Spirit Chess is a game of strategy popular in Merikia. Although there are many variations, this is considered the most common form.
Ningan, the Archon of Tallon often places this game with General Hannon on an animated board created by the Grandmistress Dakota.
BoardThe board is a grid of 9 squares by 9 squares, alternating green and black. The center square has a stone pattern and is called the Standing Stones. The surrounding eight squares form the City.
All pieces move on the board as indicated with the exception that no piece can move more than one space at a time through the City. This includes any move entering or leaving the city. For example, a Paladin can normally move multiple squares, but when starting from a City square, it can move but one. The following turn it may move normally. Pieces may capture into or out of the city normally, so long as they follow the movement restrictions. Scouts are unhindered by the city and may move normally.
The center square is called the Standing Stones and has special properties. Firstly, in order to score a Triumph (see Victory Conditions, below), the Standing Stones must be occupied by the Adept. Once in the Standing Stones, and Adept becomes a Master, and cannot be captured. It can be Deposed, however. To depose a Master, execute any move that would result in its capture. Instead of removing the Master from the board, though, it merely becomes an Adept once more. The Adept then moves to any unoccupied City Square of the "capturing" player's choice. If there are no unoccupied squares, the Adept is indeed considered captured, and the capturing player declares Victory.
Any piece may occupy the Standing Stones save a Wall. Other pieces do not receive the Master's immunity from capture.
While occupying the Standing Stones, the Master has the ability to enhance other pieces. See a fuller explanation under the description for the Adept piece, below.
Each player begins the game with 16 pieces. Pieces capture as they do in Chess, by occupying an enemy square. Their moves and abilities are as follows:
Moves: 1 square, any direction. Can only capture diagonally.
Special Abilities: Loss of adept means loss of game.
If the Adept occupies the Standing Stones, it is referred to as the Master, and gains the ability to promote, or Enhance, Soldiers. Any soldier that is in an adjacent square may be changed into a duplicate of any previously lost piece. A player may not increase the number of any particular piece beyond the starting allotment. They may not have three Paladins, for instance, thought the may change the soldier into a Paladin to replace one captured earlier.
If the Master is Deposed (see Standing Stones, above), it once again becomes an Adept, but all Enhanced pieces remain Enhanced. Enhancing a piece counts as a full move.
The Adept is necessary to meet the victory conditions (see below).
Moves: Any direction any number of squares, if the starting point is adjacent to the Adept. Otherwise, 3 squares in any direction. Can capture in any direction
Special Abilities: A Paladin that is adjacent to an Adept cannot be captured except by another Paladin.
Moves: 1 square horizontally or vertically, or capture to any diagonal square. It may not do both in the same move.
Special Abilities: The Adept can change a soldier into any other piece (See Adept special ability)
Moves: 1 square any direction. Cannot normally capture, but can Occupy a Wall. Can capture an opposing Builder. (see text below)
Special Abilities: A Builder is necessary to move a wall. They do not have to be near the Wall, nor Occupy it, but a player must control at least one Builder in order to move his walls. A builder can capture and control an enemy wall by Occupying it (Moving onto it from an adjacent square). A builder who has Occupied a Wall cannot capture from the wall. They must move to an unoccupied square or unoccupied Wall first. (Builders may move from Wall to Wall. See Wall for more detail.
Haven Variation: A Builder may not vacate a Wall. The only way to remove one is to capture it.
Moves: 1 square horizontal or vertical. Cannot capture or be captured (see Occupied, below)
Special Abilities: Cannot be removed from board, but opposing walls can be captured and controlled, or "Occupied", by a Builder. To occupy a wall, the Builder must begin in a diagonal square. Builders may not capture from Walls, thought they may be captured by other Builders. A player needs to control at least 4 walls to win the game.
A builder can be removed from a wall only by another builder. In this case, the Builder is considered captured and leaves the board. A player may occupy his own walls if he desires.
Moves: Moves (exactly) two squares horizontally or vertically. Captures second square diagonally.
Special Abilities: Like a knight in Chess, can jump intervening pieces.
Assuming the board is lettered by columns and numbered by rows beginning with the lower left, the set-up is as follows:
Paladins, A2, B1
Fighters, D1, E1, B2, A4, A5
Builders, C2, B3
Walls, D2, C3, B4
Scouts, C1, A3
The set up is mirrored for the opposing player. Thus each Adept begins in a corner.
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
A B C D E F G H I
If using Chess pieces to represent the pieces of Spirit Chess, make the following substitutions:
Adjacent means adjacent orthogonally (vertically or horizontally), not diagonally. Most pieces move orthogonally, but capture diagonally.
Chaos: Neither side has two Builders, or any soldiers. In this case a 4 walls cannot be controlled and victory conditions cannot be met. A Draw.
Victory: To capture the opposing adept before it reaches the Standing Stones.
Triumph: The Adept must occupy the Standing Stones. It does not matter if any other pieces (even the other Adept) are also in the Stones. To Win, the player must also control at least 5 walls that are within the City. The instant these conditions are met, the winner declares, "Archon".
Either a Victory or a Triumph counts as a win. The names just denote how the win was achieved. In tournaments, a Triumph counts as three Victories.