Derbi (Etrandish: derbi ; IPA: [d̥əɹbɪ]; High Elven: derbi ; IPA: [d̥ɛɾβɪ]; Wood Elven: daqabi ; IPA: [daːβi]) is a two-player strategy board game played on a derbi-board, a checkered gameboard with 100 squares arranged in a ten-by-ten grid. Each player begins with 20 pieces: ten pikemen, two catapults, two archers/ballistae, two knights, two clerics, one king and one queen. Each of these types of pieces moves and attacks differently. Some even have their own special moves.
A commonly believed myth is that derbi was invented by King Hereric III of Etrand - he did not invent it, only contributed greatly to standardizing and popularizing it. Predecessors of Derbi have existed for millennia - as early as the days of the Ancient Lizardman Empire.
It is not known if the game's nameless predecessor was adopted by the Etrandish directly from the Lizardmen or if the game was indirectly adopted, via the High Elves who were much more well-wersed in Ancient Lizardman lore. A similiar game also existed in Froturn, but became largely forgotten by 100 AEKE.
Before the 7th century AEKE, different varierities of the game existed, some with more than 7 types of pieces, others with less, some with a 8x8 or 12x12 grid instead of the current 10x10. At the time, the rules weren't consistent at all. It was King Hereric III, who standardized derbi into the uniform game we know today, with its current pieces, rules and 10x10 grid setup. This set the stage for the game's popularization both inside and outside of Etrand - the King would spend a lot of time playing derbi with his courtiers and with noblemen who had personal business with the King. Foreign emissaries began playing it too, and introduced it to the royal courts of Froturn, Dragoc and Artaburro after their journeys back to their homeland. From the royal courts, it soon spread to the common folk.
After King Hereric III, another prominent Etrandish king with an unusually large amount of fondness for the game was King Bryant I of Etrand.
The goal of the game is to capture the opposing king and clerics. Defeating the king is not enough to win, as the clerics may be used to resurrect the king. The player must make a move (or perform an action) during their turn, as skipping turns is only allowed when none of the pieces could legally move or attack (if resurrection is the only legal move, it would not be compulsory to do so).
Pieces do not capture by displacement - that is, pieces do not capture by moving to the space of their targets and stay in place.
It is important to note that in Dragoc, the Ballista and the Cleric are called Archer and Druid.
The Pikeman is considered the weakest and slowest piece. It moves 1 space orthogonally when not capturing. To capture, it removes any piece that is diagonally adjacent to it, or capturing a piece that’s 2 spaces vertically in front of it if the first square isn’t blocked by another piece. Diagonal captures may be blocked by an adjacent friendly pikeman.
Diagonal attacks are blocked by adjacent friendly pikemen.
Archer / Ballista
The Archer or Ballista moves 1 space orthogonally when not capturing. When capturing, it may take any piece that’s in a horizontal or vertical line, as long as there are no intervening pieces.
The Catapult does not move. It captures another piece if the target piece:
- is behind 1 or more intervening piece(s), vertically.
- 2. touches the intervening piece(s), which must directly or indirectly (through a chain) touch the first intervening piece
- is at least 2 squares away, both horizontally and vertically
- is not more than 7 squares away, either horizontally or vertically
The Knight is considered one of the most powerful pieces, and moves either 1 square diagonally or up to 2 squares orthogonally. It may also capture any piece in that range as long as there are no intervening pieces.
Unlike pikemen, their diagonal captures are not blocked by adjacent friendly pieces.
Cleric / Druid
The Cleric moves 1 square orthogonally but may attack as a knight - in a range of 2 squares orthogonally or 1 square diagonally, as long as there are no intervening pieces.
In addition, the Cleric has the ability to revive dead pieces. Every 2 pieces the cleric captures, the capturing player may use up their turn to resurrect one of their fallen friendly pieces, which may be placed on any vacant square on the board.
A cleric may also be sacrificed to resurrect a friendly piece without needing to capture. The resurrected piece is again put onto any vacant square on the board.
If the player loses both Clerics and the King, the player loses.
The Queen can only move one square per turn - orthogonally - and attack only adjacent hostile pieces - and cannot attack diagonally, making it a weak piece. However, should the Queen get killed, the King will get significantly weakened: he will be able to move and attack only as knights do.
The King starts off moving and capturing 4 squares orthogonally and 3 squares diagonally. In addition, it may even capture (but not move normally) pieces that are blocked by other pieces, as long as they are in his range. However, while the queen is captured, the king can only move or capture as a knight: 2 squares orthogonally or 1 square diagonally, lacking the ability to attack pieces that are blocked by other pieces.
If the King dies and there is no Cleric left either, it means Game Over for the given player.