Can you find a bit of order amongst the chaos?
The fifth game of Project GIPF. For 2 players.
Sometimes you'll have the impression that there is nothing but
chaos on the board. You line up a few of your pieces-and the next
thing you notice is that they have changed color! The more pieces
on the board, the more difficult it becomes to predict what will
happen. But also the more opportunities you have! So don't worry:
you'll get your chance. Just stay alert, and you'll create your
own little bit of order in the chaos!
- 1 game board
- 5 white and 5 black rings
- 51 markers (white on one side, black on the other side)
- This rulebook
You and your opponent start the game each with 5 rings on the board.
You may remove a ring each time you form a row of 5 markers with
your color face up. You win the game when you have removed 3 of
your rings-in other words, to win you must form 3 rows of 5 markers
showing your own color.
Tip: if you prefer short and fast games, then play the blitz
version. See point J. at the end of these rules. That version is
also very suitable for learning how to play YINSH.
1. Place the board vertically between the players (i.e. so that
the lines that are marked with letters run from one player to the
other). Each player should have spaces for 3 rings on his side.
2. Draw lots to determine who begins. The starting player plays
"white" and takes the 5 white rings. The other player
takes the 5 black rings.
3. Put the markers next to the board so both players can easily
reach them. These markers are the "pool".
D. Starting position
1. You begin with an empty board.
2. First, you must bring your rings into play. You and your opponent
start putting them on the board, each in turn and one ring at a
time. The intersections constitute the playing area. You may put
a ring on any intersection you want, including on the edges.
3. When you have both put your 5 rings on the board, you have determined
the starting position. (See diagram 1 below.)
1: both players have placed their 5 rings on the board. Now the
E. Moving a ring
1. Each move starts by taking a marker from the pool.
2. Next, you must decide which of your rings you want to move. Put
the marker with your color face up in that ring, so that it occupies
the same space as the ring. (See diagram 2 below.)
2: a move. First you put a marker with your color face up in one
of your rings, next you move the ring. You only move the ring, not
3. Then you must move the ring in which you have put a marker according
to the following rules:
- When moving the ring, you leave the marker on its spot. (See diagram
- A ring must always move in a straight line and always to a vacant
- A ring may move over one or more vacant spaces.
- A ring may jump over one or more markers, regardless of color, as
long as they are lined up without interruption. In other words, if
you jump over one or more markers, you must always put your ring in
the first vacant space directly behind the markers you jumped over.
- A ring may first move over one or more vacant spaces and continue
with a jump over one or more markers. But, as stated above, after
jumping over one or more markers, it may not move over any more vacant
- A ring can only jump over markers, not over rings.
3: the indicated black ring may move to any of the marked spaces.
F. Flipping markers
1. If you moved your ring over vacant spaces without jumping over
any markers, your turn ends when you put the ring on its new spot
2. If you've jumped over one or more markers, you must flip all
those markers. This applies to both your own and your opponent's
markers. Thus, each white marker that is jumped becomes black and
each black marker becomes white! (See diagram 4.)
Note: do not flip markers while moving the ring; first move
the ring and then flip the markers.
3. Do not flip the marker that you've put in the ring before you
moved; that marker has not been jumped.
4. Markers can only be flipped; they cannot be moved.
4: the same situation as in Diagram 3, but now after black's move.
The black ring has jumped over 3 white and 2 black markers, so they
have been flipped. They now show the opposite color.
(Note that the marker that was put in the ring
has remained black!)
G. Forming a row / removing a ring
1. By moving rings and flipping markers you must try to form a row
of 5 markers that show your color. The 5 markers must be adjacent
and in a straight line. Rings do not count.
For the sake of clarity: hereafter, a row of 5 markers that show
the same color will simply be referred to as "a row".
2. If you form a row, you must take the 5 markers from the board
and put them back in the pool.
3. After removing a row, you must also remove one of your rings.
You must do so because you need a ring to indicate that you've formed
(and removed) a row. Choose any of your rings and put it on one
of the 3 spaces on your side of the board. (See diagram 5.)
5: Black has formed a row of 5 markers. First, he must put the 5
markers back in the pool. Next he must remove one of his rings and
put it in one of the spaces on his side of the board as an indication
that he has formed a row.
4. If you form a row of more than 5 markers, you may choose which
5 markers you'll remove-as long as they form an uninterrupted row.
(See diagram 6.)
5. It is possible to form 2 (or more) rows with only one move. If
these rows don't intersect, you must remove both and also remove
2 rings. If they do intersect, you may choose which row you'll take.
After having removed the row of your choice, the other row will
not be complete anymore and thus the remaining pieces stay on the
board. Now you remove only 1 ring. (See diagram 6.)
6. You may form a row for your opponent. In this case your opponent
must remove the row and a ring before he makes his move. He may
freely choose which of his rings he'll take.
7. If you form a row for yourself and a row for your opponent at
the same time, then you deal with your own row as normal, and next
your opponent must remove his row and a ring as described above.
Situation 1: Black may remove either of the two intersecting rows,
but no matter which row he takes, the remaining row will not be
complete any more. So this counts as only one row!
Situation 2: the black row contains 7 markers. Black may choose
which 5 markers he will remove, but he must choose 5 markers that
lie next to each other.
Situation 3: the row is not complete because the ring does not count
as a marker.
H. End of the game
1. The game ends as soon as a player has removed 3 rings from the
board. It means that he has formed 3 rows of 5 markers, so he is
2. If you make a move that forms both your own and your opponent's
third row, then you win since you may remove your third ring first.
3. If all the markers are placed on the board before a player has
won, then the player who removed the most rings wins. If both players
have removed the same number of rings, the game ends in a draw.
I. Be careful!
If you know how to play GIPF, you'll surely notice that GIPF and
YINSH have quite a few things in common. Forming rows and removing
them from the board are just two of them. Less obvious, but much
more significant once you've noticed it, is the "ambiguity"
that you can find in both games: what can be the right thing to
do in one situation, might very well be the worst thing to do in
another situation. When playing YINSH, you must be aware of that
fact, especially regarding the aim of the game. Forming a row of
5 markers brings you closer to victory, but it also costs you one
of your rings, and that of course restricts your possibilities for
the rest of the game. You could form a row for your opponent-so
that he's the one who must continue the game with one less ring-but
if you do so, it could well be that you have put him on the road
to winning the game. So the difference between a good and a bad
move depends entirely on the situation you're in. You must try to
find the delicate balance between taking the lead yourself and leaving
it temporarily to your opponent. And keep one thing in mind: it
is the third row that counts!
J. Blitz version
This is a short and very fast way of playing YINSH. You play exactly
as described above, but the aim is simpler: now you must form only
one row. So be the first to line up 5 markers of your color and
you win! That's it! Easy, don't you think?
Have lots of fun!