SOPHIA

Copyright (c) 1995 Richard HutnikThis game is played on a 4x4 square board. Each player has two sets of 7 stones (7 black and 7 white stones for First player, and 7 blue and 7 yellow stones for Second player).

DROP PHASE- On each turn, each player drops 7 stones (of either of his two colors) on empty cells. when this phase ends - and the goal is not achieved - there will be two empty cells left).MOVE PHASE- On each turn, each player must do one of the following actions :

Move a friendly stone to an (orthogonal or diagonal) adjacent empty cell. Jump a friendly stone over other stone, landing on the immediate empty cell. The jumped stones must change color (black to white and vice versa, or blue to yellow and vice versa). A player passes if he does not have any valid action. GOAL- First wins by making a (orthogonal or diagonal) 4 in-a-row with light color stones (white and yellow) while Second wins with a 4 in-a-row of dark stones (black and blue).

If, after a jump, both players achieve the winning condition, wins the player that made the jump.

An exampleFirst's turn. If he moves the marked stone to b2, he wins. How? Second options are: (a) a1-b1, c1:a1 wins with a 4 diagonal in-a-row; (b) c1-b1 or a2-b1, c3-b3 wins; (c) a2-b3, c2-b1 wins; (d) d3:b3, c2-b1 wins; and (e) d1:b3, b2-b1, a1-b2, c3:a1 and also wins.

Some variants and closing words from the author:

Variants: 1. Eliminate diagonal movement. 2. Eliminate winning the game by getting four in a row diagonally. 3. Have one player place one of their piece one board and then have the other player decide if they wish to switch sides with their opponent. For example a player controlling black pennies goes first and places one of their pieces on the board. The players opponent could then decide if they wished to control black pennies or go and put one of their white dimes on the board. If the player's opponent decides to control black pennies, then the player would go again, this time putting a dime on the board. Rules for this variation involving being able to place pieces either color side up would still apply. In this example, the player who now controls dimes and wins with white, could put a dime down either white or black side up. 4. Require players place pieces on the board, during the placement phase, the color side up they need to win the game. For example, if a player controls pennies, and wins with white, they must put pennies on the board white side up, rather than either color side up. The original rules had this variation. This variation makes the game much more offensively oriented. Personally, I prefer being able to place pieces down either color side because it adds another strategic element to the game and allows for more defensive options. 5. Try the game with a larger board and more pieces a side. Can have the winning objective either four in a row, five in a row, or bigger.[...]Try Sophia and let me know what you think. Share it with friends, neighbors, enemies, pets, and your houseplants. I would be interested in hearing some suggestions, tips and winning strategies for the game. Let me know what you think of it. My current e-mail address is: richardhutnik@optonline.net.