by Jonathan Leistiko
In early October
the Snoodles and Kleetches
all frolic and muddle
on kriddle-pop beaches.
They feast and they dance
in a great promenade,
then they form into lines
to play games of Blockade!
The Snoodles – they leap!
Oh the Kleetches – they bound!
Hear them chortle with glee
as they jump from the ground.
First a Kleetch wiggles through,
then a Snoodle or two.
When just one team remains,
hear the hullabaloo!
We’re not Snoodles or Kleetches
on a shore far away.
But we stiil can pretend;
Grab a board and let’s play.
To get your pieces across the board and on to the other side before your opponent does.
A backgammon set.
Blockade is played on one-half of a Backgammon board, as divided by the Bar. The other half of the board is not used and can be folded under or used as a rolling surface for your dice.
Each player starts the game with 16 pieces in six rows. Each row starts with three pieces in it, except the outside rows, which start with two.
Choose a player to go first.
Starting with the first player and alternating, each player takes a turn. Your turn consists of the following steps:
1. Choose a row:
All points you roll this turn must be used on checkers that start the turn in this row.
2. Roll a die:
The result of your roll is the number of points you can spend this turn on moving your pieces around and leaping.
3. Move pieces:
Remember, the object of the game is to “leap” your pieces onto the other player’s side of the board and clear off the other edge. Each point you sepnd on a piece in your chosen row may be used to move that piece one row to the left or right or to leap it across the board to freedom. Unspent points disappear at the end of your turn.
A piece that is unobstructed by pieces on the other side of the board needs one point to leap to the other side and one additional point to get off the board. Every obstructing piece adds one to the number of points required. Every supporting piece subtracts .5 from the number of points required.
Example: A red piece supported by three other red pieces is trying to leap to freedom. There is one black piece opposing it. The red player needs two points to get off the board, plus one for the opposing piece, less 1.5 points for supporting pieces; 1.5 points total, which rounds up to two.
Play continues until all pieces controlled by a player have been removed from the board. The game ends immediately unless that player went first, in which case the other player gets one more turn to play.
If the game ends with no pieces on the board, then the game is a draw. If one player has any pieces left on the board, then the other player wins.
If you roll in the roll a die phase, then you must use those points to move. You may choose not to roll during this phase and declare that you’re leaping this turn instead. You get to roll one die for every piece in the row you’ve chosen and your opponent gets to roll one die for every piece in the opposing row, plus one. Your opponent keeps their highest die rolled. You get to move one piece from your row off the board for each die you rolled that is higher than the roll your opponent kept.
During the roll a die phase, roll two dice. Use one for moving from row to row and the other for “leaping”. You choose which die serves which purpose after you roll.
I’ve been wanting to make a game that uses a backgammon board for a long time. It’s really easy to find a chess or checkers variant, but backgammon variants are rather rare. I don’t really know how long it took me to come up with Blockade. I know that the general idea for it was made a few months ago, and I figure that I really got it solidified over about a week. To be honest, I really have no idea.