Cameron Browne
Vasco is a tile placement game of path completion for two players.


Equipment: Two players, Red and Blue, share a common pool of 54 triangular tiles. The front and back faces of each tile have a red arc and a blue arc that overlap at one edge. The arc colours on the front and back are inverted.

Figure 1.  Front and back of a Vasco tile.

The three tile edges are each met by a path end of a different colour: red, blue and purple (red+blue).

Start: Red places a tile of their choice in the middle of the playing area to start the game.

Play: Players then take turns adding a tile of their choice such that all tiles form a single connected group and all path ends exactly match position and colour with their neighbours after the move. For example, Figure 2 shows an opening move a by Red (left) and a typical reply b by Blue (right).

Figure 2.  A typical opening sequence.

Auto Moves: It is allowed to place tiles corner-to-corner with existing tiles provided that at least one of the concave gaps thus created can be filled by forced placements. Tiles are automatically placed at any position at which only one possible tile rotation can be placed.

For example, Figure 3 shows move c that creates acute gap d and obtuse gap {e + f}, resulting in those positions being filled with the appropriate tile faces in the appropriate rotations (right).

Figure 3.  Move c results in three auto tile placements.

The fact that tile d is forced is obvious. The fact that the two tiles filling e and f are also forced is less obvious, but should become clear when you consider that no other pair of tile rotations can be placed there.

This example demonstrates a general rule of thumb: Any gap with a concave angle enclosed by two path ends of different colour constitutes a forced move; one tile for 60° gaps and two tiles for 120° gaps.

In no event may a tile be placed to create any point enclosed by two path ends of the same colour, as such a point would be unplayable. Figure 4 shows such an illegal move.

Figure 4.  An illegal move.

Aim: A player wins by completing a closed loop of their colour, of any size. Red and blue paths pass continuously through purple sections.

Figure 5.  A win for Blue.

If a move completes closed loops for both players then the owner of the longest closed loop loses, else the game is a draw if tied for length.

If the tiles run out before either player completes a closed loop then the owner of the longest path loses, else the game is a draw if tied for length.


While learning the game, players may accidentally make illegal moves such as those shown in Figure 4. It is sporting to let those players take the offending tile(s) back and make a different move. Advanced players, however, may wish to enforce a less forgiving rule that a player making an illegal move must remove the offending tile(s) and lose their turn.

The default number of tiles is 54 as this number allows all tiles to be placed within a hexagonal shape according to the formula f(n) = 6*n*n.

Three-Player Version: Vasco might work with a third arc (green?) per tile face - or it might not.


Vasco rules by Cameron Browne and copyright © Cyberite Ltd 2008.

The name “Vasco” refers to the fact that the networks of red and blue paths which form look like diagrams of the human vascular system found in medical texts.

Vasco 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.

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