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The Rune RPG In-depth Report

Tablut

A traditional Viking game
This edition by Demian Katz, with art by Jode Carrasco
Download the Game Pieces now!

Summary

This game, popular among Vikings, simulates a clash between two armies. One, the white force, is attempting to escort their King to freedom. The black force, on the other hand, is attempting to prevent this escape.

Pieces move like the Rook in Chess: any number of spaces in a straight line horizontally or vertically. All pieces behave in the same manner, except that only the king is allowed to end movement on the shaded spaces in the center and at the corners of the board.

A piece is captured whenever it is surrounded on two opposite horizontal or vertical sides. A piece can be surrounded either by two pieces or by one piece and a shaded board space. The King may only be captured if he is completely surrounded, either by four enemy soldiers or by three soldiers and a board edge or shaded square.

For the white player to win, he or she must move the King onto one of the shaded corner spaces, thus ensuring escape. The black player wins if the white King is captured.

Components

The game is played with the following components:

1 nine-by-nine game board, with shaded squares at the center and corners.
1 white King
8 white soldiers
16 black soldiers

All of these components are provided in OgreCave's Tablut Pieces file, which can be viewed and printed using Adobe's Acrobat Reader software.

Setup

At the start of the game, the board is set up with the white King on the throne in the center, surrounded by his men in a cross-like formation. The black soldiers begin the game in four T-formations, one at each side of the board.

Board Setup

Movement

1. The white player moves first.

2. Each turn, the current player may move any one piece any number of spaces in a straight horizontal or vertical line.

3. Pieces may not move through one another.

4. No piece other than the King may end its move on a shaded square, but any piece may move through a shaded square.

Capture

1. A piece is captured when it is surrounded on two opposite horizontal or vertical sides.

2. A piece may be "surrounded" either by two enemy soldiers or by one enemy soldier and a shaded square.

3. Multiple captures may be made on a single turn if multiple enemy pieces are surrounded as the result of a single move.

4. The King is special; he may only be captured by being completely surrounded, either by four enemy soldiers or by three soldiers and a shaded square or board edge.

5. Pieces may not be captured on their own turn; for example, on the white player's turn, a white piece may move between two black pieces without being harmed.

Examples:
Capture Example 1 Capture Example 2
This white piece is captured, caught between two black soldiers.

This black piece is captured, caught between a white soldier and a shaded square.
Safety Example
King Capture Example
This black piece is safe since it isn't surrounded horizontally or vertically.
This King is defeated, and the black player is victorious!

Ending the Game

1. Whenever the white King has a clear path to a shaded corner square, the white player must announce this fact to the black player; this is equivalent to saying "Check!" in Chess.

2. The white player wins when the white King lands on a shaded corner square.

3. The black player wins when the white King is captured.

Variants

Being a traditional game, Tablut has many variants. Here are a few variations you may wish to try:

1. The King may be captured just like any other piece except when on or adjacent to his throne (the central shaded square), at which point it takes four men (or three men and the throne) to manage a capture.

2. Pieces may be captured against the edge of the board; that is, a piece on a square on the outer edge of the board may be captured by a single enemy soldier.

3. Pieces other than the King may land on corner squares.

Bibliography

"Rules for Medieval Games." Tara Hill Designs. 20 March 2001. Online. Available: http://www.tarahill.com/instruct.html

"Rules of Tablut." Sir Robin Defends the Mystical Druids of Dover!. 20 March 2001. Online. Available: http://www.stmoroky.com/games/tablut/tabrules.htm

"Tablut Rules." Expo Media AB. 20 March 2001. Online. Available: http://www.expomedia.se/tablut/eng/object.htm


 

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