The Pattern Game
THE PATTERN GAME
by L. Lynn Smith
Ever tried a game which seemed like four seperate games at once? Well, here it is.
Played upon a 12x12 field with pieces representing various patterns within this gridwork.
PAWN[P] steps two forward vacant cells, captures one forward diagonal. Promotes upon the two far ranks to an Elephant.
FERZ[F] steps diagonal
ALFIL[A] leaps to the second diagonal
DABA[D] leaps to the second orthogonal
CAMEL[C] leaps 2x4 area
BISHOP[B] slides diagonal
ELEPHANT[E] leaps to second diagonal or orthogonal
Each player must maintain at least one Elephant on each of its particular patterns. Repetition of position is not permitted.
I have often used this form of play to teach younglings the concept of patterns on the playing field.
The restriction of the Pawn promotion to only Elephants may seem a little draconian, but it actually plays very nice. Once a player has obtained an extra Elephant, they can quickly hunt down the opponent's.
And though the Pawn movement may seem a bit strange, it is actually quite nice. Their dynamics are similar to the Shogi Pawn in that they are unable to defend one another(that is, unles one is able to make a capture and thus shift to a new rank pattern). And though they can block one another, each player has the same opportunity to advance their Pawns. For example, White advances a 'g' file Pawn, Black does the same and White then blocks it, then Black can advance the 'e' file Pawn(the 'f' file Pawn will come in direct conflict with White's previously advanced Pawn) and the 'beat' allows for further development of this Pawn. And since the two-step move is the obligated move of each Pawn, there is no _en passant_ in this game.
And having four goal pieces, these Elephants act like a King that has been plastered across the field. Keeping track of the threats can be a challenge, since several pieces(Camel, Bishop, Ferz and Pawn) can reach across several patterns.
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By Larry L. Smith.
Web page created: 2008-11-18. Web page last updated: 2008-11-18