My kids are loving all of these traditional games we’ve been discovering and I hope you have been playing them too! Today’s abstract strategy game is from Korea. In English, it is known as Five Field Kono. In Korean, it is called o-pat-ko-no. If you have ever played Chinese Checkers, the game play will be familiar to you. However, my son and I agreed that we like Five Field Kono a bit better because it does not take as long to play. We are big fans of playing games on the fly, so short games always come in handy.
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What you need:
- Game board. You need a 5 point by 5 point array. You can draw one yourself using a 4 by 4 grid as shown in the photo and video, or download and print our printable game board.
- 7 counters per player, in separate colors. Make your own like we did by painting small wooden craft blocks, or pilfer them from games in your closet.
- 2 enthusiastic players.
To speedily traverse the board and place all of your counters on the points previously held by your worthy opponent.
- Place counters in the starting position, as shown above.
- Decide who goes first. (tip: parents never get to go first)
- Counters may move one point at a time
- Counters may move diagonally only.
- Counters can move forwards or backwards.
- You may not capture or jump any other counter.
- You may not land on an occupied point.
Watch our video and see the photos below for examples of game play.
Tip: We’ve played this games dozens of times now. Occasionally the two teams can both get to a place in which they are able to perpetually block each other from moving; or one player can decide to make moves which don’t allow the game to make any meaningful progress. When this happens you can either call it a draw, or one player can decide to make a move which allows game play to continue. It wasn’t a frequent occurrence, but it is mathematically possible.
More about Five Field Kono:
I have shared several types of abstract strategy games. For example, Tapatan is a three in a row game; Pong Hau K’i is a blocking game; Len Choa and Fox and Geese are a hunt games. Five Field Kono belongs to a category known as replacement games. The game is traditional, but was first recorded in the west by Stewart Culin in his book, Korean games : with notes on the corresponding games of China and Japan, published in 1895. If you are feeling a little nerdy, you can view Culin’s book online here.
If you want to invest in a manufactured version of the game, this wooden game set is gorgeous. But honestly, I would just use our printable. Takes up much less space, right?
Game nerds will now want to take two actions: