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What is Three Arrows?

Three Arrows is an online (mobile and desktop) multiplayer game and an offline physical board game that combines elements of strategy, bluffing and luck.

Anyone can learn

Three Arrows has an easy to learn, intuitive set of rules and a diverse set of underlying strategies and gameplay. The object of the game is to capture as many of your opponent's pieces as possible.

Each game can be played by 2,3 or 4 players.

Learn to play

Magic Number 3

The ancient Greek philosopher, Pythagoras, postulated that the meaning behind numbers was deeply significant. In their eyes the number 3 was considered as the perfect number, the number of harmony, wisdom and understanding. It was also the number of time – past, present, future; birth, life, death; beginning, middle, end – it was the number of the divine. Three is often the magic number in fairy tales.

Ancient Origins

I purchased a rough description of the game from an elderly stallholder at a small local village market in Guatemala, Central America, while travelling there back in 2006 - it was written in Spanish on some worn paper and had apparently been derived from what was found within the ancient ruined city of Tikal. According to the stall holder, Bembe (I only remember his first name), Maya glyphs were found etched onto a stone wall, within a hidden chamber of a pyramid near the overgrown heart of the ruins during an archaeological dig way back in 1975.

Included were some sketches drawn from what was found within the chamber. There was no name given for the game, so I derived a name for it from the glyph for the number 3 that was used consistently across the walls of the chamber along with a strangely contemporary symbol that looks astonishingly like the number 3 with lines coming together at 3 arrow tips that was also sketched onto the paper.

The document Bembe gave me described the game as originating from a species of ‘ancient astronauts’ who used it as a way to test their skills of strategic thinking and also cultivate psychic abilities, such as the ability to ‘know’ what was underneath the hidden pieces on the board or subtly control movement of the dice for a more favourable result.

Bembe told me the game was taught to a select few of the Mayan people whom the ancient astronauts considered as having a ‘fluid mind’ that saw past the mundane and into the hidden dimensions beyond. He believed that these humans would develop the physic abilities to truly master the game.

I’m sure it was just a sales pitch, but there was a twinkle in his eyes when he grinned at me and said perhaps I was one of these select few who would eventually master the game. Maybe one day.

Technical Fluff

Three Arrows is currently fully playable online, albeit as a 'beta' verion. The final release is coming in late 2022 or early 2023.

A fully functional cloud hosted ‘rules engine’ web API and accompanying database was created in 2020 and upgraded over time since then. This API handles all the game logic, multi-player interaction and a record of games, game moves and game state is recorded in the database for later analysis.

Next, a prototype web client was developed to hook into the web API and over 1000 online games have been played by eight dedicated beta-testers using this platform.

The online version of the game was inspired by the 2020 Covid-19 lock-downs.

An AI (artificial intelligence) will eventually be created for the game - this will enable players to play against the computer rather than just playing other human players.