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the official accasta rules

Accasta rules are copyrighted © 1998 by Dieter Stein

This version: April 12, 1998; new winning condition: March 07, 2010

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Germany License.

accatastare (ital.) stack, pile up

the board

Accasta is played on a hexagonal board. 9 special cells on two sides of the board are called the castles. Initially the players set up their pieces there. Most of the pieces are stacked.

Initial setup: 40 pieces on 37 spaces. The pieces are placed on the intersections of the lines. There are other board designs with hexagonal cells, which are topologically equivalent.

White moves first, then players move alternately. They cannot pass their turn.

pieces and stacks

Each player is provided with 20 pieces. There are three different types of pieces (Shields, Horses, and Chariots), which move 1, 2, or up to 3 cells, respectively.

Shield, Horse, and Chariot

Unlike some other stacking games, the possible moves for a piece do not depend on its position in a stack.

All pieces move straight in any of the six possible directions. They cannot jump over other pieces or stacks. However, they can land on friendly or enemy pieces or stacks that are within reach.

Possible moves for Shield (e5) and Horse (b2)

Possible moves for Chariot (c4)

splitting, leading, and releasing

If stacked pieces are to be moved, the piece on top can carry (or lead) any number of friendly or enemy pieces below. In other words, a stack can be split at any point. A player can also uncover an enemy piece, which is called a release. No piece is ever bound to another in the same stack.

Splitting a stack and "leading" other pieces

The split off part of the stack can move like the leading piece, e.g. Chariots can lead other pieces up to 3 cells.

The topmost piece in a stack (also called the head) dominates the whole stack. All enemy pieces in this stack are captured and their owner has no access to them. However, they are not lost. By recapturing such a stack a player would liberate all the previously captured pieces. And, at the same time, all dominating pieces are now captured themselves.

A previously captured white Shield is liberated.

multiple moves

It is possible to move more than once in a single turn. As a player splits a stack and another friendly pieces comes to the surface, that piece can move as well. This is an option, but in his turn a player has to move at least once.

Moving three pieces in one turn

However, by releasing an enemy piece the current player's turn is over.

safe stacks

As already stated, pieces can land on other pieces or stacks. But there is an exception:

Stacking is only allowed if there are not more than 3 pieces of the same color in the resulting stack.

This refers to landing on a friendly stack as well as capturing an enemy stack.

White has to split his stack on the left to land on the white stack in the middle, as well as Black on the right, who cannot capture the middle stack without releasing at least one white Shield.

Please note: A stack containing 3 captured pieces cannot be captured again; it becomes invulnerable, a safe stack. Safe stacks are the central tactical concept of Accasta.

release at home

Releasing an enemy piece in one's own castle is allowed.

object of the game

A player wins the game if he controls at least 3 stacks in the enemy's castle at the beginning of his turn, i.e. the attacked player has still one turn to defend his castle.

Alternatively, a player can win (rarely) if his opponent cannot make a legal move in his turn. Either he does not control any of the stacks, or his remaining pieces cannot move because of the 3-pieces rule or a release at home.

There exists a standard notation system to record Accasta games.

Author: Dieter Stein, April 1998; new translation May 2004 - an Abstract Board Game. Copyright © 2005-2017 Dieter Stein.