I have just a couple questions about the rules. The way I learned the game from some Vietnamese friends, elephants were not allowed to cross the river. This made them strictly defensive pieces, like the palace guards. Also, the king was not allowed to move into danger. If nothing separated the two kings, the king whose move it was could "throw his spear" to kill the other king; but it wasn't allowed to actually move into "check" this way or any other way. Other than that the rules above are as I remember them.
Also, I once played with a Korean exchange student in college, and quickly learned that the Koreans have a few subtle but significant differences in how they play. Some of the starting positions of the pieces were different, for instance, and the differences radically changed the strategy.
It might be worth mentioning that the pieces are typically round disks with chinese characters written on them to denote what piece it is; more valuable pieces are on larger disks. In the sets I've seen, the opposing sides were red and green, rather than black and white.
Do you mean that if there are no pieces between the kings the king can move more than one space in a move to take the opposing king? Otherwise how would they get close enough without leaving the palace. --rmhermen
Yes, more or less. A king is not allowed to move into the other king's line of sight, or move a piece out of the way so as to cause the kings to be facing each other with no pieces between them. It's a huge exception to the normal movement rules for the king, and "throwing his spear" is probably as good an analogy to explain it as any. This is also covered at the web site linked to from the article.
I tried to leave encyclopaedic voice on the parts I was not sure of. Essentially, the part where I referred to myself as I. I probably just had cruel teachers, because one of the first things they informed me was that there was no such thing as check (you just took the king when you could and won if you did). I still beat em :D. You're right about the elephants not being able to cross the river, I just forgot to mention it. Also, every board I've played on had all peices the same size.--BlackGriffen