Abalone rules game rules – how to play abalone

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor


Abalone is a fun and strategic game designed for two players. It’s a game of tactics and planning, similar to checkers and chess. The objective is to push six of your opponent’s marbles off the board using your own. Can you outwit your opponent and claim victory?

Now, let’s dive into the basic Abalone rules and explore some exciting variations.


Okay, here’s how you play Abalone. Pay attention because it’s actually pretty cool!

First things first, let’s set up the gameboard. Put it right in the middle of your playing area. Now, you and your opponent need to arrange your marbles. One of you will take the white marbles, and the other will take the black ones. Place your marbles in a way that they fill up the two back rows and three spots in the middle of the third row on your side. Got it?

Once you’ve both got your marbles set up like I just described, it’s time to kick things off! In the standard Abalone rules, the player with the black marbles gets to go first. Makes sense, right?

Now, I’m going to tell you how to actually play the game:

When it’s your turn, you get to move your marbles. Here’s the deal: you can move a single marble one space, or you can move an entire column of marbles that are the same color. A column can have either two or three marbles right next to each other. Oh, and when you move a column, all the marbles in that column move in the same direction. Pretty cool, huh?

Whenever I play the marble game, I always make sure to think my moves through. It may seem tempting to constantly push my opponent’s marbles off the board, but that strategy can backfire. Let me explain. If I use two of my marbles to knock one of my opponent’s marbles off the board, I’m left with one of my marbles right on the edge, vulnerable to being pushed off easily.

Here’s a Tip: Sumito

Now, here’s a little trick called Sumito. Imagine this: my column of marbles is facing another player’s column, and they have fewer marbles. In this situation, I have the advantage! The column with more marbles can push the other column by just one space. It doesn’t matter how the marbles are arranged, only three marbles can be moved at a time. So, let’s say I have three marbles lined up in a row, and my opponent has only one marble in that same line. That’s when I have the Sumito, or advantage.

We continue playing like this, taking turns and moving our marbles, until one of us successfully pushes six marbles off the board.

Abalone Rules: Simplified for Easy Understanding

Let me guide you through the important rules of Abalone, the exciting game of marbles.

Rule 1: Strategic Moves

You can only move an opponent’s marble if there’s an open space or the board’s edge aligns with it. So be smart and plan your moves!

Rule 2: The Edge of the Board

Once you push a marble to the edge of the board, it’s out of the game. So be careful not to let your marbles get trapped!

Rule 3: Single Marbles Can’t Push

A single marble can’t push an opponent’s marble. You need backup to make things move!

Rule 4: Moving Marbles

You can move up to three marbles in a single turn. Use your combinations wisely!

Rule 5: Outpacing Opponents

If you want to push an opponent’s marble, you must have more marbles aligned than they do. Numbers matter!

Rule 6: Stay Alert

Always keep an eye on your board. Be strategic and anticipate your opponent’s moves!

Rule 7: Think Ahead

Before making any moves, think about the consequences and where your marbles will end up. Plan for success!

Tips for Playing Abalone

When playing Abalone, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to maximize your chances of winning. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Try to move your marbles in groups of 2 or 3 at a time. This strategy will reduce the risk of leaving your marbles isolated and vulnerable.

How to Win

The game of Abalone ends when you manage to push six marbles off the board. Whoever successfully pushes the sixth marble off is declared the winner!

Adding More Players

If you want to add more excitement to your game of Abalone, try these variations that allow for more players:

To accommodate up to six players, you can modify the game board accordingly, creating a diverse and competitive gaming experience.

Abalone rules game rules - how to play abalone

When you add players to a game of abalone, each player’s number of marbles will decrease.


In three-player abalone, every player receives 11 marbles. You will place the marbles on the board the same way as in standard abalone, but without the top 3 marbles. In this variation, you can push two marbles of a different color with 3 marbles of the same color. The first player to push six marbles out, not counting their own, wins.


In six-player abalone, you get six marbles and place them in a triangle shape in the center of your starting side of the board. There will be three teams, and each player’s teammate sits across from them. The goal and rules in this variation are the same as in standard abalone.

Hi there! I’m Amber (They/Them), an Austin-based writer and gaming enthusiast. I consider myself a gaming master, and I have a deep love for dogs, plants, and D&D.

Leave a Comment