How to Play the Two Player Game of Pente
Pente is a game of skill which two players can easily learn and enjoy a quick challenging round of friendly competition. Although the rules of Pente are simple, the strategic level of play continues to develop and deepen among players. Pente is a wonderful game for two players to take pleasure in. For those who want a thought-provoking, stimulating, and yet uncomplicated game to play, Pente is the ideal game!
The game uses an 18×18 gridded board with small colored stones. Each player receives an adequate supply (about 40-50) of the same colored stones (a color different from their opponent).
The object of the game is for a player to either place five stones in a row in any direction on points of the gridded board or capture five pairs of his opponent’s stones.
The game begins by one player placing one of his stones onto the empty board. It is always placed on the center point. After this move, the players take turns playing stones onto any empty point of the board. If at any time a Pente or five in a row (in any direction-horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) is achieved by a player, he wins.
Captures are made by bracketing two stones of the opponents with two stones of one’s own on each end (of the two adjacent stones). This can also be done in any direction. Once the two stones are captured, they are removed from the board. If at any time five pairs are captured by a player, he wins.
Captures are not made by players placing their pieces inside two of an opponent’s stones. Captures are only made by two stones previously placed on the board and then bracketed by an opponent. Multiple captures can also be taken.
The constant need for being aware of all the opponent’s pieces and possible moves (against oneself and moves benefitting himself) can make game play of Pente highly strategic. Stated in the rules for the game is an etiquette section which states players should inform his opponent when he has formed a ‘tria’ (three in a row) or a ‘tessera’(four in a row). The reason for this announcement is because a player should not want to win the game by a mere blunder or oversight of his opponent. The honor of winning the game is found by out maneuvering the opponent.
The best strategy found for winning a game of Pente is to become the player on the offensive. A player will be on the offensive if he places his pieces onto the board in which his opponent finds the need to constantly block the formation of rows. This allows the offensive player to better control the moves and outcome for the game.
Pente’s ease of learning allows any two players to sit down and immediately begin playing a game. This simplicity is a great feature. Time can be spent in enjoying playing the game, instead of learning how to play the game. As players compete in more games, it is then they soon realize the depth in which the game can be played. Players can choose to play the game with considerable tactical moves or they can decide to keep playing in its straightforwardness.
This option is one of the reasons why Pente is enjoyed by many. The different levels of play found within the game will accommodate the many different personalities of players. It is a game which grows with the players and makes a great addition to any game closet.