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Chess Academy

FAQ
NES 1991

Version: 1.0

BASICS
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The game is a mix between Chinese Chess and Mahjong. It uses the Chinese Chess
pieces and has some very basic Mahjong rules. You do not need to know (about)
either game to be able to play this one.


Controls:
`````````

Left     Takes the discarded piece when your turn.
B        Takes a new piece from the wall when your turn.
A        Steal a piece to win, declares a winning hand.
SELECT   Switches between Exercise and Match mode on the main menu.


Display:
````````
Each side of the table is occupied by a player. The human play (i.e. YOU) is
sitting at the south end. The center has a box that contains the score.
Everyone starts at 0. The small red circle next to one of the players is the
currently active one. It is shown both in the center as well as next to the
player's pieces. Later on you will see a small yellow diamond-shape icon next
to the player's score. This means that player is the current dealer. It goes
around in a circle and affects scoring.


CHESS ACADEMY
===============================================================================

Chinese Chess is played with similar tiles than Western Chess. There are 7
pieces for each side. They use different characters but have the same meaning.
Study the chart below before continuing.


   *    *        *     *
 * *   ****    ****  *****
****  *  *     *  *  * * *
   * ****      *  *  * * *
****     *     ****  * * *             General (note that the red character is
 * * ******    *     * * *                      wrong in the game, but you can
*  *     *     ****  * * *                      still make out which one it is)
*  *  *  *     *  *  * * *
*  *   * *     *  *  * * *
*  *    *      ****    *

     *            *    *
     *           *     *
     *          **     *
     *         * *     *
***********      * *********           Mandarin
     *           *     *
     *           *     *
     *           *     *
     *           *  *******
 *********       *

   ******        *
  *    *        ***  *******
 *********       *   *     *
**   *   *      ***  *******
 *********     * * * *     *           Elephant
   *          *  *   *******
  * *            *   *     *
 *  ** *         *   *******
*  *  *          *   *     *
  *  * *         *
    * * **                  
       **

     *            *    *
***********      * *********
     *          **     *
 *********       *  *******
 *   *   *       *  *  *  *            Chariot
 *********       *  *******
     *           *     *
***********      * *********
     *           *     *
     *           *     *

***********      * ***********
*    *          *  *    *
*********      **  *********
*    *          *  *    *
*********       *  *********           Horse
*    *    *     *  *    *    *
************    *  ************
          *     *            *
* * * *   *     *  * * * *   *
 * * * * *      *   * * * * *

  *               *    *
 ********       * * * *******
*        *      * ** *       *
 ***     *      * *   ***    * 
 * *     *        *   * *    *         Cannon
 ***    *         *   ***   *
 *                *   *
 *               * *  *
 *       *       * *  *      *
  *******       *   *  ******

     *                  **
***********           **
  *     *          ***
 * *   * *        *
*   * *   *       ***********          Soldier
     *            *      *
***********       *      *
     *           **************
     *              *     *
     *             *       *

Each match contains 31 pieces. 4 Soldiers, 1 General and 2 for the rest. They
are stacked in the wall at the center. Before the game begins, the starter is
drawn by using the wind direction pieces, similar as in the Mahjong board game.

A Pair is 2 pieces of the same color and unit. For example, 2 black soldiers.

Three Of A Kind is the same as pair but by using 3 of the same unit and color.
This can only be achieved by using the Soldiers, because every other unit only
contains 2 pieces in the game.

To make a Straight, you have to use the three of the same color units in a row
by using the chart above. There are only two styles of a Straight, the first
three (General, Mandarin and Elephant) or the next three (Chariot, Horse and
Cannon). You cannot make one by using three in the middle, such as Elephant,
Chariot and Horse. Soldiers are not used in a Straight either.

In order to win the round, or create a "Mahjong" as the game says, you must
have a combination of a Pair and either a Three Of A Kind or a Straight. The
color combinations do not matter, thus you can create one with a red Pair and
black Three Of a Kind, or a red Pair and red Straight.

A round starts with the first person taking a fifth tile from the wall. Unless
you have a winning hand straight away, discard one. The next person in
clockwise direction has the chance to pick up this tile or take a fresh one
from the wall. This continues until one person has a winning hand.

If another person can win by stealing the discarded tile, they may do so.
The priority of stealing is based on the clockwise direction starting with the
person next in line. The first person can always choose to take the discarded
unit and anyone waiting with a winning hand misses the chance.

During the Exercise, the game is over when you hit -10 points. In the Match
mode you get credits for different "semesters".


SCORING
===============================================================================

By winning the round on your own, in other words by drawing from the wall, you
receive 2 points whereas the rest lose 2 each.

If you steal the winning piece from another player, you score 2 points and the
person discarding the piece will lose 2. The rest of players stay at the same.

There is one additional scoring rules. The current dealer loses or gains 2
additional points if they were involved in discarding or stealing a piece or
there is a self-win situation.

No points are exchanged in a draw.


TIPS
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Watch out for discarded tiles. If two of the Soldiers have already been
discarded, then it should not be too hard to see that going for a Three Of A
Kind is not possible.

Check for the Straight you want to make, and see if one has already been
discarded. This lowers your chances of getting another by a whooping 50% so
you may want to look elsewhere. The round only lasts a few turns, so sometimes
it is still worth just "hoping" but in general you should not.


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