Tak Help

This document is a work in progress.

Your Turn

Each turn (except the first) you may either place a piece, or move a tower.

To Place a piece, take (by clicking or tapping) a piece of your color from the stash on the right. Optionally rotate it (to make a wall) using right-click or the unreasonably large rotate button below the board. Place it in an empty square (by clicking or tapping). After this, your turn ends. See, however, The First Turn.

To Move a tower, click a tower on the board which you control. This will pick up the tower (but note the carry limit). Choose a direction, and Drop zero or more (0+) pieces in the square from which you picked up the tower, then drop one or more (1+) pieces on each square heading in your chosen direction.

You can drop pieces by clicking or tapping the square you want to drop onto, once for each stone you're dropping. Once all pieces have been dropped, your turn ends. However, please note the following...

Restrictions - No stones may be dropped on a capstone. A capstone (if it's by itself) may be dropped on a wall (in which case it flattens it), but no other pieces may be dropped on a wall. Any type of stone may be dropped on an empty square or a road.

Note that Tak uses only the four cardinal directions, and moving diagonally is not permitted.

If the zugzwang rule is in effect, it is not permitted to drop the entire tower in its starting square.

The First Turn

On the first turn, each player must place one of their opponent's pieces flat on an empty square on the board. Ordinarily you may only place your own pieces, but the first turn is an exception to the rule.


The game ends either when

  1. one player achieves a road win, or
  2. a player places the last stone from their stash, or
  3. the last empty space on the board is filled.

If no-one achieves a road win, the winner is determined by the flats.

A Road Win occurs when one player manages to form a road between two opposite sides of the board. A road is a series of adjacent road stones or capstones, stepping in the four basic directions: up, down, left, or right. Note that only the road pieces on the top of their tower count for this purpose, and all pieces in the road must be owned by the player. Road stones with wallstones stacked on them can not be used in declaring a road.

A Flat Win (“winning the flats”) occurs when the game ends without a road win In this case, the winner is the player who has the most flat stones on the board (stones within towers, or under other types of stone do not count towards this score). While a flat win is technically a win, it does not have the same finesse as a road win. Many players consider losing the road more honourable than winning the flats.

In this implementation, if both players have the same number of flat stones at the end of the game, it is considered a Draw, as per the modern rules. Historically, the win was awarded in this case to the player who went second.


Road, or flat, stones are the basic stones used to play Tak. These are the stones used to win the game, either by forming a complete road before your opponent does, or by having the most flat stones when the game ends.

Walls, or standing stones, are represented by road stones that have been rotated ninety degrees to stand upright. These can be used to block your opponent, as pieces cannot be moved onto walls. Walls can, however, be flattened by the capstone in which case they become road stones.

The Capstone is a special stone that acts largely like a wall stone, but counts towards a road win, and has the additional ability to flatten walls, turning them into road stones. Usually each player only has one of these, except in the Children's Game, where it is not used, and the Scholar's Game, where each player has two!

Special Rules

Control - You control a tower if you own the top-most stone on it. You can only move towers that you control.

Carry Limit - When moving a tower, there is a limit to how many stones you can move. If the tower is larger than this limit, you take only as many stones as you can carry from the top of the tower, leaving the rest in place. Alternatively, this can be thought of as immediately dropping all pieces above the carry limit onto the starting square.

The carry limit is the same as the board size, ie four on a four-by-four board, five on a five-by-five board, etc.

Flattening - If you drop a capstone onto a wall, the capstone flattens (or topples) the wall, turning it into a flat stone. Rotate the wall stone and put it back on the top of the stack (or on the empty square, if it was the only piece), then put the capstone on top of it. Note that a capstone can only flatten a wall when the capstone is the only piece being dropped. All other tower pieces must be dropped before a wall can be flattened.

Towers - A tower is a stack of one or more stones on the same square. As a general rule, the top-most stone of a tower determines how the tower behaves. That is to say, a tower with a wall on top acts as a wall for scoring and movement rules, and one with a capstone as a capstone. Stones below the top only matter when that tower is moved, although they will of course affect your strategy before then. Stones in your stash are not considered towers, even if they are stacked.

Calling Tak - It is considered courteous to call “Tak” if you are able to make a road on your next turn. This is not required by the rules, and is rarely done in the Traveler's Game.

Game Types

Tak has a number of variations suitable for different audiences and available amounts of time. The main difference between these variations is the board size, and the number of pieces each player has available. Note that this electronic version currently only supports the Children's Game.

The Children's Game is the version of Tak almost everyone learns first. It is played on a four-by-four board, and each player has fifteen road pieces in their stash. Capstones are not used in this variant.

The Traveler's Game uses a five-by-five board, and twenty road stones per player. Each player also has one capstone, which they can play when they choose.

As the name implies, the Traveler's Game is commonly played by travelers when they meet on the road, or at an inn. Players carry one set of stones for themselves, and expect their opponent to bring their own. In this way, it is somewhat similar to trading card games. In order to travel light, it is often played without a board, using some token, leaf, or mark on the dirt to indicate the center square, with a board imagined around it.

The Courtly Game (or just Court Game to commoners) uses a six-by-six board, and thirty road stones per player. As in the Traveler's Game, each player additionally gets one capstone.

This is the variant played among the nobility in the courts of the world, and among those with a little more time to spare. In this variant it is considered graceful to call Tak, and to allow your opponent to withdraw a move that was made in error. True players of the Courtly Game consider winning the flats to be distasteful, and take more pride in playing a beautiful game. [Presumably this is because they don't have money at stake. -Ed]

Important Notice: the author warns against producing a complete Courtly Game board at an inn, lest my Dear Reader be unfairly subject to ridicule by the uncultured patrons within.

The Master's Game, or Scholar's Game, is played on an eight-by-eight board, and is typically played over a number of days. Each player has fifty road stones, and two individual capstones. This variant is a true test of the players' abilities.

Historically, Other Variants are known to have been played as well. Unfortunately, little is known about these variants. It appears that there used to be a seven-by-seven variant, which is no longer played for unclear reasons relating to folk superstition.

User Interface

Turn Counter - The turn counter is a small indicator below the board that shows the current turn number. The background color changes to indicate whose turn it is to play.

Play Hints - When you are holding a stone or stones, legal moves will be highlighted in light blue on the board.


Zugzwang - If this is enabled, picking up a tower and dropping all the pieces in the same square again is not considered a valid move. This forces players to change the board state after each turn.

Note that while Zugzwang is enabled by default, it is not part of the official rules (by my reading).

Rule Enforcement - Disable this setting and you can move pieces around more freely. This can be used to fix misplays, or construct hypothetical scenarios. Note that it's possible to create illegal positions in this mode (balancing flat stones on walls, or capstones on each other, or even putting the other player's stones in your stash). The game will continue once rules are re-enabled, but depending on the created position, the experience may be a little... weird.

The turn will not advance in this mode, and play hints will not be shown.

Wobbly Stacks - This is a purely graphical setting that will offset each stone slightly from the one it's placed on. Instead of attempting to describe it here in words, just toggle it, and you will be enlightened!


Tak is a creation of James Ernest of Cheapass Games and Patrick Rothfuss.

This electronic version (unofficial, and for personal use only), was implemented by Lukas Korsika. Special thanks to Mongoose1021 and BenWo for testing and reporting issues.


[0]: Gwent, specifically.