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Rithmomachy

Rithmomachy is a game that fell from grace about 500 years ago, displaced by modern Chess.   There are no definitive rules, and even the most authoritative sources were little more than outlines of the game play.  Yet, the essence of the game is clear, and it is vastly alien when compared to modern games.

The common elements in all the descriptions are these. 
  • The board is a double chess board, 16x8
  • The pieces have a particular set of numbers, which were significant to natural philosophers (or maybe better described as numerologists)
  • Captures and Winning combinations depend on the certain mathematical relationships between the pieces.

Modern reconstructions disagree about many other details.  The rules of the game given here were selected to make a game that's playable by modern players with much less time on their hands than the ancient sages who once played it.

Rithmomachy is a very difficult and subtle game, see this short example.

Robots:  The bots are very good at detecting quick captures and Glorious victories, but lack long term strategy.
rithmomachy board

Links
Rithmomachy rankings at Boardspace
Rithmomachy at BoardGameGeek
Fanorona game archives at Boardspace
Fanorona win/loss database


The back story: 
You have to love the board and the concept.  It's a guaranteed brain-buster.



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