The Meeple Guild - Player promotes classic Abalone

So, it's no secret I love abstract strategy games.

One of the most attractive and entertaining is the 1987 release Abalone from designers Michel Lalet, and Laurent Levi.

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The game is best-described as sumo wrestling with marbles, and that is rather accurate as players move their marbles attempting to push their opponent's marbles off the board.

While stalemates evolved as players delved into the game in the early years, alternate start positions have kept the game generally interesting.

It helps too that the large, black and white marbles means the game looks great -- mine sits out on an end table, and there is a satisfying 'clicking' sound as the marbles are moved so the game is tactile, looks great and sounds great too.

While Abalone does not have a governing body directing things, it does have some fans who work at building a larger community for the game.

One of those is Charles-Joseph Olivier, a 33-year-old, electrician by day, living in Paris.

"I just opened some groups of gamers on several social networks to meet up and share our knowledge of the game," he explained via Facebook.com

The reasoning for his effort is rather simple "for prosperity and for future players," he said, adding he sees his effort as worthwhile for the good of Abalone.

Olivier said he wants to support Abalone because he is a fan of the game.

"Sometime, I play at draughts and Othello, but not often as Abalone. It’s my favorite," he said.

There are always new games coming out, so what is it about Abalone that Olivier still enjoys?

"It’s probably because I haven't finished discovering all the facets of the game yet," he said. "The more I spend time, the more I progress and my opponents too.

"Each game is a new challenge."

It has helped that Abalone has evolved, in particular alternate start lay-outs.

"Each variant has its own complexity," said Olivier. "Some are more defensive, (slower) while with others we get straight to the heart of the matter. So yes, you can have a better understanding of the game by changing variants."

Olivier said patterns of particular interest to him include; Trenches, The Wheel, Alliances, and Domination.

So, how does the game, in Olivier’smind, grow interest moving forward?

"It's a new game -- if you compare it to chess -- so there is everything to do, and I have many ideas about what can be done." he offered.

Obviously only a few abstract strategy games have decade’s old, international organizations (Chess/Go/Othello). Abalone had one in place but it has since become defunct. So does Abalone need to re-establish a governing body?

"In the future yes, but now we need a larger group of players and more updates on the game," offered Olivier. "Now, it would be like putting the cart before the horse."

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