Last time, I spoke about The Elephant, and how its shape can offer some interesting options for early and late game. This time, I'll talk about my favorite piece to play when someone pulls an Elephant on me... The Snail!
The Snail is deceptively powerful in Convert. While its smaller size poses a non-threat to your opponent, what they may not realize, is that you could be setting up your next turn in a big way!
Being two squares long, you might not be scoring with this piece very early on, but if we learn anything from snails in the wild, they come out when it rains! If you can flood an area of the board with your color, bring the snail out to snag the point (or two!), as many of your opponents pieces played on the snail can be reclaimed and re-converted! Add a little salt to that wound, just don't get any on the snail!
While covering two squares is not inherently game breaking, the snail can be one of the easiest pieces to play, even on the last turn. When played "shell down", you have the option of stepping up to another level of pieces, and many of those plays result in changing two squares to your color. When played "shell up", you might have less options for converting more squares, but the ease of play is relatively the same.
The power of the Snail, when it comes to serving, is its "shell". Present this piece "shell up" on a square you wish to hold, and your opponent will have to climb two levels to convert it without wasting smaller pieces! A great Snail strategy is to place this piece "shell up" in one of the center four squares mid game, even if you play on top of your own color. This way, you can hold the square for a turn, and have two rows that your opponent has to keep track of on their following turns!