Cameron Browne (c) 2007

Trugo is a boardless tile-laying game with Go-like capture. It involves a Waxing phase in which tiles are added and a Waning phase in which tiles are removed.


Equipment: Two players, White and Blue, share a common pool of 36 hexagonal tiles called trugo tiles. The front and back of each tile are half white and half blue, as shown below. In addition, each player has 25 stackable pieces of their colour.

Three rotations of a trugo tile.

Play: White starts by placing a tile in the middle of the playing area, oriented as they wish. Thereafter, players take turns making either a tile move or a piece move per turn, as described below. At the end of each turn, surrounded pieces are captured and removed from the board.

The game is in its Waxing phase while any pool tiles remain to be played. Once all pool tiles have been played, the halfway point has been reached and the game enters its Waning phase.

Tile Placement: While there are pool tiles remaining to be played (Waxing phase) the current player may place a pool tile adjacent to at least one existing tile, such that its edge positions and colours exactly match those of adjacent neighbours.

Each placement may create up to six junctions where the corners of three tiles meet. As each junction is created, a piece of that junction's colour is placed there. Note that each tile placement may add pieces of both colours.

The placement of tile 'a' adds three pieces to the board.

Tile Removal: If, on the other hand, there are no tiles left in the pool (Waning phase) then the current player may remove a tile from the board, provided that it has at least three consecutive free edges and its removal would not disconnect any remaining tiles.

If the tile being removed supports pieces on any of its corners then those pieces are also removed from the game. Tile removal is hence a way of capturing pieces.

The removal of tile 'b' removes two pieces from the game.

Piece Move: Instead of placing/removing a tile, the current player may instead move one of their unpinned pieces. The piece may move to any junction within its current region then optionally step to an adjacent junction of the other colour. The piece may not move over any intervening pieces, but it may land on a singleton piece (of either colour) which is pinned until the upper piece moves off it. No stack may exceed two pieces in height.

For example, the coloured dots in the following diagram show the legal moves for White piece a.

Possible moves for piece a.
Green dots are moves are within the same region.
Red dots are subsequent steps to adjacent junctions.

Note that partial junctions within the piece's region may be used as intermediate steps within a move, but do not constitute landing points.

Capture: At the end of each turn, any group of enemy pieces completely surrounded by friendly pieces on all adjacent junctions is captured and removed from the board. Surrounded enemy groups are captured first, then surrounded friendly groups are captured (pieces may commit suicide).

When a double stack is captured, the topmost piece is captured first. If the underlying piece is of the same colour then it is also captured, otherwise it survives. Capturing is therefore a way of releasing pinned pieces.

Move c surrounds the central Blue group to capture it. Note that the pinned White piece is released.

Aim: A player wins if the opponent has no remaining pieces at any point during the Waning phase. If a move removes all remaining pieces from the board, then the mover wins.

Strategy and Tactics

During the Waxing phase, groups with pieces adjacent to the board perimeter are temporarily safe from capture as they cannot be surrounded unless additional junctions are formed. However, such peripheral pieces can be captured once the game enters the Waning phase by simply removing the outer tiles that they lie on. There is hence a balance between keeping pieces away from the edges but keeping them safe from capture.

Landing on an enemy piece can be useful for pinning it and temporarily removing it from the game, especially if the player can later move off the pinned piece to capture it. Landing on a friendly piece can be useful for blocking a key point to stop the opponent crossing it. However, players should be careful that their double stacks do not get surrounded and captured!

Stepping to an adjacent junction is the only way for a piece to change regions.

The player leading on piece count will generally want to end the game as quickly as possible. Hence the leading player should remove tiles during the Waning phase, while the losing player should move pieces instead.

Moving a piece may be more beneficial than adding or removing a tile.


Trugo tiles and rules copyright (c) Cameron Browne, August 2007.

Trugo is named after its Truchet-like tiles and its Go-like surround capture rule. There is in fact an existing game called Trugo, but since this is a version of lawn bowls* played only by railway repair workers in a suburb of Melbourne, there should not be much confusion between the two games.

The number of tiles is based on the hexagonal spiral number 3n(n+1) = 0, 6, 18, [36], 60, 90...

Trugo can be played on Richard's PBeM server - check out the help file for more details. Please challenge me (camb) to a game any time.

* Correction by Trugo enthusiant John Gough: the game of Trugo played in Melbourne is more like a mixture of Quoits and backward-facing Croquet.

Home - Games

Site designed by Cameron Browne © 2007. Last modified 18/7/2007.