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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2002-05-11
 By Ralph  Betza. The Game of Nemoroth. For the sake of your sanity, do not read this variant! (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on 2016-10-31 UTCGood ★★★★

Traditional for Halloween October.

Georg Spengler wrote on 2015-01-04 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
What a game!

I didn't know that it is possible to create a game using pieces that are credibly EVIL. That's not just a game, it's a piece of art.

I'm not convinced though, that it is playable "by mere mortals" without minor changes. The most problematic piece is the Ghast. It's presence restricts the possible opening play for the second player to a few playable variations.

If you happen to hear strange voices when trying this game, don't bother! Thats normal...

(zzo38) A. Black wrote on 2013-04-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I may already be sufficiently insane to read this. I prefer using flat pieces that won't scream and whatever, but I don't mind if it has to do the other way, since that is OK, too. It is complicated, but it seems well enough to work. Some things are not entirely clear; the document should really be improved to clarify the rules more.

Now make the variant which is mostly this game but can also use a hand of cards (drawn from a shuffled deck and hidden from opponent, and used for a few additional special actions by playing combinations properly, including to affect opponent's cards), betting, scoring, and other things. (And if you are in a manga written by Fukumoto, even betting your fingers and your blood and billions of yen, and cheating in extreme ways, and the use of double and triple bluffs and so on.)

Anonymous wrote on 2010-10-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
'Mobile pieces within the range of an allied Ghast are not compelled to
move, but when they do move they must flee.'

Wait...does the Go Away's scream count as a movement? If a Go Away is on a
square in the range of a friendly Ghast, is it permitted to scream?

I assume that the answer is 'yes,' since the example game includes a
portion in which an Alabaster Go Away screams while adjacent to an
Alabaster Ghast.

(I'm interested in clarifying all these rules, since I'm trying to code
this game in time for Halloween.)

Anonymous wrote on 2010-09-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Instead of 'Multiple Occupancy', why not use 'Crowdness' to indicate
the status of multiple pieces on the same square? That sounds better and

Also I think, if one wants to rewrite the rule for readability, what he
needs is to modify the order to introduce the pieces and statuses.

For example:

1. Humans, starting at the normal pawn squares, moves 1 square without
capture in 5 directions, namely 1 forward one, 2 diagonally forward ones,
and 2 sideways ones. Upon arriving at the 8th rank promotes to Zombies,
which are very strong. Just remember the name for now.

2. Go Aways, starting at the normal bishop squares, jumps 2 rookwise or
moves 1 diagonally. Instead of moving, may scream, which push adjacent
things away. Pushing things onto non-empty squares results in crowded ones.
Living things that find themselves in a crowd are compelled to move out.

Compulsions: the status in which ...

Just like that. I don't have time to write a full version, just want
anyone else to do it.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-12-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
While re-visiting the comments for this game, I realized that I had not given it a rating. So now I correct that oversight.

I've finally accepted that this game will be extremely difficult to code. So for the sake of my own sanity I have given up such an attempt. But it has been fun trying. Like hitting myself with a hammer. :)

This is not to say that it will not eventually be coded. I just realize that it will probably need its own dedicated program to accomplish this. And such a project will be merely a labor of love(or obsession) because there will probably never be sufficient monetary reward to cover this effort.

If anyone decides to make such an attempt, they have my sympathy. ;-)

Adrian King wrote on 2008-12-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Raplh Betza posted this game after I stopped haunting the Chess Variant
Pages around 2000, and so I didn't become aware of it until recently. And
having become aware of it, I am (like some of the previous posters)
intrigued by the extreme challenge (apparently yet unmet) of writing a ZRF
for it.

In response to Robert Price's post of 2004-01-17, it seems to me that the
nonsimultaneous shout of the Go Away is actually a more interesting problem
than multiple occupancy. As far as I know, Mr. Price's proposal to treat
this as a 3-dimensional game with visually overlapping cells is, although
a pain to code, the appropriate solution for Zillions. However, I believe
it is infeasible to code a Go Away shout as a single Zillions move. As Mr.
Price implies, using add-partial to code a shout as a series of all legal
submoves is likely to result in a very weak computer opponent, because
Zillions will be able to look ahead only a very short distance when a
complicated shout is available. Nonetheless, I think you have to do just

The reason why the shout is so troublesome is that in the worst case, a Go
Away can be surrounded by a large number of pieces, including both
Basilisks. As I understand it, the order in which a Go Away pushes pieces
does not matter unless it pushes Basilisks; but if does push Basilisks,
then it matters which pieces are pushed before and which after each

That means that when a Go Away is surrounding by n non-Basilisk pieces
subject to petrification (that is, n pieces that are not Basilisks, and
not statues or otherwise immune to the Basilisk's glare), the number of
distinct moves a Go Away can make is equal to the number of ways to
partition a set into b + 1 parts, where b is the number of Basilisks among
the n pieces.

For a large n (say, 8 or so, but multiple occupancy can result in an even
larger n than 8), this is a big enough number for one Basilisk (256 for n
= 8), and an even bigger one for two (6561 for n = 8). Certainly the
number could be big enough that the menu of move choices Zillions would
display for a single-move Go Away shout would be substantially larger than
the average computer screen. I know such menus are broken into multiple
columns when longer than the height of  the screen, but a big shout could
easily fill the entire width of the screen with such columns, and still
not be done. What happens then? I've never seen a program display such a
long list of choices, but my experience with Microsoft products leads to
me fear that Windows does not handle the situation gracefully.

However, I think there is a solution involving add-partial that is near
optimal. Code it as follows: first move all the non-Basilisk
petrification-immune pieces simultaneously, and then move each of the
remaining pieces in a partial move. I think the result in terms of
lookahead difficulty is the same for Zillions as for a single-move shout,
but the menus should be manageable for a human player.

If someone who understands the implications of the rules of Nemoroth
better than I do figures out that there is actually a tight enough
constraint on the number of nonpetrifiable pieces that can be adjacent to
a Go Away that the unitary Go Away move actually is feasible, I'd welcome
the news.

In any case, Nemoroth is an extremely deep game, much more so than any
other pure strategy game I know of, and computers are likely to play it
very badly for the foreseeable future.

An alternative to implementing the full rules might be to nerf the Go
Away, and code its shout as simultaneous (move all the pieces first, and
only then calculate the Basilisks' effects). This would not really be
Nemoroth, of course; it would be a less deep variant (you might call it
Nemoroth Lite), but computers might play it better.

As an aside, I'm grateful for John Lawson's comment of 2008-10-30, where
he says it's difficult to play Nemoroth legally. When I first read the
rules, I thought, there's no way I'd be able to figure out what was a
legal move in this game without a computer to help me. I'm glad it's not
just my own thickheadedness.

George Duke wrote on 2008-10-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The other half of Nemeroth, and the more complete Rules-set, for Halloween. John Lawson and Ben Good played number of recorded games, but there is no Preset for Nemeroth's (over)-complicated rules.

George Duke wrote on 2008-01-23 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Nemeroth is about the most complicated Chess game made. What others are as complex in Rules, or Mutators? We have several specifically in mind to mention in follow-up by February. Nemeroth redeems itself in fascinating theme and Betza's legendary style. To play Nemeroth, as has actually been done by John Lawson and Ben Good (See sample games' articles), overseen by Betza himself, is another story. Playing Nemeroth requires activation of as many as 40 Mutators at once, in first approximation. So many Mutators activated have bearing on our '91.5 x 10^12...' Comments, where we develop CV Rules-sets mounting in number towards equality with number of atoms in Earth, the Solar System, eventually the Universe. Anyone can make up a CV in few minutes, as Pritchard points out in 'ECV', but some are far better than others. Few individuals have knack of Betza; the worst of the others mostly just rearrange known quantities, then often relying on self-promotion or outspokenness. Best CVs of all may be one-time inspirations of creative persons not bent on proliferation or willful designs for their own sake. Even Betza's very best may have been Chess-Unequal-Armies early on(1980). One exception in a great one is Rococo that they seemed just to work on for long time until getting it right. I invented and finished(as it turned out) Falcon Chess in an hour talking to friend Vera Cole, but now 15 years after December 1992, still fine-tune priority of choices for the most desirable starting arrays. Can complicated CVs actually be played strategically? We restrict Mutators activated and interacting to 32 in number in the cumulative tallies at '91.5 Trillion...' Necessary follow-up Comments for both articles, Nemeroth and 'Falcon 91.5 Trillion...', will show this great Nemeroth itself more complex than any of ours counted there. In fact, no one has analyzed fine Nemeroth fully by piece-types, power density, and its triple win conditions, as we intend full Game Design Analysis. Also, questions (Comments) by Ingrid Lael on the compulsion to flee 'Ghasts', and the other Commenter's only this month are yet unanswered.

Anonymous wrote on 2008-01-07 UTCGood ★★★★
A question?

Can a go away push pieces off the board? If not what would happen if a go
away on g8 used it's special move on a piece on h8?

Ingrid Lael wrote on 2006-01-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Hi there!, first off, GREAT game, tremendous depth...

Anyway, just a couple of questions that came to my mind while reading the rules for the 10th time (I probably know them by hard now, I just love reading them =P):

1) Suppose we've got a mummy and a statue in the same square (possible, thanks to the marbelous deeds of a Go Away/Banshee/Dread), now if pushed once more, they'll travel toghether, right? (i guess the same would happen with any combinations of contents being pushed as a matter of fact).

2) Well, that was pretty silly, but how about this one: suppose there's a Leaf Pile engulfing them (or whatever else you care for it to engulf) and a Go Away/Banshee/Dread pushes, will the engulfed piece be pushed as well? or is it just the Leaf Pile that gets pushed leaving behind the engulfed pieces unharmed?

3) Now that I'm at it, about engulfing, by it you mean that the 'engulfed' pieces cannot move, right? It's kind of logical since they are 'removed' from the board and only the Leaf Pile remains.

4) Any ideas as to how many different statues could there be? I mean, a petrified Go Away/Banshee/Dread is pretty much like a petrified Human for that matter (I think I read a comment addressing the same issue).

5) Any ideas as for how many pieces (maximun amount) can there be in a single position? Something like an Upper bound...?

OK, that's pretty much it, great game!


Anonymous wrote on 2004-09-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This actully has more comments than the offical FIDE rules of chess

Robert Price wrote on 2004-01-17 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I would love to help in coding Nemoroth in Zillions, just as soon as I can convince myself that it's possible at all. <p> As I understand it, piece <i>attributes</i> can not change the <i>appearance</i> of a piece, so a petrified Basilisk, for example, must be implemented as a different piece-<i>type</i> from an ordinary Basilisk (if you want them to look different), even though their non-voluntary behaviors are identical. <p> A far greater concern is multiple-occupancy. The usual approach is to declare a piece-type for every <i>combination</i> of pieces that may coexist on a space. Add to that the need to distinguish between petrified and fleshy, friendly and enemy (because such strange bedfellows may indeed come to share a space). And realize that pile-ups of more than two may easily arise... All of a sudden, Octi's library of 256 piece-types (<a href=''></a>) is looking downright trivial by comparison. <p> From the game-logic standpoint, I intend to investigate the possibility of treating each of the 64 spaces similarly to a <i>prison</i> in the ZRF for Shogi. From the graphical standpoint, we can't afford simply to divide each square into a 3x3 grid of positions as I did for <a href=''>Edge Chess</a>, or people will need a magnifying glass to see the great graphics someone's going to make for the pieces. Instead, the cells of my prison will overlap, and with a well-defined order of precedence. I learned from <a href=''>Platform Chess</a> that the later-defined space will have its contents drawn before a sooner-defined space. This works perfectly. The front cell of the prison will dominate most of each space, with four more behind it kind of peeking in from the corners. Clicking-and-dragging a piece from the prison works as expected; if you grab a pixel that belongs to two spaces, Zillions assumes you mean the one it drew out in front. So if you want to move your Human that someone's gone and pushed a Basilisk statue onto, you can click on the visible portion of his puny form and command him, exactly as if two pieces really were present on the same space at the same time. <P> <b>Anyway,</b> multiple occupancy is what struck me as the big difficulty. Besides that, the non-simultaneous nature of the Go Away shout may not be pretty. One solution is to present a big pop-up menu consisting of all possible orders in which to push the victims (or only those which are substantially different due to the presence of basilisks). I would hate to have to use one move per push, because that's the sort of thing that weakens the computer opponent. <p> The evaporation of ichor is something that will just have to be managed by a ?Moderator who is programmed to scan the board and decrement all the ichor-plies by one. This raises another point... in order for ichor to be visible, it has to be a piece-type. I could do that by making a position behind each prison, where the ichor would sit. If the graphics designer wants to make ten different pictures of ichor, that's great, because each ply of ichor is going to be a different piece-type, and when the board is covered in broad sweeps of the stuff, the players are entitled to know which ichor is ickier. <p> Compulsion is tough to describe - it's slightly more complicated than the move-priority construct which in Checkers requires you to jump if able. But it is definitely doable. A piece is never compelled to make any <i>particular</i> move, only to make a <i>legal</i> one, provided the 'legal' constraint handles the details like preventing a piece within 2 of a Ghast from moving-without-fleeing. (note the beauty in Nemoroth on this point: The same *legality* constraint appies whether the Ghast is friendly or enemy; the only difference is that a piece within range of an <i>enemy</i> Ghast is compelled during its move generation.) Imposing move-priority and also (somehow) verifying that either a compelled piece was moved, or no compelled piece remains (after the immediate effects of the move have happened) comes very close to fitting the bill. <p> This sounds like an extraordinary game, and it certainly was presented in a marvelous way.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-11-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
You seem to be a very good programmer using Zillions, and I think you are clearly better than me in this kind of work, so my help to you in coding may be close to inutile. But I can offer high-quality (?. Subjective opinion) graphics for pieces and boards, and certainly, a lot of work play-testing this great and unconventional game!

Paul Townsend wrote on 2003-10-19 UTCGood ★★★★
Don't like the name 'Go Away' since it seems out of character with the ghoulish names of the other pieces. I set me down to think, and came up with the alternative name 'Banshee' with, of course, its special 'move' redesignated a 'wail'.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-08-31 UTCGood ★★★★
Insane?. May be, but as my first impression, I think that this game is playable. It is a good candidate to be in the PBM system, and it is possible that there are candidates to play a well-thought test game of Nemoroth. Perhaps, I am one of them.

Chuck wrote on 2003-08-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
One question about ichorous squares.  In the discussion of ichorous
squares, it states:

'If pushed onto an ichorous square, a mobile piece other than Zombie is
compelled to move off. Exception: if the ichor will evaporate after you
make your move but before your opponent moves, you can ignore it.'

Does this mean:
a) a piece on a ichorous square, where the last bit of ichor will
evaporate immediately following the player's move, is not compelled to
move?  OR
b) a piece on a ichorous square, where the last bit of ichor will
evaporate immediately following the player's move, is compelled to move,
but the evaporation of the last bit of ichor constitutes a saving move?

It makes a difference if the player has another piece is compelled for
some other reason.  If (a) is the case, he must move the other piece, or
make a saving move for the compulsion on that other piece, since that is
his only compulsion.  If (b), he can make any legal move, since the
evaporation of the ichor is a saving move for an existing compulsion.

Moussambani wrote on 2002-10-03 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Well, I wanted to relive this game! let's see if I can manage to do it.

Has anyone tested it and can give the results? I'd also like to repeat
some early analysis I made but I made a typo on it, rendering it invalid.

*Case 1. Alabaster Human d3; Obsidian Ghast e4.
d3 is compelled to move. Out of his usually available five moves, only two
of them actually flee the Ghast. They are Hc3 or Hc4. This human is still
compelled to flee to the b file on the next move.

*Case 2. Alabaster Human d3, Ghast b3, Go Away e2; Obsidian Ghast e4.
now the human moves to the c files are illegal, since he would be
approaching his own Ghast. But there's a saving move: Ae2 [reminder: on my
notation, a Go Away scream is recorded as moving to his own square]. The
scream pushes the Human to c4. The Human is still compelled, but now Hb5
(fleeing both Ghasts) is legal.

*Case 3. Alabaster Go Away a2, Human a3; Obsidian Ghast d4; Ichor on a3
and a4.
Now it gets tricky. Is screaming legal? [My thought: It was compelled to
move off of an ichorous square, and he did so. He is now compelled to move
off of a *different* Ichorous square.] Well, Is it valid?

*Case 4. Alabaster Go Away a2, Human a3; Obsidian Ghast d4; Mummy a3.
Well, This is even trickier. Now the Human can go to a4 on his own, but is
screaming valid? [Rationale: I think it should be to be consistent with
case 3, ie this is another multiple occupancy square.]

And now for something completely different. My thoughts on the pieces.

Basilisk: This is powerful, but using his ability also reduces his
mobility.  So it needs to be careful to not to petrify many pieces at once
or it can get in trouble. Grade: B

Ghast: The compelling thing is great, This piece can be deadly if placed
correctly. There is a nice balancing act, though. This piece is
thrice-colorbound. But it seems hard to stop nonetheless. Grade: B+

Go Away: This is a killer. Albeit colorbound, this piece can create lots
of trouble. If you push your opponent's Go Away orthogonally, he has now
both Go Aways on the same color. Severe Balancing Act: It's the only piece
that stops working when petrified. A petrified Go Away could as well be a
petrified Human. Still... Grade: A

Leaf Pile: Simple and Deadly. But it's slow. Still, be careful of where
your opponent places his Leaf Piles. Grade: A-

Wounded Fiend: Being a rider is such a disadvantage in this game. No, he
can't run through a Ghast range to the other side, he can't cross a
basilisk gaze... But he can block squares for a limited time... (If we put
the poor Alabaster Human of the cases before on d3, and the Obsidian Ghast
at e4, but now we add an Obsidian Wounded Fiend at b5, after 1. Hc3(4)
1... Wb2++ wins by stalemating the Human, trapped in between ichor and a
Ghast.) Grade: C+

Human: No wonder there are so many, otherwise you blink and you miss them:
This poor guys have no power and suffer all sort of troubles. You can make
Zombies out of them, but that's so hard... Grade: D

Zombie: Now this guy has power! If he can keep away from Ichor, they are
quite a force to reckon with. Grade: A+

Statues: Several kind of statues, and (almost) all of them still useful in
a way or another. Still they are immobile... Grade: no way I can give a
single grade, they're so different.

Mummy: OK, an immobile piece with no power whatsoever, and if you want to
use them to block it will need lots of strategy. This is a no-brainer.
Grade: F

Disclaimer: I haven't played Nemoroth, so all this is out of thinking, not
actual experience.

Finally, I'd like to ask who of you asked for the wrong furniture...


Moussambani, who never has been in Mine's End and never completed Sokoban.
The Quest? Maybe some year in the 2030s...

The Editor in Yellow wrote on 2002-04-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Addition to Interactions made as requested. Did you also mean to add a diagonal step move to the Go Away? <p> <br> <i>(Fnord)</i>

ben wrote on 2002-04-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Question: can a wounded friend move over (but obviously not stop on) a
square occupied by a mummy?  i am not sure.

if anybody wants to try this game with me by email, send to
[email protected]

John Lawson wrote on 2002-04-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Who said theme doesn't count in abstract games?  I want to play this, but I
think I'm going to be disapointed when the pieces remain silent.  I want to
see a ZRF, but not too soon.  Whoever does it needs to do a good job on the
graphics, not to mention audio, to do the game justice.

'What eldritch noise did I hear?'  Perhaps the screech of the El.

Jianying Ji wrote on 2002-04-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Absolutely great, in coherence of theme and originality!

David Howe wrote on 2002-04-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I've heard vague rumours that this game, or a game very much like it, is
still played at Miskatonic University...

The excellent rating applies to presentation and originality. I have not
playtested this game (yet). Truth be told, I'm not sure I *want* to! :)

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