Abalone Game Strategy Tips
Abalone is my favorite board game of all. I have not lost to anybody in ten years. I lost to a computer a couple of times which, funny enough, upset me.
I am going to give you my basic strategy tips and while it's not as comprehensive as my Othello hub, it really doesn't need to be.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that this is different from any other board game you've ever played before. Don't try to compare it to another game. "Oh, I get it. It's kind of like Chinese Checkers." Wrong. The above video will give you the basics but when you buy the game -- you know you want to -- then you should read the rules that come with it. Different from most other board games, it is played on a hexagonal board. This puts a different perspective on things. Whereas on a square board you're thinking of just straight, left or right -- a very head-on approach. With abalone you need to be "fluid" in your moves, thinking with all directions and angles. This mindset will help with your strategies but more on that bit.
The Blob Technique
Growing up, I dubbed this the "Blob Technique" and that's what I'm sticking with,
The idea is to keep all your pieces together in a sort of ball-like form. While it's slower to move the group around, you'll be harder to push around by your opponent. You do not want your pieces scattered all over the board. You want to be flexible and fluid while your opponent tries to push you around while remaining a blob. Your goal is to cause your opponent to break up and scatter, even if just a bit. Then bit by bit you section off one or two of his pieces and push them over the edge, keeping your blob shape to the best of your ability.
Think of your pieces as Roman soldiers -- keep in formation. Even if you'll be able to push off one of your opponent's pieces, if it breaks the integrity of the blob, then it might not be a good idea. Use your judgement.
That is my blob technique.
One more tip which goes along with thinking in a "fluid" manner. It also fits the "think offensively and defensively". Think with all sides. Say you're being overpowered from one angle or you would like to overpower your opponent from one angle, then try coming in from the side. For example, you have two pieces against his three and he's about to push you over the edge then knock out his piece that's directly adjacent to your two. If done from the side, you'll now have three against his two. To state the obvious, this only possible if you actually have pieces close by to use. Thus, another way the blob technique comes in handy.
That is all. Really, it doesn't need to be so comprehensive. Yes, there are techniques and tips that I could really get into. But I'm not going to because they're of little importance compared to the blob technique.
I hope you do get a chance to play this wonderful game. Once you feel you're ready for me, let me know. :)