Luck or genius, what is it?

Why are the pieces placed upside down, why shouldn’t you know what you pick? Wouldn’t it be better to distribute the pieces equally as to type and number, and play Meander as an open mind-battle? Do it, if you like. But experience shows you have a lot more fun when luck - and bad luck- are involved. Meander is not like chess, it is more like a cardgame. Like cards, the pieces are dealt by fate, but just as with poker and bridge the smarter player still will be the likely winner. The element of bluff and luck provides more entertainment, without giving the less talented an unfair advantage. Still, it raises their hopes and indeed, some cruel surprises may occur. Don’t bother. Revenge might be imminent.

Why pieces have to touch?

One rule says added pieces have to touch another one, be it just with a corner. Wouldn’t it be fairer if the whole board was yours to begin with? No. The limiting of your choice in placement will spare you a lot of worrying, still leaving you plenty of options. And limited placement offers you an additional strategical tool: opening up new battlezones, or leaving areas of the board ‘closed’ to your opponent. This might come in handy, because in certain areas you are more vulnerable, as is your opponent in others.

Less ball, more slope?

Big or small balls, heavy or light ones, all tend to follow the same path. That is a proven fact. And, more surprisingly, the slope of the board doesn’t seem to affect the outcome either. Try it, you ‘ll be amazed. Only a very small ball, descending at absolute minimum speed, will show deviations and other erratic behaviour. But extreme conditions set aside, never blame the balls, or the slope. Blame yourself. And nature.

How do you win?

The winning strategy is pretty straightforward, in principle. A ball passing through the central piece on the board will most probably make it to the opposite side. So direct your balls to the middle: your paths form a funnel-like shape. To your opponents you do exactly the reverse: make their balls drift sideways right from the start, and never allow them to get to the middle. With every move you have to consider: what will it do for me, what will it do for the other? Try to achieve a balance between attack and defence, between creation and obstruction. As the game develops, a shift in strategy might well be necessary. Handle these decisions well and you are bound for glory.

Do women win more often?

In the long years of testing this game, female testplayers seemed to do better, on average. That is to say: they scored more draws, an seldom lost with big numbers. One explanation is: men tend to open more agressively, and invest more energy in obstructing the opponent. As a result, they neglect their own buildup. Women seem to be concentrating more on creating chances for themselves, thus levelling the scores. This underlines one specific trait of Meander: if you go for a total kill, you can’t afford any mistakes. Or too much bad luck. One piece may turn the complete game around, and leave you emptyhanded. Aggressive bluffers may achieve devastating wins, but will also suffer hard-to-chew defeats.