Teeko Advanced – extension of John Scarne’s greatest work

I have already wrote about perfect game of Teeko. It’s rules are simple, but it requires  complex strategies. And if you played Teeko and it seems too easy for you, you can always try more advanced variant of this game called… well… Teeko Advanced. It can be played with a regular Teeko set, but modified rules create new opportunities and traps.

Teeko is a masterpiece of John Scarne, prominent expert on games and games designer. Scarne not only designed game of Teeko. He wanted to promote it as a serious mind sport that would be treated equally with games like Chess or Checkers. For some reason he was not successful, but Scarne’s plans were quite refined.

Teeko Advanced was an important element of this plan – more demanding, more “scientific” Teeko variant. It does not differ greatly from the “standard Teeko”. It just introduces new types of winning positions. Standard Teeko game can be won by forming one of 44 positions, while in Teeko Advanced there are 58 winning positions.

In special booklet on Teeko Advanced Scarne wrote that Teeko is “more scientific than Chess or Checkers”. I think it’s exaggeration and it’s not reasonable to compare “scientific level” or “hardness” of non-trivial games. In fact it’s even unreasonable to compare a “hardness level” of Teeko and Teeko Advanced. Different games are different and that’s all.

Regardless of this Teeko Advanced is a great game, as worthy as Chess, Checkers or Go. I think all games lovers should try standard and advanced Teeko. So… what are the rules!

Teeko Advanced- rules of the game

General rules

Teeko Advanced is a game for two players, played on a 5×5 board, with eight pawns, with no element of luck. Players make their moves alternatively. They try to form winning positions.

Board and pieces

To play Teeko Advanced you need a board like this on the image below. It consists of 25 circular fields connected with horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. The image below shows the traditional version of the board as designed by John Scarne.

teeko--plansza-standard

In addition you need 4 black pieces and 4 red pieces to play. In Teeko pieces are called “Markers”.

Phase I of the play – placing pieces

At the beginning of the game there are no pieces on the board. Players draw lots to determine who plays the opening move (this player usually plays with black pieces). After the opening move players take turns alternately.

In the first phase of the game players only put their pieces (Markers) on the board. One Marker can stand on one field. After this first phase of the game there are 8 pieces on the board – 4 black and 4 red.

The image below shows one possible position after completion of the first phase.

teeko-standard-rozgrywka

It’s possible to win a game in this phase but usually this does not occur. If no player wins, the game moves on to the second phase.

Phase II of the play – moving pieces

When all the pieces are on the board, players make moves. In one turn player can move one Marker to the adjacent free field. The move can be made vertically, horizontally or diagonally (over one of the lines connecting fields).

The image below shows possible moves of black and red Marker.

teeko-standard-ruchy

Note: the picture above shows only two pieces as examples, but during the second phase of a normal game there are always 8 markers on the board. There is no capturing in Teeko.

There is no possibility to pass a move.

Aim of the game

The aim of the game is to arrange Markers to form a wining position (so-called Teeko). In Teeko Advanced there are 58 wining positions divided into 5 groups – vertical lines, horizontal lines, diagonal lines, small squares and extended squares

Vertical line is formed by 4 markers of the same color arranged in a row running up or down. Below you can see two examples of vertical lines. On the left image the line is formed by red markers and on the right image the line is formed with a black pieces. In Teeko there are 10 possible vertical lines.

teeko-standard-linia-pionowa

Horizontal line is formed by 4 markers of the same color arranged in a row running from left to right. Below you can see two examples of horizontal lines. On the left image the horizontal line is formed with red markers and on the right image horizontal line is formed with black pieces. In Teeko there are 10 possible horizontal lines.

teeko-standard-linia-pozioma

Diagonal line is formed by 4 pieces of the same color arranged in a row running diagonally right to left or diagonally left to right. Below you can see two examples of diagonal lines. On the left image the diagonal line is formed with red markers and on the right picture diagonal line is formed with black markers. In Teeko there are 8 possible diagonal lines.

teeko-standard-ukosna

Small square is formed by 4 markers of the same color located on the 4 adjacent fields forming a square. Two examples are shown below. On the left image the square is formed with a red markers and on the right image with black markers. In Teeko there are 16 possible squares.

teeko-standard-kwadrat

Extended square is formed by 4 markers of the same color located on four corners of a square larger than a small square. Extended square can be The Big Square (25-fields square), or 16-fields square or 9-fields square. It’s best to explain this on examples.

The Big Square is formed when 4 markers are set on 4 corners of the board. Such Markers are in fact vertices of a square consisting of 25 fields. This is also a wining position in Teeko Advanced, and note there is  only one winning position of this type on the game board.

teeko-kwadrat25

Next image shows example 16-fields square. You can see black Markers located on the corners of 4×4 square. There are four possible winning positions of this type on the Teeko board.

teeko-kwadrat16

The last type of extended square is 9-fields square. You can see it below – red Markers are located on the corners of 3×3 square. There are nine possible winning positions of this type on the Teeko board.

teeko-kwadrat9

Teeko Advanced vs standard Teeko

If you have compared Teeko Advanced and standard Teeko rules, you’ve probably noticed the differences. In Advanced Teeko you can win by forming lines, small squares or extended squares. In the standard Teeko only lines and small squares are winning positions.

This small difference really changes a lot. In the standard Teeko player must hold his Markers together. In Teeko Advanced your opponent can be dangerous even if his Markers are scattered around the board.

In addition John Scarne has introduced another important feature to Teeko Advanced. It is a…

…scoring with varied values for positions

In John Scarne’s opinion Teeko players should compete by playing matches consisting of several games. And – as for Teeko Advanced – Scarne created a scoring system with different numbers of points for each type of winning position.

  • 1 point for a game won by forming a 16-fields square,
  • 2 points for a game won by forming a 9-fields square,
  • 3 points for a game won by forming a small square,
  • 4 points for a game won by forming a line,
  • 5 points for a game won by forming the Big Square (25-fields square).

Scarne proposed to play matches to certain number of points (for example 20 pts). And this scoring system can be used with handicap. A weaker player can receive certain number of points in advance  to have a chance of winning against a stronger one. For example in 20 points match weaker player receives 5 points and he can win by scoring only 15 points.

John Scarne ambitions

Teeko’s father had greater ambitions! John Scarne has developed a variety of additional scoring systems, for teams or with bonus points. And remember he has developed several variants of Teeko, not just standard and advanced version of game.

Unfortunately Teeko was not lucky to become popular mind sport. But it could have been! Maybe it will change some day? I encourage everyone to explore Teeko.

Read also my articles on similar games

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