Drawing by Chris Beaumont
B. All stones start in the harbour. The Serpent starts at mooring 1. The players draw lots for positions: the Sailor sits next to the Serpent, the others forward of him in the order above, which is also the order of play, starting with the Sailor. The Serpent moves after the Ruler (see below).
Players may only move their own stones.
C. During his move a player may
(i) Transfer one or two stones from the harbour to a mooring which is either empty or contains one or more of his own stones.
(ii) Move any number of stones from one mooring either up to three moorings forward or one mooring backwards. All stones must move in the same direction but need not arrive in the same mooring. Any number of stones may be left behind and not moved.
EXAMPLE: The Merchant has six stones in mooring 5. He picks up four, puts one in 6, two in 7 and one in 8. Alternatively he could have placed all four in 4.
(iii) It is possible for a player to have all his stones in the harbour on his turn and be unable to move them out as all moorings are occupied. He is then said to have 'run aground' and forfeits his turn.
D. Stones moving forward into a mooring containing hostile stones may 'board'. For every TWO stones that enter, ONE hostile stone may be boarded. Boarded stones are immediately placed in the harbour, from where they may subsequently reenter the game. Only moving stones may board. Odd numbers are discounted. Stones that move backwards may NOT board. Boarding is always voluntary. A player may not board his own stones.
EXAMPLE: The Sailor moves five stones to mooring 4. Here are two of his own stones, three of the Soldier's and one of the Ruler's, The Sailor may board up to two stones: he chooses to board one of the Soldier's and the single one of the Ruler's.
E. In moving forward stones may only jump a maximum of ONE hostile mooring.
EXAMPLE: The Merchant has six stones in mooring 6. There is one Sailor's stone in 7, one in 8, and four in 9. Normally the Merchant could move three to 9, but in this case he can only jump 7 and reach 8.
F. The Serpent is moved in rotation by the players. The player concerned tosses a coin: heads means the Serpent moves TWO moorings forward, tails ONE mooring backwards.
The Serpent always boards stones it meets with a force of four stones, ie up to two stones are boarded. Unlike moving stones it may board when moving backwards. If more than one player has stones in the mooring the Serpent boards from the largest group, if two equal groups one from each, if three or four equal groups the Serpent is 'confused' and does not board at all.
The Serpent may not itself be boarded, and thus never enters the harbour.
G. For each stone boarded the boarding player or Serpent receives a point. As soon as the total score of all four players and Serpent reaches 40 points the game ends, the winner being the player with the most points.
If the game is played for money the players agree beforehand on what sum a point represents, and each places 10 points on the table, taking out the points gained at the end. The Serpent's winnings go to the player who scored the most points.
Should players tie the Serpent's winnings are divided equally between them, odd points left over going towards the next round of drinks. If the Serpent 'wins' its winnings all go towards the next round.
H. Jai Kerboge is a variant for two players. Sailor and Merchant only participate, and normally only 20 points are in contention. The Serpent moves forwards only and is not tossed for. This is a game of skill, unlike normal kerboge which should be played at a fast and furious pace.
Fleet: five or more stones in one mooring.
Fishing: deliberately moving two moorings in front of the Serpent.
Hunting: moving directly behind the Serpent.
Throwing in boys: avoiding heavy losses by dropping single stones behind a larger moving number. The example in rule E could illustrate this if the distribution of the Sailor's stones was the result of a move by him: he has limited the Merchant to boarding one stone instead of three. The phrase is well-known in Midgard and means the giving up of something valuable to avoid further losses. Three famous historical incidents gave rise to this usage, which would take too long to explain here!