Pente

Pente is a board game created in 1978 by Gary Gabrel. It is a slight simplification of the Japanese game of ninuki-renju, a variant of gomoku played on a Go board of 19 x 19 intersections with white and black stones. The players alternate in placing stones of their color on free intersections; White begins. The players aim to create five vertically, horizontally or diagonally connected stones of their color. If two connected stones of the opponent are surrounded at both sides by a stone of the player's color as a result of that player's move, then that pair of stones is removed from the board. The player who first creates five connected stones or captures five of the opponent's pairs wins.

The game eventually caught on as an alternative to backgammon and other games in nightclubs, and soon after department stores began selling Pente. Games Magazine voted Pente to be one of only 20 select "Hall of Fame" winners in 1991. At one time there were Pente leagues and clubs around the world; international tournaments were held for a number of years. At one point, the then world-champion claimed that with best play, White always wins. Some modifications of the rules have since been proposed.

The game still enjoys a substantial amount of popularity but is no longer sold in stores or available through any online outlet. Hasbro has licensed Pente to Winning Moves, a classic games publisher. They have plans to re-issue the game in stores in 2004.

PENTE is a registered trademark of Hasbro for strategy game equipment. The community has apparently not found a generic term that applies only to games with these rules.

Pente (πέντε) is the number 5 in Greek.


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