Alea Evangelii

A Saxon Game

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Alea Evangelii is a Saxon game, probably derived from the Norse game Hnefetafl. It is thought to represent a sea battle, with the king's fleet attempting to break out against a superior attacking fleet.

The object of the game is to capture the defender's king, or to get the king to escape by reaching a board edge.

All pieces move in a straight line along a row or column (no diagonals, much as a rook moves in chess). The light square in the center is called the "king's square", and only the king may land on it, although any piece may move over it. Pieces may not be jumped. Ordinary pieces (but not the king) are captured by being bracketed (called custodial capture) by two enemy pieces across from each other. The king's square can also be used (in place of a piece) to capture the king, although the king may not be used to capture. A piece may safely move between two enemy pieces, though; only the moving player may capture.

The king may be captured by being surrounded on all four sides by enemy pieces or the king's square.

The attacker moves first.