Martian Stratego

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Martian Stratego

An Icehouse game by Nate Straight.

Overview

One of the most popular strategy games of all time enters the Icehouse world.

Object

The object is to become the first player to capture all of any two colors of pieces.

Equipment

4 colored stashes of Icehouse pieces (red, yellow, green, and blue)

2 opaque stashes of Icehouse pieces (black and white)

1 chessboard large enough to comfortably fit a large Icehouse piece

2 players and approximately 30 minutes

Setup

Decide which player will play as black and which player will play as white. The player who is playing as white will make the first play when the game begins.

Form four nests per player with four large Icehouse pieces of each player's color (black or white) on top of a nested medium and small Icehouse piece of each of the four other colors (red, yellow, green, and blue) as shown in the cross-sectional diagram below:

[Image missing]

Set aside all of the other Icehouse pieces except for one full tree of Icehouse pieces in each of the player's colors (black and white) to be used as each player's "mountain."

Set the chessboard between the players with a white corner square to each player's right.

Each player places their four nests on the four black squares in their own home row in any order that they wish. Each player should keep the placement and order of each of their different nests secret from the opposing player, and each player may tilt forward any of their own nests at any time during the game in order to check which color of pieces are hidden within each of their nests. During the setup, each player also places their mountain on the board in the black square that is four squares up from their home row and three squares left from their right-hand side as shown in the diagram below:

[Image missing]

Gameplay

Each player's four nests are the pieces that they will move and attack with during the game. The nests can move one space diagonally (as in checkers) or jump over any number of other pieces of the player's own color (as in checkers) including the mountain of the player's color. Unlike checkers, however, pieces may move or jump backwards as well as forwards. The only notable restriction concerning movement is that a player's piece may never jump over a piece or a mountain of the opposing player's color.

On each player's turn, they may choose either to move any of their four nests according to the rules of movement (as described above) or to attack an opposing player's nest in any diagonally adjacent square. When an attack is called, each player removes the large piece from the top of their nest that is involved in the attack and reveals the color of pieces that are hidden within the nest (or, if playing the scrambled color variant, simply tilts their nest that is involved in the attack forward and then declares the color of the smallest piece within the nest, since removing the large piece and revealing the colors of pieces hidden that are within the nest would practically defeat the entire purpose of the variant). The attack is then resolved according to the following rules of resolution.

When an attack is called and the colors of pieces hidden within each nest are revealed, the attack is resolved either by a win on the part of the player who called the attack, a loss on the part of the player who called the attack, or a draw between the two players. The result of the attack is determined according to the following color relationship table:

Red pieces defeat Yellow pieces

Yellow pieces defeat Green pieces

Green pieces defeat Blue pieces

Blue pieces defeat Red pieces

(To remember these relationships, it may be helpful to set up four large Icehouse pieces in each of the four colors in a square on the table near the board by lying them down on the table with the red piece pointing at the side of the yellow piece pointing at the side of the green piece pointing at the side of the blue piece pointing at the side of the red piece.)

If the player who called the attack wins the attack, they must capture one of the colored pieces hidden within the opposing player's nest. The player who called the attack sets the captured piece in front of them on their side of the board for both players to see.

After an attack in which the player who called the attack wins, the opposing player must either retreat their nest or remove it from the board. If the opposing player's nest still contains a colored piece after the capture, they must retreat that nest by moving it backwards towards their home row according to the rules of movement. If they cannot do so, they have been "blockaded" and must leave their nest where it stands. If the opposing player's nest contains no more colored pieces after the capture, they must remove it from the board immediately. In this case, the player who called the attack must move their attacking nest into the square left empty by the removal of the opposing player's nest.

If the player who called the attack loses the attack, the opposing player is not allowed to capture the attacking player's piece, but the attacking player must still retreat their nest by moving it backwards towards their home row according to the rules of movement.

If neither player wins the attack, it is a draw and no capture or retreat will occur.

Ending

The game ends as soon as either player captures all (there are two pieces of each color) of any two different colors of pieces from the opposing player. That player wins the game.

Variant

Instead of nesting two pieces of the same color within each player's nests, scramble the colors. The smallest piece within each nest is the color to be used and captured in attacks.