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Designed by Jason Spears & Erik Oosterwal
A capture game for 2-3 players with 2 stashes and 4 Martian Coasters.
:Players Players:
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 2
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 2
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Martian Coasters
Setup time: 1 minute or less
Playing time:
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics:
Theme: Abstract
BGG Link: 35366
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987

Ambush is an abstract strategy game for 2 players. Two stashes, one per player and 4 Martian Coasters are needed. Players will either play one of their 15 pyramids on the board or set a pyramid aside to rotate a coaster. Either action may allow them to capture a pyramid belonging to their opponent. The winner is the player who has captured the most pips worth of opposing pyramids.


4 Martian Coasters

Each player gets 15 pyramids in a single color, 1 stash, (5 small, 5 medium, 5 large.)


Lay 4 Martian Coasters out in a 2x2 grid. Players arrange their pyramids into 5 trees. (Small on medium, medium on large, 5 stacks.) Pick a player to go first. (The tallest, flip a coin, highest roll on a die, whatever.) Arrange all pyramids into five trees, like so:

Playing a pyramid

Players can only pick a pyramid from the top of their trees. (So on the first turn a player can only choose a small pyramid, then turn after a small or a medium, and so on.) Players can play a pyramid onto any space on the board, so long as it is empty or contains a piece of their color. If a player plays an additional pyramid in a square, then stack it on top of any pyramids already there. So a 2 pip pyramid will cover a 1 pip, while adding to the strength of a 3 pip pyramid.


If the piece played is adjacent to an opponents piece, there is the possibility of a capture. Including when a player puts a second (or third) piece in a single square. If the opponents piece now has two pieces of your color on two opposing sides of it and the total number of visible pips is more than the pips in the square between then you may take one of your opponents pieces. If your opponent has multiple pieces in a single square, you may only take the one on top.

Examples Here if Black places a 2 pip or 3 pip pyramid on B3 they will capture the 3 pip white pyramid. If they only have 1 pip pyramids available, they will be unable to capture the white pyramid this turn. White's turn, if White places a 2 or 3 pip pyramid on C3, they will capture the black pyramid. If they place a pyramid on A3, only a 3 pip pyramid there will result in a capture. If a 1 pip pyramid is placed anywhere on the board, no capture can happen. Here it is White's turn. If White places a 1, 2, or 3 pip piece at A3, they will capture both of Black's pieces. In this example, it is Black's turn. Placing a 2 or 3 pip pyramid on B3 will result in capturing the 3 pip white pyramid. A 3 pip on A2 would also capture the 3 pip white pyramid. Black's turn: Playing a 1 pip pyramid on A3 will not result in any captures. However, placing a 2 or 3 pip pyramid on A3 will allow Black to capture the 1 pip white pyramid. The 2 pip white pyramid on A2 will stay there until Black plays another pyramid on A1 or A3. If Black plays a 1 or 2 pip pyramid on B2 it will not be captured on Black's or White's turn. However, if White plays an additional piece on A1 or C1 the Black piece on B1 will be captured.

Coaster Rotation

On a player's turn, they may choose to rotate a single coaster instead of placing a pyramid. 90°, 180° or 270° rotations are allowed. To do this the player will remove a pyramid from their stash, placing it aside, they will not be able to play this pyramid later, but neither will their opponent get points for this pyramid at game end. A player may not rotate a coaster that was rotated on their opponent's previous turn.

The rotation of a coaster may cause a piece to become captured. In a case where both players might have a piece of theirs captured, the active player chooses which resolves first. This may remove the other possible capture situation from the board.

In the example above, Black would set a pyramid aside to rotate the coaster in the upper right corner 90° counterclockwise. Now White's 2 pip pyramid is captured.

Game End

The game ends when the second player plays their last pyramid (their 15th pyramid.) The winner is the player who has captured the most pips worth of pieces.

Version 0.6 of the rules are available. This represents a simplification of the capture rules from previous versions.

Other Languages

Ambush (French)

This work is distributed by Jason Spears & Erik Oosterwal under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Summer 2008
Winner: Ambush 2nd: Logger 3rd: Albiorix 4th: Virus_Fight 5th: Atom_Smasher
6th: Dog_Eat_Dog & Martian_BattleSpires 8th: Pass_The_Pyramids 9th: T-Minus 10th: Tresurion