Two strikes is a samurai-based fighting game, and technically a sequel game to the pixel-style One Strike!
This sequel uses masterfully done Black-and-White sprites in full-res on colorful, elegant backgrounds as parts of its showcase. There are currently 6 options for fighters, and it’s set to be released on the 31st of May on Steam.
Kriegsspiel is a highly accurate game of war, created by a Prussian general.
This game not only has its place in gaming history as the forerunner to modern games like Battlefield or Warhammer, but has also lead historians to the exact methods used during Prussian Warfare in the Napoleonic period.
The game is directed by a combination of strategy and dice, directing pieces representing all the parts of the army during the time period. In 1862 (years after it was released in 1824) there was an update to accommodate for improved weaponry and transportation, including both railroads and telegraphs.
The base of many modern games, the hit point (HP), can be seen here, in the “points” that each piece is worth. The number of points relates to the number of hits each unit can take before it gets destroyed.
The game requires real-life topographical maps (a scale of 1:8000), and the tactics used reflect real-life. The use of the map itself was a show of printing and map-making technology created in the era, and with it’s rules, was used by the Prussian army as a method to teach tactics.
The goal of the game is actually determined by an umpire. the umpire also interprets the written orders (moves) of the two armies (teams of players) and is the one to move the pieces. The size of the teams is recommended to be 4-6 players each.
This does give me memories of watching a few friends of mine play Warhammer. Cheerful, pre-Covid times at game club, with the swell of voices chatting over all kinds of games.
For a relatively simple game, Jury box (published in 1936 by Parker Brothers) has earned itself a spot in game history.
It’s a game for any number of players, and is relatively simple. You (and your fellow players) act as jury to the cases provided in the box. There is photo evidence, an illustrated case file, and what the “correct” answer.
In play, after the case is read by a selected player, the players write their verdict and idea of what happened: points are awarded to those with the correct verdict, and to those whose solution behind what happened comes closest. The person with the most points after all the cases are complete wins.
Jury Box is the precursor to modern variations of LARP and murder mystery games.
The action of pretending to be a person, and the whodunnit nature of the game is what lead to the evolution of games like Clue and such.
This game from 6th century India is believed to be the ancestor of chess and other games (worldwide!) like it.
There are a few things that set Chaturanga aside from modern chess. For one thing, unlike modern chess, this game can be played with up to 4 players. In 750 CE, this version of chess reached China, and by the 11th century it had come to Japan and Korea. It went through Persia and into Europe around the same time.
The theory of the game’s spread revolves around the Silk road, an ancient trade route spanning from Italy in Europe to Xian in China. This trade route moves through land and sea, and facilitated trade of all kinds.
It’s due to the silk road that it can be hard to determine the origins of chess, as pieces simular to what we know have been found all over 3 different continents.
Like other ancient games, some of the rules are up to speculation.
What we know about the rules and play:
Of the pieces that we know of today, the rook, knight, pawn and king move the same. However, The kings do not face each other (aren’t in the same column), and the pawns don’t have the option to move 2 spaces on their first move.
The Queen was the Counselor, and could only move 1 square diagonally. The Bishop was the Elephant, and could only move 2 spaces diagonally.
One of the theorized rules is that the pawn, instead of automatically becoming the Queen/Counselor, would actually become the piece that occupied that square in the beginning.
Chaturanga was won by what we know as checkmate, or by eliminating all pieces except the king.
Castling and En-passant weren’t introduced until the 15th century, and the checkerboard pattern we associate with Chess was only introduced as decoration around the year 1000.
What I found to be interesting, was that in the 4 player version of Chaturanga, what piece you played was determined by dice throw, which completely change the flow of the game. The dice is a D4, and the sides are as follows: The Raja (king) and pawn, the knight, the elephant (bishop), and the boat (rook). The four player, as you can see, does not include the Counselor.
Where to play?
You can buy physical boards around the internet, or just use a regular chess set, and modify the rules.
You can play online here, but you have to sign up, and there are a few apps that allow multiplayer versions of the game.