Tabletop games Wargaming

Neutron - game

An example of Neutron.

Neutron is a two-player abstract strategy game invented by Robert A. Kraus. The game was first published in the Playroom section of Games & Puzzles 71 in July/August 1978. It is a game where each player moves two different pieces in a single turn without the use of dice. Games like Backgammon and Risk allow a player to move two or more different pieces in one turn, however, these games use dice. One other game that uses this concept is the L Game by Edward De Bono, and that game is also a modern invention.

There are 15 variants to this game. Neutron and some of its variants are some of the main games featured in Zillions of Games.

The game has been solved to some degree. Analysis has shown that the first player wins. It is unknown whether the other variants have been solved or not, and to what degree.


The goal of each player is to bring the Neutron to their home rank (the first rank on their side of the board). The player can either bring the Neutron to their home rank during their turn, or have the other player bring it over there which only normally happens if forced upon during their turn. The other way to win, is to stalemate the other player, that is, by not allowing the other player complete their turn which consist of moving the Neutron first, and then one of their soldiers (except on the first player's first turn where they can only move a soldier).


It is normally played on a 5 x 5 board. There are 15 variants to this game, and the size of the board may change. Each player has five soldiers. There is also a neutral piece called the Neutron that is played by both players.

Rules and Game Play

  1. Each player's five soldiers are initially set up on the first rank of each player's side. The first rank is also called the home rank.
  2. One player plays the White soldiers, and the other plays the Black soldiers, however, any two colors or distinguishable pieces are appropriate.
  3. Soldiers move orthogonally or diagonally through or onto unoccupied spaces. They must also move as far as they can until they are blocked by a piece or find the edge of the board.
  4. The Neutron is initially located in the center of the board. The Neutron is played by both players in the game. It moves exactly like the soldiers.
  5. White or Black may start first. Players alternate their turns. The first player can only move a soldier. From there on, players must move the Neutron first, and then one of their soldiers to complete their turn. Therefore, each player is moving two pieces in their turn with the exception of the first player's first turn.