Joust is a simple game which requires Windows 3.1+ or Windows 95, running on an IBM PC or compatible with 80386 or better processor.
In this game each player has a Knight which moves as in Chess. However, once a piece has moved, the square it was previously on cannot be entered again by either player. The Knights cannot capture each other. The object is to leave your opponent without any moves.
The diagram shows a game in which White is about to move (to g1) and win, because Black will then have no move. Most of the board squares are missing because one of the Knights has stepped on them during the game. (Actually, any move for White in this position will win because Black will still only have one move available before becoming stuck.)
A puzzle! How many moves can White make before getting stuck? My solution is here.
Joust features five levels of computer opponent, and can also be played by two human players. The computer opponents range from the randomly-moving 'Gorilla' to the very strong 'King', but all are beatable if you persevere.
I don't know who invented this game. I came across it as an ancient Amiga PD game, although in that version the pieces started in a fixed position in the centre rather than being randomly placed on opposite sides of the board.
As well as the game of Joust, the program allows you to try the "Knight's Tour" puzzle for boards of size 5x5 up to 12x12. (Some information about solving Knight's Tours may be found here.)
The strategy of Joust is moderately interesting - click here to read my thoughts on it.
Joust requires no installation - it will run when unzipped. If you are using Internet Explorer with Windows 95, you can select 'Open it' rather than 'Save it to disk', and an icon will be created on your Desktop which you can run it immediately. Similar options may be available for other systems.
If you have the 'Zillions of Games' program, you can download a script for it which allows it to play Joust. It doesn't have all the options of the standalone version, but on the other hand it includes a variant in which you can capture the opposing Knight. You'll just have to take both!.
Download Joust (36 Kb)
Download Zillions Version (5 Kb)
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Solution to Joust puzzle:
White can make no less than 16 moves! Reading a-h from left to right, and 1-8 from bottom to top, so that White starts at e2, he can go:
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