The BoardGameGeek site has a description of Avalanche, with a picture of the actual apparatus. You can read the Rules of Avalanche as a .PDF file, which is really just a set of scans.
The rules describe four games that can be played with the apparatus.
A player's turn consists of dropping one or more marbles, one at a time, in through the holes at the top of the apparatus. You cannot drop another marble until all the others have stopped moving. As soon as any marbles drop out at the bottom of the apparatus, they are all returned to the current player, whose turn ends, and it becomes is the next player's turn.
If, at the end of a player's turn, all their marbles are the same colour and there are at least five of them, then that player has won.
If a player runs out of marbles, and is therefore unable to to drop one in at the top when required by the rules to do so, then that player has lost, and the game is over.
If, at the start of a player's turn, they have few marbles, and there is no way that they can use them to cause any to drop out at the bottom, then they may pass. It then becomes the next player's turn.
If, however, there is a way that they can cause at least one marble to drop out at the bottom (other players may point out such a way), then they must take their move in the usual way.
If, at the start of a player's turn, they have few marbles, and there is no way
that they can use them to cause any to drop out at the bottom, then they may pass.
To do so, they should click "Pass". It will then become the next player's turn.
If, however, there is a way that they can cause at least one marble to drop out at the bottom (other players may point out such a way), then they must click "Play" and take their move in the usual way.
It will continue to work when you are disconnected from the internet.
My own experience with different browsers, on my WindowsXP system, is as follows.
|Browser||Does the game work?||Does the sound work?|
|Internet Explorer 5, 6, 7, 8||Yes||Yes. (I use Windows Media Player.)|
|Yes||No. But installing a different WAV file player might fix this.|
|Opera 5, 7||No||The sounds play themselves, all simultaneously, at every opportunity.|
|This implementation||The real game|
|Players are forced to take their turns in order||Players are physically able to play out of turn|
|Players can only drop the marbles in through the holes||Players are physically able to drop the marbles in anywhere|
|The marbles sometimes pass through one another||The marbles are constrained by the laws of physics|
|The marbles never get jammed in the gates||The marbles can get jammed in the gates. This unpredictability, in my opinion, makes the real game more fun|
|A player who does not like what happened is unable to change it||Players are physically able to prod the apparatus with their fingers and change its state|
|You can select the 1-player game. It is possible to lose this, but not to win it.||The rules say "2-6 players".|
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See also Nick Wedd's home page and his maps at maproom.org.