Beginning Šačidjun

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Introduction

Šačidjun, more often called, simply, šači, (pronounced “shah-chee”) is a game remarkably like the Old Earth game Backgammon. The name means, literally, “Corners and Points Game”.

The Pieces

There are two sides in a game of šači: veradi (summer) and tameg (winter.) Each side has eight raža (light) and eight čadra (shadow) pieces. The design of the pieces (shape, imprinted design, etc.) varies from one set to another, but all have the following in common: raža pieces are an electric blue and čadra pieces are a dark, smoky grey. The veradi pieces have a black center and the tameg pieces have a red center.

Moves are determined by a pair of eight sided die, called idzeva.  Each side rolls a single die to see whether they will play veradi or tameg. (High roll gets veradi.) If two people are playing on one side, then they roll to see who will play raža and čadra. (High roll gets raža.)

The Board

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The board is broken up into 16 squares. The corner squares are called šake, and the interior squares are called mora, or ‘home’. The top, bottom and side squares are each divided into four čike, or ‘points’, for a total of 8 points between corners.

At the start of play, each side places their tokens in the proper mora. The raža pieces go in the light mora and the čadra pieces go in the dark mora.  Veradi and tameg take opposite sides of the board.

Movement

Raža pieces move sunwise around the board, čadra pieces move shadowise. (To someone from Old Terra, this would be clockwise and counter-clockwise, respectively.)

Veradi-raža always moves first and then to tameg-raža, veradi-čadra, and finally to tameg-čadra. The first move is always from the mora to the adjacent šake and then in the appropriate direction for the piece. (Sunwise for raža, shadowise for čadra.)

For each move, the idzeva are rolled and the player has two options:

If not doubles, the player must:

  1. Move two pieces, each the number shown one of the die.
  2. Move one piece the total shown on both dice.

If doubles are rolled, the player gets to move as if four die had been rolled, that is:

  1. Four pieces the number shown on the die.
  2. Two pieces twice the number shown on the die.
  3. Two pieces the number shown on the die and 1 piece twice the number shown on the die.
  4. One piece four times the number shown on the die.

Every roll must be taken if one or more legal moves are available. If no legal moves remain, no moves are required.

Two pieces hold a čike – an opponent’s piece cannot land there. If two čike in a row are held, raža cannot pass, but čadra can.  If three čike in a row are held, čadra cannot pass.  Likewise four pieces hold a šake and an opponent’s pieces (raža or čadra) cannot land there or pass.

Capture

A single piece on a šake or čike is captured if an opponent’s piece lands there.  Captured pieces are placed in the capturing piece’s mora and are out of play unless redeemed.  If a šake has fewer than four pieces, an opponent can land there, but one three conditions will occur:

  1. The newcomer has fewer pieces than the original occupier and their pieces are captured.  (Rather a silly move unless those pieces serve a better purpose starting from their mora.)
  2. The newcomer has more pieces than the original occupier and the occupier’s pieces are captured.
  3. Both sides have the same number, in which case there is no resolution until one of the sides lands another piece, or pieces, on the šake, at which point they capture their opponents pieces.

Redemption

Captured pieces can be redeemed, prior to a player’s move, in one of two ways:

  1. They can be traded for an opponent’s pieces which a player has captured. The “rate of exchange” is negotiable.  An opponent could ask for two pieces in exchange for one of the other player’s.
  2. They can be traded for position. That is, a player may surrender one or more šake/čike – moving the pieces there back to their mora in exchange for the captured pieces, which are also placed in their mora.) Again this is negotiated.

An opponent can refuse to redeem a player’s pieces.

Endgame

One side wins when:

  1. All of an opponents pieces have been captured and are in victor’s mora.
  2. All of an opponents uncaptured pieces are in their own mora, but the adjacent šake are held by the victor.

If neither side has a legal move remaining this results in a tied game.

© 2014 LeeW

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