To begin the game, each player places his 25 pieces
on the Soldier Stations and Headquarters spaces on his side
of the board. Pieces do not begin on the Camp circles. They
are placed so that each player can see the identities of his
own pieces, but not those of his opponents’.
the pieces is the first strategic consideration of the game.
Flag must be placed on one of the two Headquarters
Landmines must be placed somewhere in the two
rows closest to the player (i.e., the Headquarters row, or the
one next to that).
Grenades may not be placed on the front row
(but you probably wouldn’t want them there anyway).
Playing the Game
player begins by making a move, and then the two opponents take
turns, as in most strategy board games.
(all ranks, 1 through 9) and Grenades move
along a single Line, only as far as the very next playing space
(to any Soldier Station, Camp or Headquarters). But on the Railroad,
these pieces move as many spaces as they want, staying in one
straight line, and not passing over any other pieces.
Engineer has the special power of continuing
around corners on the Railroad. As long as his path is unobstructed,
his move may cover any number of Railroad linked spaces, turning
as many corners as he likes.
that the Landmines and Flag
do not move. They remain in place until attacked by an enemy
Among soldiers, it is the pieces of higher rank
that capture the pieces of lower rank (as if they went out onto
the battlefield and “out-ranked” each other). When
a soldier attacks by moving onto a space occupied by an opposing
piece, the piece of lower rank is removed, and the one of higher
rank remains. (Note “1” is the highest rank; “9”
is the lowest.) You may need to keep the diagram above on hand
as you play, until the ranks become familiar to you.
piece attacks another of equal rank, both pieces
If a Grenade attacks or is attacked by any
piece, both pieces are removed.
If any piece other than an Engineer attacks a Landmine,
both pieces are removed, but if an Engineer
attacks a Landmine, the Landmine is removed
and the Engineer remains.
pieces are safe and may not be attacked while on a Camp
When a piece attacks the opponent’s Flag,
he has won the game.
It is preferred that this game be played with
a referee. Whenever a piece is attacked, the referee determines
which piece (or pieces) are to be removed. The players never
see the opposing pieces and are never told their identities,
even when attacks are made and pieces are removed. This mystery
is the fun and intrigue of the game.
If no referee is available, the game proceeds
in the same way, but every time there is an attack the players
must temporarily show the identities of the two pieces, to determine
the outcome of the attack. A little less mystery.
Regional variations in these rules are not uncommon.
In the northern areas of China, for instance, the Landmine is
not removed when attacked by another piece — except by
the Engineer who defeats it entirely. If you meet someone who
knows this game from China, show some courtesy and cultural
interest by asking how he plays it at home.
This pamphlet was compiled with the greatly appreciated
assistance of Shuping Zhang , a long time native player of this
game and innovator in the design of playing pieces. He can be