A two-player battle game with only four pieces, Close Quarters requires careful, hand-to-hand strategy. Three pieces fight against one piece.
The Close Quarters board is a four-by-eight (4×8) array of squares.
The three pieces belonging to one player are the Spear, the Mace and the Axe. The other player controls only one piece, which is the Sword.
The Spear (like a rook in chess) is moved as many squares as you like in a straight line (row or column), until it reaches an edge or another piece. This is the piece that has the most long-distance effect.
The Mace (like a knight in chess) is moved in an L-shape combining two squares in one direction with one square to either side. Some people describe this move as straight-plus-crooked. Unlike the knight in chess, however, the Mace may not jump over other pieces.
The Axe (like a bishop in chess) is moved in diagonal lines for as many squares as you like until it reaches an edge of the board or another piece.
If any of these three weapons is moved to the same square as the Sword, the swordsman is eliminated, and the game is over.
The Sword (unlike a chess piece) may be moved one or two squares (as you like) either in straight lines or diagonally (as you like). This means a swordsman in the center of the board has eight squares it may move to.
If the Sword is moved to the same square as any other piece, that piece is removed from the board and play continues until one or another player cannot move.
Pieces start the game placed on the four corners, with the Sword opposite from the Spear. The Sword always moves first. Turns alternate between players. No move may be taken back after the hand has left the piece.
The Sword tries to eliminate all three opposing pieces, while the other player uses three weapons to eliminate the Sword. Obviously, the swordsman must move his Sword on every turn, while the other player has more options – as many choices as there are pieces left.
The player who eliminates all opposition is the winner. The player losing all their pieces is the loser. If you are impatient, you can set a limit to the number of turns, and if the Sword is still alive after so many turns, it wins.
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