The game is played on a 6x6 grid with 'terrain' tiles stacked on every square. The 'board' is the inside of the box that the game comes in. Each player has six pieces: Two fish, two dragons and two samurai. Players take turns to play. To win, you must capture all of your opponents pieces.
On each turn, you can choose one of your pieces to play with.
There are two basic operations that every piece can do:
- Means picking up a terrain tile from any square that is adjacent to the piece you are playing (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) and placing it back onto any other adjacent square.
- You may not place terrain onto squares that are occupied by another pieces.
- You may not remove terrain from squares that contain an enemy piece.
- You can remove terrain from beneath friendly pieces.
- The basic move is one square horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
- You may not climb up more than one vertical step as you move.
- You can drop down as many vertical steps as needed.
- If you are at least TWO steps higher than an adjacent enemy piece then you can move onto that square and capture it.
- Otherwise, you can only move into vacant squares
A "Basic Move" is to either dig, then move...or...move, then dig.
The three types of game-piece each work differently:
- The Samurai
- Can only perform a basic move (ie dig, then move - or move, then dig).
- The Fish
- Can perform a basic move - but has the special ability to move two squares when it moves diagonally. So it can also:
- Dig, then move TWO squares - but only diagonally.
- Move TWO squares, diagonally - then dig.
- The Dragon
- Can perform a basic move - but it has the special ability to exchange either the dig or the move for another operation. So it can:
- Dig twice - but not move.
- Move twice - but not dig.
- Move upwards by two vertical steps instead of one - but not dig.
A stalemate (draw) happens when neither player wishes to move - or if you each undo the other player's move three times in a row.