Blue and Gray (board game)

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Blue and Gray is an abstract strategy board game for two players invented by Henry Busch and Arthur Jaeger in 1903. They obtained a patent for the game, but may never have published it. Blue and Gray was featured in the book A Gamut of Games (1969) by Sid Sackson. It was also featured in The Book of Classic Board Games (1991) by Klutz Press under the name Cats and Dogs. In this book, the game was ranked among the top 15 board games of all time, including checkers, backgammon, Go, and mancala. The game is also known as Wild West, Thumps Game, and Captain and Soldiers. Blue and Gray is a distant relative of draughts.


The object of the game is to advance the captain to the center of the board (marked as a red dot) through the 17-step outlined path. The first to accomplish this is the winner. At the same time, each player tries to prevent the advancement of the other's captain.

If neither player can advance their captain further down the outlined path, the player whose captain has advanced farthest wins.

An optional rule to winning is for one player to advance their captain three spaces further along the outlined path than the other player.


The game is played on a 9×9 board. The board also consists of two 17-step outline paths for each player to advance their "captain" piece to the center of the board which is marked as a red dot. Each player initially has 17 "guard" pieces and one captain. One set is colored black, and the other is colored white, however, any two colors or distinguishable objects will suffice.

Rules and gameplay[edit]

  • All 18 pieces are placed in the first two ranks of each player's side. The captain is placed at the center of the first rank.
  • Players decide what colored pieces to play, and who will start first. Players alternate their turns. Only one piece can be moved per turn.
  • The captain can advance one step at a time to an unoccupied point on the outlined path. The captain must stay on the outlined path. Moreover, the captain can only move forward on the path. It cannot move backwards. The captain also cannot capture enemy pieces.
  • The guards can move orthogonally or diagonally one space at a time onto an empty point. The guards can capture as in draughts by jumping over an adjacent enemy guard and landing on a vacant point on the other side. The capture must be done in an orthogonal direction (not diagonal). Captures are compulsory. Multiple captures are allowed.
  • Guards cannot capture the captain, but they can block its path. The guards also cannot enter the red dot.


External links[edit]