Hidden Xiang Qi

 
I discovered an intriguing Xiang Qi variant. It is played like tradtional Xiang Qi with the following differences. 

At the begining of the game all  of the player’s pieces  except the general are mixed up face down . The player then places the general on it’s normal postion in the fortress. The remains pieces are put  face down on spots for a normal starting postion.

A piece that is upside down moves like a piece whose starting postion it occupies. For example, an upside down piece that starts on the intersection where a chariot starts the game moves like a chariot. After a piece has had it’s first move, it is flipped over showing what kind of piece it is. A  piece that is flipped over moves as it tradtionaliy does in Xiang Qi. Elephants and Advisors may cross the river.

If anyone has experience playing this style of Xiang Qi, please write about it in the comments. 

Rengo………The Tag Team Go Game

If you are a Go player searching for a new challange, then try this variation of partnership Go. Players  playing with a partner take turns placing the stones on the board for the team. And just to make it a little more challanging, the players can not  consult with each other about what moves they should make.

Rengo is played like tradtional Go with the following changes.

A team is made  up of two players. One team plays black and the other plays white.   A player from one team plays a stone and then a player from the other team. Afterwards the player from the other team who did not place a stone that turn places a stone followed by the oposing teammate who had not placed a stone last turn.

During the game, the partners can not talk about the game except about the following execteptions. 

They may ask if it thier turn. 

Alert a player that they played out of sequence.

Ask  if the team can resign.

If an out of sequence play is noticed before the next play and it was intentional, the game is forfeit by the player. If unintentional there is a 3 prisoner penalty and normal rotation continues from the player who just played. No moves are undone.

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

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.

 

Shogi

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Is Chess too easy for you? Then maybe it is time to try Shogi.  What makes Shogi so challanging is that players can place pieces they have captured back onto the board like paratroopers. Shogi has a strong following in Japan, and when you take the time to learn it you will discover why.

Players 2

Equipment

A Shogi board and pieces

How to play

The pieces are set up as shown in the photo below, with the unprompted side( the black printing) up.

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The moves of each piece are shown in the photos below.

The king can move one square in any direction

 

The gold general can move one space in any direction except diagonlly backwards

 

The Silver General can move one square along any diagonal or one space forward

 

A promoted Silver General moves like a Gold General

 

The Knight moves two spaces forward and one space to the left or the right, jumping over any piece.

 

A promoted Knight moves like a Gold General

 

A Lance can move forward any numberof squares, but can not jump over any piece.

 

A promoted Lance moves like a Gold General

 

The Diagonal-Mover can move any number of spaces in a diagonal direction, just like a Bishop in Chess

 

A promoted Dianonal-Mover is also called a Dragon King and can move like a king or Diagonal-Mover

 

A Flying Chariot moves like a Rook in Chess, any number of squares along a straight line

 

 

A promoted Flying Chariot or Dragon Horse moves like a Flying Chariot or a King

 

A Foot Soilder moves forward one square

A promoted foot solider moves like a Gold General.

 

A piece can capture a opponent’s piece by landing on it. The captured piece is is removed from the board and placed on the right side of the board. Some sets may have a special platform to place the captured pieces.

On a player’s turn they move one of  his or her piece or drop a piece they have captured on a empty square on the board.

A dropped piece is always dropped unpromoted. A player can not drop a Foot Solider in a file with another of his or her unpromoted Foot Solider.

A Foot Solider can not be dropped into check mate

No piece can be dropped onto a square where it will have no future moves.

Every piece except the King and Gold General can promote.  A piece can promote when it moves into ,within, or leaves the final three ranks of the board. Promotion is optional unless there is no further legal future move. A promoted piece is flipped over so that the red printing shows and it moves as shown above in the photos.

When the king is under attack from another piece he or she is in “check”. A player can not perpetualy put King in check by repeating the same board postion. The player who started this situation is oblige to make a different move.

The game is won by check mating the opposing King. If the King is attacked and can not move out of danger, block the attack with another piece or capture the attacking piece  the player is checkmated.

 

Choutte, Playing Backgammon With Back Up

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Here is a chance to gang up on your friends who play Backgammon. One person plays against a team of players who can give advice to the team captain. Played for money or for fun, this is a very exciting form of the game.

Players 3 or more

Equipment
Backgammon board
15 light stones and15 dark stones
Pair of dice
Dice cup
A doubling cube for each player

How to play

At the beginning of the game all the players roll two dice. The player with the highest roll is the “Box” . The Box is the person who plays against the team. The second highest rolling player becomes the team captain. The remaining players are put in a rotation order according to their rolls.

The game is played with the regular Backgammon rules. The captain handles the checkers and dice for the team. He or she also has the final say on how the checkers will be played. However ,the captain can ask for advice from any team member . A player whose doubling cube has been turned at least once during the current game can offer advice without the captain asking.

Each team member has his or her own doubling cube. They may offer a double to the box or accept a double from the box independently of their teammates

The positions of the players are rotated after each game. When the box wins against the captain, he or she remains the box. When the captain wins, he or she becomes the box for the next game. The loser goes to the bottom of the rotation order and all other players move up one spot.

If the captain refuses a double from the box ,he or she loses that game. The next active player in rotation takes over as captain for the remainder of that game. The acting captain does not effect the rotation.

If the Box refuses a double from the captain he loses that game. The next active player in the rotation takes over as captain. At the end of the game the Box moves to the end of the rotation. The original captain becomes the box.

Any other player can refuse a double without effecting game play. They also can win if the Box refuses their double without effecting game play.

Each player keeps a running score, of the number of points won or lost in each game.

International checkers

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If you have been searching for a more challenging checkers variant, look no further. In international checkers you move as in traditional checkers, but can capture forwards or backwards. And with the kings flying around the 10 X10 board it is easy to see why this game has remained a favorite around the world.

Players 2

Equipment

10X10 Checker board
20 white checkers and 20 dark checkers

How to play

Checkers are set up on just the dark squares of the player’s first four rows.

Checkers move forward on the diagonal one square.

Checkers can capture forward or backward on the diagonal by hoping over the opponents checker and landing on the empty 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.

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

A player wins when he or she captures all the opponents’ checkers or block them so they can not move.