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Rules, Strategies
and Variants

Software Download

The Klin Zha

and the Webmaster

The Authorized Klin Zha Homepage


9 January 1998: Why the Klin Zha Homepage?

When I first obtained the rules for Klin Zha from a copy of an Agonizer supplement, I really didn't think much of it. Not in the sense that I didn't like it or thought there were some problems, I just didn't have anyone to play against. Thus, there wasn't much motivation.

In 1995, I went to my first Dover Peace Conference. It was a blast. I took along a foam-core Klin Zha and actually found someone to play against in the hallway. We set up the board and began.

After several turns, he moved one of his pieces carrying the Goal into a corner and announced that, if I didn't capture it in the next turn I would loose the game. "What?!?!" I was flabbergasted. He announced that these were "fleet rules", specifically "Kagga's Crown." I had heard of Kagga's Crown in John Ford's book "The Final Reflection", but it was never mentioned in the context of the game of Klin Zha and was certainly not in Korath's rules. I thought the whole thing was bullshit.

At Hope Con '97, I attended a Klin Zha tournament and promptly got my butt kicked because the Klin Zha Society, the tourney host, had found some "deficiencies" with the original rules and made some changes.

This is what TAKZH is for. So that those who learn these rules will be confident that they are playing the authorized rules, the rules as envisioned by the creator of the game. So that people don't get their asses kicked for not knowing the local "standard" rules. So that anyone playing Klin Zha will be confident that they are playing with the same rules as their opponents.

It's not that I'm against variants. Every game has variant rules; even the venerable Chess. But I think there are too many people out there teaching their own versions or "fleet" versions of Klin Zha and passing them off as "the official way". When they play someone else who has learned it differently, there's going to be a dispute. This makes the game no longer fun. I've almost thrown the whole thing away several times because I felt like I was the hick from the hinterlands, unknowing of the rules as those in civilized space play them.

When Chess was first being played in Medieval Europe, there were many different versions. It was a long, difficult road but now, if your playing Chess here in America, or in Europe, or in Asia or anywhere, you're playing the same game that your opponent is. It's a common language, of sorts. In that way, Klin Zha is still quite young. But I hope this page will be able to bring this game to universality.

Whenever I have a question, I go to Korath himself. He has really thought long and hard about the rules he created. Not just because of playability (he admits that I have probably played more games than he has) but also in the context of Klingon history and culture. I am heartened that, for most of the questions I've taken to him, he's had the answer that I was thinking of. We are on the same wavelength and that gives me the confidence to present this page.

So, to all those out there playing Klin Zha; tell you friends. Give them copies of the rules and get them playing. If you like a variant, play it. But, above all, be sure that those you're playing against are sure of all the differences between the variant and the basic rules as presented here. You'll both have more fun that way. Play Klin Zha!

Speculative history of Klin Zha and its specific cultural significance by Admiral Korath sutai-Ang'K'Tolax.

Admiral Korath (Leonard Loyd) wrote the rules for Klin Zha based on what was in "The Final Reflection" and his own studies of games and game rules from around the world. I am fortunate to have him as a neighbor. What follows is commentary that was included in the first wide release of Klin Zha, a special supplement to "Agonizer".
[Korath]Klin Zha, like the Terran game of Chess, no doubt originated in early times as a practical war game for tactical concept training. Like Chess, it developed during some medieval period into a mental exercise that reflected social structure and very basic Klingon values, thereby ensuring its survival into future, more advanced societies. Unlike chess, however, Klin Zha remained more a wargame and therefore a more pure expression of existence within the Klingon empire: the Perpetual Game -- the Game of Life. Klin Zha can be played on a strictly tactical level of thought because strategic abilities are believed to be the prerogative of the highly placed few.

Perhaps that is why the variant known as the Reflective Game is viewed as the highest form of Klin Zha. Because we are all, ultimately, playing against ourselves to succeed, survive and conquer, this is a fine mental training. It is a perfect recreational expression of, and preparation for, the Perpetual Game.

Summer 1998: Conversations with John M. Ford

In 1998, I had the pleasure of spending a camping weekend with author of "The Final Reflection," John "Mike" Ford. There was a lot going on that weekend so I didn't get the opportunity I wanted to talk with him about his book and Klin Zha, bit I did get his e-mail address from his consort and he has honored me by responding to my questions. Here now are some questions and comments excerpted from those conversations.

TAKZH: "In the three-dimensional Klin Zha Kinta game, did you envision the pieces moving vertically the same way they would move on a flat board or was there some other rule for the pieces to ascend through the levels?"

Mr. Ford: "As I recall, there was free 3D movement. In some of the many 3D chess games, there are limits on vertical movement, but I didn't have that in mind. A couple of 3D chesses use "elevator" spaces -- only a piece on those spaces can move vertically (and sometimes only one level at a time)."

TAKZH: "At the endgame, it says; "There could be only one move now. Vrenn had carried the Goal to the Ninth Level: the enemy had his next move only to capture the disk. And only the Lancer could reach this space in one." Some people I've talked to have interpreted that to mean that if you get your goal to that corner, you win. I thought it was more an observation of tactics and strategy, that Vrenn realized that the game was being decided on the outcome of that move. What were you thinking?"

Mr. Ford: "This one I do remember. Moving the goal to the apex -- not just a corner -- won the game, if the opponent did not capture it in the very next turn (in which case the capturing player won)."

TAKZH: "Among Klin Zha players, there are those who play with a rule that, if you get your goal to the corner, your opponent must take it on the next turn or forfeit the game. They call this "Kagga's Crown." In my opinion, and the opinion of Len Loyd, the one who wrote the rules that most people play by, this sort of race for the corner is somewhat 'un-klingon.' We think the objective should be to attack your opponent's goal head on, not run towards a neutral corner and claim victory without combat.

Mr. Ford: "Sounds good to me. I can imagine a sort of "raid" or "capture the flag" game in which this would be the goal, but as I said before, the goal-to-apex victory condition was only for the 3D game, and only for the apex."

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http://www.tasigh.org/takzh/commentary.html -- Revised: 7 July 2002
Rules for the game Klin Zha Copyright © 1989 by Leonard B. Loyd, Jr.
Copyright © 2002 Kevin A. Geiselman