I was playing Convert with a kid name John a while back. He noticed that, from an abstract point of view, the pieces resembled animals. He's a very smart kid, five years old at the time, and was totally rocking the points! I figured, what better way to show strategy for pieces than by introducing them his way!
Ive noted each piece with the three "S's": Scoring, Squaring, and Serving.
Scoring is, well, how you can score points with it.
Squaring is how you can convert the board squares to your color.
Serving is how you leave the board for your opponent to play on.
So let's get to our first piece: The Elephant!
Certainly the largest piece in the game, if you hold on to it too long, you might get stuck with it! Although, those of you who like to force end-of-game scoring as a strategy, it could be a great piece to hold, so that you are only playing nine pieces rather than ten!
Since his "ear to ear" is three squares long, you are almost all but but guaranteed to score a point or two from the Elephant, especially when you can use the board squares to your advantage. The "trunk" turns onto a different row too, at a length of two, so it can efficiently cause other pieces to be in great scoring position; sort of a one, two punch!
The Elephant covers the largest amount of squares at four squares. If you are clever and can form the board while playing, you can possibly get a mid to late game Elephant and get great coverage at the end. Playing an early Elephant likely covers less of the opposing color, but creates a large area of the board for squares to reclaim and score on!
When playing The Elephant "face up", you can create uneven areas for your opponent. Depending on what pieces they have left, they might only be able to play onto one of the ears, or only on the "trunk". When playing The Elephant "face down", you present a nice flat surface of three squares long, a very desirable thing for your opponent, so be sure to not set up your opponent to score!
Next up.. The Snail!