L Game's humble beginnings started during a dinner conversation between Edward de Bono and mathematician Professor Littlewood. Both agreed that, chess was difficult because of its complexity and many pieces. De Bono who loves to play games but hates to focus on many pieces took up the challenge to create a game that required skill, yet was also fun and simple to play. The result was L Game. There are 2,296 distinct board positions or 18,268 if rotations and reflections are counted.
The 4x4 board has 16 small squares.
Each player has a 3x2 L-shaped piece that covers four of the squares and there are two neutral pieces.
To move: First select the L that represents the position you want for the L piece. Next, you may move a neutral piece onto the board.
To win: To maneuver the opponent into a position where he cannot move his L piece.
The board starts out with two L pieces positioned in the middle of the board. One neutral piece is on the upper left hand corner of the board and the other on the bottom left hand corner.
The first person takes his L-piece and places it on the board in a position where at least one of the squares vacated must be different from the previous position. At the end of the turn, the player has the option to place one of the neutral circles on any open square. Players alternate turns until one player cannot legally place his L-shaped piece on the board.
- Fundamentals: There are 6 fundamental ways in which an L piece can be placed on the board. All other positions are rotations or reflections of these six. In every winning position, the loser will have his L piece touching the edge of the board. 22/29 of the winning positions occur when the opponent is trapped in the upper left hand corner, with the long side of the L on the left edge of the board.
- Misere: To force yourself into a position where you are unable to move your L piece.
- Sudden Death: Players are allowed to move both neutral pieces in this variant. The object of the games is to force your opponent into a position where he cannot move his L-piece.
- Scoring: The four squares in one corner of the gameboard are marked so that every time the L-piece touches one of the four corners, he scores a point. If you block your opponent from placing his L-piece five points are rewarded and the game resets to the starting position. The winner is the first player to reach an agreed total or the most points within a period of time.
- Symmetry: The rules are the same as the classic game. In order to win the game, however, one must place his L-piece symmetrically equivalent to his opponent's piece.
- Pieces: The amount of neutral pieces on the gameboard can be switched to just one. The same rules of the classic L game apply.
- Required Movement Of The Neutral Piece: In the classic L game, each player had the option of moving a neutral piece on his or her turn. This variant forces each player to move the neutral piece on their turn.
- Changing The Initial Position: Players can change how the board is initially set up to give the game an additional twist.
Pritchard, David. Brain Games. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.