Gala

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Gala
Traditional, and made pyramidal by Carthoris Pyramidos
a.k.a. Farmer's Chess
:Players Players: 2 - 4?
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:Time Length: Long?
:Complexity Complexity: High
Trios per color: 4
Number of colors: 4
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 4
Five-color sets: 4
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
10 x 10 grid board
Setup time: 2 minutes
Playing time: 30 minutes
0.5 Hr
- 100 minutes
1.667 Hr
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: None
Game mechanics: capture
Theme:
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BGG Link: Gala
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987


Origin

Gala, or "Farmer's Chess" is a traditional chess-like game from northern Europe. It appears not to have been widespread, and may not be originally derived from chess. The rules given here are one reconstruction; for others, see the external links below.

Board and Setup

The Gala board is a 10 x 10 grid of squares. It is divided into four corner areas ("castles") of 4 x 4 squares each, and a cruciform area two squares wide that separates them. Crossing the "line of deflection" into or out of the central cross will change the movement properties of different pieces, along with their abilities to capture.

The four piece types are called Galas, Horsas, Kornas, and Kampas. (See more detail in piece descriptions below.) They begin packed into the four outer corners of the board. Each side's two Galas are placed in the corners nearest the player. Two of the four Horsas occupy the next diagonal out from each corner. The six Kornas go in the next diagonals, and the eight Kampas are set in the diagonals ahead of the Kornas.

Play

Play alternates as in modern chess, with characteristic moves for each piece type, and captures made by moving into the space of the captured piece. Multiple pieces may not share a space. Each player has two Galas, pieces roughly equivalent to kings in modern chess.

Game resolution is as follows:

  • Victory -- Both opposing Galas are captured, OR
  • Victory -- Both of the winning player's Galas are positioned among the four squares at the board center.
  • Draw -- Each player is reduced to a single Gala.

Pyramid Pieces for Gala

Each side in Gala has twenty pieces, initially divided into two identical groups of ten. Traditional Gala sides are black and white, with the piece types further distinguished by the colors of their tops. For pyramid pieces, the piece types are identified by size only, and color is used to mark the two sides. Four sets of four trios (from four monochrome stashes or four same-spectrum stashes) will make a full set for play. Each player can use two colors, mixing those pyramids freely. So, for example, from a traditional Icehouse set (or a set of four Rainbow stashes), one player might take four trios each of blue and green, while the other takes red and yellow.

Galas

Two (2) per side. Use pyramid drones stacked on queens (2-pip on 3-pip pieces).

  • The Gala piece is very comparable to a King in modern chess. It moves a single space in any direction, regardless of its placement on the board. Additionally, if it is in one of the four center squares, it has the option of being moved to any empty square that is not under attack. It may not capture by any move from a center square.
  • When a player threatens the opponent's Gala, they should announce by saying "Gala" (cf. "check" in chess). A player whose Gala is threatened must relieve the threat (by capture, escape, or interposition) if possible.

Horsas

Four (4) per side. Use pyramid queens (3-pip pieces).

  • The Horsa is literally a mounted warrior or knight, but functions as a chess bishop/rook. In the corner fields it moves diagonally, but in the central cross it moves orthogonally. After crossing the line into or out of the central cross, the Horsa may continue its move by changing its direction 45 degrees; but it is allowed only a one-space move on one side of the angle. I.e. if it only moves one space to cross the line, its move after the angle can be extended; but if it has moved multiple spaces in order to cross the line, it is only allowed to move one space after angling. The Horsa may not enter the central four squares of the board, and may not enter and exit the central cross in a single move.

Kornas

Six (6) per side. Use pyramid drones (2-pip pieces).

  • The Korna is the complement of the Horsa, and it functions as a chess rook/bishop. In the corner fields it moves orthogonally, but in the central cross it moves diagonally. After crossing the line into or out of the central cross, the Korna may continue its move by changing its direction 45 degrees; but it is allowed only a one-space move on one side of the angle. I.e. if it only moves one space to cross the line, its move after the angle can be extended; but if it has moved multiple spaces in order to cross the line, it is only allowed to move one space after angling. The Horsa may not enter the central four squares of the board, and may not enter and exit the central cross in a single move.

Kampas

Eight (8) per side. Use pyramid pawns (1-pip pieces).

  • The Kampa is roughly the Gala equivalent of a chess pawn. Its move is a single space diagonally toward the center, until it has entered the central cross, after which it may move a single space in any direction. If a Kampa returns to the sixteen squares of its corner "castle" (or the "friendly castle" on its own side), the original diagonal rule movement is reimposed. The Kampa may not capture with a move that crosses the line into or out of the central cross.

Four-Handed Variants

The piece distribution and setup design of Gala suggest that it may have been developed from an earlier four-handed game. I have not been able to find rules for four-handed Gala, but separating the sides by colors with Pyramid pieces seems like an obvious device for the purpose.

External Links