"Allamaraine, count to four; Allamaraine, then three more.",
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This review is from: Star Trek - Deep Space Nine, Episode 10: Move Along Home [VHS] (VHS Tape)The name of the game is Chula...and it comes from melding two of the words of a popular children's game called "Chutes And Ladders" - no kidding! The writers of this episode took a close look at several types of games in order to come up with the design for the one played here, hence the name Chula. 'Move Along Home' is another one of those shows in the Trek catalogue that cause fans to debate its merits. Though it strays from the course of events that have unfolded in the previous nine episodes it still provides some solid entertainment and manages to create some suspense as well.
Sisko, Kira, Dax and Bashir prepare to welcome the Wadi, a new alien race from the Gamma Quadrant, to DS9. Upon arrival the Wadi dispense with the stuffy diplomacy of First Contact and insist they be taken to Quark's Bar so they can play games. Once there they tempt Quark with some valuable looking gemstones and he escorts them to the Dabo table - immediately. When the Wadi prove too adept at beating the odds of Dabo, Quark begins cheating them so they will "stop cutting into his profits." The Wadi's leader Falow catches the Ferengi cheating and challenges him to a game called Chula. Falow won't tell Quark the rules explaining to him that he has to learn them as he plays the game. When the two begin their game Sisko, Kira, Dax and Bashir awaken to find themselves trapped in a bizarre and surreal labyrinthine structure. Jake reports his father is missing to Odo who further finds that the other three officers are also missing. Soon he and Quark realize that the four game pieces Quark is playing Chula with are representative of the four missing officers and that he may or may not be playing for their survival.
'Move Along Home' is mainly concerned with spotlighting the character of Quark and he is fun to watch throughout the episode, changing from a shrewd businessman into a groveling pathetic mess. Granted, it is easy for anyone to reason that the Wadi aren't going to bring harm to the four officers but it is reasonably suspenseful and the set design is terrific. There's plenty of humor scattered throughout as well and both Odo and Kira vent about their uneasy association with the rules and regulations of the Federation. The story is derivative of an episode of the superior television series "The Prisoner" (titled 'Checkmate') where the residents of The Village are used as chess pieces in a chess match. Chula looks to be quite an intriguing game! If you took the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, crossed it with Stratego and added a few rudimentary rules of chess you would come close to the game of Chula. There are a few sly references to Dungeons & Dragons here and if you're familiar with that game you'll pick on them.