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Dwindle is a turn-based strategy game with a board game style. Unlike many such games, all players take turns moving a shared location chit around the board. Players must move the chit from one tile to another. Moving off a tile eliminates it. Putting a player on a tile with no valid moves knocks out that player, eliminates the landing tile, and allows the next player to move to any other tile. The object is to be the last player in the game with at least one valid move.

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Dwindle's rules are simple but that does not make the game easy.

Each game has the following elements:

  • A board with cells and connections
  • Tiles, each residing in a cell
  • Players, active or out
  • A location chit

Following are all of those elements, annotated:

Board and parts, annotated

Players take turns moving the location chit from one tile to another. The set of available moves is governed by the structure of the board and the tile of origin. Generally speaking, the tiles govern which directions you can travel and the connections on the board limit how far can be traveled.

Whenever a player moves off a tile, that tile is removed from the board. Consequently, it cannot be used as a destination for future moves. So each move takes away options from futures moves, causing the available choices to dwindle over time. Hence the name.

Each tile has pips that define how you are allowed to move off of that tile. Wedge-shaped pips indicate that you are able to travel in a physical direction along as many connections as you like.

The shape of the board also limits your options. A pip pointed in a particular direction does not necessarily mean you can move to any other cell in that direction. There must be an unbroken chain of connections between the current cell and the destination cell. So the following board has a short hop that is not allowed and a long hop that is permitted.

Short hop blocked but long hop is okay

If it is a player's turn and they are on a tile which cannot move anywhere else, that player is knocked out at the tile they are on is removed from the board. If it is a player's turn and they are on a cell with no tile, as would happen if their predecessor was just knocked out, the player can move to any tile.

Can move anywhere after a knockout

Victory is obtained by being the only player still active and having at least one valid move remaining. Practically, this is achieved by knocking out (or causing to be knocked out) all the other players will preserving at least one tile on the board.

Defeat is the result of being knocked out. A draw is a special kind of defeat in which all players lose (as a result of there being no more tiles on the board).

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