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Joined: 12/15/2013

Zoka (pronounced Zocka)

A board game you are welcome to enjoy and produce. If you like Backgammon you will probably like this. The interplay of skill and chance is similar and once you get the hang of it, it also quite dynamic. The strategies though are many and varied and, although easy to learn, it may take a while to master the game.
See the attached file for the suggested board and pieces.

The Start (2 player game)

The 12 pieces of both players are turned upside down and shuffled, then placed in a line. Turn over the first piece. The player with the highest Scorer starts. If there is no result, turn over the next piece and so on until the person to start is clear.

The Point

To win the game a player has to protect the highest value of their own Scorers. Scorers are protected by the edge of the board and a line of Zokers between them and the opponent – diagonals are irrelevant.

The Play - Initial

In every turn players have a choice of turning over another piece, placing one on the board, moving one on the board, or passing. If a piece is placed on the board it can be placed in any vacant square except for one immediately adjacent to any of the opponent’s pieces. To start with both Zokers and Scorers can only move one square at a time. Scorers don’t do much. Zokers protect the player’s Scorers and strike an opponent’s Scorers along horizontal and vertical lines where there is no Zoker in the way. Zokers can’t attack Zokers. If a Zoker and an opponent’s Scorer come to be immediately adjacent the Scorer is Held by the Zoker until the Zoker moves away. Or, the choice may be at some time to eliminate the Scorer. A Zoker is taken off the board after a strike and placed in an area beside the board called Exchange. The Scorer eliminated is placed in the attacker’s pieces area off the board and its value is added to that player’s final score.

When a piece is moved that move cannot be reversed in the player’s next turn.

The Play – Enhanced

There is a second stage to the game. Once a player has perfectly protected one or more Scorers i.e. no opponents Zoker can possibly attack it or them, that player’s pieces have enhanced abilities.

Zokers have enhanced mobility in that they can move any number of squares in one direction until they come up against another Zoker, the edge of the board or a Scorer. Or, it can in that turn eliminate the Scorer as in the initial game. Zokers also have enhanced power in that they can eliminate a second Scorer in that line of movement as long as there are no Zokers in the way. That can include one of the player’s own Scorers if necessary.

Scorers also have enhanced ability in that they now can jump over their own Zokers into a protected vacant space. They also now have exchange ability. They can be swapped with any of that player’s Scorers or Zokers in the Exchange area. An exchange is counted as a turn. It cannot happen if a Scorer is Held.

A player loses these enhancements if there are no Scorers perfectly protected.

The End

The game is over when a player places the last piece on the board and the other player has one more turn.

The Score

Add the values of all protected Scorers plus the value of the opponent’s eliminated Scorers.

3 and 4 Player Games

Most rules are the same as for the two player game.

Three and four player games can be played as a solo against two or a solo against three.

In both, the first player to place a piece on the board is the solo player and immediately gets another turn and continues to have two turns and the other players one. Before the game starts the players have to decide which way around the board the players have their turn. The two or three players together can place their pieces on the board adjacent to each other and build combined protection if they choose to do it that way. Their score is the combined score.
There is another way to play the three and four player game, one against two, or two against two as determined before the game starts.

The Future of Zoka

These rules work well but there may be improvements.

It is hoped that anyone producing the game will retain the name and acknowledge the creator. Let’s keep it consistent and fun.

Jed Stuart

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