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How to buy Pacru

What & why
Pacru, Shacru
& Azacru?

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Play on computer




What are they like and who would like them?

We've put some answers into two separate sections below: and each section looks at each game individually and then the different sets published (series 101, series 302).
what we say and what others have said.

There is also a section on specific features of the three games that other games also have as well as one on features that make the games distinctive

What we say

The first thing we say is that there is freely available software so that you could try out all three games without purchase. The Pacru software is the most developed, and you might want a hot or cool drink besides you as you read the rules. Shacru you could probably play without even reading the rules, Azacru you want to browse the rules first. If you want to get into the games gently try Shacru first. If you want something with more strategic complexity try Azacru. If you like deeply engaging games where thinking about every move involves a wealth of possibilities try Pacru: definitely not a light game. Some people like all three - some people find Shacru too light, some people find Pacru too heavy - explore the site and play a few games and hopefully you'll get a good idea if there is a game here you'll want to play and play.

The second thing to say is that if you want more detailed information have a look also in the reviews section.

A third thing is to look at the photos .


You play Pacru on a board consisting of a grid of nine squares by nine squares, divided into nine "borderlands". The game centres on the interaction between chevrons (four each) and markers. The board starts with no colour markers on the board and as the game progresses you can place markers of your own colour by moving across borders. As you gain more markers in a borderland, so your chevrons there gain more power of movement. Using a connection change you can sweep a chevron across the board changing squares to your colour, or with two chevrons you can pincer an opposition chevron. You win the game by placing your 42nd marker on the board, or by eliminating all your the opponent's chevrons. You will probably take 15 minutes from first aquaintance to grasping the rules.

Pacru is the most complex of the three games by a long way: (though the rules are shorter than games in many genres). The Pacru rules provide for a game which has a deep level of complexity and variety, and like the long-lived and well known classics, this is a game which will endure. The distinctive arrow headed "chevrons" can only go forwards, but can move forwards and to the left or forwards and to the right, enabling them to make circular movments around the board. It is a game in which all the players are gaining territory from the start, and as it progresses each has opportunities to make the very pleasing and elegant move which was the inspiration for the game - the connection change. There are different strategies open for the more aggressive player as well as the one who likes to build their territory while avoiding confrontation - and it is a game which can be won by achieving the target number of markers on the board or by playing so the opponent loses all their chevrons.

Pacru is like to appeal to players of the classic "abstract" games: Chess, Go, Othello (Reversi), Draughts (Checkers), Parcheesi as well as the more sophisticated recent games of this nature such as the GIPF series created by Kris Burm, or Sid Sackson's abstract work. Those who wish to take Pacru further can enter the Manchester Open or the Pacru Championships at the Mind Sports Olympics where Pacru sits alongside old classic games.

Unlike many abstract games Pacru can be played by 3 or 4 players, not only two. Pacru is again unusual in having both markers (tiles, stones) and chevrons (pieces, men) and a dynamic relationship between the two. The aspect of the game where more territory in a "borderland" gives the chevrons there more power of movement can remind the player of the game Risk. The advantage of being a new strategy game is that at this point in time there is not a wealth of information on opening theory, endgame play etc. - it is that most exciting time in a game's development.


Shacru is a simple and relatively light game that takes less than two minutes to learn. It is a strategy game where you have to watch what your opponent(s) are up to. Chevrons can only move one space at a time, and each time they move they place a marker on the square moved to. A coloured marker that does not belong to you is a barrier, so each player is effectively trying to build walls which their opponents cannot pass through, so that at the end of the game they can keep gaining territory in order to have the most at the end of the game. Scores for the amount of territory won in each game by each player can be totalled across a series of games, just like tricks in a game of cards.

Shacru appeals to a wide range of players. You can make up your strategy as you go along, and your chevrons cannot be "taken" so the competitive element of the game is not at first obvious. Five year olds can, and do, play the game, though it will probably appeal most to slightly older children.


Azacru can be seen as a natural development from Shacru, though the play is so different it is misleading to call it a variation. In Azacru you are working towards making one, or a series of, connection changes as the game progresses. If you make a connection change where in addition to placing your own markers, you are removing another player's marker(s) from the board, then your chevron exits the board as soon as the move is made. This can be a good move to make for the last rounds of Azacru are usually the most crucial, and as as soon as one player says "I cannot move" on their turn, the others have just one move each left to make in which to increase the number of their markers on the board, and ideally decrease those of their opponents at the same time.

The 302 game set

This was designed in Manchester, made in Germany by quality game makers Ludofact, who manufacture games for both large and small publishers. The chevrons and markers are made of wood, and the chevrons are an unusual and distinctive shape. The board is a good quality cardboard board which despite its size folds neatly into the 302 box. The design on the board, and the board itself is relatively plain and simple with no additional colour or writing on the board: this was a deliberate design decision because the board is the background for games which become increasingly colourful as they continue, and play tests indicated that a more striking board made the chevrons & markers harder to see. The game comes with comprehensive rules in a type size that can be read comfortably by most people (there is a UK (English) edition and separate German edition ... for other languages rules are being made available on this website). There are (deliberately) no surplus card or plastic internal dividers in the game box, but instead specially created coloured boxes to hold the markers & chevrons for each player.

The 302 game set and the accompanying games would be a fine present for anyone from nine upwards, or even for younger people who have already shown an interest in games like chess and checkers/draughts. A family with children as young as five could play Shacru progressing to the other games as the children became older. Since the games can all be played by 2, 3 or 4 players they are ideal for families: and a larger family would simply need to have two (or more) sets.

The 101 game set

This was based on the original prototype boards designed by Mike Wellman & Pelle Astrom, with coloured glass tiles set in wells. The game comes with a the base game board and a lid, and all the game components (apart from the rules) fit within the game box. The game board is made of wood veneer on MDF. The pieces are wooden and individually hand made by Pelle himself. The lid features the Pacru logo, designed by Calligrapher Simon Daniel. The game is a pleasure to look at both in the starting position of the game (with all "neutral" tiles) and particularly as the game progesses and becomes a visual mosaic of colour.

What others have said


Tom Vasel "like no other game I've played ... An excellent abstract".

Alain Dekker: "its a great game ... play is quick and fun, and the strategic depth to the game is excellent.

Clark D Rodeffer "It's a very rich abstract game. While there are only a couple of ways to win (control a majority of the board or eliminate / immobilize all your opponents), the many paths you can take to get there give Pacru a lot of variety."

Stephen Tavener "Nice movement and mechanics"

Michel Richard "il ne nécessite que 10 minutes d'explications, mais il vous faudra de nombreuses parties pour en saisir les subtilités. Le jeu est aussi tactique que les échecs, la réflexion est donc de mise. Il est cependant tout à fait original et le mode de déplacement des pions inédit."

Roughly translated: "it requires only 10 minutes of explanation, but you will need to play many games to seize the subtleties. The play is as tactical as chess, thinking about positioning. It is completely original in the manner of movement of the pieces."

Random comments on the way when you move, you move only forwards, and you must face forwards in the direcion you have moved: "It is like life".

Random comments on the connection change: "Ah, like Othello", "There's a move like that in Yinsh".


"reminds me of Tron ... I like this the best of the three in the series. It's certainly simplistic, yet fun." Tom Vasel

"interesting 2-4-player game that can be played in 15 minutes... Nice to see an abstract that more than 2 can play" Dean Howard.

Michel Richard "il s'agit d'une règle simplifiée, s'apparentant à celle d'Isola. Elle s'apprend en 3 minutes et il n'est pas nécessaire de jouer un nombre incalculable de parties pour acquérir une bonne technique de jeu"

Roughly translated: "You can learn the game in three minutes, with simple rules focused on creating barriers".

Random comments: "A bit like Go but with pieces moving to lay down the stones".


"An interesting multiplayer abstract" Shannon Appelcline

"Good game, probably excellent for its style, but it just doesn't grab me. Reminds me too much of chess" Robert Jones

The 302 game set

"The board is simply a large grid of star spaces, split into nine regions by thick black lines. Each of the four sets of pieces comes in a small box with lid of that color (yellow, red, green, and black). The pieces are all wooden - with the markers being small cylinders, and the chevrons triangular pieces that remind one of an arrowhead. The game certainly looks abstract; and while it's pleasing on the eye, it is "no frills". Everything fits easily inside the square box; and I really liked the four smaller boxes, as they kept all the pieces organized quite well." Tom Vasel

"The wooden markers are nice, but not enough to justify the $49.80 list price." Robert Jones

The 101 game set

"Le matériel est EXCEPTIONNEL !!! Plateau de jeu en bois et plus de 200 tuiles en céramique. - Impossible de résister à la tentation de manipuler les pions…" Michel Richard

Roughly translated: "The material is EXCEPTIONAL!!! Wooden game board and more than 200 ceramic tiles. - Impossible to resist temptation to handle the pieces…"

Features of Pacru, Azacru & Shacru that may be shared with other games

This is very much work in progress and suggestions (or corrections) very welcome.

The Pacru Board




Features of Pacru, Azacru & Shacru that are distinctive

Not sure which other games have pieces that move like the chevron, where the piece can only move forwards, and where it must point in the direction that it has moved. Any assistance on this point gratefully received.
Similarly not sure which other games have the idea (as in Shacru & Azacru) of a borderland twist or similar ... that when passing through some barrier,border or line, you are entitled to shift your piece in a way you cannot normally do.

The following claims are made by Mike Wellman the inventor of Pacru, Azacru & Shacru. Not that he knows them to be true, but that he believes them to be true:
Pacru and Azacru share a set of features that are not to be found in other games. Yes you can find various single features in other games but nothing that could be reasonably described as similar. It is this combination of features that partly gives a game its special flavour.
1) the rule forbidding a piece to land on a square of different colour
2) the connection change
3) the division of the board into borderlands
4) the power of movement

In addition Pacru has another set of features (not mutually exclusive of the list above) that on its own would make the game unique
1) the rule forbidding a piece to land on a square of different colour
2) the way the pieces can only move forwards
3) the division of the board into borderlands
4) the borderland change

In addition to a) and b) Pacru also has two dynamics for both increasing power in the game, and winning the game: the territorial capture primarily down to a) and b) but also piece capture.