If both flags are blocked by bombs, and there are no miners left, The rules state that if you have no movable pieces left you lose the game.

What if each player has one moveable piece left, and the one with the lower piece simply runs away?
If the player can't be caught, he can't lose, and a draw would need to be called, correct?

  • Try catching a 9 with three 7s.
    – Joshua
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 17:02

5 Answers 5


I've not found any reference to rules concerning draws in any of the rules pdfs on line. The rules do say

A piece cannot move back and forth between the same two squares in three consecutive turns

If a player had no legal move other than "moving back and forth" they would lose as unable to play.

It is possible that a piece could never be caught in a game of Stratego if they were being chased around any of the 4 empty lake spaces. This situation doesn't seem to be covered in official rules but it does seem to be covered in the International Stratego Federation rules. I don't know if they have any official affiliation with any Stratego publisher. They say

It is not allowed to continuously chase one or more pieces of the opponent endlessly. The continuous chaser may not play a chasing move which would lead to a position on the board which has already taken place.

Those rules also say

A match ends in draw when:

  • at the end of the official playing the match has not ended yet.
  • both players agree to a draw.
  • the arbiter declares the game a draw.
  • both players have no movable pieces anymore.
  • both personal clock times have run out and this is mentioned by at least one of both players.

I should stress these are the. ISF rules and not in any published version. People playing at home would be unlikely to use a clock for example.

So whilst the rules do not officially call the situation you give a draw, it seem sensible to me that both players should agree to this if the game is impossible to end otherwise.

  • The ISF rules extend the house rules found in the Jumbo boxes:, quote: "1.2 The ISF Game Rules are based on the Jumbo Stratego Original Game Rules (see article 5). The ISF Game Rules focus on potential conflict situations during tournaments, which are not described in detail in the Jumbo Stratego Original Game Rules" Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 21:50
  • And furthermore: "05 Jumbo Stratego Original Game Rules The ISF Game Rules are based on the Jumbo Stratego Original Game Rules (version 2006). The Jumbo Stratego Original Game Rules which are not incorporated in any other article are listed below" Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 21:51

You are correct. If a player can't be caught, he can't lose, and a draw would need to be called.

On BGG, Pursuit thread, Alejandro Lizarraga is saying:

The only scenario when I can think that a persecution can extend indefinitely is when a player has one single moving piece left in the board with his flag surrounded by bombs and the opponent has run out of bombers already. In this very particular case, the tournament rules concede a draw game, but I think only after completing two full circles around the board.

The rules specify two ways to win:

  1. capture the flag
  2. opponent can not make a move in his turn

If all the games me and my sister played over the years, one comes to mind. Our flags were in opposite corners and bombed in, we each had one miner, marshal, spy, and a few other pieces (no scouts) left. The game continued for two days before we realized it was unwinnable.

For those "can't repeat a position" guys; there's about 10^38 positions before repeats become a problem.

  • Since Stratego does not randomly move to any possible board position, the number of potential board layouts is irrelevant. It's those that can and do repeat which are not permitted, and repeats can and have been issues in games before.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 21:44
  • @Nij: It was in this case. Wide open board jockying for advantage; tight loops did not occur.
    – Joshua
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 21:46
  • 1
    In what case? The question is about rules in general, an answer based on one specific game is less than helpful.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 21:55
  • @Nij: Question: Is is possible to have a draw?
    – Joshua
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 22:05
  • So, how does mentioning the number of possible positions (many of which are illegal or inaccessible, and are not freely obtainable from any other position) help answer that? - It doesn't.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 22:10

It sounds like it should be a loss for the player who is running away. In this situation you have a case where neither player can win by capturing the flag and both players have movable pieces the victory should go to the player with the highest piece left. However there would be two situations where this would be different.

  • Players have 1 movable piece left of different ranks: person with lower ranked piece loses.
  • Players have 1 movable piece left of equal rank: game is a draw as they would eliminate each other when attacked.
  • Players have 1 movable piece left one is the marshal and one is the spy: game would continue until either a draw is agreed to or one player is able to capture the other piece.

In this case I don't think it is advisable to reward a player with a draw for being able to move around the board when they have no chance of winning.

  • 1
    Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man. youtube.com/watch?v=pWdd6_ZxX8c&ab_channel=klatica
    – Cohensius
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 22:01
  • @Cohensius You are right it is just my opinion but I don't see why you would reward someone in a losing position with a draw just because they are in a position from keeping the game from ever ending.
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 22:24
  • 2
    Imho this situation is similar to one of the draw reasons in Chess: "Impossibility of checkmate", for example: king and bishop versus king. One can say that the player that have a king + bishop should win, but really it is just a draw. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draw_(chess)
    – Cohensius
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 7:21
  • @JoeW: "I don't see why you would reward someone in a losing position with a draw just because they are in a position from keeping the game from ever ending." Sure, but if they can force a draw, then it's not a losing position. Vice versa, I might say "I don't see why you would reward someone in a drawing position with a win just because they... um... bore easily?" I'm honestly not sure what the rationale would be for awarding a win to either of the players, given that we're assuming both players are literally unable to win, according to the rules of the game, from the present position. Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 16:47
  • 1
    Joe W, regarding your logic of not rewarding a player who has no chance of winning --- neither player has a chance of winning. So by your logic, both players must be awarded a loss. Number of points awarded in a match should remain constant, so best solution is a draw when neither player can win. Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 14:19

I would say yes. Take this scenario:

  • Red has more overall pieces, however the only powerful piece it has left is the Marshall. Included in the pieces is at least one Miner, who has not yet moved, so it looks like a bomb. Red's flag is buried in a two lines of unmoved pieces and is likely encased behind yet to be discovered bombs.

  • Blue has significantly fewer pieces, but they are clearly more powerful, For example, they may still have the Marshall, the General, and a Major. However Blue no longer possess a Miner to clear bombs. Let's also say that Blue's bombs have been clearly determined and the flag location has been pretty much exposed so it is forced to play defensively.

Which player is leading the game?

If Red is forced to trade to the death like checkers, then Blue.

However if game is Capture the Flag, should Blue be forced to try to "discover" the flag? Should the General be forced to try and capture an unmoved piece hoping it is not a bomb? Blue also cannot be overly aggressive on Red's side of the board or it could expose a mad dash by Miner(s) supported by as many pieces as it needs to cause confusion. The Red Marshall can bully both the Blue General and the Major if left unattended. Red has options to win and shouldn't be forced to trade (or even move) pieces because they are the only player who can capture the flag.

To me this looks like a clear tie because neither side is compelled to give up its advantage in the end game.

  • That seems strange as players could keep a piece from moving in order to hide what it is. For example they could not move the spy until they know where it is needed.
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 14:53
  • Right and not moving a piece is a big part of causing a draw. There is value in an unmoved piece. There is also value in an unidentified moved piece. What I am getting at is there is situations where one sides strength is the power of its remaining pieces. There are also situations where one sides strength is the number of pieces (or Miner/Scout skills). There is certainly significant power in identifying bombs and flag location. These differences in power creates clear draws that are more complex a Marshall chasing a General around a pond. Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 17:46
  • Right but not moving a piece that could be moved shouldn't factor into the decision as players have the choice to attack the piece if they think it is a bluff. Not to mention this is a problem because there are no rules around draws.
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 18:07
  • Ok but take my scenario. What should blue do, what should red do? If the back two rows of red is mostly intact and complete unmoved, what should blue do? It only has 3 pieces left keep in mind. Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 18:10
  • Play the game? Send in lower power pieces to try and find the bombs?
    – Joe W
    Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 18:12

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