Telkrat is a board game for two players, though variants exist for more players. It is believed to be of Dwarven origin, with the name being comprised of two Old Dwarven words; 'tel', meaning 'five' and 'krat', meaning 'piece'.
Telkrat is an ancient board game within Bormar, with the earliest references dating to roughly 1000 PB. The earliest intact game was discovered in a blocked-off cave system, where two Dwarves had seemingly perished due to their entrapment. A Telkrat board had been set up, with the game close to completion, before the apparent deaths of the occupants. Remains of armour and clothing found date it to roughly 800 PB.
Officially known as 'Krat', but usually just referred to as pieces, Telkrat pieces range in shapes and colours. Most pieces used for tournaments and more formal games require them to be small cubes, with the favoured colours being red and blue. Disks, rough spheres that slot into divots and other strange shapes have been observed.
Pieces are usually made of stone, but a vast variety of other materials have been seen. Wood, or bone, is most common for cheaper sets or in poorer places, whereas sets owned by more affluent members of society can range from rare animal parts, minerals, metals or even gemstones.
Known simply as 'the board', a Telkrat board has only one official rule; it must be a square divided into smaller squares of two differing colours that alternate. These are usually coloured black and white, to differentiate from the colourful pieces being used. The board can be of any size, so long as the game can be played properly.
Within the standard version of Telkrat, there are two players. Each player picks their respective pieces and must take turns placing them onto the squares on the board, one at a time. Players are not allowed to move or remove their pieces until the game has ended.
Determining who goes first is usually done by a dice roll, or a coin flip.
The objective of the game is to place five pieces in a connected line, or 'row'. This can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal. It cannot be 'up' or 'down', as in, 'above' or 'below' the board.
If the board fills up, or all pieces have run out, without a winner, a draw is declared.
Within larger communities, tournaments are often held, either for prizes or for bragging rights. The standard rules apply, but usually with some minor extra rules in order to facilitate the larger groups of players.
Smaller boards are often played at within the first rounds of tournaments or competitions. With the increased number of players, it is usually best to have the first round, with the most players, happen quicker.
Similarly, time limits may be placed on either the turns of individuals, or the match as a whole. If such a time limit runs out for an individual, it is usually considered to be the next players turn, putting the first player at a huge disadvantage. If a time limit runs out on a match, then any number of scoring systems may be used. A common one is to count how many lines of four pieces each player has, with the winner having the most.
- Multi-Player Telkrat - A version of the game where more than two players play at once. More colours of pieces are introduced in order to differentiate between the players, but other than this the rules stay the same.
- Garden Telkrat - Large, outdoor open boards usually placed in the gardens of particularly wealthy or powerful individuals. Sometimes, these boards will often be staffed by 'living' pieces; people who stand in as the pieces themselves.
- Trader's Telkrat - A popular variant amongst traders and merchants, usually played within shadier taverns around Bormar. Various coins are used as pieces, with the winner claiming all the coins on the board. These games usually go on for as long as possible, to ensure the most wealth won.
- Royal Center - A rare variation, usually reserved for wealthier players or as an incentive within exhibition matches. A single belning is placed at the exact center of the board. If a player makes a row of five using this coin, they win the match and the coin itself.
- False Set - A line of 4 pieces, with a gap in the middle. Set up in the hopes that the opponent will not notice the gap, thus setting the player up for an easy win.
- Thronkir's Hammer - Two pieces, with one piece offset by 3 blocks in one direction and then 1 block to the right or left. A commonly seen move which helps set up multiple avenues of attack, or defense. Named after the folklore hero and his weapon of choice.
- White Quartz Opening - A plus-shaped arrangement of pieces, but with the center block missing.
- Maker's Mark - A block of 4 pieces in a solid square.
- Cracked Stone Opening - Two linked instances of Thronkir's Hammer, with the first piece of the second Hammer set on the next diagonal block to the end of the first Hammer. Famously included in a match between King Broktar and his Telkrat tutor; Baruum Faulkrunn.
- Four Corners Opening - Having four pieces on the board in each corner of the board. Allows the player to effortlessly switch between areas of the board, thus putting his opponent on the defensive.
- Arrow Head Opening - Three pieces in a diagonal formation, one piece shy of the White Quartz opener. Considered a very popular and versatile opener.
- Cole's Folly - An apocryphal game supposedly played when Bormar was still divided into its many, countless regions, around 850 PB. A mercenary leader, known only by the name of Cole, agreed to set his defeated enemy free if he was bested at Telkrat. Needless to say, he was. The prisoner was set free and eventually came back to kill Cole personally.
Notable Game Pieces
- Solum's Gift - A Telkrat board owned by King Solum of the Ariq, supposedly given to him at the event of first contact with the Dwarves. A roughly carved wooden board, made by the Dwarf who initiated contact, with sections of Mar Goat horn as pieces for both sides. The King's court was so shocked that a shoddy gift would be given to the ruler of the Ariq, but the King took great pride in this gift and treasured it. He supposedly enjoyed many games with the Dwarf in question, and was buried with the board when he died; such was his love for the game.