I just discovered Pentago this week. Supposedly, the game can end in a draw; however, I’ve only come to within 3 moves of the maximum game. Alas, it was also a loss for me. I’ve played the computer and lost and have played a few of the students at my school (they’re 9th graders) and lost to them too. That last is depressing because I always beat them in Gomoku (“o-mok”) and Pente.

It’s basically tic-tac-toe but with a twist, literally. The board is composed of four quadrants of 3 spaces by 3 spaces. The object is to get five of your pieces in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). Your move consists of one or two phases. In the first phase, you place one piece on any unoccupied space. In the second phase, you rotate any one quadrant of the board 90 degrees either clockwise or counterclockwise. The second phase is mandatory unless there is an empy quadrant or you have gotten five in a row by placement.

For the abstract strategy board game gurus: What’s a good strategy for this game? Also, do you think it’s a solved game?