From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Jacob Davenport
Pikemen game
Defend your pieces from jousting pikemen!
:Players Players: 2 - 4
:Time Length: unknown
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 5 (fewer with more players)
Number of colors: 1 per player
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 1 per player
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Setup time: 2 minutes
Playing time:
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics:
Theme: jousting
BGG Link: [1]
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 1997

Pikemen is a chess-like Icehouse game with simple rules and some interesting resulting strategies. It is commonly played on a chessboard, but can also be an absolute blast when played on strange boards.

Setup[edit | edit source]

2-Player Setup[edit | edit source]


3-player setup[edit | edit source]


4-player setup[edit | edit source]


Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Movement[edit | edit source]

  • Each turn, the active player may do one of two things:
  • Reorient a pyramid to face one of the eight compass directions, or
  • Cause a pyramid to charge in the direction it is already pointing.
  • The charging pyramid may travel any number of empty spaces.
  • It must stop before it enters a space with a pyramid of its own color, and it must stop on a space occupied by a capturable pyramid.
  • At the end of the movement, the player may orient the pyramid to point in any of the 8 directions (in an attack position) or to stand the pyramid upright (in a defense position).
  • Turns rotate clockwise.

Capturing[edit | edit source]

  • Pyramids lying down, no matter what their size, are vulnerable to attack by an opponent's pyramid of any size.
  • Pyramids standing up are in defensive position and may only be captured by a bigger piece.
  • Large pyramids standing up are, as a result, invulnerable.

Points and Game End[edit | edit source]

  • Captured pyramids are permanently out of the game. They are collected by the player who captured them and are worth points equal to the pip-size of the pyramid.
  • The game ends when one player has captured 12 points' worth of pieces.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

An interesting property of Pikemen is the dichotomy between attacking and defending. An attacking piece has very little defensive value, since any other piece can capture it, yet it must become vulnerable in order to threaten an opponent's pieces. A defending piece, being upright, cannot attack at all, but can only be captured by a limited number of pieces; 3-point pieces cannot be captured at all while upright. A player who creates a strong attack formation will be exposed to counterattacks, and a player who plays very defensively will be slow in acquiring points. This creates an interesting balance between aggressive and cautious play styles.

A common and obvious strategy in Pikemen, as well as Chess, is pinning. An upright piece cannot be reoriented if it is being pointed at by another piece, lest it be captured. A 3-point piece can be immobilized by a 1-pointer, but only as long as the 1-pointer is there. Pinning is commonly resisted via counterattacking the pinning piece.

It gives you a definite advantage to have as many 3-pointers mobile as possible. The game is all about points, and 3-pointers are the best way to rack up points. Each pinned 3-pointer is diminished in its ability to apply offensive pressure to your opponent.

The Rock/Paper/Scissors variant[edit | edit source]

An optional capturing rule where 3-pointers can not capture upright 1-pointers and 1-pointers can capture upright 3-pointers. All other rules are exactly the same. The effect is like that in the game of rock/paper/scissors: Each type of piece is superior to one of the other types of pieces and vulnerable to the third.

Criticism[edit | edit source]

Some people exposed to the game have criticized it for being called "Pike-men" in a era when gender neutrality is in fashion. Suggestions for alternative names are currently being collected.

History[edit | edit source]

It was originally known as "IceChess" but the name was changed to avoid confusion with Martian Chess.

External Links[edit | edit source]

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