### Pebble Rebel

Pebble Rebel is a strategy game for two players. Each player has different goals and different ways of playing, but still get in each other's way.

» Thanks to Pete Figtree for coming up with the title!
» Original art source: Memo Angeles, Black Rhino Illustration and ensiferum

Setup
You need four sets of colored stones, fifteen stones in each set. Keep these stones in a bag or bowl nearby. The game board is a 6x6 grid. Arrange twelve stones on the board as shown below.

Turn Order
Two players take turns. One player is called Pebble. The other player is called Rebel. Pebble takes the first turn.

The Pebble
On her turn, she may move a stone on the board in straight horizontal or vertical lines as many times as she wishes to until the stone reaches its final destination. She may not pass through any occupied spaces along the way. Diagonal movement is also not allowed.

In the example above, Pebble moves the black stone down, then left. She is trying to build a line of black stones along the bottom of the board.

The Rebel
On his turn, he randomly draws a number of stones equal to the number of moves Pebble took. Then he places those stones on any unoccupied square.

In the example above, Rebel draws two stones because Pebble moved a stone twice. He then places those stones on the board. He chooses these spaces in particular to block Pebble's efforts.

Victory
If Pebble gets four stones of the same color in a row, horizontally or vertically, she wins. (Diagonal four-in-a-row does not count.)
If Rebel fills up the whole board, he wins.

The above example shows how Pebble or Rebel could win.

In the example on the left, Pebble succeeded in creating a four-in-a-row, thus winning the game.

In the example on the right, Rebel successfully filled up the board before Pebble could get four-in-a-row, thus winning the game.

Gameplay
Pebble's play style suits fans of puzzle games with randomized elements, like Tetris or Bejeweled, but against a much more clever computer. Pebble has to be sneaky, arranging a four-in-a-row using as few moves as possible.

Playing Rebel is great for button-mashers, "take that" players, and those who just choose tactics on a whim. Still, Rebel must be wary of placing stones where they might easily be used by Pebble.

Before the board fills up, there will probably be an obvious "checkmate" situation, in which it is clear Pebble cannot create four-in-a-row.

1. Gorgeous stones. Where'd you get 'em?

2. Question: I assume that to get four in a row, it has to be orthogonally, not diagonally?

3. Megan teaches beading classes so whenever she goes to bead shows or stores, I usually pick up some little game bits for myself, too.

And I actually haven't decided yet whether diagonal four-in-a-row counts. I am leaning towards "yes," since that will at least give Player 1 a little bit more mobility for sneak attacks. Needs a little more playtesting.

4. Hmmm... Whether diagonal wins are allowed is obviously best left to play-testing. The only downside would be a certain inconsistency between the movement rules and the win condition. But I don't think that really matters.

Anyway, the game sounds interesting. I'd like to give it a try. If I do, I'll report back.

5. Awesome, I'm eager to hear how it works out for you. :)

6. Very Interesting.
I love these little minimalist strategy games you come up with. I'm boggled by your ability to think of so many.

7. It doesn't come from a vacuum. A lot of it comes from playing around with games available online and figuring out how to simplify them so that they're playable analog. The transition usually creates a game distinct enough from its inspiration to be its own entity.

8. This one's looking very tight. I think you're honing your process.

You need to clarify, under "The Rebel", if he draws the stones randomly or gets to choose the colors of the stones.

9. Good catch. I've clarified that he does indeed randomly draw those stones. Also, I removed "may" since it is assumed the Rebel will draw as many stones as possible since his goal is to fill the board.

10. Also added a section on gameplay and simple strategies.

11. The Setup instructions say "Arrange fifteen stones stones on the board" but the picture shows twelve - I assume the text is the error?

12. You are correct! The text has now been edited. Thanks for catching that. :)

13. Hmmm... Whether diagonal wins are allowed is obviously best left to play-testing. The only downside would be a certain inconsistency between the movement rules and the win condition. But I don't think that really matters.

Anyway, the game sounds interesting. I'd like to give it a try. If I do, I'll report back.

14. It might be easier if the piece colors were more contrasting: for example white, black, red and blue.

15. "On her turn, she may move a stone on the board in straight horizontal or lines" - there seems to be a missing 'vertical'.

16. Corrected. Thanks!

17. Quite true. These are the bits I had on-hand. They have a nice naturalistic feel, but yeah a proper commercial game would need to be more contrasted.

18. I like this, played a few times and always seems a close game.

A few points:

When rebel draws stones, do they draw all of them and place them in an order that they choose or draw one, play it and repeat as required?

It's also possible (but unlikely) for the last stone rebel places to complete the board to also complete a 4-in-a-row for pebble. I guess this would be a draw.

19. Thanks so much for playing! I'm glad you enjoy it.

To your first question: I've played it as the Rebel grabbing all the stones at once and placing then as he wishes. This gives Rebel some strategic choices to make while speeding up his turn a bit. If you want to handicap the Rebel role a little, feel free to draw one-at-a-time.

To your second question: Yep, that would be a draw.

20. Seems very reminiscent of Eric Solomon's game of Entropy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(board_game)
Was that a source of inspiration?

21. At the time, my wife was playing a board game app called Fuzzle. It seemed pretty fun and I wanted to adapt it to a two-player analog experience for us to play together.

Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.