by L. Lynn Smith
This is a two-player game played upon a five-cell-sided hexagonal field. The playing pieces consist of discs, both marked and unmarked, of two distinct colors.
DREADNAUGHT(DN): marked at 0, 60, 120, 240 and 300 degrees. Oriented at setup with its un-marked position facing the opposing side of the field.
CRUISER(CR): marked at 60, 120, 240 and 300 degrees. Oriented at setup with one of its un-marked positions facing the opposing side of the field.
DESTROYER(DS): marked at 0, 120 and 240 degrees. Oriented at setup with one of its marked positions facing the opposing side of the field.
CUTTER(CT): marked at 0 and 180 degrees. Oriented at setup with one of its marked positions facing the opposing side of the field.
FIGHTER(FT): marked at 0 degrees. Oriented at setup with its marked position facing the opposing side of the field.
Each player makes a move in alternating turns. A move consist of translating the piece across the board and re-orienting it upon its destination. These two steps must be preformed in this order, translate then orientate. A player may choose not to perform the orientation step. A player must translate the piece at least one cell in order to exercise the orientating portion of the move. The orientation portion may be performed whether the move is a simple translation or involves the the capture of an opponent piece.
Pieces are moved according to their marks. Such may move any number of vacant cells and capture any piece which is not oriented with one of its marks toward the moving piece's starting position.
The piece which has no markings, called the STATION, may only move one cell in any direction but may capture an opponent piece regardless of its orientation. Once during the game, it may perform a leap to any vacant cell on the field.
In order to win, the player must checkmate the opponent STATION.
The development of this game began around 1980, and it was definitely inspired by the 1970 3M Bookshelf Game of Ploy. The initial set was made from brass and iron mechanical nuts, and a hexagonal grid pattern sandwiched between two sheets of plexiglass. It was first played with a neighbor at a dinner party in Waukegan, Illinois.
At that time, the hexagonal playing field was larger with all the possible patterns of marks represented by the pieces. The play was rather cumbersome, so over the years the field size was reduced and the pieces were also thinned to those which represented symmetrical patterns of each number of marks.
In 2001, it was published as a Zillions implementation. When it was given its name and the names for its pieces.
Its development was still incomplete. There was the problem with the goal piece being too easily cornered on its starting cell. And openings would consist of primarily the movement of central pieces. The setup pattern was adjusted, placing the higher powered pieces around the goal piece and orienting them so that they needed some development to bring them into proper play. The goal piece was also given a one-time leap privilege, similar to 'castling'.
From the beginning of its development, it was decided to deny the pieces the ability to re-orientate 'in loco'. This forced the players to carefully consider each of their moves. It also allowed for the blocking of piece movement, especially with the single marked pieces, creating obstacles for the players to either remove or work around.
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By Larry L. Smith.
Web page created: 2008-11-11. Web page last updated: 2008-11-11