Make a Shogi set with Scrabble tiles

If you are not sure that you are ready to invest in a Shogi set for your game collection, try this. Take an unwanted set of Scrabble  tiles, and make your own Shogi set. 

You will need the tiles, a black marker, and a red marker. Chose the letters you want to represent each piece. For example the G can be the gold general.  Then write in black the unpromoted letter for any tiles not already printed. Finaly write the letter in red on the back of the tile for when it is promoted.  Now all you need is to draw a 9X9 grid on paper or cloth and you are ready to play.

This set has a number of advantages. It is inexpensive, fast to make, and tiles are easier to pick up and move then a print a play set on card stock. This set also is useful to teach a person how to play Shogi if they are not familiar with or intimidated by the writing on tradtional Shogi pieces.

 If you have any ideas how to make this set better please share it in the comments.

notice the foot soilders this set uses I tiles for unpromoted and E tiles for the promoted side

Malaysian Checkers

  

Are you ready checkers for on an epic scale? Then ready to try  Malaysian checkers. Popular in Malaysia  and Singapore, it has thirty checkers to a side and is played on  a 12 X 12 board. 

Players

Equipment
12X12 Checker board
30 white checkers and 30 dark checkers 

How to play 

Checkers are set up on just the dark squares of the players’ first five rows as shown in the photo above. 

Checkers move forward on the diagonal one square.

 Checkers can capture forward on the diagonal by hoping over the opponent’s checker and landing on the empty square behind it. If there is another checker that can be capture when it lands it continues to hop. 

Captures are mandatory, and a player must make as many captures as possible. If a player  makes a move that is not a capture when he or she could have, that piece is forfeited. 

When a checker reaches the back row it becomes a king. A king moves as many squares as the player  wishes , forward or backwards on the diagonal. When a king captures  it hops the checker and can land on any empty square on a diagonal line behind the captured checker(s).

 A player wins when he or she  captures all the opponent’s checkers or blocks them so they can not move.

Take a look at this video of two games in progress.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-6pFxWojRaU

All Fours

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Trinidad and the North of England may not have a great deal in common in many people’s minds. This is unless you looking to play all fours. This trick taking game has remained popular in both locations and they each have put their own little twist on the rules. Try a hand of both variations and find out which is your favorite.

Players 2-4

Equipment 

 Standard 52 card deck and score pad

  How to play 

 The dealer deals six cards to each player. The top card of the remaining cards is flipped to indicate the trump suit.

The dealer earns bonus points if the flipped card is a Ace ( 1 point), a six (2 points), or a jack( 3 points).

The player to the right the dealer can either “stand “or “beg”. If the player likes the trump suit they call stand and play begins. If the player does not like the trump suit they call I beg.

When a player begs the dealer must decide if he or she wants to change the trump suit. If the dealer wants to keep the trump suit as the card that was flipped, he or she calls “take one”.  The opposing team then gets one point their score.

If the dealer agrees to change the trump suit, he or she sets aside the flipped  up card and deals three more cards to each player.  The new top  card is flipped to determine the trump suit. The dealer scores for new trump card just like at the begining of the hand.

If the flipped up card is a different suit from the original trump suit play begins with this being the new trump suit. If the suit of the flipped card is the same as the original trump suit three more cards are delt and a new card is flipped. If the deck is exhausted befreo a new trump suit is determined the hand is redealt.

The first trick is lead by the player to the dealer’s right. The remaining tricks are led by the winner of the last trick.

Players must follow suit if possible or they can chose to play a trump. If a player can not follow suit  they may play any card they chose, they are not obligated to play a trump.

After all the tricks are played the players score their hand.

The team that was dealt the lowest trump earns 1 point

The team that was dealt the highest trump earns 1point.

The team that that was dealt the Jack earns 1 point if they have it in the tricks they won . The team who did not have it dealt to them earns  earn 3 points if the Jack it is the tricks they won.

The team that wins game point earns 1 point. To win game point the value of the cards in the won tricks are added up. Kings are worth 4, queens are worth three, jacks two, and tens are worth 10. All other cards are worth zero. The team with the highest combined value wins the point.  In the event of a tie no point is awarded.

 Variation

In the North of England all fours is played slighty differently. The trump is determined by the first card led to the first trick.

There are four players  in teams of two. The dealer is chosen randomly 

Deal and play are clockwise, and the turn to deal passes to the left after the hand. The dealer deals six cards to each player

No card is turned up for trumps. Instead, the pitcher (the player to dealer’s left) leads any card and the suit of that card is trumps for the hand. The pitcher’s partner is not allowed look  at his or her cards until after the pitcher has led 

The first trick is stacked face up in front of one member of the team that won it, with a trump on top, to indicate the trump suit. The remaining tricks are stored face down in front of one member of the winning team, in the usual way.

When the six tricks have been played, points are awarded in order as follows.

The team that was dealt the lowest trump earns 1 point

The team that was dealt the highest trump earns 1point.

The team that wins the Jack of trumps earns 1 point.

The team that wins game point earns 1 point. To win game point the value of the cards in the won tricks are added up. Kings are worth 4, queens are worth three, jacks two, and tens are worth 10. All other cards are worth zero. The team with the highest combined value wins the point.  In the event of a tie no point is awarded.

 

The first team to win eleven points wins the game. 

 

 

Makruk

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If you are a Chess player who wants to move outside your comfort zone try Makruk. This relative of Chess from Thailand is similar enough to chess to learn easy , but  requires  trying new tactics and strategies. 

Players

Equipment

8 x 8 chess board with no black or white squares
Thai chess pieces or you can use Western chess pieces and checkers to represent pawns

How to play

Initial setup is as shown in the photo above.

The pawn (called เบี้ย or Bia) moves forward one square and captures moving diagonlly on square A pawn that reaches the sixth rank it is promoted to a queen. to showthis the Pawn is flipped over.

The king (called ขุน or Khun) moves square in any direction. The game ends when the king is checkmated.

The bishop (called โคน kon or thon) moves one square in any diagonal direction or one square forward.

The Queen moves on square forward or backwards diagonally.

The rook (called เรือ or ruea): any number of squares  horizontally or vertically.

The knight (called ม้า or ma) moves two squares in one direction and then one squares perpendicular to that movement. It jumps over any pieces in the way.

All pieces capture by moving into the square of an opponent piece removing that piece from the board only the pawn has a special rule for capturing.

When a players King is threatened with capture the player must either move the king so that is no longer threatened, capture the threatening piece, or block the attack with another piece. The player cannot do this he or she loses the game if a player finds that any move he makes puts him in check but he is not currently in check the games a draw.

 

When neither side has any pawns the game must be completed within a certain number of moves or it is a draw. 

When neither side has any pawns left mate must be achieved in 64 moves.

 The player who is at the disadvantage will do the counting. He or she may stop counting whenever he or she decides. If the disadvantage side checkmates the advantage side and did not stop counting , the game will be declared a draw. 

When the last piece that is not King of the disadvantage side is captured, the count begins again at zero.  The stronger side is now given a count value based on the number and strength of pieces it has left on the board. 

 When the player has at least two rooks: 8 moves 

 When the player has at least one rook: 16 moves 

 when the player has at least two bishops: 22 moves 

When the player has at least two knights: 32 moves  

When the player has at least one bishop: 44 moves  

When the player has at least one knight: 64 moves 

When the player has only queens left: 64 moves 

 From these starting values, subtract 1 move for each piece on the board. The resulting number is how many moves the stronger side has to win, otherwise the game becomes a draw.