Learning Arimaa/Playing The Game

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The Board and Pieces[edit]

Arimaa is played on an 8x8 square board. You can use a chessboard or buy a board yourself. Each player starts with 16 pieces:

  • 1 Elephant
  • 1 Camel
  • 2 Horses
  • 2 Dogs
  • 2 Cats
  • 8 Rabbits

Setup[edit]

Gold sets up his pieces however he wants on the first two rows of the board. All 16 million possible positions are legal. Then Silver sets up her pieces however she wants on the two rows on her side of the board. Gold's advantage of moving first is offset by Silver's ability to react to Gold's setup.

a b c d e f g h
8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa hg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa mg.svg Arimaa eg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa hg.svg Arimaa rg.svg 2
1 Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa dg.svg Arimaa dg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg 1
a b c d e f g h

(1) Gold sets up his pieces however he wants on his home rows.

a b c d e f g h
8 Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg 8
7 Arimaa ds.svg Arimaa ms.svg Arimaa cs.svg Arimaa es.svg Arimaa ds.svg Arimaa cs.svg Arimaa hs.svg Arimaa hs.svg 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa hg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa mg.svg Arimaa eg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa hg.svg Arimaa rg.svg 2
1 Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa dg.svg Arimaa dg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg 1
a b c d e f g h

(2) Then Silver sets up her pieces however she wants on her home rows.


Movement[edit]

The players alternate turns with Gold moving first. On each turn a player can take up to four steps.

  • For most pieces, a step can be forwards, backwards, left, or right.
  • Rabbits cannot move backwards. They can only move forwards, left, or right.
  • A player can use four steps for one piece, or one step for four different pieces, or any other combination.
  • The player cannot pass their turn or leave the position unchanged.
  • The player cannot create the same position with the same player to move three times.