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Proteus

Proteus is a complex game played with trivial rules and equipment.   The complexity arises from the way the rules of the game change as you play.

Opening: The board starts empty.  Players alternate placing one of the 9 tiles, or one of their three pieces.
All tiles and pieces are either round, square, or triangular.   When a player piece is combined with
a tile the same shape, a rule associated with that tile is activated.  Moves in the opening phase are constrained by the rule that exactly one tile of each color must be activated.   

Red tiles change the rule for moving player pieces.
Blue tiles change the rule for swapping tiles.
Yellow tiles change the rule for winning the game.

Play: after the pieces have all been placed, and all three rules selected, players alternate either moving one of their pieces, or swapping two of the tiles in accordance with the current rule.   Where the new tile/piece combinations have the same shape, the corresponding rule is activated, and the previous rule is deactivated.    There are a couple of not-quite-elegant subtleties: If two inactive rules would both be activated at the end of a turn, then neither is activated.  If both players would be in a winning position after a move, then neither player wins, and the game continues.  

The official rules.

Robots:  Humans can't cope with change.  The robot looks nearly unbeatable.
proteus board

Links
Proteus rankings at Boardspace
Proteus at BoardGameGeek
Proteus game archives at Boardspace
Proteus at Kadon Enterprises
Proteus win/loss database


The back story: 
Kadon enterprises publish a remarkable number of rare and beautiful board games.  Their catalog has been on my short list "since forever".



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