Here are the basic rules thus far:
Each player has a set of 15 stones.
Each player, on their first turn, puts their stones on the table. The first two stones must not touch each other.
ON YOUR TURN
Put a stone on the table touching another stone. A stone cannot touch more than two other stones, so lines start growing across the table. Your stone will go at the end of one of these lines.
If a pair of stones is sandwiched between two stones of another color, that pair is removed from the table and returned to the player. You do NOT keep captured pieces. Any loose stones remaining after a capture can be the beginning of a new line.
The game ends when one player runs out of stones.
I wanted a 2-player abstract playable at a restaurant with the little sugar packets they usually have available. Usually, they'll have your choice of plain sugar and an artificial sweetener. But no board and no other gaming props available, so anything as complex as Hive won't work. I also want to avoid a dexterity game, since those tend to get messy and I'd hate to make a busser clean up after gamers. :P
The mechanics right now show interesting emergent properties, like creating organic lines across a table. Also, pieces you capture end up back in possession of your opponent. With limited supply of stones, this could be interesting strategic tension.
I haven't quite figured out a good victory condition, though. Perhaps these mechanics should change, too.
Thoughts on a good victory condition or something to make this a little more interesting?