Table of Contents

Tile Games


Where I came from, we played a game called Chess. Kress is very much like chess. It is played on a board that has a large, square, central area from which just two narrow areas one segment narrower than the board. The board is divided into a grid of equal size, 12 spaces to a side, 144 spaces in total, with the protrusions having two rows that are ten spaces wide and two spaces deep.

Each side is color coded, and up to four people can play at once. The most common colors are Black, Blue, Brown, and Red. Starting is always determined by the color chosen: Red first, Brown second, Black third, Blue last. The tiles, themselves are two sided, and each player receives 20 tiles.

Tiles are round, marked with a symbol on one side and a different symbol on the other. One face of the tiles is always a white, the other is always a light yellow, with the symbols being emblazoned in the colors for each side.

Each side gets one Crown, one Queen, two Bishops, four Knights, and two Towers. These are the Hearth pieces. Each side also has Field pieces: two Squires, two Merchants, and six Pawns. The Hearth order is always T/K/B/K/Q/C/K/B/K/T. The Field order can be any.

The Crown can move one space. The Queen can move anywhere as long as she is not blocked. Bishops move diagonally. Knights move in a peculiar L pattern of two forward and one to the side. Towers can only move in a straight direction. Squires can move to any square within two of them. Merchants can move to any square within three of them, but not the ones immediately attached to them. Pawns can move one space in any direction.

Crowns are defeated by any Pawn or Queen; they defeat any other piece. Queens are defeated by any Merchant, Knight, or Bishop, they defeat any other piece. The rank of the others determines their defeat or success, with highest first: Bishop, Knight, Squire, Merchant, Pawn. On a defeat, the victor can choose to Hold, or Turn. On a hold, they claim the piece. On a turn, they gain what is on the yellow side. However, if a Turn piece reveals an Envoy, the defeated player gets an additional turn immediately.

A game board will have 144 tiles. The white side will be marked according to the Sides, the obverse will be marked with a random assortment, but always include five Envoys, who never appear on the white side. Yellow sides have two additional pieces, Corsair and Envoy. There are always five Corsairs and Five Envoys. Corsairs can defeat anything but a Knight or a Merchant. Envoys can defeat any piece but a Merchant or a Bishop. The rest of the yellow side pieces are going to be Knights, Merchants, or Pawns. 14 of them will be Knights, 15 will be Merchants, 5 will be Flowers, which halt that piece, as they cannot move, defeat, or be defeated. The rest will be Pawns (100). Each bag will have 2 of each of the Hearth for each color and two each of the Field for each color. The rest of the white faces will be pawns. The markings on the yellow are random within the following limits: no yellow may duplicate its white, no Crown may have a yellow other than a Pawn or a Flower, no yellow/white may duplicate another yellow/white except for Pawns, no Crown may be on yellow, and no white Knight may be a yellow Flower. The making of the tiles is almost always a secret among those who do – and none of them do their tiles in the same way except as per above rules.

Play continues until only one player remains or until only one Crown is left on the board. Notably, there is no checkmate, though there can be a draw, even if it is rare. Kress boards fold up into small boxes that hold the bag with the tiles.


These are small tiles that I once called dominoes and got looked at funny for doing so. It became even more humorous for me because they were playing a game of dominoes. They play both the Block and the Draw forms, with two to four players. One big difference is that no tiles here are double six, and no tiles have a six-pip section. They only go to five, because six is an unlucky number.

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