Gyges is that rarity amongst strategy games; it's both original and an excellent game. I've only had the game for a couple of months, but I'd have to rate it in my top 10 abstract strategy games already (the others, for your information, would have to be Pyraos, Trax, Gipf, Avalam Batika, Quantum, Twixt, Lines of Action, Plateau and Entropy, in no particular order).
The objective of the game is nothing new; simply move a counter onto your opponent's goal (one move behind their back rank). The originality of this game stems from the counters,which are not owned by either player. Instead, players may move any counter from the nearest row to them which has counters in it.
The playing area is a 6x6 grid, with an additional 'goal' beyond the last line at each end of the board. Players start with 6 counters each; two single rings, two double rings, and two triple rings. The players take turns to place these counters on the row closest to them until all counters are deployed, then the game begins.
On each move, a player takes a counter from the nearest row with counters in it, and moves a number of spaces (exactly) equal to the height of the counter (i.e. a double ring moves two spaces). The counters can change direction one or more times during a move, but a player may not move over another counter, or over the same border between spaces twice in any turn. If the counter comes to rest on another counter, one of two things can happen:
If the counter rebounds, it may rebound or displace again at its new destination.
N O R T H A B C D E F +---+---+---+---+---+---+ 1 | | | 2 | | | | 1 +---+---+---+---+---+---+ 2 | | 1 | 3 | 3 | | | 2 +---+---+---+---+---+---+ 3 | 1 | 2 | | 1 | | | 3 +---+---+---+---+---+---+ 4 | | 3 | | | 3 | | 4 +---+---+---+---+---+---+ 5 | | 1 | | | | | 5 +---+---+---+---+---+---+ 6 | | 2 | | | 2 | | 6 +---+---+---+---+---+---+ A B C D E F S O U T H
If it's North to move, North must move the piece at C1. If it were South to move, South could move the pieces at A6, B6, or E6.
Incidentally, South has a win from this position by playing E6-E4, then rebounding to D2 and then to North's goal, one space beyond North's back row. Those of you who like puzzles may like to find a win for North from this position as well. The solution is here.
The game is fast and furious, lasting about 15 minutes a game, with several advantages over most other strategy games; the small board and long range of the pieces once they start rebounding means that there's no cautious manoeuvering for position at the start of the game. Because pieces are never removed from the board, the game remains hectic right until the end.
The production is attractive, with a varnished wooden board, wooden rings for pieces, and even a wooden post to stack them on when the game is not in use. Highly recommended.