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Catapults of Troy
by Gary K. Gifford, © 2003

This document provides the rules for Catapults of Troy and includes a problem from the first checkmate to be seen in this game. After reading the rules, can you find the mate-in-2? In addition to the rules and the problem, I have including a few diagrams to help explain some of the unique movement options.

Catapults of Troy was conceived during a bicycle ride one evening in November of 2003. During the ride, while in sight of Lake Erie, I was thinking about Chinese Chess and its virtual river, which exists only for appearance sake. But I thought, "What if the river was an actual barrier? We would want bridges and bridge builders. I also thought of the impressive Chinese Chess piece, the Cannon which launches itself. And I thought, what if there was a piece that launched other pieces? A Catapult that could toss, not itself, but other pieces across the river? Or to other parts of the board? And what if the Horse was based on the wooden horse from the Legend of Troy? What could we put inside this Troy Horse? How about an Archer? When I arrived home I quickly sketched the game, made a paper set, and wrote down the rules.

 Ram Starts on H1 and H11. The Ram moves like a Rook, but when it captures it cuts through the entire rank or file that lies before it. It must also capture pieces of its own color if they are in the chosen line of fire . However, the first piece that is to be captured must always be the opponents piece. Once a Ram has completed a move involving captures, the Ram is considered to be "splintered" and must be removed from the board. Rams can be catapulted across the river, or can make use of a bridge. In the preceding diagram the Black Ram on G8 could move across the G6 Bridge and down to G1, capturing 4 pieces at once. The Black Ram would then be removed due to the "splinter effect." Could the Ram have stopped on G2? No the Ram must complete its move through the Rank or File in the direction of capture [so make sure your own pieces are out of the way because the Ram will also destroy them!]. Note: In the preceding figure, if the Bridge Builder was in front of the Ram the Ram could not make the G8-G1 move because it cannot destroy its own piece first. If, in the preceding position we made the G1 Troy Horse Black, the Ram could still make his deadly move, but the G1 Troy Horse of same color would also be a victim. Bishop 2 per side. Start on c1, f1 and c11, f11. Moves like a conventional Bishop. The Bishops cannot cross the river unless (a) catapulted or (b) they have a bridge available which completes the diagonal that they wish to move along. Note that you can obtain two light-square or two dark-square Bishops by use of the catapult. In the previous position the Black Bishop could capture the Pawn on A4. What about the White Catapult/Archer? Yes, the Black Bishop could take the "combo-piece" as if it were one piece. Rook Start on A1 and A11. Moves and captures in the manner of a conventional chess rook. Like other pieces, rooks can be catapulted across the river. There is no castling. Pawn Pawns start on the second rank for each side but are not placed on b2, g2 or b10, g10. They move and capture as do conventional chess pawns, with these exceptions: a) Movement is limited to 1 square at a time (unless the pawn is being catapulted) b) there is no pawn en passant, c) upon reaching the last rank, a Pawn is immediately promoted to an Archer. And note that Pawns can be catapulted straight to the last Rank. They could also be catapulted to the left or to the right. You could catapult a Pawn from A2 to B2 or to G2, for example even though B2 and G2 normally have no pawns.
 Troy Horse (starts carrying 1 archer) 1 per side. Starts on g1 and g11. Troy Horses move like a standard chess knight. However, these horses are more powerful as they carry an Archer within their wooden frame. Troy Horses can jump over the river, or be catapulted across it. To cross the river on its own, a Troy Horse on F5 could move to E7 or to G7. A Troy Horse can land on a bridge, but never in the river. After having landed on the opponents side of the river the Troy Horse, on a future move has the option of moving and [at the same time] leaving an Archer on the square it vacated as indicated in the following figure. The Troy Horse is limited to 1 Archer. Horses can never retrieve an Archer. In the left-hand figure the Troy Horse is about to move and release his internal Archer. Note that the Archer does not have to come out yet, it could come out 5, 6, 10, moves later or not at all. The result (at the right) is a double-check (see Archer). Note that the Troy Horse could have also moved back to his own side of the River and could still have deposited the Archer on E7. Note: The Archer from the Troy Horse is only permitted to emerge from the Horse on the opponents side of the river. After an Archer arrives it is free to travel back to its own side of the board.
 Archer (one is inside of the Troy Horse) (Pawns promote to Archers) Archers are not seen at the beginning of the game because they come from either a Troy Horse (each Horse holds one Archer) or from the promotion of a Pawn when the later reaches the last rank. An Archer can emerge from the Troy Horse only after the Horse has crossed the river, and only on a subsequent move (see Troy Horse for example figure). When the Troy Horse moves from within the enemy territory, simply place the Archer where the Horse was at the beginning of that turn. The Archer has two types of moves. (a) Moves like a chess queen, but is limited to no more than 2 spaces. (b) stays at its current location, but shoots an arrow up to 2 spaces. They can shoot over the river, a river square counts as one space. The Archers arrow will hit the first target in the line of sight. In other words, you cannot shoot over pieces to hit other pieces behind them. Pawns only promote to Archers. Whenever an Archer captures by shooting, the Archer does not move. The shoot counts as a turn. Example of a few possible Archer captures on Whites move 20 from the following partial board position. 20. A s F7 (Archer "shoots" Catapult/Rook combo at H7) 20. A x F7 (Archer moves and captures at H7) 20. A s" F5 (Archer "shoots" Bishop at F5) 20. A s D5 (Archer shoots Archer on D5) Also note that the Catapult on C8 could catapult the Pawn to C11, resulting in a Pawn promotion to Archer at C11. Giving check to the King. King 1 per side. Start on e1 and e11. Moves like a conventional chess king. There is no castling. The game ends when the King is checkmated. Kings can be transported and can be projected by Catapult.