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Tanbo Rules


Tanbo is a two-player game where the winning player is the only player with pieces left on the board at the end. You try to win by expanding groups of stones called roots with the objective of denying your opponent the ability to grow his roots further, thereby capturing his pieces.

Tanbo was designed by prolific game designer Mark Steere.


The standard Tanbo board size is 19x19.

Initial Tanbo board position.


Each player begins with eight roots in the starting board configuration displayed above. An unlimited supply of pieces is available to place on the board.


  1. Black moves first. Players alternate placing pieces on the board.
  2. A connection between two pieces is formed by placing a piece in an empty space so that it is adjacent horizontally or vertically to another piece of the same color.
  3. A piece may be placed on an empty space only if it forms exactly one connection with another piece of the same color. Once placed, the piece becomes a member of the adjoining root (the current root).
  4. If, after placing a piece, it is no longer possible to form connections with the current root, that root and only that root is removed from the board.
  5. If the current root can still form connections after a move, but one or more other roots can no longer form connections, every root that can no longer form connections is removed from the board.
  6. The game ends when one player has no more pieces left on the board. The player with pieces remaining on the board wins. A tie is not possible.

Tanbo Help


UnselectedSelected or Moved

Piece Placement

Place a piece by clicking on an empty board space.

Redraw Board

If you make an adjustment to your Web browser—such as changing your font size—while playing, the game pieces may no longer align correctly with the board. To restore proper alignment, select the Redraw command from the Tanbo menu.