Sha'rah

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Author: Saerin Alagondar

General

Sha'rah is a complex game, ancient long before the War of Power.

There are thirty-three red pieces and thirty-three green arrayed across a playing surface of thirteen squares by thirteen.

"The first object was capture of the Fisher. Only then did the game truly begin." (TPoD, Prologue)

Several pieces has varying moves, but only the Fisher's attributes alters according to where it stands; on a white square, weak in attack yet agile and far-ranging in escape; on black, strong in attack but slow and vulnerable.

"When masters played, the Fisher changed sides many times before the end. The green-and-red goal-row that surrounded the playing surface could be threatened by any piece, but only the Fisher could move onto it. Not that he was safe, even there; the Fisher was never safe. When the Fisher was yours, you tried to move him to a square of your color behind your opponent's end of the board. That was victory, the easiest way, but not the only one. When your opponent held the Fisher, you attempted to leave him no choice for the Fisher but to move onto your color. Anywhere at all along the goal-row would do; holding the Fisher could be more dangerous than not. Of course, there was a third path to victory in sha'rah, if you took it before letting yourself be trapped. The game always degenerated in a bloody melee, then, victory coming only with complete annihilation of your enemy. He had tried that, once, in desperation, but the attempt had failed. Painfully." (TPoD, Prologue)

The Board

First is the board. We are told that it is a playing surface of alternating black and white square, thirteen rows worth, bordered by a row of green and red, for a total of two hundred twenty-five squares. This makes several boards possible. All four corners are the same color, either red or green. The black and white squares also are cornered by a single corner. Since the colors are important in the movement of the Fisher King, the organization that is used affects the outcome.

The Pieces

In addition to the Fisher, there are thirty-three pieces for each side.

The Fisher

The Fisher is of neither side and of both. He is black and white. He is represented by the figure of a blindfolded man with a hand pressed to his side, a few drops of blood seeping through. Moridin thinks of him as the remnant of a memory of a Rand al'Thor of Ages past. He starts on the central square, and is described as being strong in attack and slow in escape when on a black square, vice versa on a white square.