Kaissa the game from the books of John Norman's Gor
Tal and greetings. I have been playing kaissa in chat rooms for many days now and have reconstructed the games from the books whenever i found them. I have found several problems with sir midians rules, the only known rules posted on the internet to date other then these. Of course it doesnt matter since there are always arguments on the ways in which kaissa is played.
As long as a player has power tools he can project the board into the chat room. This may work in IRC as well somehow, if pasted in pieces, I have only tried it in AOL Gor. The board must be in courier new to line up and must look like this. because of line limit restrictions.
the board can be color coded as it is shown here, although yellow looks horrible in chat rooms so I have used black and red in my games. The whole thing is pasted into the chat room ( have to be careful to set the scroll rate slow enough not to be booted! ) and modified in word or some text editor as the game progresses . Below are the rules of kaiisa as I have found them in the books as well as sir Midians rules for comparison. Any persons who knows of kaissa games from the books and would be willing to type them out as qoutes and send them to me would greatly increase the chances i can get the rules exact, though I am assured by Ubar Luther they are not completly described and i have found that to be true as well. (and maddeningly Norman makes a mistake in the game between Centius of Cos and Scormus of Ar that keeps us from perfectly understanding that game.)
The Ubara May move any number of spaces in any direction diagonally. In the lateral moves, she is limited to three making it the second most powerful piece in the game. The Ubara is valued at 10 points for its capture.
Sir Midian has this piece moving three in any direction only. However, in the game between Centius and Scormus it can be seen that the piece controls the entire diagonal rank and by implication, can move as many in the diagonal as is necessary. Because it is not as powerful as the ubar piece we can assume its lateral movement is inhibited in some way and until it can be shown otherwise will stay at three moves to the left, right, forward and back
The tarnsman piece is valued at eight points. It is considered to be one of the stronger pieces in the game. In Players of Gor its move is described as consisting of two types, a positioning move and a flight move. In the positioning move, it may move one space only and may not attack or go over other pieces. In the flight move, it may travel three forward and two to the left or right. During the flight move it mat travel over other pieces. The moves of the tarnsman are never made clear in the books, but it can be assumed to move somewhat like the knight in chess, but with greater range to allow for the larger board. The positioning move makes it a stronger piece, as it may then be moved at any point one in any direction to protect or assault along a new rank.
Sir Midian has this piece moving three forward or back and two in any direction over any piece at any time. This can be seen to be incorrect in Players of Gor.
The Scribe moves much as the bishop in chess. It may move any number of spaces in any direction diagonally. The value of the scribe piece is unknown, but can be assumed to be 7 points by its power.
Sir Midian has this piece moving five in the diagonal direction only. so far, i do not see any reference to this sort of move in the books and from a game in Beasts of Gor, it is implied the scribe controls the entire diagonal rank.
The builder moves much as the Rook in Chess. It may move any number of spaces in any direction laterally. The value of the Rook piece is so far unknown but can be assumed to be 9 points by its power and initial starting position.
This rule corresponds with Sir Midians interpretation.
The Initiate moves much as the Bishop in Chess. It may move any number of spaces in any direction diagonally. The value of the Initiate piece is so far unknown but can be assumed to be 6 points by its power and initial position.
Sir Midian has this piece moving in the same manner in the diagonal direction only. However there is an argument that his move of the piece is dependant on which side of the board it controls. for instance the ubaras initiate can only move forward and back along the diagonal along the ubaras half of board. This is possible making the piece much more interesting but also makes it more difficult, especially for the beginner to understand. I play the piece as if it were a bishop. This makes the Kaissa board very different from chess. Four of the pieces, the scribes and the initiates, control diagonal ranks making the game much more dynamic then chess where there are fewer pieces that can threaten as aggressively.
The Assasin piece is also not as well defined as some of the other pieces in the books, As well it coflicts in one description with the quadrant of the physician piece. It can be implied that their is actually only one assasin and one physician, though as of yet this cant be proved. It is possible that the assasin and the physician are interchangeable, differing in moves or use depending on what city the game is being played in. Also in a game, late in Players of Gor. A spearman is shown in initiates rank 3 a position it could never have gained unless the assasin was actualy replaced by a spearman. It is safe to assume this piece may be changed out and replaced with spearman or physician in many variations of the game.The assasin moves two in any direction.
Sir Midian has this piece moving in the same manner. It can be verified in the books.
The Spearman functions exactly as the pawn but given the larger space of the board has the option of moving three in the first move and one thereafter. It may only attack on the diagonal and is valued at one point in the game. The spearman holds the unique ability of being upgraded in rank should it reach the back row of the opponent. It may be upgraded either to the Rider of the high tharlarion or the tarnsman.
The Homestone is the centerpiece of the Kaissa battel ground. Capture of the Homestone is the object of the game. The Homestone must be placed in the back row, after the seventh move and on or before the tenth move. The Homestone can not capture other pieces which makes it extremly vulnerable to other pieces. The Homestone may move one space in any direction.
Sir Midian has this piece moving in the same manner.
Miscellaneous about Kaissa:
Kaissa is a central element of The Gor chronicles. Norman uses it to describe many different types of relationships between Goreans and their traditions. Slaves are not , by tradition, allowed to touch the kaissa board. However, it is not unknown for a master to play a game with a favorite girl or a girl he believes may have an exceptional intelligence for the game. As in many things it is a perogative of the master. Scormus of Ar , one of the finest Players ever of the game, was in fact the son of a slave. Goreans are known to wager fortuunes on Kaissa and it is studied in its variants by most of Gor's men. The men of the north in Torvald are especially fond of the game and have their own variant replacing the Ubar with the jarl and so fourth. Details of the northern Variety will be posted within the month so keep an eye out for that. Enjoy the game as it is an expression of the Gorean culture. Treat it with respect.
Xavier of Port Kar and Kaissa:
Xavier learned kaissa on board ship in his youth. He is an avid player, obsessive and arrogant in his play. He has sought games in every city and considers himself an expert, worthy of the caste of players itself if he should so choose. Xavier has also been known to wager far too much over a game of kaissa.