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Cataclysm

Introduction

This game is an attempt to develop a game on a large board that does not suffer from some of the problems that normally plague such games, namely too many pieces, too many tactics overwhelming the strategy, and the game running on for hundreds of moves. It is played on a board with 16 files and 12 ranks, and has mostly short-range pieces.

Setup

White: King i2; Queen h2; Sorceress e2, l2; Duke k2, f2; Grand Rook a1, p1; Rook b1, o1; Bishop c2, n2; Centaur b3, o3; Tiger a2, a3, p3, p3; Elephant d3, g3, j3, m3; Pawn a4, b4, c4, d4, e4, f4, g4, h4, i4, j4, k4, l4, m4, n4, o4, p4.

Black: King h11; Queen i11; Sorceress e11, l11; Duke f11, k11; Grand Rook a12, p12; Rook b12, o12; Bishop c12, n12; Centaur b10, o10; Tiger a10, a11, p10, p11; Elephant d10, g10, j10, m10; Pawn a9, b9, c9, d9, e9, f9, f9, h9, i9, j9, k9, l9, m9, n9, o9, p9.

Pieces

The King, Queen, Rook, and Bishop are as in Orthodox Chess. The other pieces move as follows:

Grand Rook: The Grand Rook can move as either a standard Rook, or as a Cannon from Chinese Chess (that is, it can capture an enemy piece by leaping over exactly one piece of either color and capturing the first piece beyond, if that piece is an enemy piece.)

Sorceress: The Sorceress is a 2-space area-mover. She may make either a single step in any direction as a King, or may make two consecutive steps in any direction and may change directions in between. The only limitations are that the Sorceress may not return to her original square (thereby making a null-move) and may not capture a piece on the first move and continue on - her move ends with any capture.

The Elephant

The Elephant may slide up to four spaces diagonally, or may step a single space horizontally or vertically. This piece has no relation to the Elephant of Shatranj.

The Tiger

The Tiger may slide up to four spaces horizontally or vertically, or may step a single space diagonally.

The Duke

The Duke may slide up to three spaces in any direction. He moves like a Queen in Chess, except that he is limited to a range of only three squares.

The Centaur

The Centaur may move as a Knight in Orthodox Chess, or may move a single step in any direction, like a King that is not subject to check. The name comes from mythology - the Centaur was a creature with the body of a horse and the torso and head of a man. This is appropriate since the Centaur moves as a Knight (which is depicted a horse) or a Man (which is a piece that moves a single space in any direction like a King.)

Rules

Pawn moves: The pawns move as they do in Orthodox Chess, except that they have an additional option for development. A pawn that has not moved may move two spaces forward, subject to En Passant as in Chess. But a player also has the additional option of moving two different pawns forward a single space on the same move provided that (a) neither pawn has moved before, and (b) neither pawn is moved to a position where it attacks an enemy piece.

Pawn Promotion: The pawns may promote upon reaching the 10th, 11th, or 12th rank. Upon reaching the 10th rank, a pawn may promote to a Tiger or an Elephant, or may remain a pawn. Upon reaching the 11th rank, a pawn may promote to a Tiger, an Elephant, a Duke, or a Centaur, or may remain a Pawn. Upon reaching the 12th rank, a pawn must promote to a Queen, a Grand Rook, a Bishop, or a Sorceress, but not to any lesser piece.

King's Leap: A King that has not yet moved, and is not in Check, may leap directly to squares a1 or p1 (for white,) or to a12 or p12 (for black.)

Notes

The values of the pieces are hard to determine. The best pieces are the Queen and the Grand Rook. After that, it is difficult to tell. The Rook is better than the Bishop. The Tiger might be better than the Elephant. The Centaur is probably better than a Tiger or Elephant. The Duke is better than a Tiger or an Elephant, probably about the same as a Centaur, and almost certainly not as good as a Sorceress. But is the Sorceress better or worse than a Rook or a Bishop? It depends on the situation. The Sorceress has serious short-range power, but the Rook and Bishop may fly all the way across the board. Is a Bishop better or worse than a Duke or a Centaur? It all probably depends on position and strategy.



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By Greg Strong.
Web page created: 2007-03-28. Web page last updated: 2007-03-28