The purpose of this page is to explain all micropul rules and variants. The complete rules are available in the Downloads section in english, japanese and spanish. This page contains:

Basic rules

General variants

Solitaire variants

If you've invented more variants and want to share them, drop me a line.

Quick summary of the 2-player game



Shuffle all the tiles and stack them face down. Each player starts with an hand of 6 tiles drawn at random and 3 stones.


Play goes turn by turn. On a turn, a player can do one of the following action:

Lay a tile on the board

Laying tiles is the most important action of the game. It is the only way to get new tiles in your supply. Getting new tiles is done by activating catalysts during the placement of your tile, this part is very tactical.

Take a tile from your supply

The tiles gained by activating catalysts go into your supply, not in your hand. At first, your supply is empty so you cannot take this action. If there's a tile in your supply, you can pick it up and place it into your hand. Then, next turn it will be possible to use it. Keeping your hand full of tiles will give you more option but it's better to keep a tile in your supply because it's worth more points at the end of the game.

Put a stone on the board

As you play, you will see micropul of the same color will interconnect and groups will form on the board. These groups can be claimed and will be worth a lot of points if they are closed before the end of the game. That is the strategic part. This action is straightforward: you claim a group by putting one of your stone on any micropul of that group.


The complete rules explains the rest of the game such as the important micropul connection rules, micropul grouping and the big micropul.

Simpler placement

example of simpler placement

To introduce people new to the game, Blue Guldal suggested that Rule #1 concerning the placement of micropul be ignored.

Rule #1: Any new tile coming in play must be attached to the rest of the tiles already in play. More precisely, to attach your tile one of its micropul must be adjacent to another micropul of a tile already in play.

After playing a few game without bothering to attach the tiles to the rest of the tiles, it's easy to add this rule and play the proper game. I agree with this variant because Rule #1 is the mechanic that's the most confusing to people when I teach them the game. It's also the most misunderstood or missed rule. But make sure to add it back at some point because it's very important to the game.

2-dot catalyst restriction

example of the 2-dot restriction

This variant is used to tone down the 2-dot catalysts. It makes the game more difficult. When activating the 2-dot catalyst, you need to have two fresh micropul adjacent to the catalyst. If only one fresh micropul is adjacent to the catalyst, draw only 1 tile instead of 2. I believe this variant was invented by Seiji Matsumura and it can be found at his website (in japanese).

Three players

This variant is almost identical to the normal 2-player game. You need all 48 tiles but only 2 stones per player with a different color for each. Play clockwise. Of course, the scores are lower overall and the game is more chaotic but it works quite well.

Four players w/ 2 sets

To play this variant you will need 2 micropul sets. Use all 96 tiles and 3 stones per player with a different color for each. Play clockwise. The game is longer and more chaotic.



This variant to play by yourself is almost identical to the normal 2-player game. You need all 48 tiles but only 3 stones of the same color. You start with an hand of 6 tiles and play as you would in the 2-player game. Only this time, it's always your turn! Play until the last tile in the core is drawn then calculate your score.

What's fun about this variant is that you can compare your previous scores. You will progress as you play and become better and better. This should help you improve your skills in the 2-player game.

Typical scores
Ranking Score
Beginner 30 - 60
Normal 60 - 70
Advanced 80 - 90
Expert 90 - 100
Master 100+

Take a peek + catalyst

In the 2-player game, activating a + catalyst has the effect of giving you an extra turn. In the solitaire variant, this is useless. Instead, the + catalyst give you the right to flip a tile face up in your supply without taking it out of the supply. In other words, you can take a peek at one tile in your supply. This was suggested by Ro Sato in an email conversation.

5 points Big puls

In the 2-player game, the big micropul are worth 1 points when scoring groups. In the solitaire variant, it has been suggested by Seth Jaffee that it should be worth 5 points instead. This has the effect of giving an advantage to having all 4 big puls in closed groups. If you use this variant your score should be a bit higher than the typical score if you dig for the big puls.

Computer Solitaire

screenshot of the computer game

Hozo programmed the solitaire variant in an online Flash game. It's in japanese but very easy to figure out how to play if you already know the rules.

Note that this implementation uses the 'Take a peek + catalyst' and '5 points Big puls' rules. At game end, the program will automatically select the 3 biggest groups and score them.