Epaminondas starting position. Row A is Black's goal; row Z is White's.
|Years active||1975 to present|
Abstract strategy game
|Skill(s) required||Strategy, tactics|
Epaminondas is a strategy board game invented by Robert Abbott in 1975. The game is named after the Theban general Epaminondas, known for the use of phalanx strategy in combat, and the concept of the phalanx is integral to the game.
Epaminondas was originally introduced in Sid Sackson's A Gamut of Games as Crossings. While the original version used an 8x8 checkerboard, the current game uses a 12x14 board and different rules for capture. When published, it claimed to be one of the first modern games to acknowledge the name of its inventor in its rules.
If, at the start of their turn, a player has strictly more pieces on their opponent's home row than the opponent does, that player wins. To clarify, if Black has more pieces on row A than White does on row Z at the beginning of Black's turn, Black wins. If White has more pieces on row Z than Black has on row A at the beginning of White's turn, White wins. This allows an opponent the chance to capture some of the offending stones on the turn after an incursion, or to counterattack on the opposite side of the board.
In the game, a phalanx is defined as a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line of stones of the same colour, with no empty spaces or enemy stones between them. An isolated stone could be considered a phalanx of one, but officially all phalanxes consist of two or more stones. Note that a stone may belong to more than one phalanx, depending on the direction considered.