Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Colorito» Forums » General

Subject: Introduction into this forgotten abstract gem of 1892 rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
southwest
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is an introduction into the specific world of the "coloured abstract" Colorito. I don`t know any other game, in which the board consists of coloured patterns connected to pieces of two colours for each opponent, making the movements very special.

Historical background:
Jumping as an important way of moving pieces was established by Checkers, but games with the additional goal of "crossing the board" have their own first main period: Between 1883 and 1900 several "crossing games" were invented and published, using some similar mechanisms, but all with important twists.
In 1883, George Howard Monks developed Halma
, in which 13 (4 players) or 19 (2 players) pieces have to cross the 16 x 16 board diagonally. They can move or jump in 8 directions, several jumps in one move are allowed.
It was followed by Chinese Checkers
, the most popular one worldwide, in 1892 under its original name "Stern-Halma" (Star Halma). Here the pieces can only move into 6 directions.
In 1892, Colorito
was copyrighted and added colours to a 10 x 10 board and numbers on the pieces, which were individuals this way, each aiming for a single goal space. Steps, jumps and the combination of both ... well, we will see more later.
1899, Konrad Büttgenbach created Salta
, simplifying this again. Only on the black spaces of a 10 x 10 board there are only 4 directions to move and 2 to jump, thus forced. Numbers were changed into symbols and the success was immense. International tournaments, clubs worldwide ... its popularity didnt`survive WWI, though.
In 1900, as a kind of "afterglow", Rex
tried to combine the crossing with some "Chess" feeling, but although the pieces had different values, they moved the same, and only two directions were possible. Unfortunately, the more special grid and the pieces always moving from a "dangerous" space to a "safe" one, was not for the benefit of gameplay.

Colorito - "research" situation
Right now, the original rules are not available - only half of them can be seen in the BGG image gallery. I will try to have a look at the 1892 document at the British Library in September and to the 1920`s copy of the game at the V&A museum of Childhood. So far, a Dutch article at Wikipedia contained the rules for a later Dutch version, "Robijn". They might be more or less the same, but the 1920`s rules suggest two different possibilities of setup, which might be very interesting, but this part is missing in "Robijn. See the Geeklists and forum threads for more details. I always refer to the "Dutch rules" from now on in this article.

The rules - so far
The basic concept is a setup of pieces from 1 - 10 in one colour and 11 - 20 in a second colour for each player, set up on two rows of numbered white spaces at the opposing sides of the board. In between is the "main section" with coloured spaces. The goal is to cross the board and end with each piece on the matching space on the opposite side. The straight line between start and end always leads through the central point of the board.

The main rules:
1. Pieces only rest on white or same-coloured spaces.
2. Pieces may move in 8 directions.


Moves:
1. Step. The piece moves to an adjacent space.
Note: This is only possible on the white spaces or from a white space onto a matching coloured space.
2. Jump. The piece jumps over any single other piece to land on a free space directly behind this. Several jumps in one move and changing directions allowed, but the end has to be a white or same-coloured space.
3. Step-Jump: FIRST a step, THEN a jump, together a single move.

Note: Of course, this also is not possible without having white spaces involved at the start.*(see footnote below) As one can see, you can cross the main section only by jumping.

First overview:
The freedom of movement (any direction) combined by the patterns of same-coloured, available spaces and pieces used for jumping create an outstanding combinatorial challenge. As in other games of the "crossing" genre, there are 3 phases:
Phase 1: Preparing for the confrontation. Get your pieces into good positions for further play.
Phase 2: Confrontation. Use the opponents` pieces for jumping and block them at the same time.
Phase 3: Endgame. Once seperated after the confrontation, get your pieces to the correct spaces with the least number of moves.

The game in play

I took a couple of photos in a game "Me against Myself" and use these for introducing the gameplay and beauty of this game. Red and Green played against Yellow and Blue, so the colours were distributed as in "Robijn" - the two colours of each player not "lined-up" in the main section.



Here, the beginning of phase 1 can be seen. Each player uses different possibilities, able to get a piece into the main section each move.
It is questionable, if this is always the best strategy. Maybe a jump all along the width of the white area to sit straight across the goal would also be nice for pieces placed at the sides (1, 2, 11 and so on).




Some possible basic moves in Phase 1, mostly pretty obvious, but which will be the best ones in the long run?

After turn 12 I missed counting. I just alphabetise the moves from now on - so consider small to larger gaps between them.




Phase 2 starts by using an opponents` piece for a jump.



A kind of "ladder", using also white spaces for jumps. A move in 7 sub-moves - things like this this speed up the game immensely.



As you can see, "speeding up" is not rare, but rather standard ...



One of my favourite moves in this game. Seven sub-moves for the "20" to make almost the whole way from start to end - even further - combining all possibilities.



A good example for a rather "not so obvious" move. Stepping backwards first, jumping on white to reach a different "starting position" for crossing the main section. 7 sub-moves again here.



Several situations may occur, where players have to "go back" and save some "straggler" from isolation. In the first picture you can see a whole "Isolated line" of six pieces. None of them is able to move. Obviously, my moves were not the best - otherwise I wouldn`t have lost contact! Sometimes it might be better not to go "all the way" but stop in the main section to create a pattern you can "roll up" from behind.
Phase 3 starts, when the Players` pieces are seperated and probably will not use each other for jumping again (second picture).
Close to the end, the game speeds up again - not influenced by the opponent you plan your "homecoming" and endgame becomes a kind of competitive solitaire game. I managed to finish for both sides in exactly the same number of moves - well, both players were equally skilled, I guess.

Conclusion:
Having created my own board and pieces before playing, I was unsure, if this would be worth the trouble. I can assure you - it was! Most similar to Salta (10 x 10 grid, fixed starting and ending spaces, moves and jumps ...), this tops the game so much more famous. The feel of Colorito is absolutely "modern". The well balanced patterns make up a near perfect brain pain fun.

The next steps for me would be:
- Foreseeing some consequences of moves, including the possibilities for my opponent - so blocking becomes a real option.
- Looking forward several turns.
- Avoid "back moves" to save pieces from isolation.
- Find favourite openings and counter-moves, making this all more strategical than tactical.
- Solve the mysteries of he original rules, the passage about the different setup (colours of each player "in line") and create a "final" ruleset.
- Write a book about this!

Feel free to find more (better?) moves in the pics above and refer to them using the letters.

The board is available here
to be printed at the size you want - matching the 40 counters you can easily cut out of cardboard (they can be squares, you know?).

And then - go ahead!

Edited for some mistakes Pinook corrected - thanks.

* Edit after having read the original rules at the British Library:

I have played it more hard than intended. If you do first a step and then a jump in one move, the step can be on any adjacent free space - no matching colour required!

I will try both - it will be quicker and easier that way ...
10 
 Thumb up
1.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
lotus dweller
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
Congratulations Daniel, that is a great report. From the other crossing games of that time to your discussion of how it works with the Dutch rules I was thrilled.
I'll get my Colorito board back on the table and try out this authentic Dutch rule set.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
southwest
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pinook suggested (and I thought about it, too) to create a nomenclature fixed "from now on" to report played games, like in chess: b3 - c5 ...

We will work something out and go further with that. This would make PBEM possible, etc. - fantastic!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
southwest
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Latest news: After having researched the original rules, created two variants (one lighter, one heavier) and designed a different board (setup equal for both players, and only one number per numbered space) to fit into the nestorgames format, it is now re-published:

http://www.nestorgames.com/

Thanks, Nestór!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
moreton khris
msg tools
I have been playing this game for sixty years and still have one original board and pieces - the standard set.

At least one deluxe set still exists - it belongs to my son.

We play it in our local pub - who said the game was forgotten?
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
southwest
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is fantastic news! Well, in these days, if you cannot find recent copies, not many references via the internet and so on, games are called "forgotten".

Tell us more, show pictures, whatever!

I am very intrigued and curious about what you can tell us.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
lotus dweller
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
khrischard wrote:
I have been playing this game for sixty years and still have one original board and pieces - the standard set.

At least one deluxe set still exists - it belongs to my son.

We play it in our local pub - who said the game was forgotten?

Welcome khrischard. Any info you have about this game, including where its currently played, how many play it in your estimation, how your rules compare to the old rules that we have gathered here on BGG and thoughts on strategy, will be read thoroughly and much appreciated.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Néstor Romeral Andrés
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
duchamp wrote:
This is fantastic news! Well, in these days, if you cannot find recent copies,...

Not any more



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
moreton khris
msg tools
Competitive Colorito
We have had a hard night in The Feathers tonight - the game was played both ways - blue/pink against yellow/brown and pink/brown against yellow/blue - the latter calls for greater technical skills.

Certainly the standard of blocking tonight was higher than for some weeks - leading to longer - and considerably more attritious- games.

Five games five wins - I regard as a good night - however my son is in London next weekend and that may seriously test me - but I believe with his new daughter and recent move I hope he will be out of practice.

Chris
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
southwest
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's great to hear something from you - I would still LOVE to see a photograph of your son's deluxe version!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
moreton khris
msg tools
We also play it with both combinations of colours - as was originally intended - yellow and blue v green and red - it is a totally different game - and many regard it as much more skilful.

Been a hard week this week - eleven games - and was beaten once.

Chris
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
moreton khris
msg tools
will see what I can do the next time I see him - there used to be on on the V and A Museum website

Chris
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls