Fighting Serpents


40 - 60
# Strategy
# Abstract
# Fighting serpents
# Latin
# Capture
# action selection
# Jump
# set-up
# Social
# Tactics

How to set-up

1. Fighting Serpents is played on an oblong shaped board with three parallel lines of spaces connected by lines to indicate permitted moves. The outer two spaces at the apex of the oblong are also joined by lines to allow pieces to move around the board.

2. Each player starts with 23 BEADs the colour of their choice.

3. BEADs are placed on the row of 16 spaces closest to the player and the remaining 7 BEADs are placed on the player’s right of the middle row, leaving the middle space empty and 2 spaces on either end of the board empty.

4. Players decide who begins the game by rolling a die.

How to play

1. The first player must move a BEAD onto the middle space, which will be captured by their opponent.

2. In turns, each player moves one BEAD along the marked lines to an adjacent empty space.

3. Players capture BEADs by jumping over an opponent’s BEAD and landing on an empty point beyond it, following the lines on the board.

4. Captures can be chained together if, upon jumping over an opponent’s BEAD and capturing it, the player is adjacent to another BEAD with an empty point beyond.

5. Players must capture a BEAD if the move is available, however they can choose to stop a capture chain at any point, ending their turn.

6. Captured BEADs are removed from the board.

How to win

1. To win the game, a player must capture all their opponent’s BEADs.

2. If capturing all an opponent’s BEADs is not possible, the player with the most BEADs or the player who can block their opponent so that they cannot make a move is the winner.


1. Fighting Serpents is a rough translation of "Kolowis Awithlaknannai", a game of the Zuni Indians of New Mexico. The game is a modification of the game Alquerque which was brought to the New World by the Spaniards.

2. The Spanish are thought to have brought the game of Alquerque to America several centuries ago, and the game's development may have been influenced, however there is no conclusive proof.

3. Furthermore, the board is neither an n x n square board or an Alquerque board. The board's length far exceeds its width. To say the least, Fighting Serpents is a unique variant. The game is actually more related to Alquerque than Draughts, because pieces can move in any direction from the start of the game, and there is no back row or promotion to King. Moreover, the board is made up of linear patterns instead of squares.