This game has alluded me for some time in my collection. I'm a sucker for a abstract game with a theme, so Roman Checkers seemed to whisper to my inner geekness. Much to my surprise the game has little to do with modern checkers, and is more akin to Pente, and Go. The following is a review of what you get and how to play.
Once the lid is off the box you receive a 4 page set of instructions with very little writing, and excellent illustrations of typical moves. You recieve two set of chess like pawns in white and red. Each set has 30 pawns. Finally you receive a hard back board that folds out to show a grid of 12 by 12 squares.
Now for the game itself. The only simularity to Checkers I can find is that the board has squares and you can jump over a piece. That is the only things in common with Checkers. Mind you, not only when you jump over a enemy piece that you DO NOT remove the enemy piece, but that you can jump from any adjacent space, not only from diagonals. Also you only can jump once, not multiple times as in Checkers. So, how do you remove a opponent's piece? You place your pieces directly to each side of his, much like Pente, but only if piece is singular.
Since the rules are so small, I will print them here in this review.
COHORTS: THE GAME OF ROMAN CHECKERS
COHORTS is one of the world's oldest board games. The ancient Egyptions called it Tau; the Romans, ludus laturnculorum or "the games of robbers." It is bigger and llows more variation than ordinary checkers but is simpler than chess. An average game of COHORTS takes longer than a game of checkers but less time than a chess game. The rules of COHORTS were reconstructed in the 1890s from literary allusions and archaeological remains, by Edward Falkener, a British games enthusiast.
COHORTS is played on a square game board, like a checkerboard but having twelvesquares on a side. Eahc player has thirty pieces. At the start, these pieces ar arranged on alternate square in the five rearmost rows. (NOTES from this reviewer: To do this right one player should set his pieces up and the other player do the same so each would have 3 pieces on the left most 5 rows.)
Players can determine which moves first in any of the usual ways, for instance by guessing in which fist the opponet has a piece hidden.
Each player moves one and only one piece in turn, through one single move. The piece may be moved one space, into an unoccupied adjacent square, in ANY direction: forward, back , to the side, or diagonally. Pieces are not confined, as they are in checkers, to squares of one color.
When a piece is in a square adjacent (in any direction) to that of a opposing piece, and the square on the far side of the opposing piece is vacant, the first piece may leap over its opponent into the square on the far side, whether the leap is back and forth, sideways or diagonal. The hostile peices is not, however captured by this move. A piece may not leap over a piece on its own side, nor may it moke more than one leap over a piece on its own side, nor may it make more than one leap per move.
A hostile piece is captured whenever a player makes a move that places two of his men on opposite sides of a hostile piece, in adjacent squares, so that the three pieces forms a straight line in any direction.
If a move results in placing tow hostile pieces between pairs of one's own pieces, both hostile pieces are captured at once.
If a player deliberately moves one of his pieces between two of his opponent's, he does NOT lose the piece. If, however, the move also places one of the opponent's pieces beween tow of the player's, the opponent lose his piece.
The game continues until one player loses all his men or resigns. Players will find it expedient to keep thier pieces solidly bunched. A scattered formation soon succumbs to one more closely arrayed. Other principles of attack and defense will become apparent as a player gains experience.
THAT minus the illustrations and text supporting the illustrations is the complete game instructions. I found the game play to be paced in the manner of Chess or Go. I suggest moves to be made with a time limit or 30 seconds or gameplay can become tiresome. The setup reminded me of two Roman republic armies squaring off against each other. It is a step up or two from checkers, but without the speed and dynamics of jumping found in Checkers. To even call this game Checkers is VERY misleading.
I enjoy Chess and rate it a 8. I love GO and rate it a 10. Checkers I rate a 5. This game fall between the above, as a 8. I hope this helps others to make thier own decisions about COHORTS based on thier own taste of other games of this sort.
I realize this was posted years ago, but I like the custodial capture mechanic.
The only thing is the game slows a bit early as you must creat phalnaxes for safety sake.
Has anyone tried it where you can multi jump your own pieces?
Thank you for posting the rules. It looks as though these rules could be used with a regular checkers set for a smaller but interesting game.