Roman Chess – Draft

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Latrunculi or Roman Chess is mentioned in many ancient documents, but the rules are speculative at best. These rules are based on suggestions made by Dr. Wladyslaw J Kowalski, an engineering professor at Penn State University.

The folks from Board Games Studies take issue with Dr. Kowalski's suggestions. Their interpretation of the game is here. I chose Dr. Kowalski's version because, frankly, it looks more fun. Here are Dr. K's proposed rules.

  • Use a 12 x 8 board with the starting arrangement as shown below.
  • Black plays first (Black in this case is blue).
  • All pieces may move any number of spaces in the horizontal or vertical direction.
  • A single stone is captured if it is surrounded on two opposite sides.
  • The outside walls cannot be used to capture men.
  • A stone in the corner can be captured by two stones placed across the corner.
  • Multiple stones can be captured along a line.
  • The king (or dux) cannot be captured but can be immobilized by being surrounded on all four sides.
  • First player to immobilize the enemy king wins.
  • The king is immobilized if it is blocked by an enemy stone such that it has no place left to move.
  • If the game stalemates, the player with the most captured enemy stones wins.
  • Sequences of plays that repeat endlessly must be prohibited (this is usually obvious to both players after two series of moves repeats -- any move initiating a third repeating series of moves is illegal).
  • Players must announce when they 'squeeze' a stone in-between enemy stones (to avoid any later dispute).
  • Roman Chess

    Roman Chess board

    More explanations later, but I wanted to get the basic board and rules up.

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    2 thoughts on “Roman Chess – Draft

    1. says:

      Playtested this Friday night. We did not follow the last rule, that’s what I get for not printing it out.

      Otherwise, we enjoyed this game very much. It was a lot of fun. The game goes quickly, especially when you set yourself up for capture. I don’t mean moving between two enemy pieces, but when you move next to an enemy piece and react in horror as a second enemy piece moves to take you. AARGH!!

      Thanks to mrtool for the playtesting.

    2. nandan says:

      hi! there is a game called draft played on chess board, if anyone can find the game online please send me the link..

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