Rithmomachy is a game that fell from grace about 500 years ago,
displaced by modern Chess. There are no definitive
rules, and even the most authoritative sources were little more than
outlines of the game play. Yet, the essence of the game is
clear, and it is vastly alien when compared to modern games.
The common elements in all the descriptions are these.
- The board is a double chess board, 16x8
- The pieces have a particular set of numbers, which
were significant to natural philosophers (or maybe better described as
- Captures and Winning combinations depend on the
certain mathematical relationships between the pieces.
Modern reconstructions disagree about many other
details. The rules of the game given here were
selected to make a game that's playable by modern players with much
less time on their hands than the ancient sages who once played it.
Rithmomachy is a very difficult and subtle game, see
The bots are very good at detecting quick captures and Glorious
victories, but lack long term strategy.