Sumo is a one dimensional representation of a Sumo wrestling bout by Tony Reeves.

The game is for 2 players or a tournament, and there are 5 turns per bout.

Each bout lasts a maximum of 6 turns.

The ring is represented by a linear track seventeen spaces long.

A counter is placed on the central space of the track at the start of the bout and is moved to the left or right depending on the outcome of each round.

If the counter is pushed beyond the end of the track then the bout is over as one contestant has pushed his opponent out of the ring.

Each player begins the game with 6 cards values 1 to 6 inclusive.

Players simultaneously reveal their choice of card.

If the cards are equal, no movement occurs.

The player selecting the larger value card pushes the token a number of spaces equal to the DIFFERENCE BETWEEN the 2 card values MULTIPLIED BY THE LOWER of the 2 card values.


Higher Card Lower Card Movement
6 4 (6-4)*4=8
5 2 (5-2)*2=6
4 3 (4-3)*3=3

The greatest movement possible is 9 spaces (when 6 and 3 are the selected cards). It is thus (just) possible to win on the first turn.

A player wins a bout by either:

Pushing the counter off the end of the track.

Ending the 6 turns with the counter in his opponent's half of the track.

If the counter is in the middle of the track after 6 turns then the result is a tie. In "round robin" competitions a win by "push-off" (oshi dashi) scores 3, a win by final position scores 2 and a tie scores 1 each.

NMRs in Sumo

In addition to selecting their own card in each round of Sumo players may also indicate a preferred card from their opponents hand to be played in the event of an NMR. This is the card that will be played by the GM should the opponent NMR. Should a player decline the invitation to nominate a card from the opponent's hand then the GM will select a card at random in the event of an NMR.

Sumo Zero Variant

This variant differs only in the addition of a zero card to each of the players' hands. If a zero card is played by either or both players then no movement results. This is particularly satisfying when your zero is met by the opponent's six.

Oshi Dashi Variant

In this variant games are always played to a "push-off" finish. After all the cards have been played once they are taken back and used again until a full "push-off" victory results.

Tactical Sumo

A variant by John Walker (rules may be tweaked)

At the start of the game players may swap up to 2 of their number cards for the following tactical cards:

  1. Yori (body push) - the player advances one space
  2. Gino-Sho (fighting technique) - no movement occurs
  3. Nodo Wa (thrust to throat / a risky strategy) - the opposite side of the dice to your opponent's number is played i.e. 1/6, 2/5, 3/4.
  4. Kata-Sukashi (dodging) - track positions are reversed
  5. Kanto (fighting spirit) - the last card you played is repeated
  6. Sumo Master - this card acts a joker and can be played as any of the 5 tactic cards

Players opting for tactics swap the number representing the tactic. E.g. number 1 must be swapped for Yori. If 2 tactical cards are played on the same turn the lower is process first. Sumo master assumes the value of the card it represents.