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Subject: Moveable Bombs rss

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Paul D. Whitehead
United States
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When I have played Stratego rules variations where the Bombs were allowed to move, they were normally required to move and strike DIAGONALLY ONLY. Of course, like all the other moveable pieces, they were not allowed to move onto the lakes. Also, like all the other moveable pieces except the Scouts, they were still limited to moving just one square at a time. However, given enough moves, they could move to ANY of the ten rows or columns on the board, just like any other moveable piece (although any one Bomb could reach only half of the squares). These applied equally to all six Bombs.

When striking (diagonally of course), if a Bomb struck an opposing Bomb, BOTH were lost just like any other case of two equal ranks involved in a strike. If a Bomb struck an opposing Miner, the Bomb was lost, and the Miner stayed where it was. In all other cases, the OPPOSING PIECE struck by the Bomb was lost, and the Bomb moved onto the square that the opposing piece previously occupied. Of course, striking the opposing Flag with a Bomb would win the game, just as with anything else striking it.

Diagonal-only Bomb moves and strikes reduce the power of the six moveable Bombs in at least two ways. First, any Bomb that moves immediately reveals its identity (just as the Scout does when moving more than one square), assuming that all the other moveable pieces move in the usual manner, and are therefore forbidden to move diagonally. (On the other hand, since you start with six Bombs, it is more difficult to lose ALL your top ranks, which are the Bombs, except when a Miner is involved.)

Second, as indicated above, any one of the six Bombs can reach only half of the squares, just like the Bishops in Chess. This means that when setting up your starting position, it is a good idea to place three Bombs so that they can reach one of the two halves of the squares, and the other three Bombs so that they can reach the other of the two halves of the squares. That way, every square on the board can be reached by one set of three Bombs at the beginning of the game, but not the other.

Of course, games where you do not see the ranks of your own pieces at the beginning of the game would have to be an exception to the Bombs moving diagonally only. In such games, since you do not know the identity of your own pieces until they are revealed by a strike, it is clearly necessary that the Bombs and the Flag move and strike in exactly the same manner as all the other pieces. The Reverse Stratego mentioned in another post, where each player's pieces are turned to face the opponent at the beginning of the game, is an example of this.
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