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project GIPF


Project GIPF consists of 6 abstract, 2-player games all designed by Kris Burm.

The following games are part of project GIPF:

The game known as TAMSK is being replaced in project GIPF (1)
  1. GIPF (1997)
  2. TAMSK (1998)
  3. ZÈRTZ (1999)
  4. DVONN (2001)
  5. PÜNCT (2005)
  6. YINSH (2003)
  7. TZAAR (2007)

PÜNCT was actually the 5th game of the project even though it was released after YINSH, the last game of the project.

TAMSK was replaced in Project GIPF by TZAAR, with its debut at Spiel 2007. The correct order of the project now remains somewhat unclear.



At the most basic level, the term potentials is just a fancy term for the pieces that act as expansions to GIPF, and provide special powers. There are even ways to connect the different games in the project through the use of potentials, samples of these can be found in some of the other games, but if you're serious about including them in your game of GIPF, you'll need GIPF Project Set 1, GIPF Project Set 2, and/or GIPF Project Set 3. One way to play with them is to require you to win their corresponding game in order to activate the powers, but as with all the games in this series, Kris Burm suggests several "levels" of play, and this is just one of them.

What's in the GIPF Project Sets

  1. GIPF Project Set 1
    • 6 TAMSK Potentials for each player
  2. GIPF Project Set 2
    • 6 DVONN Potentials for each player
    • 6 ZÈRTZ Potentials for each player
    • 12 ZÈRTZ rings (to enable playing ZÈRTZ on a larger initial hexagonal field)
  3. GIPF Project Set 3
    • 6 YINSH Potentials for each player
    • 6 PÜNCT Potentials for each player
    • 3 extra GIPF pieces for each player (to enable playing "Ultimate GIPF")

What do the potentials do?

First and foremost, the potentials are all expansions to GIPF. Agree whether to use them, like you would any expansion to any game. A common misconception is that using the potentials means you must interrupt your game of GIPF to play a game of TAMSK in order to see if you can use the TAMSK-potential (for instance). That is merely one option for how to use the potentials - and the most advanced and slow-to-play option, at that. The most practical application of the potentials is merely to use them as a simple GIPF-enhancement. That being said, there are several things to understand about how you employ potentials.

In general

  • The normal pieces you use to play GIPF are called basic pieces. These are the only pieces you use in the basic rules of GIPF.
  • Any piece you put atop a basic piece to grant it optional powers is called a potential.
  • A basic piece with a potential on it is called a loaded piece.
    • You assemble a loaded piece before it goes onto the board.
    • You may not put basic pieces into play until all your loaded pieces are in play.
    • Only basic pieces return to play. In other words, a loaded piece that is captured (by you or your opponent) loses its potential ability.
    • Captured potentials leave the game.
    • When a loaded piece is part of a row that will be captured, you may leave it on the board. (Generally, you will want to take your opponent's loaded pieces, though.)
    • The exception to that rule is that a row of four or more loaded pieces must be broken by removing at least one loaded piece from it.
  • Once a potential is no longer part of a loaded piece, it is treated like a basic piece - except that it leaves the game upon capture.

Potential powers

The GIPF-piece is introduced in the standard rules for GIPF, and carries with it an extra requirement for survival: You must also keep at least one of your GIPF-pieces (uncovered) in play. Its composition is two basic pieces, one atop the other. Let's think of it as a basic piece with a "GIPF-potential". In those [unofficial] terms, a GIPF-piece has two special powers:
  • A row of four GIPF-pieces may remain on the board, unlike the other loaded pieces.
  • If you capture your own GIPF-piece, instead of the "GIPF-potential" leaving the game, it returns to your supply as a humble basic piece. So, that means you get back both basic pieces that form the GIPF-piece.

The "TAMSK-piece", when it is pushed into the center spot, grants its owner an extra move on her turn. Its owner must take the TAMSK-potential off the piece, and may move the TAMSK-potential into play as an additional move during her turn.
Note: Kris Burm declared that there will not be a TZAAR potential. "The TAMSK potential will remain part of Project GIPF—say, in memory of TAMSK. To link TZAAR to GIPF, you use the TAMSK-potential." (2)

The ZÈRTZ-potential may leap off of a "ZÈRTZ-piece" over one or more adjacent pieces, landing in the first open spot still in play. This counts as a whole move.

The DVONN-potential may step off of a "DVONN-piece" onto an adjacent piece of your opponent: either a basic piece, or one with your opponent's DVONN-potential on top of it. This counts as a whole move.
  • If a capture occurs in which the top DVONN-potential does not match the color of the components below it, strip the DVONN-potential off the top of that particular piece, and leave the rest of the piece.

The PÜNCT-potential may step off of a "PÜNCT-piece" onto an adjacent piece of your opponent: either a GIPF-piece, or one with your opponent's PÜNCT-potential on top of it. This counts as a whole move.
  • If the PÜNCT-potential steps onto your opponent's GIPF-piece, remove the PÜNCT-potential from the game, and then cover the GIPF-piece with either a basic piece from your supply, or a new GIPF-piece constructed from two basic pieces from your supply.

The YINSH-potential may "slide" off of a "YINSH-piece" along a straight line, traversing one or more empty spaces. This counts as a whole move.


There are a number of microbadges for fans of Project GIPF, which can be bought here:


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