Charge !

This is a simple game I just dreamed up (literally: I awoke from a dream in which I was playing something like it, then tidied up the idea while awake). You'll need a play area marked out in a regular pattern of positions (e.g. a lattice of squares or a honey-comb pattern of hexagons) and a set of pieces – I'm thinking of draughts (USAish: checkers) pieces – per player. Each player's pieces are all (to be deemed) identical; and distinguishable from those of any other player. You'll also need a pair of dice (I'm thinking of the cubes known to gamers as D6, but this isn't crucial as long as they're identical). I'll leave initial set-up, and selection of order of play, as a matter for the players to invent in any mutually-agreeable manner.

Players take turns to charge contiguous groups of their pieces around the table, killing opposing pieces that they run into. Each turn, or charge, comprises a sequence of steps, each of which moves a contiguous group of pieces, each onto a square adjacent to the one on which it began the step. The number of steps in your charge is determined by a roll of the dice at the start of your turn. There are two types of step: if the dice-roll was a double, you get to make flexible steps, otherwise rigid ones. In a rigid move, all pieces you are moving must move in the same direction (one step each); in a flexible move, each piece's direction can be selected independently.

If, in your charge, a move causes one of your pieces to move into the space occupied by an opposing piece, the two pieces occupy the space together (I think of one draughts piece sitting on top of the other) for the rest of your charge; your one of them cannot move again until the end of your charge, when the other is removed from play. These pieces are in combat in the interval.

Two pieces are adjacent if they start the step in positions sharing a common edge; a group of pieces is contiguous if, between any two in the group, there is a path within the group stepping always between adjacent pieces. A step must move each piece in a contiguous group (a flexible step must move each piece, it can't declare a piece as moving nowhere, just so as to let that piece serve as a bridge between two parts of a contiguous group). A piece in combat cannot be counted in a contiguous group for a move, since it cannot move.

Possibilities

It may be worth providing for defensive moves. After your opponent has rolled the dice, and you've seen the result, you're allowed to borrow one step off your next turn's dice-roll and use it to make a defensive step. This is just like a rigid (attacking) step except that it can't move any of your pieces into combat, i.e. onto a square occupied by an opposing piece. In the case where your opponent rolls a double, you could be allowed a second defensive rigid step at the half-way point of your opponent's charge.

It might be interesting to provide for capture of opposing pieces, turning them into your own, e.g. if you manage to surround a group of them (c.f. go). This would either need pieces that change type when flipped over (e.g. othello pieces) or be limitted to capturing as many as you've lost pieces in earlier play, for use in replacing the captured pieces.


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