Isn't that a nice picture? That's my kind of early education.

This is a blockade game I discovered relatively recently. I call it "the Vietnamese game". A blockade game is where each side moves until one side can not move.

This can be hard to nail down. Different rules out there, different games with these boards, almost always with capture and removal of pieces. Meanwhile people are using the Vietnamese language.


This has a rules explanation of sorts, starting at 1:54.

Players take turns moving a piece, until one player can not move and loses. If you move a piece and it goes between two adjacent enemy pieces, they are flipped over and become yours. If an enemy piece becomes completely blocked as a result of your move, the piece is flipped over and becomes yours.

This is a nice, original, humble game. I'm tickled by it, for now. I would describe it as cute. The Vietnam thing is certainly part of it.

When a piece switches from one player to another, it changes appearance by being flipped over. People use shells and bottle caps. I have marvelous pieces, tiny wood hearts that are black with one side red.

I have great pieces, but not a board. These guys make it look easy. I would get that. On the other hand .. no, those pieces aren't going to be flipped over. This is a different game. And .. ditto for the green picture above.

The game is from Vietnam, but it's really from the province of Quảng Nam, in central Vietnam. The game is called cờ gánh, but have fun pronouncing that. I call it the Vietnamese game. It's a good, simple game, but as it is a blockade game with a stable number of pieces, it can drone on forever. Maybe there's a reason you usually see games involving capture.


Watch the left player's second move. Isn't the piece at the top right blocked and should be flipped over? Argh.