normally into chess-like games, but this one pleased us both. I also like that already there's a strategy guide written for it. Wish more combinatorial games would get that kind of support. 2010-01-06: a2na received it from her Secret Santa! :) I recommend http://arimaa.com which not only has online play and a ratings system, but useful cool stuff like problems to solve and a bot ladder of increasingly challenging AI players to practice against, some videos with commentary by strong players, forums, etc.
Urtur9.5Pure mind duel.
arimarima8Excellent 2 player game in many respects. Simple to learn but with much depth revealed over many plays. I've played about 60 games and it is still revealing depth. The only downside is what makes the game AI resistant, the 4 step turn. This can lead to a degree of opacity and emphasis on tactics over strategy. Sometimes its hard to look into the game to any degree.
GradualN/AFrom Mom and bros, Christmas 2014
spacerx9Arimaa is as good as you've heard and I recommend it to abstract game fans. The back story and the buzz drew me in. When the Z-Man boxed edition became available I grabbed it. Still, it sat on the shelf for a while before I had a willing opponent. My buddy is a good chess player and in short order he had figured how to make the most out of his four moves per turn. Move, move, move, move and he had transformed the board with a devastating combination. He beat me soundly and in doing so, showed me how to really play the game. The one big shortcoming is that pieces aren't as distinctive as they should be. There should be more contrast between them, particularly in the height.
D Beau7.25Definitely shows potential, but I still feel like I'm grasping in the dark. Will take more plays for the game to truly reveal itself. I have the New Forest Earth Edition pieces (signed by Omar ad Aamir) on a standard checkerboard.
BozoDelN/AThis seems right up my alley, but I get such bad vibes from the creator (with his I-will-sue-you-if-you-say-Arimaa-out-loud-but-hey-here's-some-pirated-Mortal-Kombat-music-for-you attitude, and the whole hey-you-won-the-challenge-but-I'm-not-giving-you-the-prize-haha-just-kidding situation) that I can't bring myself to try it. It's not like there's a shortage of great games. ------- Ahhhhhhhhhh I'm gonna give it a try. The game itself and the community seem cool.
ocmiente10Have played this hundreds of time and still have things to learn. Great game!
Zigmar9An excellent game!
Buzz8Awesome two-player abstract game. Actually a combination abstract wargame and race game. Hard to get a handle on for a few plays, like Shogi is for players of Western Chess. My rating will probably go up to a 9 with further play. Very different kind of capturing mechanism using a push or pull move and traps. Good website too. Apparently not available for purchase, but playable online.
Tuks10i love this game, the rules are so simple yet the strategy gets more and more complicated as the game goes along until your left with an open endgame in which aggression becomes the best tool. i understand that people can say it is a waiting game, and it often starts out like that but within about 8 moves of any action it becomes a unique game which requires complete concenration. It can be played by 6 year olds, but chances are they will lose interest because its long and requires maturity to understand and appreciate
markmist9.5A great great game. 1000+ plays on Arimaa.com (mostly bot games) and each game feels different from the last. Very deep gameplay and a slow but constant learning curve makes for a intense involving game. Playing against the various bots and trying to beat their varied playstyles is a blast.
fusionkast7Modern upgrade to Chess.
Apple Paul6Okay, this is a quirky one. It could conceivably actually get better after playing a few more times. But the wrestling mechanic, the dragging mechanic, and the four steps each turn, do not exactly scream fun. Dragging pieces into pits to kill them, heck, doesn't that sound fun? A real hoot? Kind of makes you nostalgic for chess where you simply "take" the opposing players pieces, you know, a more humane, quick way of killing them.
escueladejuegosN/ATablet android, investigar p&p.
Repeat_Silence10This is one of the greatest abstract board games ever made, and time will tell if it will become my favorite game of all time (even when considering video games). It's simple, but deep, which is what many abstract board games are, but this one seems to take it to another level. Its simplicity lies in the way your pieces move. You have four movement points to use in any way you want, but if an enemy piece is near one of your weaker isolated pieces, it is frozen until it is no longer isolated. Strong pieces can push or pull weaker pieces for two of their four movement points a turn. The difference between this game and chess is that, in chess, because many pieces can move quite far, it can be a bit more difficult to tell what movements can screw you over. Maybe you temporarily remove defenses from the king, and then the enemy moves a brooke and queen across the board and manages to get a checkmate from seemingly nowhere. This game, however, does something different. It's easy to tell what your opponent is capable of. They can move a total of four times a turn, so an enemy elephant on the other side of the board is in no way an immediate threat. What is a threat is the fact that multiple pieces can move during a single turn. So, even with a four movement point limit, a lot can be done by multiple pieces to completely turn to tide of war against you. There is an amazing amount of depth to this game, including the topics of trap control, hostages, strongest free pieces, distribution of force, elephant blockades, advancing weak rabbits to free hostages so as not to risk a better piece. I may be biased, because I'm not a huge fan of chess (and therefore haven't looked too deeply at the in depth formations in it), but I honestly think this is the better game by far. It's easy to teach, but much, MUCH more complex than you would think a game about cute little animal pieces would be.
Supersamu10This game just never gets old for me. I have played 186 games against humans so far and I always find something new. You need to be able to quickly adapt to new strategies as the board changes and you als need good intuition because you can´t possibly plan precisely ahead because your opponent has millions of choices to make a move. 13-01-2014: Played over 520 games overall; over 90 different human opponents; over 200 games against humans. I play all my games at arimaa.com, I only log face-to-face games.
ariesariesaries5A neat variation/ alternative to chess. Rated a 5 as these types of abstracts aren't exactly my favorite type of game to play, but are interesting nonetheless.
HuginnGreiling9.6[color=#777777]PnP copy with chessboard and chess pieces. mbadge = NONE[/color]
b5mith8.5A good, solid abstract.
qswanger109: Initial impression after playing a few face-to-face games and researching/reading a bit. I may revise after I let this all soak in. :-) 10: Updated to a 10 ... yeah, it's that good. Drink the Kool-Aid!

Kolomogorov Complexity Analysis

Size (bytes)31181
Reference Size10293

Ai Ai calculates the size of the implementation, and compares it to the Ai Ai implementation of the simplest possible game (which just fills the board). Note that this estimate may include some graphics and heuristics code as well as the game logic. See the wikipedia entry for more details.

Playout Complexity Estimate

Playouts per second3295.91 (303.41µs/playout)
Reference Size494095.56 (2.02µs/playout)
Ratio (low is good)149.91

Tavener complexity: the heat generated by playing every possible instance of a game with a perfectly efficient programme. Since this is not possible to calculate, Ai Ai calculates the number of random playouts per second and compares it to the fastest non-trivial Ai Ai game (Connect 4). This ratio gives a practical indication of how complex the game is. Combine this with the computational state space, and you can get an idea of how strong the default (MCTS-based) AI will be.

Playout/Search Speed

LabelIts/sSDNodes/sSDGame lengthSD
Random playout3,7031941,005,33852,16527177

Random: 10 second warmup for the hotspot compiler. 100 trials of 1000ms each.

Other: 100 playouts, means calculated over the first 5 moves only to avoid distortion due to speedup at end of game.

Mirroring Strategies

Rotation (Half turn) lost each game as expected.
Reflection (X axis) lost each game as expected.
Reflection (Y axis) lost each game as expected.
Copy last move lost each game as expected.

Mirroring strategies attempt to copy the previous move. On first move, they will attempt to play in the centre. If neither of these are possible, they will pick a random move. Each entry represents a different form of copying; direct copy, reflection in either the X or Y axis, half-turn rotation.

Win % By Player (Bias)

1: White win %47.70±3.08Includes draws = 50%
2: Black win %52.30±3.10Includes draws = 50%
Draw %0.00Percentage of games where all players draw.
Decisive %100.00Percentage of games with a single winner.
Samples1000Quantity of logged games played

Note: that win/loss statistics may vary depending on thinking time (horizon effect, etc.), bad heuristics, bugs, and other factors, so should be taken with a pinch of salt. (Given perfect play, any game of pure skill will always end in the same result.)

Note: Ai Ai differentiates between states where all players draw or win or lose; this is mostly to support cooperative games.

Levels of Play

AIStrong WinsDrawsStrong Losses#GamesStrong Win%p1 Win%Game Length
Grand Unified UCT(rSel=s, secs=0.01)360036100.0052.78223.17
Grand Unified UCT(rSel=s, secs=0.03)36094580.0040.00229.93
Grand Unified UCT(rSel=s, secs=0.20)36054187.8056.10196.32

Level of Play: Strong beats Weak 60% of the time (lower bound with 90% confidence).

Draw%, p1 win% and game length may give some indication of trends as AI strength increases; but be aware that the AI can introduce bias due to horizon effects, poor heuristics, etc.


Game length227.99 
Branching factor22.33 
Complexity10^302.78Based on game length and branching factor
Samples1000Quantity of logged games played

Computational complexity (where present) is an estimate of the game tree reachable through actual play. For each game in turn, Ai Ai marks the positions reached in a hashtable, then counts the number of new moves added to the table. Once all moves are applied, it treats this sequence as a geometric progression and calculates the sum as n-> infinity.

Move Classification

Distinct actions1553Number of distinct moves (e.g. "e4") regardless of position in game tree
Good moves703A good move is selected by the AI more than the average
Bad moves850A bad move is selected by the AI less than the average
Terrible moves45A terrible move is never selected by the AI
Too many terrible moves to list.
Response distance4.05Mean distance between move and response; a low value relative to the board size may mean a game is tactical rather than strategic.
Samples1000Quantity of logged games played

Board Coverage

A mean of 98.45% of board locations were used per game.

Colour and size show the frequency of visits.

Game Length

Game length frequencies.


Change in Material Per Turn

This chart is based on a single representative* playout, and gives a feel for the change in material over the course of a game. (* Representative in the sense that it is close to the mean length.)


Table: branching factor per turn, based on a single representative* game. (* Representative in the sense that it is close to the mean game length.)

Action Types per Turn

This chart is based on a single representative* game, and gives a feel for the types of moves available throughout that game. (* Representative in the sense that it is close to the mean game length.)

Red: removal, Black: move, Blue: Add, Grey: pass, Purple: swap sides, Brown: other.


Elephant f1,Camel e2,Horse h1,Horse c2,Dog d1
Elephant d2,Camel e1,Horse a2,Horse c1,Dog f2
Elephant e2,Camel h2,Horse c1,Horse g1,Dog d1
Elephant f1,Camel e2,Horse h1,Horse c2
Elephant h1,Camel f2,Horse e2,Horse g1
Elephant b2,Camel f1,Horse b1,Horse d1
Elephant b1,Camel h2,Horse b2,Horse h1
Elephant c1,Camel a1,Horse g2,Horse g1
Elephant e1,Camel d2,Horse d1,Horse g1
Elephant f1,Camel g1,Horse c1,Horse h1
Elephant d2,Camel e1,Horse a2,Horse c1
Elephant e2,Camel f1,Horse d1,Horse g1

Opening Heatmap

Colour shows the success ratio of this play over the first 10moves; black < red < yellow < white.

Size shows the frequency this move is played.

Unique Positions Reachable at Depth


Note: most games do not take board rotation and reflection into consideration.
Multi-part turns could be treated as the same or different depth depending on the implementation.
Counts to depth N include all moves reachable at lower depths.
Inaccuracies may also exist due to hash collisions, but Ai Ai uses 64-bit hashes so these will be a very small fraction of a percentage point.

Shortest Game(s)

No solutions found to depth 7.



Black to win in 4 moves

Black to win in 4 moves

Black to win in 4 moves

Black to win in 4 moves

White to win in 4 moves

White to win in 4 moves

White to win in 3 moves

White to win in 3 moves

White to win in 3 moves

Black to win in 2 moves

White to win in 2 moves

Black to win in 3 moves

Weak puzzle selection criteria are in place; the first move may not be unique.