pente — Game of five in a row


pente -help

pente [ <options> ]

How to play pente

Pente is the American name of a Japanese game called ``ni-nuki'', which is a variant of the ancient game ``go-moku''. Pente is played on a 19x19 grid with stones of two different colors. Each player chooses one set of stones; then the players take turns placing their stones on any unoccupied intersection until one player wins.

There are two ways to win. If a player makes five or more stones in a straight line (across, down, or diagonally), then that player wins. Or, if a player captures five pairs of his or her opponent's stones, that player also wins.

Stones may be captured in pairs only. To capture a pair of stones, a player must place one stone on either side of the pair.

The first move is placed in the center of the board. To make up for the advantage of going first, the first player's second move must be at least three spaces from their first. This sounds confusing, so don't worry about it; just play, and if the computer won't let you move where you want on your second move, play somewhere farther away.

That's it! These directions are pretty terse, but if you have an X display there are better directions available through the ``help'' button. You can also try playing a few games; the rules are simple enough that you can pick them up easily just by playing.

The program

This program has support for many different display types. Depending on the compile options used, X Windows, Curses, and a plain text format may be available. The exact display type used will be chosen by the program, or it may be selected with a command line switch. Information on the switches is available with pente -help.

Most of the command line switches can also be set with the ``setup'' window of the X interface. Any changes you make there will be saved in the file and remembered the next time that you play.

The command line switches can also be set with an X default. For example, if you want to set black and white to be the default mode, you can run pente with pente -nocolor, or you can add pente*color: 0 to your X defaults, or you can just turn off color in the ``setup'' window.

Pente will store a new file every time you run it. In this file it will save the current state of Pente. This is handy; you don't normally have to set command line switches since Pente will remember them in the file.


Sometimes the file gets some bad data in it. Just delete the file and then you can start from scratch again.


Bill Shubert (

French text by Eric Dupas (

Italian text by Andrea Borgia (email:; homepage: