an old hunt
game from China
Subjugatio Rebellium is an old Chinese hunt game. One side
plays the General (red marble) and the other side plays the Rebel soldiers
(yellow marbles). The General and Rebels move by shifting along a marked
line to an adjacent empty hole. The Rebels can only move in the direction of the
Privy (triangle), or up and down. The General can move in all directions, but
may also remain on the same square, provided that he is surrounded (he can
then make a static capture). The object for the Rebels is to drive the
General to the Privy and force him to the apex, in which case the Rebels win.
Rebels may not capture. The object for the General is to get behind the Rebels,
in which case he shall be regarded the winner (reaching the bottom of the
board is the only win-condition). The General captures by two methods (1)
static intervention: the General remains in place and removes two enemy
stones that surround him, either vertically or horisontally (to make this
capture, simply lift and drop the General). This capture can only be executed
when the General is wholly surrounded and lacks freedoms, as in the initial
position. Also a cornered General can capture by static intervention (2)
deferred intervention: the General captures the pieces perpendicular
to the movement direction, as he moves away.
The Rebels should
approach the General in an effort to drive him into the Privy. In order to
achieve this the Rebels must be prepared to sacrifice pieces. Zillions does
not play well with the Rebels, but it doesn't matter since the Rebels should
be handled by the human player, as it is much more challenging. With these
rules, it is a surprisingly good and well-balanced hunt game. The Rebels win,
but with heavy losses. Note! A simpler alternative is to allow the
Rebels to move in all directions, which is also a good game, although it makes
the Rebels' task simpler. In this case, the General wins by capturing a
sufficient number of Rebels, so that only eight Rebels remain, for instance. The
win-condition is different while the game isn't constantly progressing.
Rebellium is described in Thomas Hyde's seventeenth century
book. The rules, written in Latin, have been interpreted by
Robert Reid. The deferred intervention capture is a suggestion of
mine. In his book, Hyde clearly defines the static intervention capture.
Evidently, deferred intervention capture is related to the static version. It's
the same pieces that are captured, namely those that surround the General where
it is positioned. So this is probably the type of capture that he meant, rather
than normal intervention capture. In both cases it is the "from"
square which defines which pieces are to be captured. Thus, the General can only
capture pieces by being between them, not going between them.
The rule of deferred intervention capture is substantiated by the fact that we
are told that the General 'semper facit' ("always does so" - captures,
i.e.). In this sense, capture is compulsory as it is automatic, but not in the
sense of modern checkers.
intervention capture. The General can capture two
horisontally or vertically, and remain in place.
capture. In this example, the General
captures the two pieces above and
below, by moving to the right.
Alternative variant: In this difficult (but probably not authentic)
variant, static intervention capture can be executed also when the
General is not surrounded. Normal intervention capture is here used (pieces
surrounding the "to" square are captured). The object for the
Rebels is to drive the General to the Privy (triangle) or to stalemate the
General in a corner. The Rebels win if the entrance to the Privy is closed while
the General is inside. Rebels may not capture and may not enter the Privy. The
object for the General is to capture enough Rebels so they can't force him into
the Privy. The General wins if there are only 8 Rebels left or the General
manages to reach the bottom of the board (opposite to the Privy). The General
captures by intervention, stepping beside two stones, either horisontally or
vertically, in which case both stones are removed. The General may also remain
in place provided that he can remove two enemy pieces that surround him, either
vertically or horisontally (to make this capture, simply lift and drop the
General). Capture moves are mandatory. Note that in this variant the Rebels can
also win by stalemating the General in a corner at the right side of the board.
Reid, R. 'Thomas Hyde's Subjugatio Rebellium: An Attempted Clarification
of the Rules' (here)
Hyde, T. (1694). De Ludis Orientalibus.
download my free Subjugatio Rebellium program
2012-05-03), but you must own the software
Zillions of Games
to be able to run it (I recommend the download version).
© Mats Winther (April 2012).