Traditional Board Games

Hare & Hounds

French Military Game
French Military Game

Hare & hounds is the smallest and most simple of all the hunt games. Also called the French Military Game, it is played on a board of eleven points, connected together by lines. On the board three hounds try to trap one hare. The hare may move in any direction, while the hounds may move only forwards. The hare wins by getting past the hounds, the hounds by trapping the hare.

History of Hare & Hounds

The game seems to have originated in 19th century France, and became popular with French military officers during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. This gave rise to its alternative title "French Military Game". An article by Martin Gardner in the journal Scientific American generated further interest in the game in 1963, and it has become popular with computer programmers due to the ease of implementing its simple rules.

Rules for Hare & Hounds

Rules for Hare & Hounds
There are two variations known, differing only in the starting position of the prey.

1. Hare & Hounds is played by two players on the board shown in the diagram.

2. One player takes the part of three hunters, the other the part of a single prey piece, all set out as shown. As an alternative, the prey may be placed on the central point.

3. First the hunter player moves one of his pieces, then the prey moves, play alternating thereafter until the game is ended.

4. A hunter piece may move one step along a marked line in any forward or sideways direction, as shown in Illustration 4. Hunter pieces cannot move backwards, diagonally or otherwise, towards the end of the board from which they started.

5. The prey may move one step in any direction along a marked line.

6. There is no jumping or capturing in this game.

7. The prey wins by passing the hunters and reaching the end of the board from which they started.

8. The hunters win by trapping the prey so that it cannot move in its turn.

9. If the hunters do not advance for ten turns, then they are deemed to be stalling, and the prey therefore wins the game.


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