Asalto is a development of Fox and Geese (here) that is popular in Europe; in Germany, France, England, and Sweden. It bears some resemblance to Halma. In England this game is also called Officers and Sepoys after the Indian revolt in 1857-58 when Indian troops (Sepoys) revolted against their British officers. The Soldiers should be prepared to sacrifice themselves in order to divert the Officers from the defence of the fortress. It is a challenging task for the Soldiers player. The Officers make the first move.
In the classic version the pieces are obliged to follow the pattern on the board. This pattern restricts piece movement and occurs on Asalto boards from the 18th century. The object of the attacking Soldiers is to occupy the Fortress (the lower nine holes) or to surround the two defending Officers so they can’t move. Unlike the Officers the Soldiers cannot move backwards. The object of the Officers is to capture enough Soldiers so they can’t occupy all nine positions in the fortress.
The Officer moves to any empty, adjacent hole. If an adjacent hole is occupied by a Soldier and the hole directly behind is vacant, then the Officer must jump over it and capture it, as in checkers. Several Soldiers may be captured like this in a single turn. Capture is mandatory. The Soldier steps diagonally and orthogonally down, left, or right. It can’t capture. Remember that you can add or remove Soldiers from the initial position so that it reflects your playing strength. Other names for this game are Belägringsspel, Fästningsspel, Bären und Hunde, Rävar och Får.
In the German version the Soldier steps straight down or diagonally down. It may only move left or right at the lowest side of the arms (otherwise it would be stuck there). This variant seems the most difficult for the Soldiers.
I have also invented a new variant which does not utilize the Alquerque board pattern and where diagonal movement for the Officers is thus unrestricted. In this version the Soldier side has even more pieces. Soldiers move only orthogonally and not backwards. It is played on a solitaire board, as below.
☛ You can download my free Asalto program here (updated 2014-05-09), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it.
© Mats Winther 2005