Basic principles

Single blob

This is a single blob in a corner cell. A cell will explode if it contains as many blobs as neighbouring cells (diagonals don't count).

So here the cell can only hold 1 blob, 2 blobs and it explodes.

Small explosion

Adding another blob resulted in the cell emptying, putting one blob in the cell below and the other in the cell to the right.

Adjacent blobs

Here's that corner blob again, this time with an opponent in the next cell. Note that the opponent's cell can hold two blobs, three and it explodes (because it has three neighbours, the corner only had two neighbours).

Taking move

This time exploding the blue blob added one to the cell owned by red, so now there are two blobs in there and the cell changes colour to blue (i.e. red has lost the cell).

If blue were to add another blob to the cell with two blobs on the next move, it would explode.

Ready to explode

These three cells along the top edge of the board are all ready to explode, which also means that they chain together. Adding a blob to the cell on the left or the right results in the cell in the middle overloading and exploding, in turn taking out the third cell. Adding a blob to the middle cell adds a blob to each of the other two, making them explode.

There's not much more to it. Central cells have four neighbours, so can hold 3 blobs before they are ready to explode (so adding a fourth blob makes them explode).

See the more advanced examples below for more information once the basic game has been mastered.

Opening moves

When it comes to opening moves, it's tempting to either build up an area of power or move randomly. This is boring.

On a normal, square board corners are pretty good things to control (since a blob in the corner is ready to explode). My opponents tend to go for the corners too, so here's how I attack the corners to make them mine...

Corner attack

Here I'm red and I'm forcing a confrontation with blue by placing two blobs (ready to explode) next to the blue blob in the corner.

Look what happens if blue takes the trouble to explode the corner blob to try and protect it...

Useless response

Oh dear, they keep the corner but now have a 2-blob cell next to the one I prepared earlier (on the 3rd row). I just take the corner.

Lost corner

Obviously if they don't explode the corner, they still lose it.

There are some excellent methods of protecting against such attacks.

Simple traps

There's a clever set-up where you can be in a position to take your opponent's blobs before they can retaliate. I call these traps.

L-shaped traps

Trivial trap

Here's a trap in the top-left hand corner. Note that blue doesn't have anything ready to explode right next to the cell owned by red.

However, blue is able to kill red by exploding the top-left, top-right or bottom-right cells.

This works because blue's three cells chain together (exploding any one of them explodes the other two). The top-left cell and bottom-right cell both explode together, and so two units are added to the bottom-left blue cell.

The first addition makes it ready to explode, the second detonates it, taking out the red cell.

Trap race

Here's a race between red and blue to set up a trap in the middle of the board.

It's blue's go, but they have already lost their pieces. The cell in the middle, with 2 blue blobs, is one step away from being ready to explode. The three red cells will chain, adding 2 units to it and it will take out all of the blue cells shown.

This is a classic race. Often two players will try to get traps set up against each other, but one player will get there first.

C-shaped trap

Overloaded trap

This trap is a neat chain of 5 cells with 3 blobs each. Exploding one of these blue cells causes the other 4 to explode in a chain, as you would expect.

Note, however, that the single blob in the middle is next to three of those cells, so gets three blobs added to it. The first two make it ready to explode and the third means that the whole thing chains, taking out the red cell.

Complex traps

Not all traps are immediately obvious. Some can be lengthy devices that at first glance don't seem like they will do anything to an opponent.

An expert player should both be able to set-up complex traps and also spot them when they appear by chance.

Twisty trap

Twisty trap

This is an example of a twisty trap. The cells at the bottom don't do much if exploded. But if the trap at the top is exploded then all of the player's cells will chain.

Exploding the trap in the top four cells adds one unit to the cell below on the left (making it ready to explode) and also explodes the 3-blob cell next to it.

This creates a new trap and detonates it, all in one move - taking out the opponent's blob. The chain of explosions affects all of the blobs shown.

Spiral trap

Spiral trap

This is an example of a spiral trap. The obvious trap in the bottom-right causes the cell in the bottom-left to explode.

At the same time it adds one unit to the cells with two units in them, setting up a chain that explodes around the outside.

Spiral traps tend to be noticed less than other traps.