The Chess Variant Pages

Peng Hu rules for Half Board Xiangqi

I've discovered there are many, many rules for the half game (of Xiangqi). The half game is played on half the normal board.

The version I most like to play is the one with PENG HU rules. The people on Peng Hu island evidently came up with these rules. And, about 20% of the people in Kaoshiung know them because many people in Kaoshiung come from Peng Hu.

In most of the half game versions, the usual rankings are important all the way up and down the line.

But in this version, POW, JU AND MA CAN CAPTURE ANYTHING. Usually, only Pow and the general can capture anything--except that the General can't capture a soldier.

All the pieces move conventionally for a half game EXCEPT MA AND JU. That is, The General, The Shr, the Xiang and the soldiers all move one square either horizontally or vertically on the 32 square board--4 columns of 8 squares each column.

The Ma CAPTURES DIAGONALLY--very different from normally for a half game. The JU captures WHEN THERE IS AT LEAST ONE SPACE BETWEEN WHERE IT IS AND WHAT IT WANTS TO CAPTURE. IT CAN CAPTURE THE LENGTH OF THE BOARD *IF* THERE IS NOTHING ELSE IN BETWEEN.

AND POW CAPTURES AS USUAL--JUMPING OVER ONE OTHER PIECE--TO CAPTURE WHAT IT WANTS TO CAPTURE. It doesn't matter if the piece it's jumping over it on it's side, the other side; turned up or still turned down.

Play starts with all the pieces being shuffled, mixed thoroughly face down. After thoroughly mixing, they are put on the board hidden from view from the two players still face down. Usually locals decide who begins by playing rock/sissors/paper. Anyway--the first person to play, turns a piece up. Then it's the 2nd player's turn--to turn a piece face up. Then the first player has another turn etc. Turning a piece up is the full turn.

I think that's basically it. If you don't understand something, please let me know. I'm eager to play with anyone over the net. . . especially if it's computerized in terms of visually etc.

The full game is too much work to be fun for me. This is challenging enough to be interesting but not too difficult to take all the fun out of it.

I lost to the student teaching me probably 99 times out of 100 for a solid year.

A cultural note. . . when he was teaching me, a friend would come up--his friend. I'd think--oh, good--someone who's also played all his life to help this greenhorn. WRONG. The 2 Chinese would help each other--though a cardinal rule of the whole and half games is for bystanders to be silent. A 3rd student would come up who'd also played all his life--I'd think--Oh, good--2 against 2. WRONG. The 3 lifetime players would help each other against the greenhorn. I could end up with 6 lifetime players against the greenhorn. Something about ethnic pride it seems.

Also, it's easy in this game to reach a point 1/4th to 1/3rd into it where there's little to no way one side is going to win. It's great for teaching patience and graciousness.


Written by Bo Xian.
WWW page created: June 6, 2002.