Used as Death Match of Season 1, Rounds 3, 4, 10, and Season 4, Round 2.
Basic yutnori rules apply, as follows. Wikipedia is also pretty complete.
The game uses a special yutnori board. Players cast yut sticks which can be “up” (plain) or “down” (marked). There are thus four sticks cast. The number of up sticks is the player’s score: one up stick is 도 (do), scoring one space; two up sticks is 개 (gae), scoring two spaces; three up sticks is 걸 (geol), scoring three spaces; four up sticks is 윷 (yut), scoring four spaces; and no up sticks is 모 (mo), scoring five spaces, unlike the others. In addition, yut and mo also allow the player to cast again, thus possibly accumulating several yuts and mos before a different cast is thrown.
Each player has two pieces on the board. After a move, the player can move any of their pieces for the score cast. In case of yuts and mos, they can choose where each cast goes to, but a cast can be only used for one piece. (For example, with a yut and a gae, one can use them to advance a piece six spaces (4+2) or a piece four spaces and another two spaces, but not split them into three and three.)
Normally, pieces travel along the outer edge of the board. However, when a piece lands on a corner or the center of the board, it has the option of following a different, shorter route. Note that the piece must land on the corner or the center to allow the alternative route; simply passing by doesn’t count.
When a piece lands on another of its own, the two may decide to merge and continue together. When a piece lands on an opponent’s, the opponent piece is returned back to home and the player gets another cast. (It seems that if one gets a yut or a mo in this new cast, it doesn’t give another cast.) A player wins if they get both pieces back to the home after circling the board.
That concludes yutnori rules. However, as this is a tactical yutnori, additional rules are in place.
The two Death Match players each chooses a partner. The partners also play, but they cannot win. Each player holds two sticks, one is “up” on both sides and one is “down” on both sides, and each throws one stick of their choice. (Teammates may discuss, of course.)
In addition, there is a variant called “back do”. If one gets a do, instead of advancing by one space, a piece is retracted by one space. (If one doesn’t have any piece on the board, the turn is skipped.) Note that this allows a piece to retract back to home and beyond by back dos, and it’s still counted as circling the board.
Oh hey, a board game. I don’t know the strategy of playing yutnori at all. However, I do know some strategy for casting the sticks.
We can denote a couple of “good” moves:
– A move that captures a piece is almost always good, because the piece is captured and one gets another cast.
– A yut or a mo cast is almost always good, because one gets another cast.
– A back do that brings a piece to the “blind spot”—the space right after the starting point—is quite good as it’s immune to capture except by another back do from a piece two spaces after home, and that it is just two more back dos to win.
– A move that gets to a corner is pretty good, as it allows a shortcut. When an opponent piece is at the corner, this is especially powerful.
With the above moves, one can decide which casts are good.
If only one of the five casts is good and it’s not gae, one can easily stop the cast as they control two sticks. For example, if a geol is good, it needs three up sticks, so one can simply play two down sticks to prevent this. (Gae is special: it cannot be prevented, only its chance minimized by playing two equal sticks.)
However, when more casts are good and they are not all countered together (for example geol and yut are both countered by two down sticks, so this pair doesn’t count), one gets to a dilemma. Which cast should be prevented? A smart player can determine which of the casts is the most likely to be prevented by the opponent, and hence can predict what the opponent is going to play, and hence what their play should be to give the other cast. For example, one might want to prevent a geol to avoid having their piece captured, but this means two down sticks. The opponent, if they are smart, can play two down sticks too, to allow a mo and another turn. (Of course, reverse psychology can kick in; one might intentionally allow a geol to avoid the opponent garnering mos.)
When there is no particularly good move, the second point above almost always applies. A yut or a mo is very effective, and thus one might want to play an up stick and a down stick to prevent it.
Another strategy, now being a strategy or circling and not a tactic of casting sticks: position the partner’s piece properly so that they can be used as hopping stones. Be careful not to make them hopping stones for the opponent!
That’s all I have, I suppose. Any other opinions?