Cat Chess is a hex-based board game designed as best we could to imitate the actual game of Cat Chess described in Terry Pratchett's 'The Unadulterated Cat' and also Diane Duane's Wizard books (and doubtless in other places). Suggestions have been made that this become a computer game, but that hasn't got very far either. The rules, such as they are, are laid out here in the hope that someone will actually be able to play it and tell us what it's like since we haven't got round to it yet. Please do try it and send suggestions, flames, and hopefully praise here. Thankyou ^.^
The aim of the game is to occupy two of the three highest points on the board from the end of your turn until the start of your next turn.
Each player is randomly dealt three character sheets, each of which represents a cat. Each cat starts out with three points of self-esteem (place three counters on the self-esteem scorebar on each cat's character sheet).
Each player takes five style (green) and five presence (blue) counters. They place all of these on any of the empty spaces of their choice on the challenge grids on their character sheets, at most one counter in any one space.
The board is supplied as three shallow-gradient hills around the three highest points. Players take turns placing tiles on the board one at a time until there are none left. Tiles may be placed on top of other tiles, up to a total height of five tiles. The three existing points of height six are the target points of which two must be occupied to win the game.
Players then take turns placing their cats on the board, one per player per turn. Each player may place his cat on any space where it is not observed by any opponent's cat. No two cats may share the same space at any time during the game. During this setting up phase, a player may not play a cat on a space that is higher than another space where he could legally play a cat.
Taking a turn
Play passes to the left. Players take turns in order.
During their turn, if a player has cats that are not in play, they may place any or all of these cats anywhere on the board where they are not being observed by any opponent's cats, but may not take any other action that turn. Cats that are returned to play have their self-esteem track reset to three counters.
Otherwise, each player must select one of the following actions for each of his cats in play to do. After this, he may change the direction that each of his cts in play that is not preening is facing for the opponent's turns.
Challenge - challenge a cat within line of sight and at a higher height than the challenger to a staring match (see below).
Move - each cat electing to move gets four movement points to use for its movement. Zero or more of these may be spent either on horizontal or vertical movement (one point per vertical space moved, and one point per horizontal space moved). A cat may not move more than two spaces vertically per space travelled horizontally. A cat may not move through or into a space that is being observed by a cat at the same height as or higher than that space.
Preen - the cat gains one point of self-esteem. To represent this, a counter is placed on that cat's self-esteem track, or discarded if there is no room for it. A cat may not preen when it is being oberved by an opponent's cat that is higher up. It must either challenge or move to a space where it is not being observed.
Line of sight
Cat A is said to be observing Cat B if:-
- cat B is within two spaces of cat A and
- cat B is within cat A's vision arc (see diagram) and
- a straight line can be drawn from a point (not necessarily the centre) of cat A's space to a point on cat B's space such that no space on the line is higher than either cat.
The challenger secretly commits to a challenge method on their character sheet. The defender secretly commits to a defence method on their character sheet. Both reveal their methods and examine the squares on their character sheets thus selected (by intersection of row and column).
Challenger's Presence (blue) always wins over defender's empty or defender's Presence (blue).
Defender's Style (green) always wins over challenger's empty or challenger's Style (green).
Any other outcome is a tie, and is resolved as follows:
The challenger and defender each have the total number of opponent cats observing them subtracted from their self-esteem. The results are then compared; the cat with the higher self-esteem wins.
If there is still a tie, self-esteem values are compared without taking into account other observing cats.
If there is still a tie, but the defender is higher than the challenger, the challenger must move to an adjacent space that is out of the defender's sight if he is able to, but the outcome is not considered a loss for either cat. If the challenger is unable to move, or the defender and challenger are on the same height, a coin is flipped to resolve the challenge.
If there is a win, the winner takes a self-esteem counter from the loser. This is added to the winner's self-esteem bar if there is room and discarded if there is not. The loser must move to an adjacent space where he cannot be observed by the winner, and if he cannot do so he is removed from play.
If a cat has no self-esteem at any point, it is removed from play.
Challenge grid:-  Challenge Response
|Spit|| || || || || |
|Hiss|| || || || || |
|Glare|| || || || || |
|Arch Back|| || || || || |
|Stalk|| || || || || |
Click on the names for the character sheets of each cat. These sheets aren't complete - it was our intention to adjust the sheets by blocking out squares (so they are always empty) in the challenge grid so that, whatever the cat's abilities, they are compensated for - no one cat is too powerful. This requires us to actually play some games, which we haven't yet. As before, any comments, suggestions or whatever, please send here.