Game of the Generals

Posted: 23/06/2010 in The Philippines

I’m proud to say that a Filipino invented this wonderful board game that we kept playing every vacant hours. It’s not like chess that requires full logic, this game involves luck, and psychological abilities to try to know which piece is which.

According to Wikipedia:

“The Game of the Generals, also called Salpakan in Tagalog and simply The Generals, is an educational wargame invented in the Philippines by Sofronio H. Pasola, Jr. in 1970. It can be played within twenty to thirty minutes. It is designed for two players and requires the use of logic. The games simulates armies at war trying to outflank and outmaneuver each other. As in actual warfare, the game allows only one side’s plan to succeed. Certain strategies and tactics, however, allow both sides the chances of securing a better idea of the other’s plans as the game progresses. Players can also speak with others during matches, hoping to make a false impression on where the flag is.

Objective

The objective of the game is to eliminate or capture the flag of one’s opponent, or to maneuver one’s flag to the other end of the board.

The Pieces

The player’s set of pieces or soldiers with the corresponding ranks and functions consist of the following 21 pieces. A higher ranking piece will eliminate any lower ranking piece, with the exception of the spy, which eliminates all pieces except the private. The pieces are bent in an angle in order to show the piece’s rank or insignia only to a player and not to his opponent.

In plastic sets, the colours commonly used in the pieces are black and white. There are also sets composed of wooden boards and steel pieces. Those pieces have insignias that are either coloured red or blue. In metal sets, the color of the board is commonly brown and the pieces are aluminum colored. The pieces are still bent.

It should be noted that apart from the flag (the Philippine flag) and the spy (a pair of prying eyes), the insignias used in the game are those used in the Philippine Army.

Pieces No. of Pieces Function
Five-star General 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
Four-star General 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
Three-star General 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
Two-star General 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
One-star General 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
Colonel 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
Lt. Colonel 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
Major 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
Captain 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
1st Lieutenant 1 Eliminates any lower ranking officer, the private, and the flag.
2nd Lieutenant 1 Eliminates the sergeant, the private, and the flag.
Sergeant 1 Eliminates the private, and the flag.
Private 6 Eliminates the spy, and the flag.
Spy 2 Eliminates all officers from the rank of Sergeant up to 5-Star General & the flag.
Flag 1 Eliminates the opposing flag as long as it takes the aggressive action against the enemy flag.

Moves and gameplay

The game is played on a board with 9×8 plain squares. The pieces are placed in various locations in the first three rows of each player’s home side. Unlike chess or its variants, there is no predetermined layout for the pieces, allowing each player to place the pieces to his advantage. There is also no predetermined order of play. The players can decide who goes first; afterwards, the players make their moves alternately.

All pieces have the same move: one space forward, backward, or sideways.

When a player’s piece attacks an opposing piece, a third person, the arbiter, examines the ranks of the opposing pieces and removes the lower-ranked piece off the board regardless of who made the attack. The game can also be played without an arbiter; however, in this case, when a piece attacks an opposing piece, both players must state the ranks of their pieces before removing the lower-ranked piece. Therefore, the presence of the arbiter, though not compulsory, is especially important to ensure fair play. Care must be taken in not revealing the ranks of eliminated pieces to opponents.

Challenging

Challenging in this game is defined as the determining the removal of one of two opposing pieces by their ranks. Regardless of who attacks, when two pieces occupy the same space, their ranks determine which one is removed. There are rules on which to eliminate:

  • Any one of the player’s pieces can capture the opposing flag. This includes the player’s own flag.
  • An official eliminates the private and the officers that are ranked below it (e.g. a four-star general can eliminate a lieutenant-colonel).
  • Only the private can eliminate the spy. The spy can, however, eliminate any officer (starting from the five-star general down to the sergeant).
  • If both pieces are of the same rank, both are removed from the board.

Ending of game

The game ends when either:

  • A player captures the opponent’s flag.
  • A player’s flag reaches the opposite end of the board and is not (or cannot be) immediately challenged by an enemy piece.
  • A player resigns.
  • The players agree to a drawn position.

In the case of a flag reaching the opposite end of the board to win, it must be separated from any opposing piece by at least an empty square or a square occupied by a friendly piece. If a flag reaches a square at the opposite end of the board that is next to a square occupied by an enemy piece, that enemy piece can still challenge and capture the flag. If the enemy piece chooses not to challenge immediately, not knowing that it is the flag, then the flag’s side wins.”

Comments
  1. bedz says:

    Simply the best board game invented second to chess. It’s simply is addictive to play if you get the hang of it. A masterpiece creation by a Filipino. Simply Awesome!

  2. Motherfucker says:

    Chess easily beats that stupid piece-of-crap Games of the General. Filipinos DID try their best, so I can’t argue with that.

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