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|Created on 2010-03-18 03:01:11||Modified 2010-03-26 13:55:51||Class Militia|
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Setup The basic board consists of an 8x8 grid consisting of squares 4-5' per side. This can be marked out with lines consisting of lime, chalk, flour, food coloring, or other environment-friendly materials. Two or more pieces of twine with markings at every 4-5' (or whatever you decide to use) would help to keep the lines straight when marking, as would a piece of an appropriate length to help with triangulation, thus making sure your field has right angles at the corners. (The latter piece would need to be approximately 1.414 times the length of one of the side pieces of twine.)
Ground tape, often used in battlegames and quests to mark boundaries, would not work as line markers for the checkerboard: the playing pieces move around a lot during the game, and it doesn't take much to hook a toe underneath and snap the thin plastic tape we normally use. It would therefore take only a few moves to turn the battlefield into a mess of unconnected tape fragments. Rope or nylon tape, on the other hand, would not break, but would present a severe safety hazard, as either is very likely to trip the participants. Lines made of some kind of powder or liquid may be less readily visible, and may take longer to set up; but they are also less likely to be a hazard during play.
One alternative to this trade-off is to use cloth squares or circles to mark the center of the squares, ignoring the lines altogether: remember that all you need to do is set up relative positions for the pieces -- the exact borders of the squares are irrelevant to actual play. The cloth pieces need to be large enough to be spotted readily, but small enough that you don't have a lot of exposed edges for people to trip over. Squares 10-12" across should suffice. One advantage of using cloth is that you can easily alternate colors of the squares; another is that they are very re-usable (even for chess!); a third is that they are readily visible from a distance; and a fourth is that these should speed the setup process. Suitable pieces can be made by reinforcing the edges of cloth squares, and setting eyelets in them to hold roofing-type nails which will hold the pieces to the ground. The main disadvantage of using these cloth markers (as opposed to drawing the lines with powder or liquid) is that to the outsider it may look like you're playing some weird variant of Twister, rather than checkers (or chess); and there is a slight risk of tripping, depending on the size of gaps you leave between the nails.
Two opposing players will be the ones controlling the pieces, and 24 other players (12 per team) will represent the checkers. (If you wish to play with fewer pieces, just make sure both teams are equal, and that they are set up in the same pattern.) The playing pieces will be identified by color-coded sashes, arm bands, face paint, or other means. The two controlling players will be identified by color-coded hoods or tabards, or left unmarked.
Rules As was mentioned in the Introduction (misc), all checkers have equal abilities: in this case, a single short sword. The pieces will begin in the standard position for a game of checkers (or a mutually agreed-upon arrangement if there are fewer pieces). The controlling players walk among the pieces, literally moving (or commanding) their pieces to the desired squares. No square can be o fight to get past. When a piece is ordered to capture another piece, both combatants stay where they are until "lay on" is called, then they enter into one-on-one combat. Wounds and death occur as in a normal ditch battle, with no armor or special abilities. (Pieces not directly involved in the current move cannot attack or be attacked, and are asked to try to stay out of the way of the combatants.) If the attacking piece is defeated, the capture is unsuccessful -- the attack was "repelled" -- and both pieces stay where they were before combat began. If the attacking piece is victorious, the defeated piece is removed from the field, and the victorious piece moves to the empty space beyond the defeated piece. (Any piece which dies is asked to do so dramatically, especially if mundanes are watching. The overall atmosphere of the game would be enhanced if volunteers can be found to carry the dead "captured" pieces off the field.)
Multiple captures are possible: if, from the spot the victorious attacking piece moved to, there is another piece they can capture, they can proceed to fight (after "lay on" is called again) for the next one as well, if ordered to do so by the controlling player. Any wounds they may have received while fighting the first piece are still in effect. If successful again, the piece moves on; if unsuccessful, they remain where they are at this point. When the turn ends, either by an unsuccessful attack or by the controlling player deciding to end the move, all wounds to either party are considered healed. (Remember that an attacking piece can never be removed from the board: if killed by the defender, they simply stay where they were, and are restored to health for the next turn.)
A piece moved into the opponent's back row is considered "kinged," as signified by the placing of a paper crown, headband, or other appropriate marker on their head. Any future movement of a "kinged" piece can be either forward or backward, but otherwise uses the same movement rules as before. A "kinged" piece is considered to have one point of all-over natural body armor in future combats. Any damage to this armor, as with wounds on a normal piece, is carried over between successive combats in the same turn, but is healed (like wounds) when that turn ends.
Play continues until one controlling player has lost all their pieces.
At the recent Ren Fair in Las Cruces, the success of the chess games (in the eyes of both the participants and the general public) led many to ask, "Why don't we have rules for checkers?" With that prompting, and some thought, I have come up with the following rules, and the basic necessary equipment.
Unlike chess pieces, all checkers (except those which have been "kinged") have equal abilities, and these rules reflect that fact. This fact will make the game much easier to keep track of than chess, but also means you are relying more on basic fighting ability rather than class specializations. If Amtgard Chess can be compared to a specialized battlegame, then Amtgard Checkers can be compared to a specialized ditch battle.
Iron checkers: Normal pieces are considered to
have one point of natural armor, while kings have two points.
Attrition variant: Wounds (and damage to
natural armor) are never healed. If a wounded piece is kinged, the
wound is still there but now has armor on top of it: that is, they
can take one additional shot to the wounded limb with no further
Damned-if-you-do variant: Attacking pieces,
if defeated, are removed from the board.
Open checkers: Instead of using a single
sword, pieces may use their choice of melee weapons and/or shields,
as in a ditch battle.
Goblin (speed) checkers: Any wound kills,
on regular pieces. Kings either take damage as a normal human, or are
considered to have one non-magical Protect each turn. (The
controlling players mutually decide which option to use.)
Iron checkers: Normal pieces are considered to have one point of natural armor, while kings have two points.
Attrition variant: Wounds (and damage to natural armor) are never healed. If a wounded piece is kinged, the wound is still there but now has armor on top of it: that is, they can take one additional shot to the wounded limb with no further injury occurring.
Damned-if-you-do variant: Attacking pieces, if defeated, are removed from the board.
Open checkers: Instead of using a single sword, pieces may use their choice of melee weapons and/or shields, as in a ditch battle.
Goblin (speed) checkers: Any wound kills, on regular pieces. Kings either take damage as a normal human, or are considered to have one non-magical Protect each turn. (The controlling players mutually decide which option to use.)