Push

A Game by David Gordon Buresh

Designed for the Thousand Year Game Design Challenge (http://www.thousandyeargame.com)

Requires:

Rules of Play:

        Push is a simple game with the capacity for complex planning and gambits. All that is required to play it is twenty four game pieces and one board divided into a six by six grid of squares. The pieces are split into two groups of twelve. The purpose of the game is to capture or eliminate your opponent’s pieces. The key mechanic to achieve this is a “push”. A player wins when they have either eliminated all of their opponent’s pieces or successfully captured one or more of their opponent’s pieces.

        The board is set up with the twelve pieces of each opponent placed in two ranks on opposite sides of the board. Starting with white, a player may advance a chain of pieces one space in a non-diagonal direction. One or more consecutively placed pieces, either horizontal or vertical, is a chain. A chain has a strength equal to the number of consecutive pieces in it. Chain with a greater strength may push an opponent’s chain when it moves. If this push would move a piece off of the board, then that piece is eliminated. A chain cannot push an opponent’s chain of equal or greater strength. Two chains of equal strength that are opposed to each other are considered locked. The space the weaker chain is being pushed to must be clear, or off the board, otherwise the push is blocked.

        Once white has moved a chain, play passes to black. Black may move a chain, and then play returns to white. This continues, back and forth, until one side has either achieves victory or both sides are reduced to two pieces. You achieve victory either by eliminating all of your opponent’s pieces, or by capturing an opponent’s piece. If a singular piece has no legal moves, then that piece is captured. If an opponent can move to create a legal movement for the captured piece then that piece is freed. Once you have captured a piece, you must announce “Capture,” and show to the opponent all of the pieces you have captured. If your opponent cannot free their piece or all of their pieces on their turn, you have won. If both players are reduced to two pieces, the game is a draw.

Example of Board at Start:

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Example of Board after first move:

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Example of a Lock:

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

In this example, Column 3 is locked. Both White and Black have a chain strength of 3.

Example of a Push:

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

W

B

B

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

On White’s move, Column 3 has a White chain strength of 4 to the Black chain strength of 2. It pushes forward, and will eliminate one of Black’s pieces.

Example of Chain Strength:

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

W

W

B

B

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

In the above example, White has a vertical chain strength of 3 in column 2, but only a horizontal chain strength of 2 in Rank 3. Black has a horizontal chain strength of 2 in Rank 3. As such, it cannot push to the left, where White has a chain strength of 2. It can, however, push to the right, where there is only a strength of 1, and thus eliminate the white piece.

Example of a Block:

W

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

W

W

B

B

W

W

W

B

W

W

W

W

W

W

In the above example, on White’s move, it can push left in Rank 5, or down in Column 2. It cannot push up in Column 3, despite having a chain strength of 3 compared to Black’s chain strength of 1, because of its piece on the far side of the Black piece blocks the push.

Example of a Capture:

W

B

B

B

W

B

B

W

W

W

W

W

In the above example, the Black piece that is surrounded by the White pieces on both the horizontal and vertical lines is captured as it can no longer make any legal moves. If any of the White pieces move , or are pushed in a way that allows for the black piece to resume moving, it is freed. Since Black cannot do this on their next move, White has achieved victory..