Suikoden V Checkers Guide Version 1.51 Last updated August 2, 2006 Copyright (c) Arthellinus (firstname.lastname@example.org) 2006 =============================================================================== Legal Disclaimer =============================================================================== This FAQ is for personal use only and is not to be reproduced for any other reason. It CANNOT be placed neither in part nor in its entirety on any website other than the following: http://www.gamefaqs.com/ or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission from the author. Use of ANY part of this guide on any other website or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright. =============================================================================== Version History =============================================================================== Version 1.51 (08/02/06) - Apparently I forgot to put Taylor on the checklist. Version 1.5 (04/20/06) - Added in contributions for Section 3b. - Added in contributions for Section 4a. Version 1.25 (04/09/06) - Added minor notes about specific pieces in Section 4b. Version 1.2 (04/03/06) - Made some minor fixes/additions throughout. - Added in contributions for Section 3f. Version 1.0 (03/31/06) - Added Sections 2-5. Version 0.2 (03/26/06) - Created checklist. - Added Section 1. =============================================================================== Contents =============================================================================== 1. Getting Started a. Introduction b. Getting Egbert c. Why Play? 2. Game Modes a. Overview b. Checkers c. Entrapment d. Conqueror 3. Strategy a. Checkers / Easy b. Checkers / Hard c. Entrapment / Easy d. Entrapment / Hard e. Conqueror / Easy f. Conqueror / Hard 4. Collecting Pieces a. Availability b. Checklist 5. Afterword =============================================================================== 1. Getting Started =============================================================================== 1a. Introduction ---------------- Ah, checkers. Surely you must be thinking, "This guy has way too much time on his hands." Well, I may indeed have too much time on my hands, but checkers in the game world of Suikoden, a minigame offered by the character Egbert, is apparently a bit different from ours, and even has a few variants thrown in to mix things up. "Completing" this minigame is without a doubt the apex of tedium in Suikoden V, but if you're a completionist like me, you're hardly going to let a thing like that stop you. Since the AI gets fairly harsh on the Hard difficulty level, I felt that this guide would probably be helpful to those who desire some humble guidance. After having suffered through the entire ordeal, I'm hoping I can make it a little easier on everyone else. Note that there may be some spoilers within the checklist of characters, so read that at your own risk. You can always play through the entire minigame after you have all of your Stars of Destiny anyway (like I did). 1b. Getting Egbert ------------------ Egbert is a rather eccentric (read: psychotic) man, a member of the vast and colorful cast that populates Suikoden V. You first meet him underground during the Sacred Games portion of the game, but he doesn't join up then. Some time later, you must infiltrate Agate Prison and do so via a tunnel that leads into it from the Dwarf Camp. To get to the Dwarf Camp in the first place, you have to make your way through the Baska Mine. After your business at Agate is over and done with, returning to the Baska Mine will ultimately lead you to cross paths with Egbert again. Refer to the Baska Mine map by blueminstrel on GameFAQs to see where to find him (remember, this is AFTER you escape from Agate). Once you find him, he'll start ranting... and ranting... and ranting... His tirade starts out harmlessly enough, but eventually his lines slow to a crawl, at which point you begin to watch each line form one infuriating letter at a time. Unfortunately, you must check your instinct to repeatedly smash the X button in the hopes of getting to the end of it all; he won't join you if you don't let him get everything out of his system, so don't hit X until you make sure that you see the indicator that you can. Once he's done, you can get him to join. Afterwards, find him at your headquarters (HQ) and he'll offer to play you in a board game. In describing strategies I use "Egbert" and "the AI" interchangeably to refer to the computer opponent. 1c. Why Play? ------------- Well, you DO want everything in the game, right? Egbert possesses a collection of custom-made character pieces that precisely correspond to your 108 Stars of Destiny, plus a few other characters. Every time you defeat Egbert in any of the game modes when he is playing with a piece not currently in your inventory, you win the piece for yourself and can use it in subsequent matches (see Section 4 for more details). Once you have amassed all 112 character pieces, you will obtain an Epic skill (a skill that raises two or more of your stats at once) called Karmic Effect. Given the amount of time it takes to get your hands on it (you'll need to play at least 110-120 matches, so with an average of several minutes per match you can roughly expect about 5-6 hours just on the board itself, more if you're the ponderous type), you'd think that this would be some uber-godly skill that will allow the Prince to easily solo the entire game... but it's not. It merely acts as a dual Defense/Technique booster. If you're disappointed, I don't blame you one bit. In fact, I would understand completely if you closed this window right now and wiped this guide from your memory. However, for those who refuse to be denied anything at all in Suikoden V, or for those who are simply indignant about it, read on. By the way, there are secondary prizes, all of which you will grab along the way to getting Karmic Effect. Winning the three special pieces (Lymsleia, Ferid, and Arshtat), which can only be done on the Hard game modes, net you three large statues that are, as far as I know, unique in the game (Goddess, Knight, and Queen, respectively). =============================================================================== 2. Game Modes =============================================================================== 2a. Overview ------------ All three of Egbert's games take place on a 6x6 checkerboard. As of now, I am going to use algebraic chess notation to refer to the board. For those of you unfamiliar with it, this means that I am going to number the ROWS from 1-6 going up (so row 1 is the bottom row and row 6 is the top row). The player's pieces always start on the bottom side, and Egbert's pieces always start on the top side. For the COLUMNS, I will denote them as *a* through *f* from left to right. Therefore, square *a1* is the bottom left corner, square *f6* is the upper right corner, and so on. Also, I will denote movement of pieces. For example, a1-a2 means moving the piece at the bottom left corner one space up. When I am speaking in these terms (and note that this will ONLY be necessary for Entrapment), it may be helpful to boot up the game and have the board in front of you if you're having trouble picturing out a move sequence. (Note: Proper chess terminology would also mandate that I refer to the rows as "ranks" and the columns as "files", but we'll ignore that in this guide for accessibility's sake.) When you play Easy mode for any of the three games, you are allowed to take a grand total of five steps back (they're called "flashbacks" and are triggered by pressing Circle, and are counted off at the bottom right hand corner of the screen). Hard mode reduces this number to three. Use your flashbacks liberally for obvious setbacks (like capturing an opponent's piece but losing two of yours on the next turn), but don't hesitate to take back a move that will lead to your being set up to take a fall on the next turn or two. There's no penalty for taking your moves back, so there's no reason not to do it if you must. 2b. Checkers ------------ Egbert says: "In Checkers, each player takes a turn moving a piece. When a piece jumps over an opposing piece, the piece is claimed. Pieces can only move diagonally. Move a piece to the next space diagonally, or leapfrog over another diagonally. Pieces can jump over friendly pieces or opposing pieces, and can jump in any direction. However, you cannot jump over two pieces in a row. When you jump over an opposing piece, you claim that piece. If the previous conditions are met, you can jump multiple pieces in one move. This can get you several pieces at once. One more thing... Moving a piece back to where it came from is considered an ILLEGAL MOVE. You lose when only ILLEGAL MOVES remain. Also, there are times when a piece makes multiple jumps and ends up in the same space that it started in. This is not allowed unless at least one opposing piece was claimed in the process. If either player's pieces are reduced to one, the player who claimed the most pieces wins." Here is what the board looks like at the start of the game. - - - - - - | |E| |E| |E| 6 - - - - - - |E| |E| |E| | 5 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 4 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 3 - - - - - - | |P| |P| |P| 2 - - - - - - |P| |P| |P| | 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f The Prince's pieces are marked as "P", while Egbert's are marked as "E". COMMENTS: If you don't know how to play regular checkers, your childhood was likely very, very deprived. Anyway, this is checkers with a twist. You can jump over your own pieces and move backwards. There are no kings. That, and the illegal move caveat, which pervades all three game types. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Always keep it in mind when planning a move. Other than that, there's really nothing else to say here. 2c. Entrapment -------------- Egbert says: "In Entrapment, each player takes turns moving pieces around the board in order to surround opposing pieces. Pieces can move freely in horizontal and veritcal directions, but cannot leapfrog over other pieces. Claim an opposing piece by surrounding it with two or more pieces. Two or more pieces can be claimed simultaneously. Moving a piece back to where it came from is considered an ILLEGAL MOVE. You lose when only ILLEGAL MOVES remain. The game ends when a player has only two pieces remaining, or runs out of moves. The player who claimed the most pieces wins." The board: - - - - - - |E|E|E|E|E|E| 6 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 5 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 4 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 3 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 2 - - - - - - |P|P|P|P|P|P| 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f COMMENTS: This game resembles an odd mix of Reversi and Go. If you sandwich an opposing piece in one direction (horizontal or vertical), you capture it. For a piece in the corner, you have to simply surround it within the confines of the board (which means a piece on a6 is captured by enemy pieces on a5 and b6). If you end up with this position, - - - - - - |E|E|E|E|E|E| 6 - - - - - - |P|P|P|P|P| | 5 - - - - - - | | | | | |P| 4 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 3 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 2 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f moving from f4 to f5 captures ALL of the pieces! Ain't that neat? One important thing to note is that a piece must be captured by the enemy ON THE ENEMY'S TURN. Moving a piece into a "captured" position on your turn is perfectly fine. Of course, if you stay that way and let the computer resume the position on its turn, you lose your piece(s). A quick example is shown below. - - - - - - | |E| |E|E| | 6 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 5 - - - - - - |E| |E| |P|E| 4 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 3 - - - - - - |P| | | | | | 2 - - - - - - | |P|P|P| |P| 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f The piece on b1 can safely move to b4. Likewise, the piece on d1 can move to d4. In fact, that is a good offensive move that simultaneously protects the piece on e4 AND threatens the computer's piece on c4 by promising the move b1-b4 on the next move. Anyway, keep this in mind and use it to your advantage. The computer sure will. 2d. Conqueror ------------- Egbert says: "In Conqueror, each player takes turns moving pieces, and attempts to send all pieces into the opponent's territory. The top of the board is my territory, and the bottom of the board is yours. Pieces can move one space in any direction, or leapfrog over other pieces. Pieces can jump over friendly pieces or opposing pieces, and can jump in any direction. If these rules are followed, you can jump over multiple pieces in one move, but not over two pieces in a line. If there is no piece to move on your turn, you are forced to PASS, and it becomes your opponent's turn. Moving a piece back to where it came from is considered an ILLEGAL MOVE. You lose when only ILLEGAL MOVES remain. The first player to send all pieces to the opponent's territory wins." The board: - - - - - - |E|E|E|E|E|E| 6 - - - - - - |E|E|E|E|E|E| 5 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 4 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 3 - - - - - - |P|P|P|P|P|P| 2 - - - - - - |P|P|P|P|P|P| 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f COMMENTS: Nothing too special here; this is very straightforward. By "the opponent's territory" what is meant is that you have to move all your pieces into the spaces on the last two rows, in case you think that the "territories" are merely the two halves of the board. This is pretty much Chinese checkers with a different board and played between two people only. =============================================================================== 3. Strategy =============================================================================== 3a. Checkers / Easy ------------------- Playing any of the three games on Easy is, to put it simply, a joke, and Checkers most of all (although Conqueror is actually "easier", Checkers takes much less time). The AI will fall for simple traps and flat out set itself up. There really isn't much to cover here. If you make a silly mistake, five flashbacks is easily more than enough. Let's move on. 3b. Checkers / Hard ------------------- This might not be as easy as it initially seems to be. Egbert won't fall for the obvious and quite often will try to box you in and try to force you into giving him an opening. Therefore, playing defensively won't work. You need to go right after him and reduce his advantage while exploiting his weakness. His advantage is that the AI is much better at processing and planning future moves. His weakness is that he does not like to lose pieces. Putting two and two together, the way to go about this is to aggressively offer even exchanges, meaning that you put up a piece for capture in return for being able to take one of his freely in response. This reduces the computer's advantage because with fewer pieces and thus fewer factors to take into consideration, you'll be able to gain the upper hand strategically. In addition, the AI seems to be aware of this and will avoid even exchanges like the plague. Use this to your advantage! If he retreat, push forward and stuff him in. Eventually he will either be forced to comply or simply make a bad move, granting you a golden opportunity. He will, of course, capture eagerly if it will eventually result in an advantage for him (e.g. he takes a piece, you take him back, but he takes you again, leaving you down 1-2). So if he does make a capture, be extra careful that you're not walking into a trap. As the number of pieces on the board goes down, you'll want to start paying attention to positioning. Having control of the center of the board will be vital, so start looking for ways to set up exchanges that force him to end up with his piece isolated in the corner while your capture lands you relatively close to your other pieces. Try to trap individual pieces along the edges and corners so they are rendered immobile, forcing him to set himself up. Having connected pieces of your own in the middle will help greatly, as they will partially shield each other from attack and threaten a good portion of the whole board. Eventually, you'll get the hang of it. fieryshadowcard has some additional input: "[Egbert] more or less responded the same way every time we played. If you keep starting off the same way, you'll eventually see a pattern in his strategies and all you have to do is keep whittling down his pieces until he starts to slip up. I also noticed that in cases both where players have either three or two pieces and both are moving in a way to prevent themselves from losing ground, unlike a human player, Egbert will eventually attempt to do something else, even if it means getting his piece taken... even if it isn't a trade-off. Either the computer is designed to yield the match in otherwise stalemated conditions, or the computer has a bad habit of impatience." On that note, I will echo his thoughts and mention that given the extremely limited permutations (at least relatively) of opening moves, you do have a good chance of leading the AI to do pretty much the same or almost the same thing every time, which is something to keep in mind if you can keep track of a winning sequence. 3c. Entrapment / Easy --------------------- Entrapment is perhaps the most difficult of the three games in either mode, but it's still quite simple in Easy mode because the computer will continue to make stupid mistakes. You can follow the strategies outlined for Hard below and you'll have no trouble because the AI will simply not respond properly to threats. Read on... 3d. Entrapment / Hard --------------------- Okay, here's where we have to get down and dirty. Entrapment on Hard is very winnable, but without a clear game plan you're not going to be able to outmaneuver the computer, and the three flashbacks aren't going to be able to save you. I actually think that this is the easiest game on Hard mode to win consistently, but the hardest to iron out just how to win in the first place. Here's where all the notation nonsense will come in, so let's get into it. Entrapment is all about controlling your surroundings. Boxing the opponent in is the way to go. As for how to accomplish this, take note that playing pieces in the middle is very risky in the beginning. Therefore, it should be fairly clear that you want to build strength from the sides. This is how you should go about slowly pushing Egbert back towards his end. Think about it this way. You and a friend stand apart from one another, both of you facing north. There is a rope that connects the two of you, which you both hold in your hands. Both of you start walking north, and though you may not both be walking at the same speed, the rope remains intact and flexes to accommodate your respective positions. This is how you should play Entrapment, with the rope being a "wall" of your pieces slowly advancing or retreating as being led by the sides. Therefore, your most important pieces are your a and f pieces (remember? the pieces in the far left and far right columns), and you should open the game by moving one of them, regardless of whether you go first or not, and also regardless of where Egbert moves if he goes first. First, we'll discuss the case when you have the opening move. Your best bet is to move either the a or f piece to the fourth row (either a1-a4 or f1-f4). Why to row 4? Because you immediately advance into enemy territory and restrict his side pieces, which is important. Playing to rows 2-3 is passive and self- defeating, so don't do it. Now, why not row 5? Because he can respond by moving a piece in another column down to row 4, with the threat of crossing over to your column and capturing next turn, thus prompting you to disrupt a properly linked position (see Example 1). -- Example 1 -- You open with a1-a5. Egbert responds with e6-e4. Moving to row 4 means he has to make two moves to actually threaten you, thus giving you time to strengthen your position. It also gives you more breathing room when you advance your other pieces. Now, what if Egbert moves first? Sometimes he will actually advance one of his pieces down to row 2, right up against your pieces (e.g. d6-d2). In that case, the proper counter is either a1-a3 or f1-f3. That's right, this is the same exact situation we just discussed about opening with a move to row 5. Therefore, he will be forced to either move back towards his end or send up another piece to block your capture (see Example 2). -- Example 2 -- Egbert opens with d6-d2. You respond with a1-a3. He does b6-b3, thus blocking your a3 piece from capturing. So now you might be asking, "Why can't I just open with a1-a5 and do b1-b4 when he counters?" Well, first of all, if he plays b6-b4 you can't do that anyway, and secondly, even if you could, your forward pieces are much farther up the board and this can easily lead to an uneven line, which is not what you want, for reasons I'll discuss later. If he does NOT move to row 2 immediately, go ahead and do a1-a4 or f1-f4, unless he moves to row 3, in which you should again only do a1-a3 or f1-f3 (if you move to row 4, he can move his row 3 piece behind you and threaten a6-a5 or f6-f5 capture next turn). If he moves his own a or f piece, move yours accordingly (e.g. if he does a6-a3, respond with a1-a2) unless, once again, he moves to row 2. The point is that it is imperative that you get your side pieces up and leading the way, while preventing his from advancing. Okay, so what next? If you moved first, you'll have to respond to Egbert's first move. If he advances to row 2, move your other side piece up to row 3 to counterattack as we've discussed (Example 3). -- Example 3 -- You: a1-a4, Egbert: d6-d2, You: f1-f3 Note that, in addition to making Egbert have to defend his forward piece, you now have pieces on two different rows. This gives you more versatility when setting up counterattack threats. Yet another justification for the a1-a4 opening. If he did not advance to row 2, he'll have gone to some other row (obviously). When that happens, immediately move up your piece in the corresponding column to block him. This stops his advance and, if he happens to move to row 3, it'll threaten his piece and force him to move it (since you'll be able to capture it with your piece at a4 the next turn). Also, do this right away so he doesn't follow up with another move to the next row down, thus preventing you from being able to do it the next turn due to the fact that you'd be captured from the other side (Example 4). -- Example 4 -- You: a1-a4, Egbert: d6-d4, You: f1-f4, Egbert: c6-c3, You: d1-d3, Egbert: e6-e3 captures your d3 piece. Instead of d1-d3, you should instead do c1-c2. You've forfeited some space and initiative but remain safe for the time being, plus you are now threatening a4-c4, capturing on c3. Of course, it's not guaranteed that he'll follow this pattern, so the risk is yours to take. If you go with f1-f4 and he does not reply with c6-c3 (or e6-e3), then great, now you've made your position even better because both your side pieces have advanced. At this point, you should be starting to get the picture. These maneuvers should ensure that eventually, none of his pieces will be able to get behind any of yours, thus nullifying entirely any threats of vertical capture. Get your other side piece up as soon as possible and begin constructing the wall between the a and f pieces. Try to start from the sides and meet up in the middle, not the other way around. Also make sure that you wall is relatively straight and try to advance pieces evenly, but always leading with the side pieces because they cannot be flanked and provide the necessary cover for your middle pieces. You will slowly suffocate Egbert and you will either trap him outright or he will blunder and let you capture a piece. When that happens, capture the piece but MAINTAIN your wall to within two rows. If your wall starts looking more like a V or an L, you will push Egbert into a corner, and when this happens it becomes MUCH more difficult to win because he can shuffle around indefinitely as long as he has some corner space. So to reiterate, AVOID pushing him into a corner. You'll have to hope you get lucky and the AI commits a brain fart in that situation, or you could try to lead him back into a line, but that can get fairly tricky. If you encounter a position such as this, - - - - - - | | | | | | | 6 - - - - - - |E|E|E|E| | | 5 - - - - - - |P|P|P|P|E|E| 4 - - - - - - | | | | |P|P| 3 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 2 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f whoever has to move must give ground. If it is unfortunately your turn, you may wish to shake up your wall a bit in order to create some space and shift the momentum to him so that if this situation comes up again, next time it will be HIS turn to move and he will be forced to retreat. Try your hardest not to give way on the edges, though. In the figure above, for example, you may wish to play d4-d2 and see how he responds. Your formation will still be safe because he cannot play d5-d3 without letting you capture with c4-d4 or c4-c3. Here are two games I played and won against Egbert on Hard. In the first game, which is a good example of how the advancing wall traps the AI, I went first. Egbert went first in the second game, which starts out conventionally enough but allowed me to partially dismantle my wall on the left side and capture a couple of pieces as I pushed him back. Note that an "x" after a move denotes a capture of one piece (and therefore "xxx" denotes a capture of three). -- Game 1 -- Prince Egbert 1. a1-a4 c6-c3 2. c1-c2 b6-b4 3. b1-b3 c3-c5 4. f1-f4 b4-d4 5. e1-e4 d4-d3 - - - - - - |E| | |E|E|E| 6 - - - - - - | |E| | | | | 5 - - - - - - |P| | | |P|P| 4 - - - - - - (after turn 5) | |P| |E| | | 3 - - - - - - | | |P| | | | 2 - - - - - - | | | |P| | | 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f 6. d1-d2 d3-d5 7. d2-d4 d6-b6 8. c2-c3 b6-b5 9. b3-b4 c5-c6 10. c3-c4 d5-e5 - - - - - - |E| |E| |E|E| 6 - - - - - - | |E| | |E| | 5 - - - - - - |P|P|P|P|P|P| 4 - - - - - - (after turn 10) | | | | | | | 3 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 2 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f 11. a4-a5 b5-b6 12. f4-f5 e5-d5 13. e4-e5 d5-d6 14. b4-b5 c6-c5 - - - - - - |E|E| |E|E|E| 6 - - - - - - |P|P|E| |P|P| 5 - - - - - - | | |P|P| | | 4 - - - - - - (after turn 14) | | | | | | | 3 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 2 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f Game, set, and match. 15. d4-d5x b6-c6 16. c4-c5 At this point the game ended, even though Egbert could have done a6-b6, so I figure that he actually surrendered. -- Game 2 -- Egbert Prince 1. e6-e4 f1-f4 2. e4-c4 a1-a4 3. c6-c5 b1-b4 4. c4-c3 c1-c2 5. c3-d3 d1-d2 - - - - - - |E|E| |E| |E| 6 - - - - - - | | |E| | | | 5 - - - - - - |P|P| | | |P| 4 - - - - - - (after turn 5) | | | |E| | | 3 - - - - - - | | |P|P| | | 2 - - - - - - | | | | |P| | 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f 6. d3-e3 e1-e2 7. e3-e5 c2-c3 8. d6-d4 e2-e4 9. d4-d5 d2-d4 10. b6-e6 f4-f5 11. c5-c4 b4-b5 - - - - - - |E| |E| | |E| 6 - - - - - - | |P| |E|E|P| 5 - - - - - - |P| |E|P|P|P| 4 - - - - - - (after turn 11) | | |P| | | | 3 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 2 - - - - - - | | | | | | | 1 - - - - - - a b c d e f While I normally would have played a4-a5, I took advantage of this opening and sprung a trap. Here the lone piece at c4 and the two pieces at d5 and e5 are all threatened, and he cannot play c4-c5 because the piece on c4 just came from c5! Unfortunately for Egbert, he was going to have to lose something; he can only save one of the pieces on row 5. After the capture, Egbert proceeded to move his a6 piece oddly, most likely with the intention of trying to come around the back to attack, but by then the noose had tightened. 12. d5-d6 a4-b4x 13. e5-d5 e4-e5 14. a6-a3 b5-c5x 15. a3-a5 d4-d5 16. a5-a6 c5-c6xxx Hopefully these games have shown that this mode is in fact very doable. I could go on, but I think I've blabbed quite enough and I will leave you to discover other nuances while you play on your own. All right, let's stand up, stretch, grab a snack or drink and then we'll continue. 3e. Conqueror / Easy -------------------- Oh, you've got to be kidding me. This mode takes no strategy at all. None whatsoever. Why? Well, all you have to do if you're falling behind is to leave one of your pieces on the a or f columns where it is until you've gotten all your other pieces into their proper squares. Egbert can't do anything about it; he'll just continue to shuffle his last piece around while you sit on his spot. The funny thing is that sometimes he'll wander three or even more spaces away, and once you make your move, he doesn't help himself out and make the right move to let himself in on the next turn. It's not guaranteed, but if he's far away it's pretty likely. Groan with incredulity as you cruise in for the win. This also makes this mode the most unbearable, because it requires no brainpower but lots of time, since Conqueror games take by far the most time. Find something else to do while you're grinding through this. Seriously. This is teeeeeeedious. 3f. Conqueror / Hard -------------------- Okay, now Egbert won't fall for the "trick", but this still isn't too bad. At the beginning, just make sure you stay on pace with him if he gets a piece into your rows. Usually you can trace the same route with another one of your pieces over to HIS side. It's also not a big deal if you fall behind by a piece. Once both of you are about half-filled, however, you're going to have to engage in some real maneuvering. Don't be afraid to use regular moves for your pieces (i.e. NOT jumping every turn) in order to set up good routes for you and deny them to him. Try to fill up squares towards the sides first. It shouldn't be all that difficult. UPDATE: Apparently the trick DOES work on Hard. NotOnL8LY has the following to say. "Egbert does still fall for the trick on Conqueror hard *eventually*. Though most of the time if you make a run for it with his last safe checker piece far away and [you're] just one space away to safety, he'll jump one of his safe pieces over another of his then jumps your piece on the move to block you. It helps to move diagonally for the last two steps to the win to prevent that since there's less of a chance for a chain of jumps to block." =============================================================================== 4. Collecting Pieces =============================================================================== 4a. Availability ---------------- - As far as I know, the character pieces are only available after you've actually recruited the corresponding characters. - This does not apply to Lymsleia, Ferid, and Arshtat. All three can show up at any time. - Lym, Ferid, and Arshtat are also the only pieces that you CANNOT win on Easy mode under any circumstances. All of the other pieces CAN be found on Easy. This undoubtedly will spare you a lot of frustration (but not time, sadly). - Once Egbert runs out of new pieces in a certain game mode, he will revert to the Egbert piece from then on. Sometimes he will do so prematurely; in Easy mode, quickly surrender and ask for a rematch. You may need to repeat this up to three times before he'll bring out a new piece. - I am unsure of what exactly causes Lym, Ferid, and Arshtat to show up. I originally proposed that surrendering would NOT work, and that you have to play full games for a while to get them to show up. Dragon Fogel (email@example.com) has said otherwise: "I just got the Arshtat, Ferid, and Lymsleia pieces today. And, in fact, you *can* surrender until they show up. However, it may take quite a while. "On Conqueror, I did nothing but surrender and Arshtat showed up within about 10 tries. On the other hand, when I tried Entrapment, Ferid didn't show up even after at least 20 tries, and eventually I just tried playing through a few games for his piece... So, it varies quite a bit. But it *does* work." So, there you go. I guess at this point all I can do is throw my hands up and say that it's completely random, and hopefully you get lucky and they show up sooner rather than later. fieryshadowcard also made a note that the first time he got Ferid to show up he lost, but Ferid showed up immediately in the following game, so... - Specific character pieces show up under a specific game, frequently grouped with other characters that are "close" to them, in terms of plot and/or location. I have grouped them in the checklist, but if you're not looking at it, just keep in mind that, for example, if you win Isabel, you're bound to come across Mathias if you keep playing. 4b. Checklist ------------- Note: You start with the Prince's piece. ++ CHECKERS ++ -------- DEFAULT ___ Egbert (winnable in any mode, but I'll put it here) SOL-FALENA ___ Galleon ___ Georg ___ Kyle ___ Lyon ___ Miakis ___ Sialeeds (Note that you CAN get Sialeeds AFTER the Queen's Campaign.) LUNAS ___ Haswar ___ Isato ___ Takamu ___ Urda LORDLAKE ___ Goesch ___ Silva ___ Talgeyl ___ Toma RAFTFLEET ___ Kisara ___ Linfa ___ Logg ___ Lun ___ Raja ___ Retso ___ Sairoh ___ Shinro ___ Shun Min ___ Subala GLADIATORS ___ Shoon ___ Zegai BEAVERS ___ Fuwalafuwalu ___ Maroon ___ Meroon ___ Miroon ___ Moroon ___ Muroon MAGES ___ Jeane ___ Viki ___ Zerase HARD MODE ONLY ___ Lymsleia [Goddess Statue] ++ ENTRAPMENT ++ ---------- ESTRISE ___ Alhazred ___ Babbage ___ Boz ___ Lu ___ Sorensen SABLE ___ Dinn ___ Raven RAINWALL ___ Chuck ___ Euram (If you chose him, you do NOT need Eresh's piece to complete your collection.) ___ Luserina ___ Norden DWARF CAMP ___ Bergen ___ Dongo ___ Gunde ___ Wabon ___ Zunda HAUD VILLAGE ___ Bastan ___ Cornelio ISLAND NATIONS ___ Bernadette ___ Chisato ___ Nelis ___ Yahr DRAGON CAVALRY ___ Ax ___ Craig ___ Flail ___ Lance ___ Nick ___ Rahal ___ Rania ___ Roog ___ Yoran BANDITS ___ Faylen ___ Faylon ___ Roy BEASTS ___ Byakuren ___ Genoh HARD MODE ONLY ___ Ferid [Knight Statue] ++ CONQUEROR ++ --------- DETECTIVES ___ Fuyo ___ Oboro ___ Sagiri ___ Shigure MAXIMILIAN KNIGHTS ___ Isabel ___ Mathias MERCENARIES ___ Mueller ___ Richard ___ Wilhelm EXPLORERS ___ Killey ___ Lorelai ___ Zweig STRATEGIST ___ Cius ___ Lelei ___ Lucretia BRAWLERS ___ Gavaya ___ Nikea PERFORMERS / WIZARD ___ Ernst ___ Levi ___ Norma LELCAR ___ Mohsen ___ Orok ___ Volga ___ Wasil ARMES ___ Josephine ___ Nakula ___ Nifsara ___ Sharmista ___ Shula BELCOOT'S HAREM :) ___ Belcoot ___ Hazuki ___ Marina OTHER ___ Cathari ___ Eresh (If you chose her, you do NOT need Euram's piece to complete your collection.) ___ Haleth ___ Murad ___ Taylor HARD MODE ONLY ___ Arshtat [Queen Statue] =============================================================================== 5. Afterword =============================================================================== Well, I hope this guide was of some use to you. If there's anything terribly wrong with or conspicuously missing from this, feel free to email me and you will be credited. And hey, if you have strategies to share, that's great too. I don't have all that much free time, but I'll try to respond as promptly as possible. All names listed in this document are copyrighted by Konami. Special thanks to: - NotOnL8LY for the tip about the Conqueror trick working on Hard. - Dragon Fogel for making a case that surrendering WILL get Lym/Ferid/Arshtat to show up eventually. - fieryshadowcard for his Checkers / Hard strategy. - Jokrpoet and firstname.lastname@example.org for the heads-up on Taylor. Finally, thanks to Konami for reviving the Suikoden franchise with this great game!