Sunday, 10 April 2011

Xiangqi - Chinese Chess

I am pretty sure that most wargamers have played chess at some pint in their gaming career. Indeed, I remember reading somewhere that a wargame could be described as 'chess with a thousand pieces'. Aside from the usual version there are a number of national variants or, in the case of the Chinese, a completely different game and this is Xiangqi - Chinese Chess. I have wanted to try this for many years but never got around to it so I was delighted to have been able to acquire a set at our local 'lazybones' boot sale (so called because it does not start until 10:30am) for the princely sum of £1. The game comes complete with 16 hardwood playing pieces for each side and with the playing area is marked out on a cloth (in China it is often played on paper) with the whole being stored in an attractive wooden box. Each army consists of 5 soldiers, 2 chariots, 2 cannon, 2 horses, 2 mandarins, 2 elephants and a general. The playing area uses a point to point movement system and the board is separated by a central river (lots of those in China!) and each side has a fortress on their side of the board.

I was particularly struck by the point to point movement system and am wondering if that could be applied to a conventional figure based game in some way. I have certainly seen it used for boardgames - Columbia Games 'Napoleon' covering the 1815 campaign being a case in point. For this game all movement runs from village to village with combat being assumed to occur 'on the road' between said villages.

An unusual acquisition to be sure but one that I shall enjoy experimenting with in due course.

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