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Djambi is a chess variant for four players, invented in 1975 by Jean Anesto.

Board and pieces

The game is played on a nine by nine board. The central square of the board is marked, and called the maze. This maze affects play, see below. Each player has nine pieces: one chief (C), one assassin (A), one reported (R), one provocateur (P), one necromobile (N), and four militants (M).

The setup is shown below.

Djambi setup

Movement and capture

All pieces except the militants move like queens. Militants move like queens but at most two squares. Capture differs for the various pieces.
  • A chief takes also like a queen, i.e., by moving to the square of the piece that is taken. Then, the player owning the chief moves the taken piece to any empty square of the board. The piece is flipped over. Now, this "dead" piece acts like a block: it cannot move but its square is forbidden to be entered or jumped over.
  • Militants take like a queen, except that they can move only one or two squares. Again, the taken piece, is just like a piece taken by a chief, moved as a block to some empty square of the board.
  • Reporters take all pieces on squares that are horizontally or vertically adjacent to the square he lands on. The taken pieces are flipped over, and stay at the square they were taken.
  • Assassins take also like queens, but now the taken piece must be placed as block at the square that the assassin started his move. E.g., if an assassin at a1 takes a piece at a6, then this taken piece is moved as block to a1.
  • Troublemakers and necromobiles cannot take pieces.
A troublemaker can move to the square that contains a piece (again by a queens move). Now, he moves this piece to any free square. In this case, the piece stays alive. He can do so with pieces of the opponents, not with his own pieces.

A necromobile can move to a square that contains a block / dead piece (of any color, including his own). He can then move this block to any other free square.

Taking chiefs

When the chief of a player is taken, he is out of the game. The player that took the chief takes control of the living pieces of that player, so now plays with a larger set of pieces.

The last player that remains wins the game.

A player can also be eliminated when he has no necromobile and his chief is surrounded by blocks. There is an exception to this, namely when his chief is in the maze.

The maze

All pieces can go through the maze (when not occupied), but only the chief can stop in the maze. A player whose chief is in the maze is considered to be in power. Being in power has the following benefits:
  • You play once after each other player.
  • The chief in power cannot be taken by a militant.
  • The chief in power has the control of the pieces of chiefs that are surrounded by blocks, as discussed above.
  • You are not eliminated when surrounded by blocks.
Assassins and troublemakers can move a chief from the maze, but must make directly an additional move to leave the maze again. Necromobiles may move to the maze to move a block, but must also directly after that make an additional move an leave the maze.

Other rules

There is no rule that forbids players to make informal agreements, but there is also no rule that demands players to keep such agreements.

Three player variant

When playing with three players, the four player setup is used. There is no fourth player that moves the fourth color pieces; these pieces can be moved and taken like usual by the other players, and players can take control of the fourth army as in the rules.
Webpage made by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: Januari 11, 2012.