King's Castle
kings castle board
This happened because it was autumn and we were in a semi lockdown and you have to do something. At the BGG Abstract Games Forum Luis BolaƱos Mures published a wishlist of requirements of a 'game to be':

  • The game must be finite and drawless
  • The board is initially empty
  • There is an unlimited supply of pieces
  • On your turn, add a new piece to the board or move pieces already on the board, but not both
  • Players must usually be able to freely choose between placement and movement, with no distinct phases of only placing or only moving
  • Placement must be mostly unrestricted
  • Movement should feel natural and require little to no counting
  • Choosing between placing and moving should be hard
  • The game should preferably have captures
  • The goal should be unrelated to the number of placements or movements that players have left, unless this number prefigures a more fundamental goal

I also had a beautifully made but useless board of a trashed game:

It was a 'capture the throne' game with a somewhat cumbersome capture protocol called Storisende. I later used that name for a much more significant game and the board above floated in the general direction of oblivion. But I hate putting a lot of effort in something that turns out to be useless, so I thought "why not combine Luis' wishlist with this board"? Just for fun of course, to see if I could do it.

The catch was that it would be an 'outside in' invention process, with a predetermined goal and even a predetermined board. Go find the mechanics! That was quite unlike anything I had done in the last couple of decades and I was curious if I could still pull it off.
It turned out I could. In fact it went unexpectedly smoothly and I contribute that to a finetuned intuition and a lot of sheer luck.

By the nature of the move & placement protocol, a two-men phalanx cannot be split. That means that you need at least a three-men phalanx to get a single man inside the Castle. By sheer luck a three-man phalanx is the maximum that can be lined up in front of a door. The 'overhead throw' that I introduced to spice things up tactically is aimed at defense, allowing to throw opponent's men out of line, but it can also be used offensively, besides being easy to visualise and non-cyclic. The 'custodian' capture of the Throne is new and suggests that attacking from opposite sides of the Castle is useful, although not always necessary.
For an 'outside in' invention it all comes together very nicely!

Enschede, 4 november 2020

christian freeling