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Average Rating: 4.3 in 7 reviews
Put a barrier between a super inflated chess board with terrain features and special men. Devise your own openning. Then let this game take you to it's exciting conclusion. Wargamers said it was unrealistic. Chess purist ignored it. The rest of us just had a lot of fun. While these German games are heralded on year and out of print the next, this classic will go on!
This has always been a favorite of mine. I purchased it when i was 12 and have played off and on for 23 yrs since. I think chess is incredibly boring in comparison. And yes, many people that i've played with have had the notion of expanding it...more boards, more armies, etc., but I still love the original format. I still have my original set too.
As a side note,(for those who have tinkered with designing new boards) there IS a mehtod to the madness of creating different boards. (study it, its a puzzle onto itself)
THIS GAME IS A MUST FOR ANY TRUE GAMER!
We (other gamers and myself) rapidly found the game to be limiting compared to what it could be.
Out of the box, the game came with 4 connected boards, which open to form a square. Pieces (described by another reviewer) fit into holes and have various movement rules, just as in chess. Limitations exist, according to the rules - 12 place limit on verticle/horizontal and diagonal pieces, 3 for archers and other limits apply as well.
Then we expanded its capabilities by first adding additional set(s!), unattaching the delivered 4 piece board (making selection of landscape part of the setup, merging pieces (archers and horsemen to create horse-archers), adding capability to existing pieces (Kings became like Queens in Chess - no limit to number of space to move) and so on. We've increased the 'distance' pieces can move as we've expanded the board. The favorite configuration of the board is 3x3 where each player (there are only two of us that continue) gets 3 boards wide by 1 1/2 deep. We've varied the set up from all the way to touching each of us at the 6th row of the middle board to only setting up on one row of boards (a 3x1 strategy) and letting the middle row of boards determine our 'attack points'. Note that in this instance, never see the middle row.
From a strategy point of view, we rapidly discoverd that multiple points of contact were necessary in order to deplete the opponent's (and your own) army to win. It's a game of attrition and strategy. Archers can shoot over your pieces, freeing up another piece to take a second opponent's piece. This continues at each attack point until attrition begins to determine a winner. But don't think that the attacker has the upper hand. Many games become a counter-attack rout, resulting in a complete turn of events. This typically happens 2-3 times a game.
We also noted the 3x3 game provided some very long diagonals, which lead to some interesting turn of events. Some territory is mountains, which no piece can cross (we're still discussing the climber pieces), and other is dessert - where only foot pieces (the majority, but there are many horse-pieces as well) can cross. These desserts lead to many change of events as well.
We did keep some fundamental rules such as taking a castle is the primary objective of the game (short of taking all the opponent's pieces). And have played multiple castles to complicate matters even more.
Our imaginations took us to new levels as the above challenges lead us to even more capabilities. With 6 sets under out wing, we now had close to 150 pieces each - all capable of moving during a single turn. Difficult to remember which has been moved perhaps, but a welcome challenge.
With modifications, it takes a bit longer to play. Even today, one friend and reminisce and consider new developments, but alas, at 14 hours a game, it's difficult to find the time...
If you've got an old set you wish to dispose of, please let me know...
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