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The Chess Variant Pages

Jetan Jeddara

by James Killian Spratt

Jetan-Jeddara is a large 12 x 16 chess-type variant of Edgar Rice Burroughs' original game of Jetan, created in 1922 and introduced in his magnificent science-fiction classic THE CHESSMEN OF MARS.  Jetan-Jeddara includes the original eight playing pieces from the original game of Jetan, retaining their original moves, plus eighteen other creatures and characters from the pages of Burroughs' eleven Mars books, begun with A PRINCESS OF MARS in 1911 and still enjoyed by millions today. This new expansion on Burroughs' original game also includes a number of novel methods for moving multiple playing pieces in one turn, which makes the action fast-paced and exciting.

Featured especially in -Jeddara are the great battleships of Burroughs' Mars and the elephantine draft animals leading their legions across the mossy dead sea bottoms of Barsoom, marching to do battle with ancient enemies in foreign lands.  To capture the enemy's beloved queen, or Jeddara, is the plan which, once achieved, will bring the enemy to his knees.


Played on a 16 by 12 board:


Pieces: The below list includes the names, move descriptions, letter designations for Game Courier, and graphics for each piece. This list is also a hierarchy for the purposes of promotion and squad moves.


Piece Moves Blue Red

or King

Moves as the Queen in chess. (k)





Dejah Thoris

Moves any two spaces and does NOT kill.  Her promotion generates a new JEDDAK at that space, and she returns to her own original position.  She is entitled to one ten-space move, called the ESCAPE, to the friendly half of the board if she is threatened directly.  Her capture ends the game. (b)





or Chieftain

Moves any 3 spaces, in any combination. (j)





Princess Thuvia

Thuvia may move any two spaces without capturing, OR may direct the actions of any WILD BANTHs within her 2-space move to attack pieces up to any 3 spaces away, orthogonally, diagonally or both. If she happens to be between two (or more), and they're both within 2 spaces of her, she can move both of them. Thuvia is otherwise unarmed and does not capture by

In a Charge, Thuvia may either move herself 2, OR direct Wild Banth or Banths if she's within range of her telepathic control of them.The Wild Banth single move(s) at the end of turn are not related to Thuvia; that's the cats moving around by themselves, metaphorically.





Armed Consort,

Princess Tara

Moves any 2 spaces and can kill.  She promotes to any piece from JEDDAK down and returns to her home position. (c)





Tars Tarkas

Leaps any one orthogonal and two diagonal spaces; can escort females. (e)




Thark, Sola Slides any one orthogonal and two diagonal spaces, and kills both left and right orthogonals. Can Escort other females. (s)




Princess, Haja Can move any 2 spaces, can kill. Promotes to any piece from Jeddak down; she returns to home row. (hc)




Sword Princess,


Moves any 2 spaces, can kill.  She promotes to any piece from JEDDAK down and returns to her home position. (lc)




Sorak and


Kara Vasa

Moves any 2 spaces; can kill. Promotes any piece from Jed down; she returns to home row. Can kill up to 2 spaces away without moving. The Sorak may make multiple kills in one turn. (sc)





or Flyer

The Flier may carry one passenger with him, and moves in any three diagonals.   (f)





Sharu, the Dancer

Dancer. Moves any 2; does not kill. Promotes from Jed down. Immobilizes any enemy male to whom she is adjacent. (r)





Olvia Marthis

Moves any 2; does not kill. Promotes from Jeddak down. Immobilizes any enemy male to whom she is adjacent. Becomes Jedda if Thuvia is taken, but cannot control Wild Banths like Thuvia. (ob)





Sanoma Tora,

the faithless one

Moves any 2; does not kill; does not promote; is controlled by the player with the most pieces on the board; immobilizes adjacent males. Cannot be taken by males. (u)




Zitidar The Zitidar may move any FOUR spaces in any direction or combination of directions, orthogonal or diagonal, and may lead a column or train of up to four other pieces in line behind him on his initial move, assembling his column with pieces who are adjacent to each other in the order the train forms.  On subsequent moves, the train may be lengthened by the addition of four other pieces attaching to the tail end of the train from adjacent cells. ADJACENT means from any of the 8 cells surrounding the last 'car' in the train. The ZITIDAR may lead his 'train' across up to four pieces if they are in a line in front of him, capturing any pieces that are in his way up to the 4-space limit of his move.





or Captain

Moves any 3 spaces, orthogonally only. (d)





Cavalry NCO

Leaps one orthogonal and one diagonal, in any direction; can escort females. (h)





or Lieutenant

Moves any 2 diagonals. (l)





or Warrior

Moves any 2 orthogonal spaces. (w)





or Warrior

Moves one or two orthogonal spaces. Promotes from Than down; returns to home position. (x)





or Private Mercenary

Moves one move in any direction except straight backward. (m)





or Private Mercenary 

Moves one move in any direction except diagonally backward. Promotes to Panthan; returns home




Wild Banth Wild Banths may attack any piece on any adjacent cell, and may be moved one space by either player IF there is a piece adjacent for the Banth to attack; otherwise the Banths remain where they are unless directed by Thuvia. A player may move any Wild Banth one move in any direction at the end of his turn.






The Battleship may carry up to three additional passengers, and leaps any six spaces in any direction or combination of directions, orthogonal or diagonal.  (bc)




Cruiser The Cruiser may carry up to three additional passengers, and leaps any four spaces in any direction or combination of directions, orthogonal or diagonal.  (cc)




Scoutship The Scout may carry one passenger with him, and leaps any five spaces in any direction or combination of directions, orthogonal or diagonal.  (sd)




Graphics by James Spratt, © 2004. Graphics colored by Pat Toner.


TURN ORDER: Either player goes first, by mutual agreement.

TO WIN:  Capture the enemy's JEDDARA, OR get your JEDDARA safely to the enemy's last row, to claim her
rightful throne.

PROMOTION:  Any female to reach the opponent's back row may be replaced at that point with any lost piece, according to her promotion ability as listed in her piece description.  She returns to her original starting position on the board. If that position is occupied, behind it, or as close next to it as possible, but not in front of it.

SINGLE-PIECE MOVES are permitted for any turn.

ESCORT:  Any female may be escorted by any armed companion of either gender, if she begins the move behind, beside or before the escorting piece. If the escorted piece is armed, she too may capture at the end of the move, and must land in the same position relative to the escort as at the beginning of the move. ESCORT moves may be used in conjunction with a SQUAD move; that is, if a piece participating in a SQUAD movement is adjacent to a female, she may also move with the Squad, to land in the same relative position to her Escorting piece.

SQUAD MOVE:  SQUAD MOVEMENT:  Male military armed pieces (in descending order of rank),


may lead a group of up to FOUR additional pieces of their own or lesser rank from within the eight squares adjacent to the leader.  The Squad Leader must be clear to make his own normal move, and the group all move under his auspices for that move, using the leader's normal move and landing in the same relative positions to him as in which they began.  They may make concurrent captures upon landing on enemy-occupied squares.   Any pieces included in a SQUAD movement who are able to Escort an adjacent female may do so if desired.

IMMOBILIZATION: Immobilization by the charming, unarmed females does NOT affect any other FEMALE piece or the JEDDAK, THARK, BATTLESHIP, CRUISER or ZITIDAR.


Zitidar and Airship multiple-piece movements do not constitute Squad movements, and may be used in the CHARGE. The SQUAD movements may not be used in conjunction with a CHARGE.

RAPID DEPLOYMENT:  Any unbroken rank may advance one rank forward as a normal turn, whether it is in its original configuration of pieces or not.  If any particular piece in the rank is blocked from forward movement, the rank still moves, leaving the blocked piece(s) behind.

THE CHARGE: When a player has no fewer than six of his men within one move of direct threat position, he may call a "Charge", wherein he may move one of his pieces from each of his sixteen files ITS NORMAL MOVE.  Any piece in a Charge normally permitted to carry others with it, such as Zitidar, Airships or Escorts may do so.

CLARIFYING MOVES:  When a player enters a complex move, such as one involving multiple operations like a Charge combined with a couple of Escorts and or Ship or Zitidar moves, it is a kindness to mention it by way of clarifying to your opponent what you've done with a simple mention, such as 'Charge with Escort and Zitidar' or 'Charge w/Battleship, Cruiser', etc. It is also helpful to plan your moves on paper before entering them on Game Courier's 'Move' box in order to avoid 'friendly fire' accidents (you can check all moves for their destinations; if you're sending two to the same place, you'll lose a man for nothing.)

The ZITIDAR pulls a train of up to 4 other pieces in line behind him. Below are a few examples of how he forms his "train" -- each "car" must be adjacent to the one it follows. He may lead the train anywhere he likes, up to 4 spaces, orthogonally or diagonally, or both.


AIRSHIPS must load "passengers" from adjacent cells. Airship passengers must land in the same relative position to the ship as they began their move. Only the ship counts against the 'once piece per file' rule in the charge. Note that all the airships are leapers, and their 'passengers' leap with them.

SCOUT: one passenger; moves any 5 spaces. 

BATTLESHIP: up to 3 passengers; moves up to any 6 spaces.

CRUISER: up to 3 passengers; moves up to 4 spaces.

Sample Games of "Jetan Jeddara" played on Game Courier.


See this link to James Spratt's web page on Jetan Sarang.

See this link to James Spratt's EBRzine's article on Jetan Sarang.

See this link to ERBzine's article on James Spratt and the creation of Jetan Sarang.

See this link to ERBzine's article on James Spratt and his sculptures.

Note that we have no connection to, or bear responsibility for the linked sites.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

Author: Tony Quintanilla and James Killian Spratt. Inventor: James Killian Spratt.
Web page created: 2006-06-10. Web page last updated: 2006-06-10