Spider and Flies – Russian national game

Spiders stimulate our imagination. They are nasty creatures, but also efficient hunters. They are a symbol of evil, cruelty, ruthlessness or selfishness, but on the other hand… they are so skillful. J.R.R Tolkien scared us with Ungoliant and Shelob. JK Rowling also scared us with Aragog and his descendants, but there are also positive and wise spiders like Charlotte in “Charlotte’s web”

Spider’s theme is also present in board games. I’ve seen a lot of games that relate to spiders and flies, and are often played on a board similar to a spider’s web.

Among all these games one deserves special attention. It is a traditional Russian national game known as “пауки” (pronounce “paookee”) – it means spiders. This game is also known as  “паук и мухи” (pronounce: “paook ee moohee”), it means Spider and Flies. On the Internet there are only few articles about this game, so I’ll try to promote it.

Spider and Flies – general rules

It’s a board game with random element for 2, 3 or 4 players. Players make moves in special order, rolling a die before each move.

Board and pieces

To play Spider and Flies you need a board, which unfortunately is not quite easy to draw. It consists of multiple fields and circles connected by lines. See the image below.

Pająk i muchy

Note that the board has many dark fields and also a few white fields (at the edge and in the middle). The fields on the edge are starting fields for flies, and the white fields in the middle are important for the aim of the game.

Apart from the board you need 24 pieces representing Flies and one piece, representing the Spider. You also need a dice.

Number of players

As I mentioned, it’s a game for 2,3 or 4 players. One person always plays with Spider. Other players play with Flies.

  • If there are two players, one player is a Spider and second player (spider’s opponent) plays with all 24 Flies.
  • If there are 3 players, we have a Spider and two opponents, who have 12 Flies each.
  • If there are 4 players, one plays as a Spider, and the other three play with 8 Flies each.

Game mechanics

Before the game starts, Spider is located in the center of the board. All flies are on the white fields on the edge of the board.

Moving Rules: First move belongs to player who plays Flies (or one of them).

If there are two players, they make moves alternately. If there are more players, keep in mind that Spider moves after each Flies move. With 4 players Fly-1 starts, then the Spider, then Fly-2, then the Spider, then a Fly-3, then the Spider and so on.

In each turn, a player rolls a die and moves his piece on as many fields as shown on the die. The player who plays flies chooses one fly to move in his turn.

Note: It is not allowed to move forwards and backwards in one move. You can turn, but you can’t make a u-turn to made your move shorter.

Important rule: During game spider can’t pass through 8 white fields in the center of the board.

Capturing: Flies can not capture the Spider. Only the Spider can capture Flies.
Capturing occurs when the Spider passes through a field occupied by a Fly or when he ends his move on such a field.

Example capture is shown below. Spider (red piece) after throwing 6 has different possibilities of capturing. The red line shows one possibility of capturing two Flies (green pieces).

Bicie w pająku i muchach

Note: The Spider can’t capture those Flies, which took one of the eight central fields on the board.

The Fly can enter one a white central field only if it rolled such value on dice, that is proper to enter white field when turn ends.

Aim of the game

The goal is different for the Spider and the Flies.

Flies try to “break the web”. They can do this by taking all eight white fields in the middle of the board. Remember that the Spider can not beat flies in these areas and can not pass through these fields.

For the Spider the aim of the game is to kill number of flies enough to prevent them winning.

Similar games

If you like strategic games with a die you should also try Malefiz.

5 thoughts on “Spider and Flies – Russian national game

  1. Pingback: Vsadniki means Riders | Bona Ludo

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