Defile, the Mountain Pass Race

Continuing to ponder and play around with games, I came up with a race game inspired by the royal game of Ur, an ancient game that has recently been rediscovered by historians.

In defile, two players try to be the first to move their pieces up a mountainside and thru a defile (a narrow pass) to the other side. This is played on a chess board using eight pieces for each player.

The object is to move your pieces out onto the board along your home row, turn up and along the far column, and off the board into the opponent’s side at the opposite corner. The opponent’s pieces go the opposite way along his or her home row, up the same far column, and off onto your side. The first to bear all their pieces off the board wins.

On your turn, you roll a normal 6-side die (1d6) and move a piece out onto the board that number of spaces. The opponent rolls and moves. You roll again and move that piece or bring out another.

  • You can jump your pieces or the opponent’s pieces, but you cannot land on a square occupied by one of your own pieces, nor can you move a piece backwards.
  • If you land on a square occupied by one of your opponent’s pieces, that piece gets knocked off the board back to the start.
  • You can only bear a piece off the board to home on an exact roll.
  • If you have a valid move, you must make a move. If you have no valid move, your turn is wasted.

In this example, white, at bottom, has two pieces borne off while red has one. In this case, white has interesting moves for most of its rolls.

  • If white rolls a 1, it can move white 3 to knock red 5 back to start.
  • If white rolls a 2, it can bear off white 5 to red’s side.
  • If white rolls a 3, it can move white 4 up to knock red 4 back to start.
  • If white rolls a 4, it could bring on its last piece or move white 1, white 3, or white 4.
  • If white rolls a 5, it can move white 2 to knock red 5 off the board.
  • If white rolls a 6, it can move white 1 to knock red 5 off the board.

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