Help for the Game of Palago

Welcome to the network Palago server. The challenge command is described here. Other commands are the same as for all pbmserv games.

  palago challenge [-size=n] userid1 userid2

starts a new game for two players.

The -size parameter specifies the number of tiles (default 48).


Palago is a tile-placement game in which players strive to form closed groups of their colour.

Note: The game is much easier to see using the graphical web interface than the ASCII email version!


Two players, Light and Dark, share a common pool of 48 hexagonal bridge tiles. Each tile contains a white bridge and a blue bridge, and may be oriented in three ways such that the corner colours are the same for each rotation.

         .--oo          .--oo          .--oo
o oo\ / oo / ooo \
ooo oo ) oooo ) oooo )
o oo/ \ ooo / \ oo
`--oo `--oo `--oo

Start: The game starts with a single tile in the middle of the playing area (this is the opening player's first tile).

Play: Light places a single tile adjacent to the starting tile such that edge colours match, then players take turns placing two tiles per turn adjacent to at least one existing tile such that edge colours match. The two tiles played each turn must themselves be adjacent.

Aim: The game is won by the player who forms a closed group of their colour containing at least one bridge. Only one tile need be played if that tile wins the game for either player.

For example, the following figure shows a game won by Dark (o) who has enclosed a 'o' group containing one bridge. The closed Light group in the lower left contains no bridges so doesn't count.

/ oo
.--ooooo `--oo
/ ooo ooo ooo \
.--ooooo . ooooo `--oo
o oo oo oo oo oo\
ooo oo . ooooo . oooo oo `--oo
o oo oo ooo o ooo oo oo
) ooooo . oooo oo . ooooo )
o oo ooo ooo o ooo oo ooo /
ooo oo . ooooo . oooo oo .--oo
o oo ooo oo oo oo/
`--ooooo .--ooooo .--oo
\ oo \ ooo /
`--oo `--oo

If a move forms winning groups for both players, then the mover loses. If the tiles run out before either player wins then the game is drawn.

Strategy and Tactics

Palago is proving to be surprisingly deep in strategic terms. My rules page offers some initial advice, but this only hints at the complexity involved and we are constantly learning more about the game.

In a nutshell, players must discover and become familiar with the key danger patterns, then nullify enemy threats each turn while developing their own position. In general, a player's position is stronger the more exposed tips they have. Beware of attacking prematurely as this will often lose unless the attack forces an imminent win!

There is only one safe opening pair.

Hidden Options

The rules for Palago described above are stable and optimal. However, the following hidden options are still available from the earlier testing phase if players are interested in experimenting.

The -anywhere option specifies that the two tiles placed each turn need not be adjacent.
The -largest_wins option specifies that owner of the largest group (counting bridges) wins when the tiles run out.
The -largest_loses option specifies that owner of the largest group (counting bridges) loses when the tiles run out.
The -eat_enemy option specifies that a group eating n or more enemy groups wins.
The -eat_size option specifies that eaten enemy groups must be of a certain size to count (counting bridges).
The -must_contain option specifies that winning groups must contain at least one enemy subgroup.


The move syntax is:

  palago move board# userid password a1
  palago move board# userid password a1,c12


Palago tiles and rules by Cameron Browne, copyright (c) Cyberite Ltd, 2008, under exclusive licence to Colour of Strategy Ltd.

The Palago tile design is based on Mambo tiles simplified to a single colour, which in turn are a variation on hexagonal Truchet-like tiles.

The name "Palago" was suggested by Mike McManaway (of Tantrix fame) in reference to the Palau islands, due to the similarity in shape between these South Pacific islands and the shapes that emerge during each game. Palago is being released by Mike's company Colour of Strategy Ltd.

Graphical web interface:

Please see the official Palago page for further details:

Cameron's original rules page:

Implementation and Help file by Cameron Browne, July 2009.