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This page is written by the game's inventor, Roberto Lavieri.


By Roberto Lavieri


Hexetera is a game played in a board of 44 hexagonal cells. There are two marked zones of 9 cells each in the game, the Fortresses. Kings are confined to their own Fortress, as in Xiang-Qi. A King can´t SEE the other King, i.e., they can never be on the same vertical line if there are no pieces between, also as in Xiang-Qi. The pieces in this game are: King, Pawn (special movements), Rook (limited movements), Flyer-Elephant, Man and Guardian.

Kings and Guardians are cannibal pieces, they can take friendly pieces, and, of course, enemy pieces too. A Rook, A Flyer-Elephant, a Guardian or a Man can take any enemy piece, EXCEPT ANOTHER OF THE SAME TYPE. This is the most characteristic rule of HEXETERA: in this game, Rooks are immune to enemy Rooks, Flyer-Elephants to enemy Flyer-Elephants, a Man to an enemy Man and Guardians to enemy Guardians, but Pawns can take enemy Pawns.

A Pawn can promote to Rook, Guardian or Flyer-Elephant when it reaches the enemy Fortress. There is no castling or en-passant capture.

The object of the game is to checkmate the enemy King, but you can also win the game if your enemy is stalemated.

Movement and General Rules

In Hexetera, a piece can´t capture or be captured by a piece of the same type. Rooks are immune to Rooks, Guardians to Guardians, Flyer-Elephants to Flyer-Elephants, and a Man can´t capture or be captured by an enemy Man. The King and the Guardians are cannibal pieces; they can take friendly pieces. This capability can be used, eventually, for attack or defense purposes. Strategy and tactics are different than in other known Chess variants, but they are really nice. The game has some elements of Xiang-Qi: a King is confined to its own Fortress; it can´t leave it, and, as in Xiang-Qi, a King can´t be in line with the other King if there are no pieces between them in the same line. The Pawn and the Man are short-range pieces, and Rooks, Guardians and Flyer-Elephants are medium-range pieces in this game.

Board and Set Up


The Board has 44 hexagonal cells. There are two marked zones, the FORTRESSES. The white pieces that you can see on the lower cells are: Guardian, Flyer-Elephant, Rook, King, Rook, Flyer-Elephant and Guardian. In the next cells above, there are seven Pawns, and the next piece above is a Man, and next to it there is another Man .




Pawn: The Pawn moves in the three forward directions, but it captures any enemy piece edge-diagonally forward. It promotes to Rook, Flyer-Elephant or Guardian on hex cells of the enemy Fortress. 




Man: The Man can moves and captures one step orthogonally forward or one step in any of the three backward directions, to a cell edge-adjacent. A Man can´t capture an enemy Man.




Guardian: A Guardian can move and capture moving one step to any of the six adjacent cells, like the King, or leaping exactly two steps diagonally or horizontally following a path over cells of the same color, and in this movement it can leap any piece on the first cell in that direction. Guardians can take friendly pieces. It captures any piece on the cell it is moving to. A Guardian can´t capture an enemy Guardian.




Flyer-Elephant: It moves and captures with one step movement forward or backward, or to a cell adjacent in the two edge-diagonal forward directions. It is also a LEAPER: it can leap two squares in the same diagonal forward directions, or two squares forward or backward. A Flyer-Elephant can take any enemy piece, except another Flyer-Elephant. In this game, Flyer-Elephants are immune to Flyer-Elephants.




Rook: The Rook slides in straight line up to three hexes through the sides. Rooks are immune to Rooks.





King: The King is the Royal Piece. It moves one cell through a side or corner to a safe position, adjacent cells or nearest cells of the same color. 

It can move only to cells of its Fortress. It can´t move to a cell that is in vertical line with the other King if there are not pieces between.

A King can take friendly pieces too.  


How to win:

Win condition: checkmate the opposite King, but you can also win the game if the other player is stalemated.

 Playing Tips

Strategy and tactics are different than in other known chess variants, due the rule that pieces are immune to enemy pieces of the same type. Sacrifices may be common in the middle and end games. It is very dangerous to leave your King alone. If you do it, evaluate well the risks. Your King can be used against the other King as in Xiang-Qi, because Kings can´t be in line in this game if there are no pieces between them. The cannibalism of Kings is used in some defensive moves. Cannibalism of Guardians can be used eventually for attack purposes. The average number of moves to finish a good game of HEXETERA can be around 40-70 moves.

Computer Play

You can play HEXETERA if you have installed on your computer a registered version of ZILLIONS OF GAMES. You can download the HEXETERA ZRF, graphics, and game example at the link below. (Author: Roberto Lavieri).