Thursday, February 28, 2002


By Linda

In The Path of Daggers, Deceptive Appearances, Moridin lists three adult board games he knew of: sha’rah, no’ri (stones), and tcheran. This article explains what we know of Tcheran.

Tcheran is not much mentioned in the Wheel of Time series, so we know little about it. It has not been played so far on the mainland, so perhaps, like sha’rah, it may not have been played since the Age of Legends.

Semirhage claims to be an indifferent player of tcheran, but she lists three types of pieces in the game: High Counsellor, Counsellors and Spires. She likens the Forsaken to Counsellors and Spires—important pieces, but ones the Dark Ones is prepared to manipulate and sacrifice.

The Chosen were no more than pieces on the board; they might be Counsellors and Spires, but they were still pieces.

- Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow

The High Counsellor is a prized piece in the game, perhaps essential to winning. It appears that the piece is not removed from the board if captured, but forced to become part of the captor’s force.
And one daring way to capture your opponent’s High Counsellor and turn it to your side was to sacrifice your Spires in a false attack.

- Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow

Since the Spires are dispensable, they probably rank below the Counsellors in importance.

Therefore the ranking of the three types of pieces we know of, from highest to lowest, is: High Counsellor, Counsellors and Spires. The terms High Counsellor and Counsellor imply that there is also some sort of ruler or monarch piece. Plus, there are other, lower, pieces as yet undescribed. Both sides appear to have the same type of pieces.

Real World Parallel

The game tcheran is probably most like chess - there are similar pieces and tactics.

The capture of an opponent’s High Counsellor in tcheran by sacrificing Spires in a false attack, is similar to the classic strategy in chess where the bishops are sometimes sacrificed to capture the opponent’s queen.

Therefore the likely correspondence between tcheran and chess of the pieces described is:

High Counsellor – Queen
Counsellors – Rooks (Castles)
Spires – Bishops

However, in tcheran, the opponent’s High Counsellor can be turned to the captor’s side, rather than removed from the board as in chess. Again, Robert Jordan appears to have changed a real world game to create a game that mirrors the situation in his world.


Written by Linda, April 2004

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