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Tabletop Game / Makruk

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Makruk is how Chaturanga evolved in Southeast Asia, and is the closest extant game to the original.

  • King (called Khun) moves like in Chess.
  • Queen (called Met) moves one square diagonally.
  • Bishop (called Khon) moves one square diagonally or one square forward, like the silver general in Shōgi.
  • Knight (called Maa) moves like in Chess.
  • Rook (called Ruea) moves like in Chess.
  • Pawn (called Bea) starts on the third rank, moves one square forward, captures one square diagonally. It's promoted on the sixth rank to moves one square diagonally (like the queen).

Once all pawns are promoted or captured, checkmate must be achieved within sixty-four moves or the game is a draw. Once all one side's pieces save the King are captured, the game is drawn if checkmate is not achieved within a certain number of moves:

  • If there are two rooks left: 8 moves
  • If there is one rook left: 16 moves
  • If there are no rooks left, but there are two bishops: 22 moves
  • If there are no rooks or bishops left, but there are two knights: 32 moves
  • If there are no rooks left, but there is one bishop: 44 moves
  • Otherwise: 64 moves

See also Chess, Xiangqi, and Shōgi.


Sittuyin, or Burmese Chess, is clearly related to Makruk, as the pieces all have the same moves. However, the game starts with the pawns already in place (the four pawns on your left are on your third rank while those on your right are on your fourth rank). You and your opponent then take turns placing your other pieces. Also, pawns promote on your opponent's side of the long diagonal; it takes a whole turn and can only be done if your General (Queen) is slain.

Makruk contains examples of:

  • Decapitated Army: Checkmate means an instant loss for the receiving player, independently of any advantages they might have at the moment.
  • Field Promotion: When a pawn reaches the sixth rank, it becomes a more powerful promoted pawn which is functionally identical to the queen.
  • Timed Mission:
    • When there is no unpromoted pawn left on the board, the disadvantaged player may invoke the counting rule. If the advantaged player cannot achieve checkmate within 64 moves, the game ends with a draw.
    • If the disadvantaged player only has a king, they may start counting (or restart the previous counting) depending on the advantaged player's remaining pieces. For example, if both rooks remain on the board, the advantaged player must achieve checkmate in 8 moves.
  • War Elephants: The bishop represents an elephant fighting on a battlefield, charging forward and kicking with its feet (diagonal moves).

Alternative Title(s): Sittuyin