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Illustration by Edward Burne-Jones, to William Morris'
Kelmscott Chaucer
illustration from


Connect stars into constellations
to capture areas of a night sky
in this pencil-and-graph-paper strategy game
for two players.



One player creates a starry sky (10 to 15 stars work well). The other player decides who moves first. Take turns connecting pairs of stars with edges. Edges may not cross over other edges or stars and may not be drawn inside captured seas.

A player creates a sea by drawing an edge that completes an enclosed area. If the sea contains no islands, that player immediately captures it. If it does contain islands, it cannot be captured on that move; however, an edge drawn on a later move can turn an island into a peninsula. The player who turns a sea's last island into a peninsula captures it.

The game ends when no isolated (i.e. unconnected) stars remain in the sky. The player with the most captured seas wins, or, if the count is tied, the player whose turn ended the game (i.e. connected the last isolated star or stars) wins.



My email correspondent in Denmark, Rasmus Pagh, has created a Windows program of Starry Night. The game is easy to play with paper and pencil, but the ability to analyze a game with the multiple undo feature alone makes the computer version worth downloading from his homepage.

It also has an "area score" version in which the score is not counted by number of seas, but by the area of the seas. This was an early version of the game that I quickly changed, since it was too cumbersome to calculate by hand. The computer version overcomes this difficulty, but we have not tried it enough to know if it makes for a good variation of the game or not.

Two other nice features of the Windows version are the "Save" and "Load" menu choices that help make the game easily playable by email.

E-mail us at sangreal@jps.net

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