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King's Mate, the Ancient Game of Kings, is chess-like strategy game played in
Robert Stanek's Ruin Mist
== About the Game ==
In an age of Ruin Mist long since lost from the memory of the living, the kings
of old played the game of King's Mate as a way of settling their differences.
The board itself and the players were very real, consisting of soldiers,
scholars, and even commoners who acted as the kings' champions.
Swordmasters, priests, priestesses, and keepers were the essential champions.
They had special places of honor on the board. The champions also included
fools, whose value was never discounted, and a player who acted in the role of
the king. It was a matter of high honor to play part of the king on the board.
These champions of old moved on the game field, each in their turn, according to
their king's bidding. When opposing champions met, they clashed and the victor
claimed his or her place on the board. To win the game, one of the two kings had
to capture the other's king piece. Before this could be done, however, both of
the defending swordmasters must be eliminated, for only the swordmasterless king
can be captured.
The game of King's Mate is played throughout the kingdoms to this day. In the
books, Vilmos learned the game from the troant, Edward Tallyback. Edward
Tallyback gives a bit of bad direction when he instructs Vilmos on the setup of
the board and the rules of the game, but what else would you expect from a
troant? A troant must be true to his nature after all.
== The Game Board ==
Through the millennia, many versions of the King's Mate game board were created
The one most commonly used in Great Kingdom sets as rivals kingdomers and elves.
The standard game board has nine rows and seven columns from the player's
perspective. On each end of the play field is a raised square in the center of
the last row. This is the place of honor for the opposing kings. In the center
of the board is a grouping of five raised squares. These raised squares form an
‘X'. Giving a total of 7 raised squares on the board.
== The Raised Squares on the Board ==
The raised squares have special significance. In normal play only a king or one
of the swordmasters may pass through or stop on the raised squares. The
exception is this:
If a player's king occupies any one of the five raised squares at the center of
the board, any of the pieces of his color may cross or stop on the raised
squares, but only for as long as the king remains on that space.
If the king is moved off a central raised square, his pieces can no longer move
across or stop on the central raised squares. Any pieces occupying a central
raised square may remain where they are, but if they move off the raised square,
the normal rules of play apply.
The two raised squares on either end of the board are called the King Squares.
They serve to denote where the opposing kings start the game. In the expanded
rules version of the game, however, there is a move called Fool's Gambit. Here
how Fool's Gambit works:
If a player's fool occupies the King Square for his color, other fools of his
color can cross or stop on any of the other raised squares on the board,
regardless of the placement of the player's king. If a player moves his fool
onto his opponent's King Square, play stops and he or she wins the game.
== Pieces on the Board ==
...Kings... The white king has an oversized, jeweled crown on its head and a
sheathed sword in its right hand. The black king wears a dark cape with a
singlet for a crown and holds a scepter in its left hand. Placed in the raised
square in the center of the last row on each end, the king moves one space at a
time, in any direction.
...Swordmasters... Swordmasters are knights with a sword raised into the air.
They revolve around the king and rotate around his moves, moving always in
direct lines. One must always be in an adjacent square to the king and the other
may be adjacent to the king or the other swordmaster. Swordmasters move
diagonally, vertically or horizontally in one direction only, any number of
spaces each turn.
...Priests... The priest wears a long, collared cape with white or black
insignia and is placed next to the left Swordmaster. The priest moves diagonally
in one direction only, any number of spaces each turn.
...Priestesses... The priestess wears a long, hooded cloak of black or white and
is placed next to the right Swordmaster. The priestess moves diagonally in one
direction only, any number of spaces on a given turn.
...Keepers... Keepers carry a thick, bound book above their heads as if a
shield. Keepers are placed on the last squares on the end to the left and right.
Keepers move vertically or horizontally, any number of spaces on a given turn.
...Fools... Five fools are placed in the row in front of the king. From the
left, they are placed in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th columns, leaving empty
spaces in front of the swordmasters. "This gives swordmasters extra space to
maneuver around the board." Fools move one space at a time, either forward or
== The Rules of Play and Setup ==
King's Mate is a game, played by two players. One player plays with the white
pieces, and the other player plays with the black pieces. Each player has twelve
pieces in the beginning of the game: one king, two swordmasters, one priest, one
priestess, two keepers, and five fools. In the most common version of the game,
the white pieces represent the kingdoms and the black pieces represent the
The game is played on a kingboard, consisting of 63 squares: nine rows and seven
columns. With the exception of seven raised (special) squares, the squares are
alternately light and dark colored.
The board must be laid down such that there is a raised square in the center of
the row in front of each player. To facilitate notation of moves, all squares
are given a name. From the view of the white player, the rows are numbered 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; the frontmost row has number 1, and the uppermost row has
number 9. The columns are named, from left to right, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. A
square gets a name, consisting of the combination of its column-letter and
row-number, e.g., the square in the lower left corner (for white) is A1.
Alternately, the players make a move, starting with the player that plays with
the white pieces. A move consists of moving one of the pieces of the player to a
different square, following the rules of movement for that piece.
A player can take a piece of the opponent by moving one of his own pieces to the
square that contains a piece of the opponent. The opponents piece then is
removed from the board, and out of play for the rest of the game.
== See Also ==