The game starts with a 9×9 board with three balls chosen out of seven different colours. The player can move one ball per turn, and the player may only move a ball to a particular place if there is a path (linked set of vertical and horizontal empty cells) between the current position of the ball and the desired destination. The goal is to remove balls by forming lines (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) of at least five balls of the same colour. If the player does form such lines of at least five balls of the same colour, the balls in those lines disappear, and he gains one turn, i.e. he can move another ball. If not, three new balls are added, and the game continues until the board is full.
Lines for Windows (1995)
In 1995 the first Windows version was developed by Igor Nedelko and Adrey Akselrod for the AbrewSoft company as a shareware. This was a faithful remake of Color Lines, with 256-color graphics and a custom window with buttons for all the functions. The characters on the pillars, champion and pretender, were still there, but in a modern office instead of a medieval setting. The figurines to the right was ever so slightly animated, blinking and tapping a hand now and then. The ball with the four cyan arrows was for moving the window around. A new concept of a four-color balls on advanced levels was introduced with this version.
In 1997, a new, Windows version with added rules called Lines 98 was created by a Russian student at the Perm university, who is only known as Sorcerer. It features three game modes:
- Lines - The standard mode
- Squares – Making rectangular shapes. The minimum is 4 balls.
- Blocks – Minimum seven adjacent balls. Two balls are adjacent if they make a vertical or horizontal line (not diagonal).
The game was shareware, with a time limit after which it must be purchased to play. It featured support for skins, audio packs, undo of last move, and settings for the speed of the game movements in %. For example, you could have faster or slower:
- movement of the ball
- appearance of new balls
- jumping up and down of selected balls
The game had an offline and online high-score table. As of 2009, the official web site of the game, including the hi-score chart, is offline. (The release of the latest version of the game was in 2001.)
In 2000, he also released a free ad-supported version, called Lines Millennium, which does not have the online hi-score feature.
The game was in Russian, but features a text file with all interface items, allowing translation into other Cyrillic languages and English/etc.