GIPF project

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The GIPF Project is a series of seven abstract strategy games by designer Kris Burm.[1]

The series is named after the first game, GIPF. All the games take place on some form of hexagonal board. Each of the games, including GIPF, may be played individually. When playing a standard game of GIPF the game is played with normal pieces and gipf pieces.

However, the series also allows players to link the GIPF game to the other games in the series or even to any game at all. It does this by introducing into the game of GIPF certain new pieces with special powers, called "potentials". Before you start a game of GIPF with potentials, the players decide to which game they link each potential piece. For example, the Zertz potential piece to a game of ZERTZ and the Dvonn potential to a game of DVONN. But they could decide just as well to link the Zertz potential to a coin flip and the Dvonn potential to a dice roll. Now, when playing the GIPF game with potentials, they can introduce potential pieces whenever they like (according to the playing rules). As soon as they want to use the special power of one of their potential pieces during the GIPF game, they put the GIPF board aside and play the game linked to that specific potential piece (in the example above ZERTZ and DVONN, respectively a coin flip and a dice roll). Upon victory the active player can use the power of the potential piece in the game of GIPF. If the active player loses, the special power of the potential piece cannot be used in the GIPF game.[1][2]

The idea of introducing additional games that can be used to affect the outcome of the main game came from Burm's childhood, when he and his brother would "race" cars around a rug. For each turn, they would play another game, and the winner of that game would get to roll six dice to determine his car's movement, while the loser would roll just five.

As of 2022, YINSH, TZAAR, DVONN, LYNGK, ZÈRTZ, GIPF, and PÜNCT are, respectively, the 3rd, 8th, 11th, 19th, 20th, 35th, and 80th highest ranked Abstract Games on Boardgamegeek. TAMSK, which was officially removed from the series, is nevertheless ranked 87th.[3] YINSH, DVONN, and ZÈRTZ have each won the Mensa Select award.[4]

List of games in the series[edit]

YINSH in play.
  • GIPF is a game of pushing.
  • TAMSK is a game of time. (replaced by TZAAR)
  • ZÈRTZ is a game of sacrifice.
  • DVONN is a game of towers.
  • YINSH is a game of flipping.
  • PÜNCT is a game of connection.
  • TZAAR is a game of capture and stacking. (replacing TAMSK)
  • LYNGK is a game of networking.
  • MATRX GIPF is a combining some elements of the previous games. The game is in development and release has been announced for late 2024.

The games are based on elements: Tamsk (time), Zèrtz (water), Dvonn (fire), Yinsh (air), Tzaar (earth), and Pünct (the interconnectivity of the brain). These elements are brought together in Gipf.

Most of the games in the series can be played free online (for example, at or against freely available computer opponents.

Different type of potentials[edit]

  • The GIPF piece - Strictly speaking the Gipf piece belongs to the standard game of GIPF and is as such not a potential piece (i.e. it is not linked or linkable to any other game, it special power may be used without winning any other game). However it could be considered a normal piece with a special power in the game of GIPF. So conceptually speaking it could be considered a GIPF potential.
  • The TAMSK-potential - As TAMSK is a game of time, this potential piece grants an additional move to its owner winning him some time in the GIPF game. (Remember: it is impossible to gain extra moves in a standard game of GIPF).
  • The ZÈRTZ-potential - In ZERTZ marbles leap over adjacent marbles to capture them. The ZERTZ potential piece allows to leap over an adjacent piece in the GIPF game (remember: leaping over other pieces is not allowed in a standard game of GIPF).
  • The DVONN-potential - DVONN is a game of stacking pieces. The Dvonn potential piece allows the active player in the GIPF game to stack his potential piece on top an opponents normal piece and a such changing the color of the piece of his opponent (remember: stacking is not allowed in a standard game of GIPF)
  • The YINSH-potential - In YINSH the players move their pieces over one or more empty spaces as long as they move in a straight line. The Yinsh potential piece allows a player to move similarly in GIPF. When the Yinsh potential is activated in Gipf, the active player can move a piece over one or more empty spaces (remember: pieces are move to the first empty space on the board in a standard game of GIPF).
  • The PÜNCT-potential - PÜNCT is a game about covering pieces of the opponent with your own pieces. The Punct potential allow the active player to slides his potential piece on top of the Punct potential of your opponent or on top of one of his Gipf pieces (remember: sliding on top of an opponents piece is not allowed in a standard game of GIPF).
  • The TZAAR-potential - The designer Kris Burm declared that there will be no TZAAR potential. Please note that TZAAR is replacing TAMSK in the Gipf Series. The TAMSK potential suits well with the game TZAAR. In TZAAR the players have each turn the option to perform a second move or not.
  • The LYNGK-potential - The designer Kris Burn declard that there will be no LYNGK potential.
  • The MATRX GIPF potential - No news yet about any additional potential pieces. However the MATRX GIPF game will contain the above potentials.

Origin of the names of the games[edit]

"GIPF" derives from the German word for a mountain summit ("Gipfel"), where the original game was conceived.

Subsequent games were named to include one vowel and 4 consonants, but to otherwise remain unrelated to existing language. "Tzaar" is the only game deviating from these naming conventions, due to disputes with the game publisher. [citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Thomashow, Mitchell. "GIPF Review". The Games Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  2. ^ Blessing, Ron (2005-06-01). "Review of GIPF". RPGnet. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  3. ^ "Abstract Games Rank, Boardgamegeek". Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  4. ^ "Mind Games Past Winners (select year)". American Mensa, Ltd. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-08-24.