The Chess Variant Pages

Sceptre 1027 A.D.

Introduction

Sceptre 1027 A.D.(tm) is a board game that was produced and distributed by Horizon Games, Inc. in 1986. I am not sure if the company is still in business. There is a company called Horizon Games in Texas, but I don't think it's the same company.

The game is a 2-4 player chess variant which uses nine board sections which can be placed together in various ways. The board sections are checkered with an 8x8 grid pattern like a chess board, but there are also terrain markers on various squares which influence the movements of the chess pieces.

Setup

There is no standard setup for the game. See the Rules below for a description of how the game is set up.

Pieces

The pieces used in the game are the standard orthodox chess pieces. Ignoring terrain, the King, Rook, Bishop and Queen move as in orthodox chess. The Knight moves as the orthodox chess equivalent, but may also leap three squares in any orthogonal or diagonal direction (ie. it is also a 3-3 leaper and a 0-3 leaper).

The Pawn moves (non-capturing) one, two or three squares in any forward or sideways direction (ie. straight ahead, diagonally forward, or sideways). Like its chess counterpart, the Sceptre Pawn captures only on the diagonally forward squares directly adjacent to it. Pawns may promote to a captured piece upon reaching an open ground square on the opposite rank.

The above movement rules apply to pieces when they move over open ground terrain. When moving into or over other types of terrain, there are specific rules which limit the movements of the pieces. These rules are specified in the following section.

Terrain Effects

PieceForestRiver/PondBridgeCastle Ruin
King Normal Cannot move into Normal Cannot move into
Queen Normal Cannot move into or across Normal Cannot move into or across
Rook Cannot move into or across Cannot move into or across Normal One square per turn. Must stop on adjacent square before entering.
Bishop One square per turn. Must stop on adjacent square before entering. Cannot move into or across Normal Cannot move into or across
Knight Normal Normal Normal Cannot move into
Pawn Normal May move across or along. Cannot cross a river in one turn. Limited to one square per turn when moving along a river, but may also move backwards. Cannot move into or across a Pond. Normal One square per turn. Must stop on adjacent square before entering.

Rules

Creating the Playing Field

Before play starts, the board sections must be layed out. Boards must be positioned in such a way that the river sections form continuous rivers. A river may not abruptly end at the intersection of the adjacent board section. Also, the checkboard pattern of alternating dark and light squares must be maintained.

There are few restrictions stated in the rules about how the board sections can be layed out. I assume that all board sections must be 'connected' in some way, although they do not have to form a rectangle, or any other regular shape.

Piece Placement

Each player is assigned a Kingdom. A player's kingdom is the board section that is closest to the player, on the player's right. Starting with the player using the black pieces and moving clockwise, each player places one of their 16 pieces on a square within their kingdom. Movement on the board begins after all pieces have been placed. For each player, one bishop must be placed on a light square, while the other bishop must be placed on a dark square.

Piece Movement

Black begins by making a normal chess move (ie. moving one of his pieces on the board). Each player, in the clockwise direction, in turn, makes a move.

Two-Player Game

The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's King. A player may not move his King into check. If a player cannot move and is not in check, then the game is considered a draw.

Three- or Four-Player Game

The object of the game is to be the last remaining player. Other players are removed from the game by losing their Kings or being unable to move.

A player who captures another player's King, gains control of that player's pieces. The pawns retain their direction, but the pieces are now moved on the turn of the capturing player. A player may still only move one piece per turn, regardless of how many different armies they control.

A player may not move his King into check. If a player cannot move and is not in check, then the player's pieces can no longer move, and the owning player is removed from the game. The pieces are not controlled by any player.

Notes

The above rules are not the official rules of the game. They represent the author's own understanding based on his interpretation of the official rules.

Sample: two board sections from the game
Sample: two board sections from the game.

Computer Play

As far as we know, there is currently no way to play this game via computer.

Equipment

This is a commercial game. If you'd like to try playing it, we recommend buying the game. As far as we know, the game is out-of-print, but may be purchased second-hand.

The set is composed of nine 8x8 boards, each with a unique terrain landscape; and four chess piece sets (one black, one white, one red and one yellow). Each piece set is composed of the standard 16 chess pieces (1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights, and 8 pawns). Rules are included, along with four terrain effect cards which give a summary of the terrain limitations for the various pieces).

Sample Game

There are no sample games available at this time.

Contact

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HORIZON GAMES, INC.
P.O. Box 701
Plainfield, Indiana 46168
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Written by David Howe.
WWW page created: December 13, 2001.