Banqi (Dark chess)

May 19, 2022
Banqi (Dark chess)
At an international new year’s party in Japan, I met a Taiwanese woman. Later, we went to some places with other people from the party. She told me about this game.
All pieces are mixed together and randomly put on a board, filling all spaces, and turned upside down. Players take turns turning them over moving them. There are 2 colors: red and black. The first player gets assigned the color of the piece they first turn over. The goal is to capture the opponents general.
Unlike other chess games, each game is different depending on the random distribution of pieces at the start. So it’s a nice little game that makes things a little more even for players of differing skills.
The biggest challenge for me was recognizing and remembering the characters on each piece and their rank. Basically, a piece cannot capture the other pieces that are higher in rank.
I downloaded an app to get a sense of how it’s played. I practiced until I could win against the computer opponent. Then I played against the woman. She was surprised at how well I could play on the first day of learning. But I still lost against her most of the time. In the following days, I played more on the app and got better. I only had one other chance to play with her.
I was reminiscing about it today with another friend. I couldn’t remember how to play it. But while writing this ship it, I started remembering. I may download the app again and give it another go.