INTRODUCTION Byte is a board game which is played with a Checkers set. The initial
setup is shown in Figure 1. More than just “new rules for an old game” Byte is a unique,
robust alternative to Checkers. Draws and ties cannot occur in Byte. While standard Byte
is played on an 8 x 8 checkerboard, the international version uses a 10 x 10 board. Byte
was invented by Mark Steere on July 13, 2005.
STACKS A stack can be any height from one to eight checkers and can be made up of any
combination of colors in any order. When a stack of eight is formed it is immediately
removed from the board and the top checker of that stack is placed next to the board,
indicating the winner of the stack. During the game three stacks of eight will form.
The player who wins the majority of the three stacks wins the game. In Figure 2
Black would be the winner. In the larger international Byte five stacks of eight are formed.
BASIC MOVES Only the dark squares are used in Byte. If a stack is not adjacent to any
other stack, and if you own the bottom checker in that stack, you may slide the entire stack
to an adjacent square (one square in any diagonal direction). See Figure 3. You must move
the entire stack. The only time you can break a stack is when you’re merging two stacks
together (see Merging Stacks below).
MOVE CLOSER The distance between two stacks is measured by the number of moves
it would take to get from one stack to the other. When making a basic move, as described
in the preceding section, you must move the stack closer to its closest stack.
Figure 4 shows the bottom checker of each of four stacks. Either of the two moves shown
would move the stack closer to its closest stack. In this case the closest stack is the one
with the black checker on the bottom (five moves away). If two or more stacks are equally
close (and nearest) to a stack you wish to move, pick one and move closer to it.
In summary: If there is a stack which is not adjacent to any other stack on the board, and
you own the bottom checker in that stack, then you can move that stack. But you must
move it one square closer to its closest stack.
MERGING STACKS Assume there are two adjacent stacks on the board. Call them
stack A and stack B. If you have a checker in stack A, at any level, you may pick up your
checker, carrying all of the checkers on top of it, and place it on stack B. Two
conditions: 1) Your checker which you pick up must be moved to a higher altitude -
not to the same level or a lower level. 2) You cannot form a stack of nine or more.
In Figure 5 Black cannot merge his level three checker horizontally to the same level. But
he can merge his level one checker up to level three. In Figure 6 Black cannot merge his
level one checker because this would form a stack of nine. If Black has no other moves
available on the board he is forced to make the move shown, winning the stack for White.
If two stacks on the board are adjacent, you cannot move either stack to an
MOVE If you have any moves available you must make one, even if you benefit your
opponent by doing so. If you have no moves available you must forfeit your turn and
continue to forfeit your turn until you can move again. White moves first in the game.
AUTHOR’S NOTE Feel free to copy, distribute, profit, or do whatever you like with this
document and the game of Byte. However please don’t change the name or the rules, and
please attribute the game to me, Mark Steere. Other games I invented: Quadrature, Tanbo,
Impasse, Diffusion, and Cephalopod. For more information see marksteeregames.com.
Copyright (c) July 2005 by Mark Steere