The board of this game is constructed, using information given in the Starfleet Technical Reference Manual.
The three dimensional board consists of seven different levels. Three of these have size four by four, and have a fixed position; the four others have size two by two and can be moved by the players. The position of the fixed levels looks like a staircase: each next level starts above the third row of the previous level, while the other sides of all fixed levels are parallel. The movable levels find themselves initially above the outermost corners of the upper and lower level; i.e., one of its corner has a corner of the board below it, while the other three corners have no fixed level board below it.
When the movable levels go to a different spot, they will always be above or below a corner of a fixed level, with three squares extending from the level. Note that always black squares are above and below black squares, and white squares are above and below white squares.
side view with fixed and movable levels
The position of the pieces when the game starts is depicted below; the board is `flattened' for ease of display.
Each of the movable levels can be above or below any corner of one of the three fixed levels.
Hence, there can be a movable level below and above the same corner.
Players may, when it is their turn, either move a movable level (under some restrictions), or move a piece.
A player can move a movable level when one of the following conditions is fulfilled (and of course, the move doesn't leave him in check):
When he moves a movable level, there are the following choices, provided the movable level is not moved to a position, already taken by another movable level:
Movement of pieces is similar to that of orthodox chess, but there are two additional rules. First, when we look to the board from above, the piece should be able to make a normal chess move to the square he wants to go to. Secondly, each step taken, the piece can go up or down one or more levels; where going up or down a level always means going from a movable level to a fixed level or vice versa. (Think of it as follows: fixed levels have heights 2, 4 and 6. Movable levels can have heights 1, 3, 5, or 7.) These are the only two additional conditions.
Thus, it is possible that a piece moves over another piece: see the diagram above.
James Dixon wrote about the game:
One will notice that when playing 3D chess it will take a considerable amount of time just to move to the neutral level(the fx-lvls are referred to as the white, neutral, and black levels -- the lower, middle, and upper respectively), in fact longer for black(can the reader guess why?). But after that phase of the game is reached the game can become very complex, very quickly. After a few games one can see how 3D chess can improve starship tactics and inspire three-dimensional thinking (Khan's deficiency and undoing).
Some pictures of this set, and other 3D sets can be found at: Jeff Elmore's site.
Tridimensional Star Trek Chess sets can usually be found on ebay (www.ebay.com). The best way to search for it is to enter "Star Trek Chess" (without the quotes) in the ebay search box. Note: we have no association with ebay, and are not necessarily recommending its use.
Last modified: Sunday, April 1, 2012