The Magic Crystals Trivia

Warning: This section contains spoilers.

Four-Way Chess

Four-way chess is a derivative of regular chess that was invented in Chopville and is, for the most part, only played there. Most of the rules of the game are the same as regular chess and the only differences exist to extend the game to the two additional players. When a player is checkmated, they leave the game, and this goes on until only one player remains, thereby winning the game.

The Board

Like a normal chess board, the squares are all blacks and whites in diagonal patterns, but it is larger than a regular chess board. Instead of being eight-by-eight squares, it is twelve-by-twelve, and four squares in each corner are cut off so that the actual playing surface is a cross-shape. The eight-by-eight area at the centre of the board is called the ‘centre combat area’, while the two rows of eight squares on each side of the centre combat area are the players’ areas. It is in this area that each player’s pieces are placed at the start of the game.

The Pieces

The pieces for each player are almost the same as in regular chess: Eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, a king, a queen, and a prince which doesn’t start the game on the board—keep reading to learn how the prince is used. They all go in the same places relative to each other and they have the same properties as their regular chess counterparts. The key difference is that none of the pieces are black or white; they are red, green, yellow and blue, all bright colours which stand out starkly no matter what square they are placed on. Rather than white always going first, the order in four-way chess is always yellow, green, blue and then red.

Game Play

In general game play, almost all of the rules are the same as regular chess. The first additional rule applies to the start of the game, and it is that no player is allowed to move a piece into another player's area in their first three moves. All up, it meant that in the first twelve moves of the game, players could only move their pieces into the centre combat area or back into their own area. The purpose of this rule is to prevent a player from taking another player's piece before that player even has a chance to move. Even before the first blow is struck, all the players' rook-pawns are within striking distance of their neighbours rook-pawns.

The second rule is that although pawns take other pieces diagonally just as they do in regular chess, they are not allowed to move sideways into another player’s area. They can only move straight across the board until they enter the area of the player directly opposite where they started, at which point they become a queen.

Checking

Apart from the board, the checking aspect of four-way chess is the most different part of the game from regular chess. There are three types of checks:

  • Check: The most basic of checks is the same as check in regular chess, where the player's king is in someone’s line of fire but the player has an opportunity to move it to safety.
  • Checkfour: A checkfour is a cross between check and checkmate and is exclusive to four-way chess. It occurs when a player is essentially checkmated, however one or both of the other players will have a turn before that player has a chance to act, and this can sometimes resolve the check without the endangered player even needing to act. It can also turn what would have been a checkmate into a regular check, allowing the player to stay alive.
  • Checkmate: A checkmate occurs when a player's king is in someone's line of fire and has no opportunity to escape. It can happen immediately if no other players have turns in between, or it can stem from a checkfour which wasn't resolved by any of the other players. When a player is successfully checkmated, two things can happen. The checkmated player can play their turn, thereby getting killed, or they could surrender to the player—or one of the players—who could kill their king. Either way, the result is the same: The player whose piece kills the king gets to take possession of all the remaining pieces of that player (the pawns' movements do not change direction when this happens). The only difference between the two is that if a player surrenders, their king gets to stay on the board and become a prince. (For example, if team red surrendered to team blue, the red king would be replaced by the blue prince.) The prince has exactly the same moves as the king, except that it doesn't matter if it is killed.

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