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
bots are very good at detecting quick captures and Glorious
victories, but lack long term strategy.