A post by Fred Horn
An abstract Board-Game for 2 Players from the late 19th Century
25 years ago, in 1990, I was asked by the Staff of “Slot Zuylen”, a Castle nearby the town of Utrecht, to come by to inventarize and sort out the contents of a coffer with old games, because they had heard about me as a “well known expert on games”.
The Castle had become a Museum focused on the family that had owned the place and this coffer was part of the former household and now in the Museum-collection. Everything in that coffer was mixed up – boxes, boards, pieces -, was a complete mess and the Staff had no idea what belonged to what and if the remnants were complete games.
Coming there they had already sorted out the Boards, thus I did start there with my investigation. A lot of the Boards belonged to (for me) known games like Chess; Dammen; Halma; Reversi etc., so I began trying to find the corresponding Game-pieces, gamerules, and if possible a (part of) box.
Puzzles –like a Tangram- and dexterity games –like Skittles- were also easy to sort out.
Then there was also a beautiful game: THE NEW GAME OF THE WASP from J. Jaques & Son from London which was easy to collect together, board and rules and metal bees and a wasp. Next to a Go-board, here obvious used for the game of Go-Moku (the Pieces were stored in a small box with that name!), there was also a Go-like-board with a design of a kind of bastion in the middle. Luckily the rules were there so I could trace the matching pieces for this game Fort Chitral. After some hours work I made a few notes, but unluckily I had no camera with me, so I could not take pictures. But I did write down the rules and the start for Fort Chitral.
Board and start position
Aim of the game
To occupy with 4 of your pieces the four squares of the Fort in the middle of the Board
- 36 identical Gamepieces in 2 colours (white and black), 18 of each colour.
- White starts than Turns alternate.
- In his Turn a Player moves one of his pieces.
The movement of a piece is for the most like that in the game of Halma:
or - 1 step to an adjacent empty square, horizontal; vertical; diagonal,
or - jumping over an adjacent own* piece when the square directly behind is empty
and multiple jumps are allowed, but not returning to the startposition.
- When an opponents piece is trapped between 2 enemy pieces (Custodian capture) it is captured and removed from the board. More than one capture in a Turn is possible.
- When a piece ends after an own move between 2 opponents pieces it is not captured and stays in play.
- The first Player occupying the Fort (the 4 squares) in the middle with 4 of his pieces, wins the game.
N.B. note from F.H.: A Player perhaps also loses the game when he has only 3 pieces in play / the opponent has reduced his amount of pieces to 3.