**Alex Hnefatafl sent this post:**

Introduction

Despite the lack of computer analysis, I can confidently say that brandubh has a much smaller tree of possible moves than any checkers on 64 boards. At the same time, the percentage of useful combinations is very small. As a result, this option can be considered only as training and is not an indicator of the player's skill. All combinations can be learned with due diligence.

There is only one option for starting the game and is symmetrical for all sides. This is d2-e2. Since d2-g2 as black leads to an instant loss without compensation, and on the move d2-f2 there is a winning combination as in the example game. (1) d2-f2; d3-f3 2) f4-f5; e4-e1 3) ×f2-f1; f3-a3 4) b4-b5;c4-c2 5)...) And then black cannot stop the escape.

The most popular response from White to the first move d2-e2 is c4-c2. Beginners often make the wrong move 2) b4-b2, which immediately leads to a defeat after the reply 2) ...; d3-a3. This is followed by: 3) × b2-a2; c2-c7 4) d6-e6; d5-b5. And it turns out the same position as in the case of an erroneous first move d2-f2.

The most popular continuation is 1) d2-e2; c4-c2 from the side of black is 2) d6-e6; ... Then, as a rule, follows: 2) ...; d3-a3 3) c6-c5. The resulting position is roughly equal. White cannot immediately start to run away to the corner because of 3) ...; d4-d3 4) × d7-d6; d3-b3 5) d1-a1; ... Therefore, it is necessary to look for another way out after the move 3) c6 -c5 Move a piece to d5 or e4.

It is also worth considering the second continuation on moves 1) d2-e2; c4-c2. Namely move 2) b4-b3. The rest of the answers are more passive and have a dubious chance of winning. For a more detailed analysis this format is not enough, therefore, I will limit myself to analyzing a typical black error. 1) d2-e2; c4-c2 2) b4-b3; c2-b2. The move 3) × d1-b1 is a mistake, since what follows is 3) ...; d3-g3 4) f4-f5; d4-d1. After this move White is guaranteed to win.

Also, we have not considered White's second answer. Namely 1) d2-e2; d3-d2. It might be worth discussing. In any case, building AI according to the rules of the brandubh would be a big step forward. I advise you to pay more attention to the rule of repetition of moves (White always loses on repetition). It acts not only with respect to 2-4 cells, between which there is movement, but also with respect to the entire orthogonal.