This article originally appeared in Pyramid #7

By Jeff Koke


Triunetm is a game of strategy and skill with the flavor of the classic board games of ancient Rome or Greece. Its name means "three with one," and its design combines the simplicity of checkers with the strategic depth of chess. Like both those games, it can provide two opponents with unlimited games, unlimited variations . . . and unlimited enjoyment.

The Board

The game is played on a standard 8x8 grid, like chess or checkers. The only differences are the four corners of the board, which are special squares and will be discussed later. Each player sets up his 16 pieces on the first two rows of his side (like in chess), with the pieces solid-side-up. The players can decide who goes first. The object of the game is take your opponent's pieces; you win when your opponent has only one piece left on the board.

The Pieces

Each piece has two sides, one solid and one with the Triune logo. The pieces have different types of movement based on which side is facing up. As the game progresses, players will flip their pieces over to show the other side. The pieces can be flipped over any number of times during the game, but a player may not flip a piece and move a piece in the same turn.

Game Play

The players take turns moving their pieces in an attempt to capture their opponent's pieces. When the piece is solid side up, it can move 1 square in any direction (including diagonally). When the marked side is up, it must move 3 squares in any direction (in a straight line). Marked pieces cannot move less than three squares, unless their move takes them to an edge of the board, in which case they move until they stop. However, this works only for movement; an opponent's piece cannot be taken by a move of less than 3. No piece may move through or over another piece on either side.

If a player wishes, he can flip one of his pieces over instead of moving one. Flipping one piece over counts as one whole turn. Nothing else can be done on that turn. Any piece may be flipped any number of times throughout the game.

To capture an enemy piece, move onto it and remove it, as in chess. The opponent's piece must be in a square that the player would land on at the end of his move. You cannot take a piece by moving over it or through it.

If a player manages to get a piece to one of his opponent's corners (the two marked squares at the corners on the other side of the board), that piece becomes a Triune, which is a piece that can move either one or three squares in a turn. To create a Triune, simply place a spare piece of the same color on top of the piece in the corner.


One interesting strategy, first tried by Steve Jackson, is what I like to call "Pummel the Corners." Basically, you flip all of your front row pieces, one at a time, and attack the opponent's corners. Of course, you lose a lot of pieces this way, but so does your opponent, and he loses them in the corners, a fairly vulnerable spot. If your opponent doesn't realize what you are doing soon enough, he may be caught short on defenses. Either way, it's an aggressive strategy, which puts your opponent on the defensive.

Another strategy is one I call "The Trap." With this method, you build a triangle with three of your pieces, all flipped to the marked side. Since each piece is guarded by two of the others, you aren't likely to have any of them taken, but if your opponent moves into any of the squares that your pieces can reach, he'll be in trouble.


It seems almost a cliché when a designer or artist says that an idea came to him in a dream, but that's actually pretty close to how I came up with this game. Trying to fall asleep one night, I started to imagine a chess game in my mind. As my mind began to wander and I began to drift off to sleep, the game changed. The chess pieces became cubes that could be changed (so that a pawn could become a rook, etc.). I realized that this wouldn't work, but then the concept of two-function pieces came to me, round checkers with a mark or design on one side. I realized that an entirely new level of strategy would develop in a game where the pieces could change function from one turn to the next.

The next day, I built a sample board and stuck dots on the backs of poker chips. The rules seemed to develop themselves, and the only addition I made from the first stab at it was to add the extra strategy of trying to reach your opponent's corners. A few weeks of avid playing around the office convinced me that I was not completely crazy in thinking this game was interesting and fun.

When Steve Jackson asked me if I would like to publish it in Pyramid, I jumped at the chance, hoping that this magazine's readership could provide some feedback about the game, strategies and variations. If you have any comments or questions, please write to Jeff Koke, Pyramid Magazine, PO Box 18957, Austin, TX 78760. If the response is favorable, we may produce this as a boxed game.

We hope you enjoy Triune, and Pyramid hopes to bring you more original game designs, abstract or not, in the future.

TRIUNEtm Pieces

With an x-acto knife or a sharp pair of scissors, carefully cut out the circular pieces out of your copy of Pyramid. If you don't want to deface your magazine, you can make copies, or use checkers with red stickers on one side.

Each player should have 16 pieces, with this side down at the start of the game. We have included two extra pieces for each side.

Article publication date: June 1, 1994

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