The Rules for Plateau ™

The official rules are available from the plateau web site.  This is my illustrated interpretation of the official version.

The game is for two players, black and white.  
Equipment:: Each player has 12 pieces (described later) which are concealed from the opponent, and a 4x4 square board.
The object of the game is to win by either building a stack of any 6 of your pieces on the board, or by capturing any 6 or your opponent's pieces.

The play:  

 Black moves first, by building a stack of two pieces and placing it on the perimeter of the board.   White can see only the top face of the top piece of the stack, so the colors of the other 3 faces are initially unknown to the white player.  White does the same.

Subsequent moves black and white alternate.   Moves can be any of three types.
  1. Add a new piece to the board.  Only the top color of the new piece is initially known to the opponent.  The new piece can be placed on any empty square, or on top of, or inside any stack topped by one of your own pieces.
  2. Move a stack already on the board.  The direction of movement is determined by the color on top of the stack, which can be flipped over before starting the move.  The distance of the move is limited by the height of the stack before the move.   You can pick up and drop off pieces along the way.  You can pin opponent stacks by dropping a colored piece on them (but not a blank piece).  You can capture enemy pieces by dropping your pieces on top of them at the end of your move.   You capture as many oppoent pieces as you land on top, not necessarily the whole stack.  If you have pinned opponent pieces , you can capture them  by  "stomping" on them  without moving.
  3. Exchange prisoners.  You can present any subset of the pieces you have captured and request that they be exchanged for pieces your opponent has captured.  The exchange rules are based on point values assigned to the pieces.  Important: a prisoner exchange is your entire turn - after your opponent completes the exchange, it is still his turn.  The details of what can be exhanged can be hard to determine, but it's very simple to explain.
    1. Your opponent is never required to give more points in exchange than you offered, but can do so if he wishes.  He can decline the exchange if all possible exchances would require him to give you more points than you offered.
    2. Your opponent must offer the highest total he can, without exceeding the point count offered.
sample board
a typical opening position

The pieces:

The pieces are two-sided discs, similar to checkers, that can be flipped over as part of normal play, and can be a different color.  The uncertainty about the color of unseen faces of the pieces is a major component of the game.

stack of mutes
Four Mutes, which are blank on both sides.  Mutes can move in any direction, but cannot capture or pin enemy pieces.  Mutes are worth 1 point in prisoner exchanges.
stack of mutes
Two Blues, which are blue on both sides.  Blues move diagonally like chess bishops.  Blues are worth 4 points in prisoner exchanges.
Two Reds, which are red on both sides.  Reds move horizontally and vertically like chess rooks.  Reds are worth 5 points in prisoner exchanges.
b;lue mask
One Blue Mask which is blue on one side and blank on the other side.  Blue masks move like blues when their blue face is on top, or like mutes when their blank face is on top. Blue masks are worth 8 points in prisoner exchanges.
blue mask
red mask
One Red Mask which is red on one side and blank on the other.  Red masks move like reds when their red face is on top, or like mutes when their blank face is on top. Red masks are worth 10 points in prisoner exchanges.
red mask
One Twister which is Orange on one side and blank on the other.  Twisters move in an  'L' shape like chess knights when their orange face is on top, or like mutes when their blank face is on top.  When the orange face is on top, they can drop of , pin and pick up along the way, and always end their move at a knight's move from the origin.  Twisters are worth 15 points in prisoner exchanges.
One Ace, which is red on one face and blue on the other.  The ace moves as appropriate to the top face.  Aces are worth 21 points in prisoner exchanges.

Revealing hidden information:

Initially, both sides of the bottom piece from your first move, and the bottom  side of every piece placed on the board is hidden from your opponent.  This hidden information is gradually revealed in the course of the game, as you flip pieces over, capture pieces, remove pieces that were stacked on top, or capture pieces that were on top.  Conceptually, what is revealed is governed by the one hand rule.   You can manipulate pieces only by using one hand, and as if you were very clumsy and incapable of any fancy sleight-of-hand. 
In particular:


If a player has no legal moves, then his turn is forfeited.  A draw can be called by mutual agreement of the players.

The official rules for Plateau™, which this page paraphrases, are copyright Jim Albea, 1986.

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