The Chessboard (Guide)

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Pawn.png

The Chessboard is the part of Parabola where the Great Game plays out. It is a source for Justificande Coin, Moves in the Great Game, and Vienna Opening, and the only source for Queen Mate, Epaulette Mate, and Stalemate. It is also a good way to increase A Player of Chess, and the only way to raise A Player's Studies, increasing the cap on A Player of Chess.

Novice[edit]

To reach the Chessboard, you first need a Parabolan Base-Camp. From there, you can Find the Moonlit Chessboard, or Encounter a moonlit chessboard while hunting Parabolan beasts.

Intermediate[edit]

Chesspiece.png

An important thing to consider in each match is what colour you will play. Which options you can take depend on your Advancing the Liberation of Night, and your colour unlocks related options both on the board and elsewhere. You can change colour at the start of each game, but only within the options allowed to you, or remain your current colour regardless of whether it would be allowed. Betray! Destroy! Take white down from the inside! will change your colour to Black, and failing to Turn one of their spies will change your colour to Red.

In your first few matches, you'll want to Follow the movements of the pieces to raise your A Player of Chess. Since it doesn't increase simply by making moves, this is your best way to gain it. In the middle game, it doesn't much matter what moves you make until you have it at a high level. Failing a win will earn you Nightmares, so don't go for it just yet unless you need them for something specific such as the Storm-Bird. If you can accept the Wounds, you might Allow yourself to be sacrificed, ending the game faster and getting a Justificande in the bargain; this is a good move even later on if you mess up something needing a specific result.

Later on, once you have your Chess skills at a decent level, you can start playing to win. The result of the match is found by comparing Positional Advantages to Strategic Weaknesses. If you have more Advantages than Weaknesses, you can choose which kind of checkmate you will go for; otherwise, your only options are Stalemate or Resign.

Master[edit]

Chesspiecebuttered.png

Once you're familiar with the basics of the Game, you can start working toward specific goals on the board. First, try to decide what kind of endgame you want.

Endings
Action Positional Advantages Strategic Weaknesses Total Score1
Resign Any Any Any
Choose an epaulette mate At least 1 2 Any Positive
Choose a queen mate At least 1 2 Any Positive
Stalemate At least 1 At least 1 2 Exactly zero
Recognise new possibilities in the depth of your loss Any At least 7 Any
Recognise new possibilities in the height of your win At least 23 At most 6 At least 17 2

1 Your score is your Positional Advantages-Strategic Weaknesses.

2 Not a strict requirement, but computed from other requirements.

With this in mind, you can start tailoring your strategy toward specific endings.

You have two opening moves before you reach the midgame.

  • You can gain Vienna Opening by spending Vital Intelligence, or by having a Shrine to Saint Joshua. Vital Intelligence will gain you more Openings, but the Midnighter's Opening costs only time. Each Opening can be spent in the opening moves of a game (including future games) for +4 score.
  • Following the movements of the pieces can increase your chess skills, and possibly gain you an Incisive Observation, at the cost of -1 score. It's only suggested if you need to improve your game, or if you're deliberately playing to lose.
  • If you don't have any Openings to spend and aren't interested in gaining any, Open with a familiar move is strictly better than the other options, though with the retirement of social chess, it is now permanently off-limits to characters who do not have enough mastery. Of the default openings, White has the best (potential +3), Red second-best (potential +1) and Black the worst (potential +0). Such are the privileges of the Establishment, and the perils of the Liberation.

Once in the midgame, you have five moves before the game ends.

  • If your chess skills are poor and you have Moves in the Great Game to spend, you can get +1 with a move you know will work. Vital Intelligence can also get you +7.
  • Playing aggressively will gain you +3 on a success and -3 on a failure. A Crooked-Cross or Licentate can use their special moves for the same benefit, risking only -1 and Wounds or a forced change of color.
  • If you have been The Boatman's Opponent for a long time, his move will gain you +5 or -5.
  • If you have too many Weaknesses for your intended goal, playing defensively will remove one. It will not gain you any Advantages. If you are a member of the Society of the Three-Fingered Hand, you can set your Weaknesses to 0 at your final move.
  • When playing to lose as Black or White, you can sabotage your own side for -3. You can also use your people however proves necessary to gain Moves in the Great Game at the cost of -1 and a Justificande Coin.
  • If your goal is unreachable, allowing yourself to be sacrificed will reset the game and give you a Justificande Coin as consolation. This is not counted as a loss, so if you're playing to lose you shouldn't do this.

Grand Master[edit]

Boatman.png

This section is for specific calculations.

Can I Still Win?[edit]

You can (theoretically) win using only the listed move as long as your score is at least the number listed. Whether you can actually win depends on your luck and level of A Player of Chess, so use your judgement.

Caption
Using Move... 5 Moves Left 4 Moves Left 3 Moves Left 2 Moves Left 1 Move Left
Take advantage of your Intelligence1 (+7) -34 -27 -20 -13 -6
Play a move you learned from the Boatman (+5) -24 -19 -14 -9 -4
Play aggressively, Turn one of their spies2, Kill another of your kind, in passing2 (+3) -14 -11 -8 -5 -2
Make a move you know will work1,Play defensively3 (+1) -4 -3 -2 -1 0
Use your people however proves necessary1 (-1) 6 5 4 3 2
Sabotage your side (Black), Sabotage your side (White) (-3) 16 13 10 7 4

1 Costs an item.

2 Requires a specific Profession.

3 Only if you already have at least one Positional Advantages.

A Strategic Loss[edit]

In order to reach A Player's Studies 1, you need to lose substantially. You need 7 Strategic Weaknesses. Simply Follow the movements of the pieces to gain 2. There are a few different ways to gain the other 5:

Remember that if you Allow yourself to be sacrificed, you will not see the endgame and cannot trade in your loss.

A Great Triumph[edit]

In order to reach A Player's Studies 2, you need to win your match overwhelmingly. You need 23 Positional Advantages and no more than 6 Strategic Weaknesses. To get your 23 Advantages, assuming that your opening moves succeed:

  • Spending 2 Vienna Opening will get you +8 regardless of colour, leaving 15. This will allow you to succeed using only +3 moves. If you can get A Player of Chess to 8, Play aggressively is automatic.
  • Spending 1, you can start at +5-7 unless you play Black, leaving 16-18. White will need to succeed in a +5 move. Red will need to succeed in 2, or spend Vital Intelligence.
  • Spending 1 as Black, you will start at +4, leaving 19. You need to succeed in two +5 moves, or spend Vital Intelligence.
  • Spending 0, you can start at +2-6 unless you play Black, leaving 17-21. White still needs to succeed in a +5 move. Red needs to succeed in 3, succeed in 1 and spend 1 Intelligence, or spend 2 Intelligence.
  • Spending 0 as Black, you start at 0 and need to earn all 23 points in the mid-game. This requires four +5 moves, two +5 moves and 1 Intelligence, or 2 Intelligence.

Recovering from a failed +3 move requires 1 Vital Intelligence or two +5 moves, and two failed +3 moves requires a +5 move and 1 Vital Intelligence. Recovering from a failed +5 move requires 3 Vital Intelligence. Recovering from more than this is not possible.

If you are willing to commit to spending two Surmise.png Vital Intelligence, play as white and start by Open according to accepted best practices and then anything else (the choice should not matter; just don’t spend your Surmise.png Vital Intelligence). In the midgame Play Aggressively three times. If you fail two or more checks at any point (except the one you wasted to leave the early game), sacrifice yourself and start over. But if you have succeeded in all or all but one check by the time you reach Pawnblack.png Progress on the Board 5, spend your Surmise.png Vital Intelligence by Taking Advantage of Your Intelligence twice. This will take you to exactly 23 Pawn.png Positional Advantages with the minimal amount of echoes/RNG involved.

Forcing a Stalemate[edit]

Stalemates are somewhat tricky as well, since you need to have a score of exactly zero. If you're aiming for a stalemate, you need to carefully plan your actions. Make sure you can pass every A Player of Chess challenge that your plan calls for.

The mathematics of the board are such that you can only produce a stalemate if you begin the middle game with either an odd score or zero with no Weaknesses. This requires you to have an opening move with an even score, and play an odd-score move with your other opening move.

The following sequences have a total score of zero, and any combination of them them will produce a zero game. Keep in mind that in order to actually count as a stalemate, you must have at least one positive move other than Play defensively.

Cheesemonger's Gambit (costs 1 Vienna Opening, requires Black or White)

  1. Follow the movements of the pieces (-1)
  2. Open with a strong move (+4)
  3. Sabotage your side (-3)

Irrigo Veil Opening (either requires Shrine to Saint Joshua, Traces of Veils the Intriguer, or Black; or costs 1 Vital Intelligence)

  1. Use a "do nothing" move (Recognize an opening, Recognise an opening because of your professional affiliations, Search for a sign of your enemy, Mirror white's opening) (+0)
  2. Follow the movements of the pieces (-1) or use another "do nothing" move (+0)
  3. Play defensively (+1, or +0 if no Weaknesses are in play)

Down the Well (costs 1 Justificande Coin)

  1. Use your people however proves necessary (-1)
  2. Play defensively (+1)

Slaughterhouse Offense (costs 3 Justificande Coin)

  1. Play aggressively (+3)
  2. Use your people however proves necessary (-1)
  3. Use your people however proves necessary (-1)
  4. Use your people however proves necessary (-1)

Contrarian's Deadlock (requires White or Black)

  1. Play aggressively (+3)
  2. Sabotage your side (-3)

Overview Table[edit]

This section contains tables outlining the moves available on The Chessboard

  • All non-Endgame options increase Pawnblack.png Progress on the Board unless noted otherwise
  • Required items are consumed unless noted otherwise or profession/reward items
  • Failures are not noted to avoid cluttering table
  • Choosing a colour isn't noted to avoid cluttering table
  • All Endgame options reset the board

The New Game (Pawnblack.png Progress 1-2)

Move Requirements Challenge Pawn.png Advantages Pawnblack.png Weaknesses Notes
Mirror white's opening Chesspiece.png Colour 2 (Playing Black) Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 4 0 0
Open according to accepted best practices Chesspiece.png Colour 3 (Playing White) Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 3 3 0 Only with progress 1
Play a novel approach Chesspiece.png Colour 1 (Playing Red) Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 3 1 0
Open with a strong move Pawn.png 1 x Vienna Opening None 4 0
Recognize an opening Surmise.png 1 x Vital Intelligence None 0 0 Doesn't increase Pawnblack.png Progress
Pawn.png 6 x Vienna Opening
Follow the movements of the pieces None Owl.png Watchful 200 0 1 +2 CP Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess, more on rare success
Recognise an opening because of your professional affiliations Joshuashrine.png Shrine to Saint Joshua (Midnighter) None 0 0 Pawn.png 1 x Vienna Opening

The Middle Game (Pawnblack.png Progress 3-7)

Move Requirements Challenge Pawn.png Advantages Pawnblack.png Weaknesses Notes
Contemplate a losing position Pawnblack.png Weaknesses > Pawn.png Advantages None 0 0 Doesn't increase Pawnblack.png Progress
+1 CP Sidebarnightmares.png Nightmares
Contemplate a perfectly equal position Pawnblack.png Weaknesses = Pawn.png Advantages None 0 0 Doesn't increase Pawnblack.png Progress
Contemplate a winning position Pawnblack.png Weaknesses < Pawn.png Advantages Cardfan.png 50% 0 0 Doesn't increase Pawnblack.png Progress
-1 CP Sidebarnightmares.png Nightmares on success
Make a move you know will work Chesspiece.png 1 x Moves in the Great Game None 1 0
Play aggressively None Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 4 3 0
Play defensively None Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 5 0 -1 -1 CP Sidebarwounds.png Wounds on alternative success
Play a move you learned from the Boatman Boatman.png The Boatman's Opponent 40
Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 2
Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 7 5 0
Turn one of their spies Cross.png A Crooked Cross (Crooked-Cross) Fox.png Persuasive 200 3 0
Kill another of your kind, in passing Aliaslist.png A List of Aliases, Writ in Gant (Licentiate)
Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 2
Bear.png Dangerous 200 3 0
Use your people however proves necessary Currency1 silver.png 1 x Justificande Coin None 0 1 Chesspiece.png 2 x Moves in the Great Game
Sabotage your side (Black) Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 2
Chesspiece.png Colour 2 (Black)
None 0 3 -3 CP Liberationofnight.png Advancing the Liberation of Night
Sabotage your side (White) Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 2
Chesspiece.png Colour 3 (White)
None 0 3 +3 CP Liberationofnight.png Advancing the Liberation of Night
Allow yourself to be sacrificed Pawnblack.png Progress 5 None 0 0 Currency1 silver.png 1 x Justificande Coin
Resets the chessboard
Take advantage of your Intelligence Surmise.png 1 x Vital Intelligence None 7 0
Obliterate your weaknesses Master2.png Society of the Three-Fingered Hand (Ambition: Bag a Legend!)
Pawnblack.png Progress 7
None 0 Removes all

The Endgame (Pawnblack.png Progress 8)

End Result Requirements Challenge Rewards Notes
Choose an epaulette mate Pawn.png Advantages > Pawnblack.png Weaknesses Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 7 Chesspiecebuttered.png 1 x Epaulette Mate
Pawn TC.png ??? x Well-Placed Pawn
+1 CP Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess
Pawn TC.png Pawns scale with Chesspiece.png Player of Chess
Choose a queen mate Pawn.png Advantages > Pawnblack.png Weaknesses Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 5 Chesspiece.png 1 x Queen Mate
Pawn TC.png ??? x Well-Placed Pawn
+1 CP Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess
Pawn TC.png Pawns scale with Chesspiece.png Player of Chess
Stalemate Pawn.png Advantages = Pawnblack.png Weaknesses None Pawnred.png 1 x Stalemate
Force a Stalemate ??? None Pawnred.png 1 x Stalemate
Resign None None None
Recognise new possibilities in the depth of your loss Pawnblack.png Weaknesses 7
No Chesspiece.png A Player's Studies
None Chesspiece.png A Player's Studies 1
(Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess cap becomes 6)
Recognise new possibilities in the height of your win Pawn.png Advantages 23
Pawnblack.png Weaknesses < 7
Chesspiece.png A Player's Studies 1
None Chesspiece.png A Player's Studies 2
(Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess cap becomes 7)
Betray! Destroy! Take white down from the inside! Liberationofnight.png Advancing the Liberation of Night
Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 4
Chesspiece.png Colour 3 (White)
Flames.png 1 x Favours: Revolutionaries
+5 CP Flames.png Renown: Revolutionaries
None +5 CP Liberationofnight.png Advancing the Liberation of Night
-5 CP Quirksteadfast.png Steadfast
Chesspiece.png Colour changes to 2 (Black)
Betray! Destroy! Take black down from the inside! Chesspiece.png A Player of Chess 4
Hillmover.png 1 x Hillmover
Chesspiece.png Colour 2 (Black)
Pawn.png 3 x Favours: The Great Game None -?? CP Liberationofnight.png Advancing the Liberation of Night
-5 CP Quirksteadfast.png Steadfast
Chesspiece.png Colour changes to 3 (White)