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Rules, Strategies
and Variants

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The Klin Zha

and the Webmaster

The Authorized Klin Zha Homepage
Klin Zha Variant Rules

"Vrenn and Kethas walked around the fireplace in the large front room. Along the walls were boards and pieces for every game Vrenn had ever heard of, and even more than he had not. For Klin Zha there were many sets, for all the variations."

"The Final Reflection" (pg 61)

As with any game there are variations and changes made to the basic rules to accomidate differing needs among different players. These are often known as "fleet rules".
Because of the possibility that opponants may know different "standard" rules, it is vitaly important that both players understand and agree to any variations from the basic rule set.


Electronic Klin Zha

The basis for playing Klin Zha by mail, e-mail, phone or otherwise without having a visual representation of the board is to have a coordinate mapping system. Chess has it easy with square spaces and an X-Y mapping system, traditionally adding location names based on the starting positions of the pieces. ("Queen to Queen's level three.") Klin Zha's equilateral triangles and free-form starting positions make that a little more difficult.
With the board situated with a point at the top and expanding towards the bottom, designate rows as A through I along the vertical edges. Designate the nine triangles across the bottom as 1 through 9. (Actually, any two sides lettered with the third side numbered will yield proper coordinates.)

Each space can be uniquly defined by its lettered horizontal "row" and the two numbered "columns" that run parallel with the two vertical sides. The corners would be designated A-19, I-11 and I-99 (or I-90). The example illustration shows E-38.

As a convention, the name of the piece, the space it's moving from and the space it's moving to would be stated in addition to a comment if it is moving the goal or leaving it behind. For example: Fencer with Goal at H-78 to G-57.
To simulate the tossing of the Spindles (or rolling dice) to choose first placement can be replaced by choosing even or odd from the next day's Dow Jones Industrial Average or some similar method.

Kordite sutai-Tasighor (Kevin Geiselman)

Player Dahan (Andy Laugel) has created an ASCII version of the board for those who want to have a more visual game by e-mail. Download this file for your use. Represent the goal with a '*', the Green player with a 'G' and the Gold player with a 'Y' (for yellow). 'Fe' and 'Fl' represent the Fencer and Fliers respectively. This is a highly recommended suppliment to playing by e-mail to make sure that both players are looking at the same situation on their respective boards.

The Reflective Game

The Reflective is not so much a variation but a strategic approach to an otherwise tactical game.
Traditionally, a set of pieces combining both green and gold coloring is used for the Reflective game, although any color may be used if necessary.
First placement is chosen randomly with a single throw of the spindles. The "winner" cannot grant first placement to his opponant but is to place the Goal and a suitable carrier piece.
After that, the players take turns placing pieces with the strategy of keeping the Goal and pieces safe from attack.
Once set up, the first to place is also the first to move. During each turn, the player chooses one piece, making all others the enemy. The player who captures the Goal on his turn is the victor. (TFR pp 29-30, 33, 62-63)

Korath sutai-Ang'K'Tolax (Len Loyd)
Rules for the game Klin Zha Copyright © 1989 by Leonard B. Loyd, Jr.

The Ablative Game

For this variation, you will need some markers. I sometimes use coins. At the end of the game, the winner gets to keep them. In Ablative, each time a piece is moved, its previous position is marked and removed from further use by either player. If a position is marked, you cannot land a piece on it, but you can cross over it.

Keve epetai-K'elland (Steve Clelland)
Editor's Note: One can find that, in playing this version, that the board quickly fills with places that connot be used again. This makes this variant, as it stands, virtually unplayable. One way to adjust this is to limit the number of ablations. Say, for example, that there are only 6 spaces that can be blocked. On the 7th move, the marker for the first move is placed, freeing up that space.

The Clouded Game

For this variation, a random number of board positions are chosen as neutral. No piece on a marked position can be killed.

Keve epetai-K'elland (Steve Clelland)

Klin Zha Kinta

The game with live pieces was the way the game of Klin Zha was first introduced in "The Final Reflection," but, because it requires living warriors for each of the pieces to engage in combat, it is the least played variant. There are, however, those who have abstracted the game in the way that RPG's and miniature war games abstract combat.

  • Chandler Archibald's Klin Zha Kinta

    Power Vanguards

    The Vanguard is given a movement of 2 spaces in any direction. This makes the Vanguard a more agressive unit.

    Kagga's Crown

    Under sentence of death for rebellion, General Kagga was granted the ascension and allowed to reign as Emperor for the 20th part of one day. He was then executed upon the throne, the crown having been branded on the flesh around his skull.
    This tale parallels somewhat a quote in a game of klin zha kinta (TFR, p 43), "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."
    The implied rule could be stated this way: "Once a player's Goal has been moved into any undesignated corner (the third point not chosen by either player during set up), the other player must capture that goal on his own next turn or forfeit the game."

    Nagh (Peter Graham, New Zealand)
    Editor's Comment: This variant, while making for an agressive game extending out into the third point, also becomes a race for the corner. Perhaps I am tainted by my experience of playing a game without knowing of this particular variant and having my opponant declare victory without his taking my goal. This seems somewhat un-Klingon that one can claim victory by running away. A discussion with John Ford indicated that his "race for the apex" game presented in "The Final Reflection" only referred to the game in three dimensions. On the standard, flat board, the only way to win was to capture the opponent's goal or force him into a position where he cannot move legally.

    A Fool and his head are soon parted.

    Like the Terran Chess, the rules of Klin Zha state that no player may make a move that threatens his own Goal. Unlike Chess, however, it does not explicitly demand that he move his Goal out of a threatened situation if such a move is available.
    Nor do the rules explicitly require that a player inform his opponant that his Goal is being threatened.
    The result is that if a player makes a move that threatenes his opponant's Goal and his opponant is not paying enough attention to see that threat and thus fails to take action, the attacking player should feel free to take that Goal on his next turn.
    In Terran Chess, "checkmate" spares the player the agony of actually seeing his King being taken, Klin Zha would likely dispense with such generosity.

    Kordite sutai-Tasighor (Kevin Geiselman)

    Forward Placement

    The Klin Zha Society, finding Korath's original rules unclear on the borders of the Points during initial placement, assumed that the points included the half spaces. Utilizing these spaces during initial placement can put opposing pieces in amongst one another. This can make the game very swift and bloody or it can lock up pieces, as with two Blockaders.
    Having the pieces able to be set so far forward gives the first placement player a tremendous advantage. To offset this, the Klin Zha Society also has the first placement player place his Goal before the second placement player sets up his pieces. Of course, in this case it is possible that the second placement player can set up in such a way as to threaten his opponent's Goal or even place in such a way that the first player cannot move his Goal out of threat and thus the game is lost before it's even begun.
    Editor's Note: While this is not the authorized interpretation of the rules, there are those who have learned it this way and will doggedly stick to that interpretation. Fore warned is fore armed.

    Alternating Placement

    In this, the first placement player would place one piece in his point. Then the second placement player would place one piece and so on until the goals are placed last.

    Rules for a Full Tetrahedral Board

    I have played several games of the Three-D rules I worked out from reading (and re-reading, and re-reading, and re-reading) the first chapter of TFR. They are the same as the standard rules for the flat version with some modifications.
    1. The Vanguards may move one or two cells at a time.
    2. All of the pieces may move up or down any number of levels up to their maximum movement allowance.
    3. The Blockaders' zones of control include the cells immediately above and below them if they (the cells) exist.
    4. If a piece that is moving up or down is one of the pieces that only move in straight lines this must be observed in vertical movement as well. Note that a piece that does not have to move straight could move up a level, moved one cell horizontally, the move up one level or any such combination.
    5. The goal may be transported once per game up to three cells from its point of origin. This may be ; from elidgible carrier to elidgible carrier, from elidgeible carrier to empty cell, from empty cell to eldgible carrier and finally from empty cell to empty cell. None of these actions may place the goal in jeopardy.
    6. I have modified my rules to include downward movement as well.

    Norman Schwartz

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    http://www.tasigh.org/takzh/variant.html -- Revised: 22 October 2006
    Rules for the game Klin Zha Copyright © 1989 by Leonard B. Loyd, Jr.
    Copyright © 1996-2006 Kevin A. Geiselman