Lines of Action Variations Page

Variations on the Basic Game

Scrambled Eggs setup

The "Scrambled Eggs" variation

The Scrambled Eggs variation was invented by Claude Soucie himself,
and named by John McCallion with Claude's approval. In the Scambled Eggs variation, Black and White pieces alternate, all around the board, with White at A2.

After the intial setup, the game proceeds normally

The "Parachute" variation

The "parachute" variation starts with half the stones in the "Scrambled Eggs" setup, conventionally the left-and-right half, with white at a2. Each player starts with six of his opponent's stones in reserve. The first six moves consist of making a regular move and placing one of the opponent's stones, anywhere on the board.

After the first six moves, the game continues normally. The Parachute variation was invented during a NOSTvention, by David Voorhees, while in a restaurant waiting to be served. (No information is available whether the proverbial cocktail napkin was involved) The first game was played on the spot, using a portable Chess board that happened to be handy.


(Cheshire Cat Lines of Action)

(You need Java for this) Described by John McCallion in NOST #358, and inspired by "Cheshire Cat" chess. The standard starting position and the usual rules apply, with the following additions:

  • When a unit moves, the vacated space disappears forever . The hole it leaves can be crossed, but not landed on, by any subsequent move

  • When a unit at any time is incapable of moving traditionally, it may be simply removed from the board, and its space vanishes. This move constitutes a turn.

Here, we have the inaugural game of Gemma, as commented by John McCallion. Scroll through it!

More Variations

Four Handed LOA

In four handled LOA, one row of each color are marked in some way, so each player starts with six pieces, and can move only his own pieces. Play alternates between teams and partners; the first team to connect all its pieces wins.

This variation was inspired by the German "Hexagames" LOA set, which has Fleur-de-Lis on one side of each piece.

Ambidextrous LOA

Played exactly like four-handed LOA, except that only two players play. In effect, each player has to alternate moving his two types of pieces.

Hamilton Circuit LOA

This isn't an official variant (what's "official" anyway?) but Andy McDaniel, co-author of the LOA 1.0 program

learned to play this way:

I learned about Lines of Action in 1977 from a letter from a friend. However, the rules had a modification. A winning position consisted of a chain of men connected in such a way that one could traverse all the men along the chain without repeating a man (in technical terms, the graph formed with the men as nodes and their adjacencies as edges must be a Hamiltonian graph). So a connected group that formed a Y shape would not be a win. Also a connected group of men could have a bubble in it that prevented it from being a win. ... I eventually tracked the game back to a friend of a friend, He used the standard rules, but I kept seeing ways to confine his group to Y shapes.

Euler LOA

As discussed in the Programmer's notes, counting the groups to recognise winning positions is one of the more time consuming parts of a computer program to play; but there is an elegant way to calculate the Euler number (number of groups, minus the number of holes) without any kind of search. So here's a brand new variant:

  • a win is whenever a player's Euler number becomes one or less.

  • Therefore, all winning positions according to the standard rules would still be wins, but positions with two groups and a hole, three groups and two holes, and so on would also be wins.
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