Written by and diagrams and illustrations by Pete Smith.
The game of Jikaida is a game based on the game of chess, and it appeared frequently in the Dray Prescot series written by Kenneth Bulmer. The books, which took place on a fantasy world called Kregen, included periodic references to the game of Jikaida (the word takes its meaning from the root word Jikai, which has multiple meanings, including a battle, a warrior, or 'a noble feat of arms', or even simply as a battle cry like 'banzai!' or 'Geronimo!'), and in book 20, A Sword for Kregen, a complete set of rules appeared.
This document is based on those rules. Unfortunately, the rules as appearing in A Sword for Kregen lacked diagrams and were difficult to understand for those people who had not played chess before. This set of rules represents an update of those rules for people who are new to boardgames and uses diagrams to better illustrate the movement of the pieces.
Within the series of books we are led to understand that a variety of versions of the game exist, most of which are quite large and elaborate. The smallest version, called Poron Jikaida, is the version described in these rules.
ComponentsA Poron Jikaida set consists of one board, and 72 pieces, of which 36 are Blue (or Black) while 36 are Yellow (or White). Jikaida is a game for two players, and each player controls the pieces of one particular colour.
The board consists of six drins (the word 'drin' means 'land' or 'country'), arranged two by three, each drin containing thirty-six squares, arranged six by six. The squares are coloured in an alternating fashion, so the square adjcaent to each corner of a square is the same colour as that square while a square adjacent to the side of a square is the opposite colour. The dividing line between drins is called a front and is painted more heavily than the other lines to facilitate demarcation. The purpose of a front is as an obstacle to movement.
The squares are almost always either black and white or blue and yellow, although other colours are known. On Kregen red and green are seldom used. The players have a yellow square on the right of each first rank.
Blue is usually north and Yellow south (this is generally for the purpose of notation, as the board may be drawn on paper and read like a map, with 'north' being the top of the page). Each player has two drins before him, his home drins, and two wild drins in the center. From Yellow's point of view each drin is lettered A to F from left to right, and numbered one to six from south to north.
Each drin has a name; the drins are named after the various predatory animals inhabiting the world of Kregen.
In Poron Jikaida the six drins are named and arranged:
By using the drin name followed by the coordinates any square is readily identifiable, and this system has been found to be quick, simple, and efficient.
Each player's set of pieces consists of the following:
SetupThe initial array of Blue Pieces from Blue's point of view is: First rank, from left to right: Chuktar (C), Jiktar (J), Hikdar (H), Paktun (Pk), Paktun (Pk), Kapt (Ka), King (K), Pallan (P), Kapt (Ka), Hikdar (H), Jiktar (J), Chuktar (C). Second rank: twelve Deldars (D). Third rank: twelve Swods (S).
The initial array of Yellow pieces from Yellow's point of view is: First rank: from left to right: Chuktar, Jiktar, Hikdar, Paktun, Paktun, Kapt, Pallan, King, Kapt, Hikdar, Jiktar, Chuktar. Second rank: twelve Deldars. Third rank: twelve Swods.
Kings stand on squares of their own colour.
For a full sized view of the starting positions, click here.
Sequence of Play
Play consists of each player taking a turn, in which a single piece must be moved (there is no 'passing'). After that player has made a move, the other player then makes a move. Then the first player moves again, and so on. The players continue alternating until the game ends.
Unlike chess, in Jikaida there is no rule as to which side moves first. This can be determined by mutual agreement or randomly, or, in a series of games the players can alternate moving first or make an arrangement where the winner of the previous game goes last, etc.
Each type of piece has a different set of moves allowed to it; the value of a piece is based on the moves it is allowed to make.
Provided a piece is allowed to move in a fashion that allows it to arrive at a particular square, that piece may move to that square if it is empty. Likewise, if a piece is allowed to capture pieces on that particular square, it may move to that square when occupied by an enemy piece. This enemy piece is considered captured and is removed from the board.
The object of the game is to capture the opposing King. If after a given turn one or more of your pieces could potentially capture the opponent's King, you must alert the opponent by saying "Kaida" (the equivalent of saying "check" in the game of chess). The King is then considered to be in a state of Kaida and the opponent's next move must be to remove the King from this situation, either by moving the King to a safe space or moving another piece in between the King and the attacking piece (called 'interposing') to prevent the King from being captured.
The King may never move to a space where it would be in Kaida. If a King is already in Kaida and no move will allow the King to escape, this is called "Hyrkaida" (checkmate, or literally, 'Great Kaida'); the King is captured, and the game ends.
The game may also be won through "Tikaida" (stalemate); a condition of Tikaida is said to exist if on a given turn the player whose turn it is cannot make a legal move, but is not in Kaida. That player loses. Likewise, the game can be won through a condition of "Nikaida" ('half' or 'small-Kaida'), if a player is left with a King as his only remaining piece. A player in Nikaida has one turn to capture the last non-King piece of his opponent; if he can do this, and leave the board containing only two opposing Kings, the game is a draw. If he cannot do this, the player in Nikaida loses.
Purists of the game consider these methods of winning to be inferior to that of a proper Hyrkaida, however. In an environment where people are competing against one another, and scores are being kept, a Hyrkaida is worth one point, while a Tikaida and a Nikaida are worth a half-point each. If the game is drawn in Nikaida, both players recieve a half-point.
The MovesEach type of piece in Jikaida has a different set of moves it is allowed to make.
There are two different types of moves that various pieces are allowed to make: a Regular move, or a Leap. Unless a move is said to be a Leap, it is considered a Regular move.
A Regular move travels in a straight line for either a set distance or as far as a player wishes. Either way, a piece making a Regular move may not end it's move on a friendly piece, or pass through any piece. Once it encounters another piece along it's move it must either stop before the piece or capture it; either circumstance ends the move.
A Leap, on the other hand, ignores all intervening pieces, and only the status of the target space matters. If it is empty, the leaping piece may move there, and if it is occupied by an enemy piece, the leaping piece may capture it. If the space is occupied by a friendly piece, then the leaping piece may not move there unless it is entitled to capture friendly pieces.
Some pieces are entitled to make regular moves only, while some are entitled to make leaps only, and some may make either. Which moves a piece is entitled to make are described below.
(Note: Notice that the Pallan in this case can change direction without actually crossing the front. However, if the Pallan does this it cannot then cross a drin front; changing direction "uses up" its one free front crossing ability whether it crosses the front or not.
This seems counter-intuitive, and in the rules I had first published I had altered the rules from the original ones in A Sword for Kregen, having said that the Pallan should change direction after crossing the front at all times. However, after playing the game we uncovered a number of problems with this; firstly one Pallan can threaten another without being threatened in return, which can lead to endless games of Pallan-dueling, and secondly it allows the Pallan to cover more than half a Drin just by crossing the front. These rules return the Pallan's powers back to the original rules.)
Opening Move Bonuses
The Paktun may leap twice on his first move. The Deldar may move twice on his first move, being able to move one, two, three, or four squares, but changing direction only after the second square. The Swod may advance or capture one, two, or three squares on his initial move; the Swod is not allowed to change direction while doing so.
In these initial moves of Paktun, Deldar, or Swod, and in the case of the two-square move of the Deldar under normal circumstances, the move of such a piece ends when he makes a capture. The Paktun, for example, cannot on his initial move leap and capture, then leap again.
After his initial move, the Swod moves and captures one square only.
There is no en pasant capture in Jikaida (this is a move in chess).
Vaulting (Zeunting)The power of pieces to vault makes Jikaida unique. The Kregish word for vault is "zeunt".
Any piece eligible to vault may do so instead of its normal move. Vaulting works the same way for all pieces, aside from a couple of minor exceptions, as noted below. Causing a piece to vault instead of moving normally constitutes a player's turn.
Any piece may vault by moving from one end of a straight unbroken line of pieces to the other end. The line may be diagonal or orthogonal and be of any length, as long as the line is at least three pieces long, not counting the vaulting piece. The pieces in the line may be either colour or a mixture.
The piece vaulting must stand on the square immediately adjacent to the end of the line, diagonally if a diagonal line and orthogonally if an orthogonal line, and may move along the line and come to earth on the immediately adjacent square at the far end. Exceptions will be noted below.
If there is a break in a line the vauling piece must land there and finish his move. A piece may land on an opposing piece and capture anywhere along the line, providing it has already vaulted over at least three pieces, and it is not a Swod landing on an opposing Swod propt by a Deldar. (see below.) The Pallan who may capture a friendly piece may do so in the normal course of a vault.
Any piece may vault across one or more drin fronts provoded the line to be vaulted extends unbroken across those fronts. Pieces which would normally have to halt at a drin front when moving do not have to do so when vaulting.
Whenever a vaulting piece touches down, to capture an enemy, at the end of the line, or in a break, its move is ended.
Swods vault forward orthogonally or diagonally only.
It should be noted that a vault can change a Hikdar's colour.
In Poron Jikaida as usually played the Pallan is the only piece with the power of using the two other features of the vault. The Pallan may, in his turn, move legally as specified in the rules, to the end of a line and in the same turn vault. The Pallan may move Diagonally to the end of an orthogonal line and vault, and vice versa.
Alternatively, the Pallan may make one change of direction when vaulting, but must follow a continuous line of pieces three or more from one end to the other with a single bend in the line. The change of direction can follow any single bend in the line. This change in direction cannot be a complete reversal, so the Pallan cannot use this ability to return to the space he started on; the Pallan can only change directions to follow a bend within the vaulting line, rather than changing directions at the end.
These abilities cannot be used together; a Pallan may not move to the end of a vaulting line and then vault, and in the vault change directions. Likewise a Pallan may not use its change of direction ability when crossing a drin front, then vault.
The best way to view this is that the Pallan gets only a single "change" in movement. This change could be either:
Dray Prescot points out that the idea of a rank of Deldars standing against an advance of Swods, thus forcing heavier pieces into action, probably gave rise to the traditional challenge of the game: "Rank your Deldars!"
DrillsThe above rules are complex and contribute to a long game. the following are a few "miniature" versions of the game that will help you familiarize yourself with various aspects of the game.
Pastang uses only a single Drin as a playing board. Each side gets eight Swods and four Deldars, organized as follows:
The object of Pastang is simply to be the last player to have any pieces on the board; it is a "to the death" game. The purpose of Pastang is to familiarize players with vaulting and the Propt concept. Because the board is so small, a special rule for this game allows a line of only two pieces to be a valid vaulting line.
A variety of variations are allowed for Pastang; the pattern of Deldars in the back row may be anything as long as it is symmetrical and both players have the same pattern, though if both players agree even this is negotiable. Likewise, another version removes either the two swods or the two middle Deldars from the back row and replaces them with one Paktun and one Hikdar. Swods are allowed to promote at the last rank, but only to pieces that are being used in the game.
Pastang is a quick game, and you can expect a game to take between ten and fifteen minutes to play.
Watch out for connecting a vaulting line of yours with an enemy piece. this gves the enemy piece at the end of your line the ability to vault down your line and possibly capture the piece at the end. This might even allow him to promote a Swod if the line ends at the last rank, so be careful!
Stikitche uses a playing area of two Drins as a board. Each side has only a single Pallan and a King. The Object of the game is to Hyrkaida the king, or alternatively, through capturing the Pallan (Nikaida). If both Pallans are captured, of course the game is a draw. Note that this can even happen with the first move of the game.
Drak's City simulates the convoluted nature of the city by having a large mass of pieces which vault over one another. In Drak's City, Vaulting is the ONLY legal move. No piece may move unless that move involves a normal vault. The Pallan's special vaulting powers do apply, and thus the Pallan may use it's ability to move to the end of a vaulting line and then vault, but may not move without vaulting. The game of Drak's City is meant to instruct people in vaulting tactics and particularly familiarize people with the Pallan's special vaulting powers. With the special vaulting powers of the Pallans, you will find that they have the ability to pop out of a mass of pieces just about anywhere.
The second special rule is that only a Pallan is allowed to capture pieces in Drak's city. The other pieces may vault over one another but not onto one another. Remember that the Pallan must still vault in order to capture a piece. The Pallan also retains its ability to capture a friendly piece in Drak's City.
The ordinary pieces in Drak's City represent the pedestrians and other normal "citizens" of the district, who are not interested in killing one another. The Pallans, on the other hand, represent warriors or assasins trying to kill one another. The game is won when one side has lost it's Pallan and all Swods, or when a player concedes. The Swods are entitled to be promoted to Pallan upon reaching the final rank.
Drak's City uses two Drins as a board, with a starting layout as shown below:
Strategy tipsThe Pieces
Jikaida has a much greater piece variety than in Chess, but nevertheless has some similar basic principles. One such principle is that it is almost always beneficial to sacrifice a piece if it means capturing a piece of greater value. While it may seem hard to figure out which pieces are more valuable than others, one can always use the "point system" to figure out which pieces are worth more.
The point value for pieces is as follows:
Some pieces can be said to increase in value as the game progresses; early in the game, a Hikdar and Jiktar can be said to be worth one point less than the listed amount, because the large number of pieces on the board makes it difficlt to use these pieces effectively. Late in the game, when there are fewer pieces remaining on the board, these pieces are much more mobile, and could be said to be worth one point more than the listed value.
You will note that the last three pieces, the Chuktar, Kapt, and Pallan all have exremely high values compared to the other pieces. These pieces are your "Capital" pieces, as their ability to cross a Drin Front and their generally good mobility make them extraordinarily valuable, particularly in the endgame. It can be fairly said that in the endgame the number of capital pieces you still posess will determine your chances of success.
A Jikaida game can generally be said to have four phases: an opening, an early game, a midgame, and an endgame. Each game "phase" can be said to have different characteristics.
One of the most effective strategies in the opening phase is to create a network of vaulting lines that will allow you to move your pieces up in a "conveyor belt" fashion. You will probably want to create a couple of diagonals coming towards the center of the board from the corner areas, and possibly a vertical line or two coming up the middle. Where the lines overlap this is good as it gives you extra vaulting distance for less pieces.
The key to victory in the early game is preparation in the opening game; developing your pieces quickly is a key to success in the Early phase as you will have numerical superiority where it counts, in the center drins.
The Deldar is probably the sovreign piece in the Early game. Few pieces will be able to go far with all the clutter on the board, but the Deldar's ability to move in any direction makes it especially useful. Try not to give too many up, and preferably you want to try to sacrifice your Swods to capture enemy Deldars rather than simply trading.
Try not to move your capital pieces into the center drins in the early game; those zones will be a free-for-all and it is all too easy to lose a piece to a Deldar or Swod.
Having held back a Deldar or two can really pay off in the midgame, as their first double-move can be used as a good defensive counterattack. The Paktuns are also valuable this way, though the Swods themselves are less valuable now.
Vaulting is still useful in the midgame but is now much less critical. Now is the time to start taking advantage of the Pallan's special vaulting powers. Also, this is the stage you should start looking to promote those Swods into Pallans, especially if you still have the vaulting lines to do so.
The Pallan should try to utilize it's ability to turn at a Drin Front to "fork" enemy units. A Fork consists of a position in which a piece can potentially capture one of two enemy pieces but cannot be captured by either. This is particularly effective if the King is threatened, since the opposing player must move to protect his King and cannot defend his other piece. If this strategy is used a Pallan can outfight two enemy capital pieces.
Whatever rules or variations of rules are used, it is essential that players are aware of them and agree before play starts. It is particularily important that the rules governing vaulting should be completely agreed upon.
These variations are similar to differences in chess rules on Earth before advances in communication and transportation allowed standardization. Poron Jikaida is the smallest form of Jikaida. (Jikalla will form the subject of an appendix in a subsequent volume in the Saga of Dray Prescot.) There are other sizes of board and numbers of pieces employed. Great Jikaida is the largest. Many forms employ aerial cavalry.
It is possible to place artificial features on the board- rivers, hills, woods, etc. - by prior arrangement between the players. Most often these are not employed, Jikaida purists contending that they interfere with the orthodox developments and powers of pieces in combination on the open board.
Jikshiv Jikaida is played on a board six drins by four drins.
Hyrshiv Jikaida is played on a board three drins by four drins. The Lamdu version of Hyrshiv Jikaida employs ninety pieces a side.
In the larger games with more pieces the power of superior pieces increases with the additions, the Jiktar taking on the powers of the Chuktar for example. Some additional pieces are: the Hyrpaktun, who moves in an elongated Paktun's move, three squares instead of two before the sideways move. The Flutsman, who moves four spaces, diagonally or orthogonally, over intervening pieces, must touch down on an unoccupied square, and then move or capture one square orthogonally or diagonally. This simulates the flutsman's flight to his target and then the attack on foot. There are other aerial moves of similar character.
In some areas of Kregen the Hyrpaktun is allowed a single square move, like the King, to facilitate colour changing.
The Archer moves one square diagonally and then as a rook. The Crossbowman moves one square orthogonally and then as a bishop. Trans-drin restrictions with the missile pieces vary. Vaulting rules vary considerably and have been the subject of great controversy. With the larger games the Pallan has the power of more than one change of direction during a zeunt, and may come down off the vault and continue moving. Sometimes the Kapts have the power of moving to a vaulting line. The pieces of a knight-like leap may come down off the vault to one side or the other, as though continuing their leap. This confers a very great power to these pieces, as they would then cover the entire sides of the vaulting line from three pieces away.
Trans-drin restrictions also vary, as, for instance, the Kapt being allowed to change direction at a front, and the Jiktars and Hikdars being allowed trans-drin movement. The Pallan may be allowed to cross two drn fronts, and this is particularily important during diagonal moves near the center of the board or where fronts meet. On the larger boards increased freedom of movement has been found to be essential, but this is often restricted to the home and central drins, and does not extend to the opponent's home drins.
The powers of the Swods and Deldars also vary by agreement, and it is a pleasant game of to play Poron Jikaida with two ranks of Swods each. In Porondwa Jikaida there are two ranks of Deldars. The larger boards build on the basis of the Poron board, the additional drins of the Hyrshiv board are as follows: From Yellow's point of view: the right-hand home drin is Krulch. The drins above that are Prychan and Strigicaw. Blue's home drins are Boloth, Graint, and Dermiflon.
In some areas of Kregen, Dray Prescot notes, players contend that the Deldar may only move and capture for a two-square move. Other areas allow a single square move without capture. These variations are considered interesting, and frustrating, as the piece's power cannot then extend to adjacent squares and would be limited to eight squares at a straight two square range diagonally and orthogonally.
Prescot says an interesting variation developed in Vallia where the Swods were called Brumbytes and the Deldars were called Hakkodin; but he gives no details of the play, except a mention of the Brumbytes being initially arrayed in three ranks of eight, and provided they are on adjacent squares they are allowed to be moved three at a time. One assumes this privelige would end by at least the front of the opponent's home drins.
The above description is necessarily brief; but enough information has been given to enable the game to be played and enjoyed and some of the ramifications and developments to be explored. The construction of a board is a simple matter. It is suggested chess pieces are used where applicable, and the new pieces represented by model soldiers of a suitable scale and colour.
I should like to acknowledge the advice and interest of John Gollon of Geneva in preparation of these rules for publication. I must also thank my son for his enthusasm and expertise in playing Jikaida. He has helped to clarify game situations and contributed to the strategical shape of Poron Jikaida. As a matter of convenience the terminology of terrestrial chess is used when practical.
Finally, it is left to me to say, on behalf of Dray Prescot, enjoy your Jikaida and-Rank your Deldars!
Alan Burt Akers.