Octiles: Rules of play

Octiles on deluxe wood board, laser-engraved with handpainted trim, was designed and introduced in honor of its 25th Anniversary, 1984-2009. It replaced the original "classic" edition played on a white leather-like vinyl mat. The deluxe wood stores in a velvet satchel with carry handles; a separate felt pouch has pockets for game pieces. The 16 little square islands (the felt-padded "stops" where runners land) are affixed to the board, no separate installation required. The 18 laser-engraved wood octagons come from a single piece of premium birch plywood, lovingly sealed and finished with handrubbed tung oil. Watch how their shimmer shifts as you turn them eight different ways. Simply beautiful, and beautifully challenging. It belongs in every game lover's collection.

How to play Octiles "Move Over" version

Goal:   To be the first player to move all five runners into the circles on the opposite side of the board (their finish circles).

Start:   Players choose their colors and set their five runners on the starting circles nearest to themselves. Stack the 18 tiles in random order, face-up, in a single tower just off the board.

Play:   Players take turns placing the top tile from the stack onto the board and then moving one of their runners across that tile. The tile may form part of a longer path.

  • A tile may be placed in any open octagonal space, or it may be used to replace a previously played tile. In either case the player must be able to move across it. The replaced tile is recycled to the bottom of the stack.

  • Once all spaces on the board have been filled, only replacement moves are made. The removed tile passes to the next player for use.

  • Tiles are always replaced, never just rotated in place.

Movement:   Runners move along the paths crossing the tiles. They always go all the way across a tile. Where paths cross, they are underpasses and overpasses, not blocks. Where tile edges meet or are extended by external detours printed on the board, the path is continuous. A path stops only at circles — the felt-covered spaces ("stops") between tiles, and the finish circles on the opposite side of the board.

  • A runner may move in any direction on the board, but may not re-enter its starting circles nor enter any other player's finish circles.

  • A runner, in crossing the tile placed on that turn, may return via a loop to the stop it just left. Such a move counts as a turn.

  • Only one runner may occupy a stop. An occupied stop blocks other runners from going there.

  • Once arrived on its finish circle, that runner may not move again.

Special conditions:   At least one of a player's starting circles must be left open at the end of a turn. If no circle is open, the player must place a tile so that a runner can move out.

  • A player may choose to pass a turn. If all players have passed in the same round, the first player who can take a turn must do so.

  • With four players you can play as partners (sitting opposite) or as teams (sitting adjacent). In partnership play, the partnership wins as soon as all five of either player's runners reach home. In team play all ten runners must reach home to win.

Two other, more complex, game versions are included in the Octiles rule book, plus 29 solitaire challenges. In "Octiles" the goal is the same as for "Move Over" but you do only one of these on a turn:  move a runner, replace a tile, or rotate a tile. In "Team Up" you aim to bring your five runners from a widely separated start into a directly connected group, without breaking already formed connections. Fascinating!

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