As a follow up to my question earlier, can a player be forced to skip a turn when playing a four player game of Quoridor? The rules state that a pawn cannot jump over more than one pawn when moving, but this brings up an potential board state in which a player has no valid moves:

Demonstration of questionable game state

Suppose the turn order is Green, Red, Blue, then Yellow. Green started on the west edge, Red started on the north edge, Blue started on the east edge, and Yellow started at the south edge.

It is Blue's turn, and Yellow has already used all of its walls. Blue then traps all four pawns in the tight corridor by placing its final wall horizontally immediately south of it (noted here by the faded wall below Yellow and Blue). It is now Yellow's turn, but Yellow has no walls, nor does it seem that it has any valid moves. Furthermore, if Green and Red place walls on their next turns, Blue and Yellow are potentially trapped again.

What is the proper way to handle this circumstance?

  • 1
    Ooh, good catch! Has this scenario actually come up for you? My guess is that it's rare enough that the game creators either didn't think of it or didn't bother writing a rule for it. I'd just add one of the following house rules: 1) Blue's move is illegal or 2) Yellow skips her turn. Aug 3, 2016 at 23:51
  • Thanks! There was something similar that happened the other day, all four pawns we packed into a corridor and it got me wondering how something like this ought to be handled. Regarding the house rules, there are also ways something like this could come up without walls needed to be placed, which would then imply restrictions on movement, too, something along the lines of "if pawn movement or wall placement prevents a player from having any valid moves, that action is illegal". That said, it'd be nice to find something more definitive :D
    – Robby
    Aug 4, 2016 at 16:47
  • Oh, this can actually chain multiple turns: A's move can become illegal because it leaves B with only one move that is illegal because it would leave C with no moves. At this point I'd scrap that house rule: it should never be that complicated just to figure out what's legal. So instead I vote for the skip-your-turn rule. Aug 4, 2016 at 17:27
  • @ikegami I know that e.g. chess calls it a draw when you can't move, but that seems really awkward in a 4 player game - the actions of 3 of the players can force the 4th into a draw?! (Imagine green was instead at R1C8 - it's not her fault the other three players are derping around in that dead end) Aug 4, 2016 at 17:29
  • @ikegami I agree that if it happened without prior agreements, as you write in your answer, among competitive people it'd be too late to choose a house rule and you'd have to take the most commonly accepted meta-rule: the game is a draw. But unlike in say chess or MtG where that meta-rule is also both officially in the rules and a reasonable way of resolving the situation, here it is neither, so it is definitely worthwhile to come up with a house rule. I'd even get the group to pick one on the spot if I was in a friendly group - no reason to terminate a perfectly fine game. Aug 4, 2016 at 18:32

1 Answer 1


Positioning of the fences

• The fences must be placed between 2 sets of 2 squares

• The fences can be used to facilitate the player’s progress or to impede that of the opponent, however, an access to the goal line must always be left open.

So blue can't place a fence here 'cause it will block the path to the goal line

  • Well, if ever there was a definitive source on the rules of Quoridor, David Gigamic would be the guy. Thanks for your help! This circumstance could also come about based on players taking moves, would those moves then be illegal? I would be happy to post a visual example if that would clarify things.
    – Robby
    Aug 8, 2016 at 18:17
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    @Robby I wouldn't be so quick to accept this answer, even from David Gigamic. Not only is it already stretching the no-blocking rule beyond how most players would read it, but as you point out it's also easy to come up with similar scenarios this doesn't answer, including ones that don't involve placing fences at all. Sep 1, 2016 at 0:55
  • Hi Benjamin, i made a quick answer for your other problem :) Sep 1, 2016 at 15:05
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    Thanks! To me that answer confirms this one is unnecessary: if a player can be forced to skip their turn, that seems like the easy solution here. The simplest reading of "access to the goal line must always be left open" (and the only reading directly supported by Fig 5) is that the walls themselves must not form a permanent barrier between a player and the goal. Here you read in more to that rule: that the walls together with the current configuration of pawns (and possibly the turn order?) must also not form a temporary barrier. Sep 1, 2016 at 17:29
  • @ikegami Assuming 'access to the goal line' can be impeded for even a single turn... How do you mean v.v. common- I've never chanced upon it? Aug 30, 2023 at 18:05

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