See below for the promo video which shows the pieces in action
This is one complete player set of pieces, plus fortress: 2 print outs of this model will be required.
The set consists of 6x Rabble, 6x Mountains, 2x Light Horse, 2x Heavy Horse, 2x Spears, 2x Elephants, 2x Crossbows, 2x Trebuchets, 1x King, 1x Dragon & 1x Fortress.
The complete board game requires 2x copies of this model (one for each player), plus the board (in full colour sandstone). It can be used to play Hex chess: The Rabble (Pawn), Heavy Horse (Knight), Elephant (Bishop), Trebuchet (Rook), King and Dragon (Queen) pieces work well as chess pieces.
Disclaimer: These piece designs are the sole work of Michael Le Page and are in no way affiliated with George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire or HBO's Game of Thrones.
Mikelepage's Cyvasse (Rules v5.0)
Inspired by George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
Published June 24th 2014
George RR Martin has stated Chess, Blitzkrieg and Stratego as his inspiration for Cyvasse. In this variant: players take turns moving pieces in a manner similar to chess. The fate of the King is what decides the game. The board itself is a 91-square hexagonal grid (an element borrowed from Blitzkrieg), and players decide their initial set ups in secret behind a screen (an element borrowed from Stratego)
Terrain and Pieces
This variant of Cyvasse has 10 pieces with movement as follows:
Mountains (x6): are stationary and block movement of all pieces except Dragon.
Rabble (x6): can move 1 space in any direction orthogonally (in the direction of spaces which share a common edge).
King (x1): can move 1 space in any direction orthogonally.
Crossbows (x2) can move 3 spaces in any direction orthogonally.
Trebuchet (x2) can move as far as possible orthogonally.
Spears (x2) can move 2 spaces diagonally (in the direction of spaces that are the same colour).
Elephant (x2) can move as far as possible diagonally.
Light Horse (x2) can move 3 spaces "relative to fortress" (along a hexagonal path that starts and finishes the same number of spaces away from one fortress or the other).
Heavy Horse (x2) can move as far as possible "relative to fortress"
Dragon (x1) can move in any direction to a range of 4 squares (can jump mountains but cannot move "through" pieces).
There are also four terrain types (coloured tiles placed on the board at the beginning of the game):
Hill (x2): gives advantage to Crossbows and Trebuchet (i.e. orthogonally moving pieces)
Forest (x2): gives advantage to Spears and Elephant (i.e. diagonally moving pieces)
Grassland (x2): gives advantage to Light Horse and Heavy Horse (i.e. "relative to fortress" moving pieces)
Fortress (x1 per player): gives advantage to all pieces except Dragon.
These are grouped into four tier levels as follows:
Tier 1: King, Rabble
Tier 2: Crossbows, Spears, Light Horse
Tier 3: Trebuchet, Elephant, Heavy Horse
Tier 4: Dragon
Capturing, Changes to "Effective" Tier level:
A piece can always capture another piece of the same or lesser tier level. There are two factors which change the "effective" tier level and allow lesser ranked pieces to 1) attack higher rank pieces (flanking) or 2) defend against pieces of same rank (terrain).
1) Flanking plays make up much of the strategy in this variant of Cyvasse so this is where most of the complexity is. Flanking happens when you have 2 or more pieces with a bearing on a target piece. The attacking piece moves into the target square to capture the opponent piece and receives a effective increase in tier level because the other pieces "flank". For example: Two tier 3 pieces can capture a Dragon because the second tier 3 piece provides a temporary +1 improvement in tier. The same applies in a situation where two tier 2 pieces attack a tier 3 piece or two tier 1 pieces attack a tier 2 piece. Because each flanking piece of the same tier level as the attacking piece provides a +1 improvement, it is also possible for three tier 2 pieces to attack a Dragon, or for four tier 1 pieces to attack a Dragon.
The way pieces of different tier level interact in flanking is that each lower ranked flanking piece is worth half of a flanking piece from the tier above. So for example, a tier 3 piece and two tier 2 pieces can also capture a dragon because each lower ranked piece provides half the flanking power of the tier above it. Likewise a tier 3 piece, a tier 2 piece and two tier 1 pieces could also attack a dragon. The special ability of the King is to serve in a flanking play as an equal to the highest ranked piece in the attack. The highest ranked piece (or one of them, King included) must always be the one that moves to the target square.
2) Terrain provides a +1 improvement in tier level for defence only, and only as long as the piece is on it. A King in its fortress is therefore ranked tier 2. An Elephant on a forest tile (its "home" terrain) is ranked tier 4, but a trebuchet on a forest tile is only ranked tier 3. Unlike the other pieces, a Dragon does not receive any benefit from being in the fortress as it is already Tier 4.
Initial set up requires putting a screen across the centre row of squares so placement of pieces and tiles is done in secret. That leaves 40 "home" squares in which to place 25 pieces.
A King always starts in its fortress
Spears, Crossbows and Light Horse pieces are placed on Forest, Hill and Grassland tiles respectively.
All other pieces can be placed strategically as desired.
The dragon (the 26th piece) does not need to be placed on the board initially, but when it is "brought out", it must be placed within one move of home fortress (including inside the fortress). It may capture on this move.
The fortress can be used to promote any piece to a higher rank if that higher ranked piece has already been captured. If possible, this happens at the beginning of a players turn without counting as a turn itself. A rabble in the fortress can be promoted to any tier 2 piece which has been previously captured. A tier 2 piece can be promoted to its corresponding tier 3 piece (Crossbows to Trebuchet, Spears to Elephant, Light Horse to Heavy Horse), and any tier 3 piece may be promoted to King if this is done the turn immediately following the capture of the King. The Dragon piece can be neither promoted, nor replaced.
Ruining the Fortress:
If a player's fortress is occupied and cannot be retaken on the move immediately following the attack, the fortress is ruined and the fortress tile is removed from the board. The player ruining the fortress places the fortress beside one of the corners of the board: Horse pieces now move relative to the remaining fortress or relative to this corner space.
End game: The fate of the King is ultimately what decides the game.
Just as the fortress must be retaken on the very next move in order for it not to be ruined, the King must be replaced on the very next move for the game not to be lost. If the fortress is already ruined, or no tier 3 pieces are left/able to move to the fortress to be promoted, the game ends as soon as the King is captured.
Optional extra rules
Sea ports: Each of the 6 corners of the board are connected via the sea. Any piece that can move to one corner can move to either adjacent corner in that same move. If a fortress is placed on the edge of the board, it too counts as a sea port. The reason for this is to allow forest pieces (Spears/Elephants) to change the terrain that they are moving on.
Open setup: rather than placing a screen across the board at the beginning of the game, players take turns placing pieces (in no set order) for what will become their opening array.
Praise for the game:
"Just played my first two games of cyvasse. The first took twenty minutes, the second nearly three hours. My opinion? Compellingly addictive once the rules are grasped"... Xin
Grab a friend a try a few games. All the moves become quite intuitive after a while. Make use of terrain and flanking. Don't bring out your dragon too early! Happy playing!