The board is 4 by 4; each side has 1 king and 7 pawns. Here’s the starting position:
Each piece moves and captures like a king: one space horizontal, vertical or diagonal.
The object of the game is to checkmate the other side’s king; however, mutual checkmates are allowed, creating a fourth outcome: truce, in addition to win, lose, and draw. These four outcomes pose a dilemma; namely, whether to cooperate with the other player, or not.
A king is in check when it can be captured next turn; it is mated if check cannot be escaped by next move. A check or a mate is deterred if there is counter-check; that is, the other king would be counter-captured on the following move. Mutual deterred check is tryst; undeterred mate is checkmate; mutual deterred mate is truce; no possible captures is draw.
You may not move into an undeterred check, nor remain in one; nor may you leave the other player in undeterrable check if you too remain in check. (That is, no ‘forced exchanges’.)
To checkmate is to win, to be checkmated is to lose. The outcomes are ranked in this order:
win over truce over draw over lose.
The dilemma is that if both sides are mated, then that is truce, a shared win; so there are reasons to cooperate: but if only one side is mated, then that side loses; so there are reasons to compete. Can you trust the other player? Resolving the dilemma requires tactics and negotiation. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Some King’s Dilemma end positions
Draw: Mate: Mate: Truce: Truce: Truce: Truce:
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ k p _ _ _ p k K P _ _ P k _ _ _ _
_ k _ _ _ k _ _ _ _ P _ _ k P _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ P _ _ pK
_ _ _ _ _ _ p _ _ _ K_ p K _ _ P_ _ p p _ _ _ _ _ Pk
_ _ K _ _ _ K_ _ _ _ _ _ _ P_ _ _ _ _ K p_ _ _ _ _ _
Some King’s Dilemma games recorded.
We can record game moves in algebraic notation:
4 _ _ _ _
3 _ _ _ _
2 _ _ _ _
1 _ _ _ _
a b c d
Here are some games recorded in that notation:
a2xa3 ch. b4xa3
a1-a2 d3xc2 ch k _ _ _
c1xc2 d4-d3 P P _ p
b2xa3 ch c3xd2 try _ _ _ p
a2xb3 truce _ P _ K
a2xa3 ch b4xa3
a1-a2 d3xd2 ch
c2xd2 c3xd2 ch
d1xd2 b3xc2 ch
c2-c1 d4-d3 ch
b2-b1 b4-c3 _ _ _ p
d1-d2 try d4-d3 try _ P k _
c1-b2 try d3-d2 try _ _ K p
b2-b3 truce _ P _ _
b2xb3 ch c4xb3
a2xb3 ch b4xb3
a1xb2 d3xd2 ch
c1xd2 b3xc2 ch
d1-c2 try c3-d3 try _ _ _ _
a1-b2 try c4-c3 try _ _ p p
c2-b1 ch d3-d2 try _ P _ k
d1-c1 try d4-d3 truce _ P K _
King’s Dilemma games tend to be short and sweet.