This page is dedicated to the game I devised for my three series of novels-
The Wanderers, The Watchers and the Wellspring Trilogy.
This is a simple game really but quite challenging. Before I explain the rules here's a few speed rounds of the game to show you what it looks like. The music is from my CD- The Well of Yearning.
The Rules and how to play.
The Pieces: There are 17 pieces in this game. The High-King and the four lesser Kings are represented by the white pieces. The Ravens are represented by the dark pieces.
The Board: The playing board is a large square divided into forty-nine smaller squares, seven along each side. Unlike a modern chessboard this odd number of spaces results in a central square. This square is the High-King’s Sanctuary. On each one of the four corners there is a marked square. these represent the High-King’s Goal. Only the High-King piece may pass through or occupy the central square or the High-King’s Sanctuary. The same restriction applies to each of the four corner squares or High-King’s Goal squares.
Around the High-King’s Sanctuary are the four Lesser-King’s squares. this is where the Lesser-Kings are placed at the commencement of play.
The twelve Raven pieces are placed in groups of three on each of the four outer sides of the board in the spaces that have been marked for them.
The Object of the Game: for the white player is to successfully manoeuvre the High-King piece into one of the four corner squares, known as the High-King’s Goal. The Raven player must capture the High-King to win. There is no stalemate. If the Raven player does not capture the High-King then the white player is victorious.
Movement: The white player makes the first move. All pieces, including the High-King, move in the same manner. The pieces may move along any row of spaces in any direction, forward, back, left, or right. The movement can be likened to the movement of a rook in chess.
At each turn a player may move one piece as far in any one direction as space permits. If another piece occupies a piece may not pass through or over a space occupied by any other piece, be it a friendly piece or not. The pieces cannot turn corners in one move and there are no diagonal moves allowed in this game.
To eliminate an enemy piece from the game a player must place one of his own pieces on either side of the enemy piece, hemming it in and forming a straight line of three pieces. In the example below the white piece has been captured by the two raven pieces.
the high-king can also take part in capturing ravens, with the help of one of his lesser kings.
If, however, a piece moves into any space between two enemy pieces it is not captured by them in that move.
The Ravens only capture the High-King by surrounding him on all four sides. If the High-King is trapped against the edge of the board and surrounded on three sides by his opponents and there is no other move that the white player can make, a special rule comes into play. In this situation the Ravens must withdraw to allow the High-King to move. This is a very subtle game. Unlike chess the objective is quite different for each player. Also unlike the modern game of chess this game operates in four possible directions. Each of the corners offer victory to the High-King player. The Raven player really has their work cut out for them to prevent the high-king from achieving his goal while trying to capture him.
It is virtually impossible to plan a strategy, as one can in chess for example, and stick to it rigidly because there are so many possibilities available to each player at each move.
The more one plays the game the more possibilities one discovers. In fact the solutions to this game are limitless both for the High-King player and for the Raven player.
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© Caiseal Mór 2011