When you learn how to play a new strategy game, it often happens that you feel lost amidst the many possibilities. Don't let this discourage you. Give yourself a fair chance and after a few games you will notice that your play improves rapidly. Below you'll find a few tips to get you started. To have an optimal effect, we advise you to read them after you have played your first game, and once again a couple of games later.

Ten Tips for beginners

1.   The most important rule for beginners is: a turn always starts with putting a piece on a dot! By doing so -- and only then moving the pieces already in play -- you will more quickly recognize the possible movements of the pieces on the board.

If you are playing white and want to play e1-e4 on the e-diagonal, then don't put the new piece straight on e4. First put it on dot e1, next move the pieces on e3 and e2 one spot (one by one!), and next push the new piece onto e2. This is a habit you must get used to. It may seem like a detail, but it isn't. It helps understanding how pieces move across the board - and the best way to avoid that you forget to move the GIPF-pieces. (This is obligatory during tournaments, too.)

2.   There is no side of the board which you can consider as your side. Make use of the possibility to attack your opponent from all sides - and, of course, be conscious (and cautious!) of the fact that your opponent will do the same.

3.   When making a move on one side of the board, always look at what the consequences will be on the other side, too. If you don't, you will be confronted with unpleasant surprises…

4.   Playing GIPF starts with the notion that pieces in the play area are more dangerous and effective than pieces in reserve. Always try to keep as many pieces on the board as possible.

5.   Make use of the possibility to force your opponent to remove his own pieces (of course, if possible without losing a piece yourself). That way you weaken his position in the play area, which often creates better possibilities to attack his pieces that are still on the board.

Black established a double threat: he's attacking the GIPF-piece on d4 and the single piece on e6. If White puts a piece on dot g1 and pushes it into the game as indicated by the arrows, he forms a black row in the c1-i3 line. Black must remove 3 pieces and both attacks are neutralised.

6.   Keep in mind that taking pieces from the board implies that a number of occupied spots will no longer be occupied. This often causes new (and dangerous) openings.

White formed a row on the d-line and captures 1 black piece. But after having removed the row, spot d5 will be vacant again… Black will introduce a piece coming from dot a2 and capture the white GIPF-piece on f6.

7.   In the beginning of a game you should not bother too much about either your own reserve, nor your opponent's. The more pieces that are captured, the more important it becomes to keep a close eye on how many piece you and your opponent have each left in reserve. You'll notice that often the difference between winning and losing depends on having just one more piece in reserve than your opponent (which not always reflects how many pieces you captured and lost).

8.   Don't play with too many GIPF-pieces. 3 or 4 GIPF-pieces are a good number to start with. Introducing more GIPF-pieces gives you more attacking power, but it also means that you have less piecers in your reserve.

9.   The center of the board is important. Just a few GIPF-pieces on the central spots can be very powerful. But be careful: having pieces in the center often also means that they can be attacked from all sides -- especially after having made a capture, because that may implay that you lost part of your defence.

The 3 white GIPF-pieces in the center are strong, but fragile too. White has 2 possible captures, one on the d-line and the other on the e-diagonal. But… if White would decide to capture with his next move, he might be facing serious problems soon. Especially since the cluster of black pieces at the right will become dangerous in no time. So, White should think about his defense and forget about capturing right now.

10.   Don't be afraid to remove one of your GIPF-pieces from the board yourself. When you are a few pieces behind, it is easier for your opponent to make you run out of pieces than to capture your last GIPF-pieces. In particular in the final stage removing a GIPF-piece is a way to get more pieces back into your reserve.

White has only one piece left. He can recycle pieces on the b6-i2 line - and must take his own GIPF-piece, too. If he does so, he recycles 5 pieces and, even though he's 2 pieces behind, can try to make Black run out of pieces. If he doesn't, he only gets 3 pieces back into his reserve, meaning that Black still holds the last move…

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