The Game Of Tryslmaistan Chess
By Jennifer Diane Reitz
Taasen, the analogue of the earthly game of Chess within the Universe of Tryslmaistan, has uncertain origins. According to some, the game was invented by the third generation of the First People, the mythical ancestors of all humans, who came to Tryslmaistan from the Dark Realm hundreds of thousands of years ago. More sensible individuals ascribe the game to the invention of the advanced people who lived on the worldplate of Myrmil, and consider it the creation of a clever Alchemist, placing the game at around 400 to 500 years old. The Witches claim the game was given to the 13 Progenitors by the Goddess, after she created the universe and all the Worldplates, exactly 1313 years ago. Whatever the origin of Taasen, it is one of the most popular games of the Worldplate of Gryrnu.
"Taasen", an ancient talcryl word meaning "To Conquer" or "To Colonize", is played on a triangular board divided into 16 smaller triangular spaces.
The corner triangles of the board are colored black, or very dark grey, to symbolize either the "Dark Realm", the mythological origin of the First People, or the state of ignorance that those who would colonize a new Worldplate might have. The shape of the board overall is the shape of the world, and in the very center, a triangle is lacquered blue to represent the Central Sea traditionally believed common to all Worldplates. Three triangle spaces surrounding the Central Sea represent a fully developed forest, doubtless planted by the new colonists, or else provided by the grace of the Goddess, depending. The remainder of the Taasen board is tan, the color of the crystal deserts that form the border of a Worldplate.
There are nine playing pieces in the game of Taasen, three red, three blue or white, and three green. Each color represents a Faction or Side in the conflict. Traditionally they represented the three divisions of Life.
The three color sets are further divided into three types of pieces, the 'Thaum', The 'Sciane', and the 'Paupil'. These are universally considered to represent the three Factions of civilization, with the Thaum clearly being the Wiccans, the Sciane being the Alchemists, and the Paupil representing the vast unaligned mass of the common and ignorant workers. Despite having three playing factions, Taasen is strictly a two-player game.
SETTING UP THE GAME
At the beginning of a game of Taasen, all the pieces are grouped according to color set, and each set is placed on one of the dark corner spaces of the Taasen board. It does not matter which color gets which corner, because the Taasen board is a regular, symmetrical triangle. One player takes the Red Faction, and one player takes the Green Faction. The White Faction is considered neutral, and can be manipulated equally by both players.
This represents the only time during the game that more than one piece can occupy a space on the board. Once two pieces have left the dark corner space, only a single piece may ever occupy it again during the game.
Traditionally the Red Faction player moves first, representing the mobility of Red, or Meat, Life. Each turn a player may move one piece one space upon the board. The player may either choose to move one piece of their own color, or alternatively, choose to move one piece belonging to the White Faction. In any case, a player may only move one piece per turn. The standard movement rules for pieces are:
A piece may move one space in any legal direction upon the board.
A legal move is one that crosses the straight bordering side of one triangle to another, bordering, triangle.
It is illegal to move across touching triangle points.
A piece may not move into a space occupied by another piece.
All pieces are affected by one unique space upon the board. The blue central triangle is that space, and it is conceptually considered to be the 'Sea'. In gameplay terms, the blue 'sea' space is not a true space, but rather a form of quick movement:
Any piece moving into the blue central space may not remain upon that space, but must immediately move across it to another empty space bordering the blue 'sea'. If no empty space is available to cross over to, then the blue central 'sea' may not be crossed.
This is the only exception to the single move rule, the ability to "Cross The Ocean" becoming a double move.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Pieces do not 'Capture' or 'Take' other pieces in the usual manner for chess-like games. Instead, playing pieces may 'Push' other pieces. A player is not allowed to Push pieces of their own Faction color, but may Push the opposing color, or White Faction pieces.
Whenever an attacking piece, of whatever color, is moved into a space adjoining another, defending piece, that defending piece is considered 'Pressed' and MUST be IMMEDIATELY moved to any open space bordering it's location. The choice of that open space is made by the defending player. This is how a piece may 'push' another piece across the Taasen board.
A piece may Push another, opposing piece, by moving into an adjoining space. The pushed piece must move to any legal, open space to escape. If no legal move is possible, the pushed piece is removed from play.
However, if there is no possible open space for the defending piece to run to, it is considered to be 'Crushed', or 'Taken'. The taken piece is removed from the board, and may not return to play, it is effecively 'dead'.
In the above illustration, we see an initial setup where a Red Paupil occupies the lower left Dark Space, red and green Sciane pieces are located to the right of the Paupil, and by the blue 'sea' space, sits a lone green Thaum.
The Thaum is moved into the space adjacent to the red Sciane, 'Pressing' the red Sciane. The Red Sciane, having no possible escaping move, is 'Crushed', and thus is 'taken' and removed from play.
Only ONE piece may be Pushed, or Crushed, in any given move, any given turn. Chain reactions, where a pushed piece might push another in sequence are not allowed. One player, one move, one possible Push or Crush. Then it is on to the next player's turn, and so forth.
This is the basic method of attack in Taasen, but this basic system is complicated further by the nature of the individual pieces themselves...
THAUM, SCIANE, PAUPIL
The three types of pieces cannot indescrimately Push each other. Each type may only Push one other, specific type, around, and no other. Thus, two opposing pieces of the same type cannot Push each other at all, and may, as we saw above, sit side by side -effectively blocking each other.
The rules for which pieces may Push other pieces form an Oroborous Conflict, a system common to games such as Janken "Jan-Ken-Pon", otherwise known as Rock-Paper-Scizzors.
Simply put, the rules for a Pushing Attack are as follows:
The Thaum Pushes the Sciane
The Sciane Pushes the Paupil
The Paupil Pushes the Thaum
Thus, to state the hopefully obvious, a Sciane cannot Push another Sciane, or a Thaum, as an example, but may only Push the Paupil.
As with all chess-like games, the goal is one of total domination of the board, and thus play. This can be accomplished simply within the game of Taasen;
A player wins if the opposing player has no pieces of their own color (non-White) left.
A player wins if the opposing player cannot make any legal move at all.
White can never win, but can be used to create a draw, or tie game.
White can never win, because it is a neutral Faction, manipulated equally by both actual players.
A game is considered over if no attack, by any faction, is possible. In this event, the player Faction with the most pieces wins. Some believe this circumstance can never happen.
If all factions have the same type and number of pieces and neither player can make a legal move, and attacking is thus impossible, then this unlikely circumstance results in a draw. This too is not known for certain to be possible.
THE RECURSION RULE
Recursion is not allowed to continue in Taasen. If a move is made with a White piece, and then the opposing player simply reverses that move, and so on, forever, Taasen would be a pointless game. Thus it is illegal for a player to move the same White piece that an opponent had just moved on their turn.
A player may not move any White piece that has just been moved in the previous turn by their opponent.
By the same token, if any piece has just been Pushed by the other player, then that piece may not immediately be moved back to location by the opposing player. Instead, the defending player, if they choose to move that recently Pushed piece, they must move it anywhere EXCEPT the location they were pushed from. The reason for this is simple: if the defending piece could be moved immediately back, Pushing would be rendered almost useless in many cases, and the situation would lend itself to recursion, which, as stated, is not allowed.
A player may not move a piece that has just been Pushed in the immediately previous turn back to the exact space from whence it was Pushed, but must move to any other legal space.
Get your pieces out of the corner as soon as possible, and try to keep them out of any corner.
Before making an opening move out of the dark corner spaces, try to pick the best piece to oppose any nearby pieces.
Use the blue 'sea' space wisely and carefully, likewise be wary of it.
The 'sea' is still a space, you cannot 'Push attack' through it as if it were not there. You CAN push a piece across it to another space.
Be careful not to block yourself in when blocking an opponent.
Stay aware that there are THREE factions, even though there ae only two actual players: White pieces are just as much of a threat.
Use the White pieces too, but don't rely on them alone.
Anticipate what the other player is going to do, not only with their own pieces, but with any White ones as well.
Try to set up 'traps' with seemingly pointless moves.
When playing at Taasen, Push the Pauple until it perishes.
It is my hope that the reader will enjoy and find interesting the game of Taasen as it is played on Tryslmaistan Gryrnu, and very likely even back in the days of Myrmil (or before). It should not be too hard to construct a simple set out of various materials, if one is so inclined. Taasen is a curious game which is the product of an alien and extraversal culture, yet clearly somehow connected to our own. May you enjoy Taasen!
Taasen game depicted during play.
TAASEN GOODIES OUT TO YOU. . .
The astounding Benjamin James Edward Zealley, with some inspiration from Laura Cecile Doyle, have brought Taasen to life on the computer, under Windows! Now you can hot-seat play a game of Taasen from the convenience of your own desktop! Download Taasen for Windows today!
WIN 98, 2000, and XP compatible TAASEN, 379 kb Zipped File
For offline play, Jenn Dolari of http://www.dolari.org
has provided a PDF document download of printable Taasen Boards for your color printer! You can download them here:
PDF Taasen Boards.......28K Download, Zipped file
Occasionally, I get letters from people asking to clarify elements of the game. Here are the questions and the answers, as reference! QUESTIONS are in RED, ANSWERS in BLACK
Can a piece move into the space adjoining a piece which would otherwise push it? In other words, can I move my Sciane next to a Thaume of another color?
Yes. The power to 'push' another piece is not as it is in earthly chess, like 'taking' or 'threatening', it is a power that must be activated, and last only as long as the turn of the player activating it, after which it is 'off'. The activation occurs upon movement, which is to say that if a piece is moved, then when it is placed upon the board, at that instant, it has the 'power of push' and may affect one -and only one- other piece, as appropriate. A piece simply sitting there, has no threat. It cannot affect anything, or push. Indeed, when it is the other player's turn, they cannot simply claim said immobile piece is now 'active'...it must be physically moved to a new place on the board, to become active. So, one strategy is to deliberately move right beside an otherwise dangerous piece -in some circumstances- and block it, and in so doing, be perfectly safe oneself. If the dangerous piece cannot move, it cannot Push, and thus is rendered...useless.
Although there are no "chain reaction" pushes, what happens in the situation when this would arise? This is similar to the above question, actually, because a piece can be pushed into the space next to a piece that would push it back, or into the space next to a piece that would be pushed by it. Do you just leave it there? What happens on the next turn?
This is what is meant by no chain reactions. A 'Pushed' piece is not made 'active' itself, because it is not the turn of the player who owns that piece. To be able to 'Push', a piece MUST be moved as part of a regular turn, by the player who owns that piece (or is controlling the piece in the case of a neutral white piece), and physically moved to another space upon the board than the one it started from.
Thus, a pushed piece cannot affect anything it lands beside.
We guessed that the principle is that a piece can only push (or crush) when it has been moved by one of the players, not by just sitting there, hence the answer to the first question is yes, and to the second is "yes, just leave it there", but I wasn't able to figure this out from the rules. It seemed a little counter-intuitive, since one could prevent a push by snuggling up to one's opponent's piece; hence the confusion.
"Snuggling up" is indeed a strategy, and potentially a frustrating one. It takes room to conduct a fight, immobility means inaction. Pieces can become 'Pinned Down'
If a piece is moved so that it would push or crush two pieces, i.e. if aThaume is moved between two Scianes, what happens? Does it push one or both? If only one, who decides which one?
The attacker decides which one (and only one) piece he is Pushing. The defending player chooses where the pushed piece will go. If there is no valid place to go, the piece is lost -Crushed.
When a white piece is pushed, who decides where it goes? I presume the player who didn't push it, but I'm not entirely sure.
Same exact deal: the attacker decides which one (and only one) piece he is Pushing. The defending player chooses where the pushed piece will go. If there is no valid place to go, the piece is lost -Crushed. This is true regardless of the colors of the pieces involved.
A game created by Jennfer Diane Reitz
Copyright © 2001, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
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