The object of the OCTAGONO! is to maneuver all of your octagons into your corral while preventing your opponents’ octagons from preventing your octagons from entering your corral. Or their corral.

To begin play, distribute four hundred octagons among all players, alphabetically. Avoid distributing any heptagons or nonagons. Heptagons and nonagons should be removed from play.

Once the octagons have been distributed, begin the placement round. The player to the right of the banker should start by placing their first octagon (“Firstagon”) onto one of the board slots and then securing it with a peg and a bit of twine.

Now let the bidding begin!

Starting with the player to the left (stage left) of the current player, and proceeding counter-clockwise, each player should place a bid on this octagon using $1500 of “Octacash” that you should have given them earlier. Bidding continues until someone purchases the “Firstagon.” The “Firstagon” should be removed from the board and secured to the auction winner (“Firstagon Winner”) with a peg and a bit of twine. Continue in this manner.

When you’re done, proceed to Placement Round II. Players may place their pawns on the board according to their country of origin. If all players share a country of origin, flip several coins. If the result of any of the coin-flips shows an eagle, that’s traditionally considered good luck in a game of OCTAGONO!

Once all the pawns have been placed, remember their locations by jotting them down in your OCTAGONO! journal (not included.) Now remove all pawns and place them in “Octajail” located at the center of the board. These pawns will remain in “Octajail” until their debt to “Octasociety” has been paid (i.e. three turns.)

Next, each player should roll the dice and move one of their red cubes (again, these should’ve been given out much, much earlier) to one of the 18 designated “Red Cube Zones.” If you’re wondering how to keep track of which of the dozens of identical red cubes are yours and which are your opponents’, don’t worry. These cubes can easily be distinguished by smell.

Whoever succeeds in placing the most red cubes into a Red Cube Zone, good for them! Red cubes should be ignored for the purposes of scoring.

Players may now use their remaining octagons to struggle for dominance and settle old scores.

Would it surprise you to learn that all these octagons are supposed to represent horses? I thought it might. Horses aren’t really shaped like that, are they?

After three turns have passed, release the pawns from “Octajail.” But be careful. Rates of recidivism are depressingly high. Until “Octajail” gets serious about rehabilitation, we can expect these pawns to frequently land themselves behind bars. “Octajail” gets serious about rehabilitation at the end of turn six.

Remember those heptagons and nonagons you removed from play, earlier? You still don’t need them. Seriously, stop thinking about them. They’re gone. Let it go.

Now try to get all your octagons into your corral thingie because if you do that, you win! Once someone wins there is no need to continue playing.

Congratulations, you’ve just completed your first game of OCTAGONO!

You must now pack the thousands upon thousands of tiny game pieces back into the box. It is at this time that the “Firstagon Winner” should make his customary toast. Whatever feels appropriate. It is only important that he speak from the heart.

Note: If you have no cards left during this post-game toast, you have been eliminated.