Surakarta also known as Parmainan and Roundabouts is reputed to be a traditional Indonesian game. It has been named after a town on the island of Java but this name was given to it recently. The origins of the game are sketchy and disputed and the age of the game is unknown.

Like most of the best games, the rules for Surakarta are simple, the objective being to capture all of the opponent’s pieces. A game of skill and strategy that is easy to learn but requires a deceptive amount of thought to play well and so is an entertaining game for beginners and veterans alike.

The board is 280mm square and 4omm thick and contains a drawer which contains all the pieces (thirteen of each colour including one spare of each colour in case of loss) and the rules

A board consisting a square of six lines with the inner lines connected by loops external to the square..

12 pieces for each side in contrasting colours.

Preparation and Objective

The basic aim of Surakarta is to capture all the opponent’s pieces.

Place the 12 pieces for each side on the intersections of the lines closest to each player.

Basic Play

Players toss a coin to decide who will play first – moving first gives a slight advantage. Pieces move only on the intersections not on the squares.

A player’s move consists of either –

a normal move which is moving any piece a single intersection in any direction, forwards, backwards or diagonally (see variations)

or –

a capture move – which consists of moving along the lines on the board around one or more loops until the piece lands on the same square as an opponent’s piece. During this manoeuvre the piece cannot jump any pieces, ie. the path must be clear.

The opponent’s piece is removed from the board and the capturing piece takes its place.

A capture cannot be made without passing through at least one of the loops.

If the game appears to stagnate then the players can agree to end the game. The player with the most pieces still on the board is declared the winner.


The first 15 moves by each of the players must be towards the opponent. (This stops players simply going and backwards within their own half of the board). Some play that this rule is cancelled once a piece has been captured.

Three repeated moves or series of moves stops the game with the winner declared as the one with the most pieces.

A piece cannot be returned to the place it came from on the next move.