OBJECTIVE OF AMAZONS:  Be the last player able to move any of their pieces


MATERIALS: Chess board, 3 white pawns, 3 black pawns, set of checkers or poker chips

TYPE OF GAME: Board game

AUDIENCE: Kids, adults


Amazons is a two player boardgame from Argentina. It was created in 1988 by Walter Zamkauskaus.  It is a game that can be played with materials from around the house.  Even though Amazons is a game studied by mathematicians, it is a strategy game that can be easily enjoyed by casual players.

In Amazons, players control a group of Amazon warriors and are attempting to trap all of their opponent’s pieces.  This is done by moving pieces and firing flaming arrows.  As more and more spots are set aflame on the board, players will find it more and more difficult to move their Amazon warriors without getting trapped.  Be careful! Once your Amazons are trapped, you lose the game.


This game can be played with different sized checkered grids.  As the board grows larger, more pieces are incorporated which makes the game more difficult.

A standard game utilizes an 8×8 chess board.  Each player will need three pawns.  One player should have three white pawns, and the other should have three black pawns.  Throughout the game, squares on the board will be “burnt”, and players will be unable to move through that spot.  Use checkers to designate the spot on the board as “burnt”.  Checker color does not matter.


In order to set up the board, each player should place their pieces in the correct starting square.  In an 8×8 game, the starting spaces are as follows: White starts on  a3, d1, and h3.  Black starts on a6, e8, and h6.

Once the board is set up, the game is ready to begin.  Typically, white goes first, but the first player can be decided by some other means.


Each player’s turn will consist of two stages: movement and firing.


On a player’s turn, they must move one of their game pieces.  Game pieces can move in a straight line in any direction on the board.  Pieces can move as many spaces as the player wishes, but they cannot move through another game piece or through a space that has been burnt.

Once a piece has been moved to its new location, the second part of a player’s turn may take place.


After a piece has been moved, it must fire a flaming arrow.  The arrow can also be fired in a straight line in any direction as many spaces as the player wishes.  Arrows cannot be shot through an opponent or through a space that has already been burnt.  Mark the space that has been burnt with a checker.

Once a player has moved and fired, their turn is over.  It is now the opponent’s turn.  Play like this continues until the end of the game.


A player wins when their opponent is no longer able to move any of their pieces.  In the following example, the white player wins because none of the black pieces are able to move.


Amazons can be played on different sized boards with more or less pieces.  For a simpler game, play on a 6×6 board with two pieces per player.

The traditional form of the game is played on a 10×10 board with each player controlling four pieces.

Mark Ball
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