Copyright (c) 1995 Stephen Linhart
The game starts at an empty hexagonal board, with 91 interlocking circles in a hexagonal pattern and 60 stones for each color:
- GOAL -The object of the game is to control as many circles as you can, by spreading your sphere of influence across the board.
- PLAYERS - RINGS can be played by two to six players. The players sit around the board, choose colors, and decide at random who goes first. Play then proceeds clockwise around the board.
- PLAY - Each turn consists of two parts. First you may place a stone on the board, then you have an opportunity to convert your opponents' stones. Place stones on the points where three circles intersect.
- The stone is then considered to occupy each of the three circles which form the intersection.
- RINGS - Six stones of the same color in one circle form a ring. The stones which form a ring become safe and may no longer be converted.
- Rings are also important because they increase your influence on the surrounding circles. You will want to form rings to secure your position on the board.
- INFLUENCE - Your influence on a circle is equal to the number of stones you have in that circle plus the number of rings you have which adjoin it.
- You use influence to convert your opponents' stones, and to win the game. Each stone exerts influence on three circles.
- Each ring exerts influence on six neighboring circles.
- CONVERSION - On your turn, after placing a stone, you may convert your opponents' stones in any circles on which you have the majority of influence.
- To determine if you have the majority of influence on any particular circle, compare your influence on that circle to the total of your opponents' influences PLUS the number of empty spaces in the circle.
- Because empty spaces (intersections without stones) count for the defense, you will always need at least four points of influence on a circle in order to have the majority. When you convert the stones in a circle, all of your opponents' stones in that circle are replaced with your own. Although converting in any particular circle is optional, you must replace ALL of the opposing stones in each circle in which you convert, with one exception.
- You MAY NOT convert stones which form opponents' rings, even when you convert other stones in the same circle.
- You can use the influence you gain by converting to continue converting on the same turn. A cunning series of conversions can have a dramatic affect.
- ENDING THE GAME - You may choose to pass your turn, and not place a stone. This does not prevent you from converting. When all players pass in sequence, the game is over. Your score is the number of circles on which you have the majority of influence. The winner is the player with the highest score when the game ends. Play is not limited by the number of stones provided. If you run out of stones before the game ends, simply select a color which is not in use, and continue playing with that new color. For two and three player games, choose two colors before the game begins.
NOTE: You may place stones on the intersections formed by the partial circles around the edge of the board. However, you may not convert in partial circles, and they do not count toward winning the game. You cannot form rings in partial circles.
TIP: The first few turns of each game are of critical importance. First, picture the area of the board that you want to control. Then, use your stones to define and control the borders of that territory.
If White plays at , he can then convert the black stone, and form a ring. If Black plays at  he may convert the adjacent white stone, and the black ring will be formed with an extra move (a black stone, or an eventual white conversion, if White plays in that ring).