The description of Co Tuong
The game known by its Vietnamese name Co Tuong or by Chinese name Xiangqi is often referred to as Chinese Chess, being one of the most popular board games in the world. With lots of similarities to chess, Co Tuong has its unique features, so you may find it even more amusing, especially if you’re fond of anything oriental but somehow you missed this one.
There’s no need to explain it to experienced players, so the following goes out to those unfamiliar with the rules of Co Tuong. You can read more detailed description in Wikipedia. In short, it represents a battle of two armies, the way similar to chess. The piece set includes General (standing for King), Advisors (similar to queens but bound to a domain named Palace), Elephants (kind of bishops), Horses (the analog of knights), Chariots (somewhat similar to rooks), Cannons (a version of Chariots) and Soldiers (similar to Pawns). The way they move or capture often differs from chess, but the general idea is quite similar.
Those familiar with oriental board games won’t be surprised that the pieces are positioned in intersections of the lines. Unique are also the River (the line that divides the board, blocking some pieces and changing the way some others move) and the Palace (the zone that King and Advisors can’t leave).
The game is also turn-based, so players make their moves by turns. The mission is to capture the enemy general, making moves according to rules.
The app supports both single-player modes against an AI and two-player mode, with the screen as a digital board. You can select the level of AI as you start a new game.
Well, the game looks just like traditional chess in 2D representation, with one significant difference that applies to the game itself, not to this particular app. The pieces are distinguished by hieroglyphs, not by pictograms like in traditional chess. So it’s harder to tell one from another if you don’t know the hieroglyphs or haven’t at least learned these particular ones. Another significant difference is that similar Red and Black pieces are often marked with different hieroglyphs. This can only be learned too; there’s no logic for those unversed.
The rest is similar to chess as the world knows it. If a Western player gives it some time, the game will get familiar and as easy to learn (but not to master) as any analog.
General Impressions 6/10
The app is obviously done for players familiar with the game itself. It has an English interface, but, alas, no manual. There is only one visual representation that cannot be altered.
When you see you’re about to lose, you can reset the current game and try a different strategy. As well you can start a new game, setting the AI easier or harder. Alas, there’s no online match option.
The app is made decently and able to run on dated or entry-level devices, and it’s free though ad-supported.
The point is whether you like to master new games. If you do, here is the classic one, almost as popular in the world as the chess Western players are used to. Not only Co Tuong is a good board game, but also a great enhancement if you often communicate with Vietnamese and Chinese.26 Feb 2019