King’s Guard


I invented this board game riding home on the bus one day. Despite its simple appearance, there are rich possibilities for strategy. Here are the rules:


Two. Each controls 10 pieces: 1 king and 9 identical guards. The pieces must be stackable.


Play the game on a board that is divided into 9 by 10 smaller squares. An edge with 9 squares is closest to each player. An 8 by 8 checker board can also be used; the variations in the rules are listed at the bottom.


Place the pieces in two opposing Vs as in the illustration above. The Kings are placed at the wide part of the Vs.


To capture the opponent’s king by stacking a piece on it.


Players take alternating turns moving some or all of the pieces in a square. A player may move all of the pieces in any square in which the top piece (of a stack) or the only piece belongs to him/her. The player may move all pieces stacked beneath his/hers, regardless of whom they belong to.

A piece can be moved as many squares as there are pieces under it, including itself. Therefore, a single piece can be moved to an adjacent square. The top piece in a stack of three can be moved a maximum of three squares away. The middle (second) piece could be moved at most two squares away and the bottom piece could be moved one square away. Pieces must be moved in order from top to bottom of the stack. Not all pieces must be moved. A player can choose to move only the top piece. All pieces must be moved over empty squares. Pieces do not need to move in a straight line. Pieces may be placed on friendly or enemy pieces to build on or to capture them.


Stacks of pieces, or towers, may not exceed five pieces. If a player builds a tower of five then on the next turn, that tower must be dismantled. At least one piece must be removed.

If used to build a tower, a King must always be placed on top.

Variation using a checker board

To play on a checker board, there are two changes in the rules. Firstly, each side only controls eight guards and one king; the pieces are setup in a blunted V as shown above. Secondly, the largest permissible tower size is four instead of five pieces

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~ Richard