Tuesday 8 May 2018

Abalone Game Review for Asmodee (age 7+)

Our latest review for Asmodee and the Blogger Board Game Club is Abalone. Devised in 1987 by Michel Lalet and Laurent Lévi, Abalone is a 2-player strategy board game which is incredibly simple and quick to learn, but very difficult to master.

Inside the hexagonal box are the board, instructions and 2 sets of 14 coloured marbles - white and black.

The board is specially shaped with indented holes where the marbles sit, channels for them to move along and a moat around the edge which is the marble equivalent of the pit of doom...

Players start with all of their marbles at their edge of the board, and the aim is stay on it.

Abalone is played by moving either 1, 2 or 3 of your own marbles at once in a single direction. Your marbles can push your opponents marbles, as long as you push with at least 1 more than them, and if one falls into the moat, that marble is removed from play.

A player's aim is to shove all of the opponents pieces from the board into the moat. It sounds simple but the better you get, the harder it becomes. This is a strategy game in a similar way to Chess or Draughts, with long-standing roots in Hoppity and Chinese Chequers.

This is a 2-player game and we've all had a few turns now. My 9 year old and I are very gentle players who aren't aggressive. Our games tend to be around 20 minutes. My partner is incredibly competitive and loves to really work out the rules behind a game like this. His turns can take 10 minutes each. He beat me... Our game lasted almost an hour.

The board is great. Well made and excellent quality plastic, with good design. So good in fact that you can perch it on the sofa and play without the marbles slipping. The marbles are large and heavy, but feel good in your hand and give a nice 'thunk' into place on the board.

Gameplay is a lot of fun. As with Connect 4 or similar, sometimes patterns you didn't anticipate appear, opponents miss a move or you spot a trap in the nick of time. I think every player has at least 1 great moment of pride per match, win or lose. Perhaps a moment of frustration too, when the reverse happens...

Recommended for age 7+, and I agree. Younger players will be at a disadvantage to start with, but as they learn to anticipate moves and read patterns, they'll soon be beating you.

Abalone is distributed by Asmodee and available now from good independent game stockists instore and online, including from Amazon (affiliate link*) where it is currently £24.99. 

My copy of Abalone was sent for review as part of the Blogger Boardgame Club. 

*The Amazon link is affiliate, which means I earn a few pence if you order this game or anything else through my link, but you don't pay any more. One day maybe someone will buy a Freaks 1932 movie poster through my affiliate link and I'll get the next month off... 


  1. What a great game. This looks so much fun. I really like this idea x

    1. It's a really nice one for when you don't want the commitment of Chess, but still want to use your brain :)


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