battle chess

chess.jpgwhile max and i were in mexico for our children’s book writing trip, we made up a game. really, he made it up. i just made a couple minor suggestions, which he included.

this, or some close version, is probably already available in the game market. but we haven’t seen those — so this was original thought! we played it over-and-over, during our writing breaks. it’s really a fun game!

battle chess is played with a normal chess board and pieces. the only modification necessary is to somehow mark the two “bishops” each player has, so one can be differentiated from the other (we wedged a tiny piece of paper into the slot on the top of one of each player’s bishops).

in addition, you’ll need two dice per player, and a scrap paper and pen or pencil for each player.

all regular chess moves are used. but when a piece would normally merely take an opponant’s piece, the two must do battle. this is done with the dice. pawns get to use one die. all other game pieces get to use two dice. but it’s simply the highest number on one die that wins. so, if you challenge my rook with your pawn, you get to use one die, and i get to use two dice. but if you roll a six, and i roll a three and a four, you still win (because, while i get two dice to increase my odds, i still only get to use the higher of my two numbers).

in addition, the four key game pieces have wagering points, in the following values:
bishop: 5 points
ghost (that’s the bishop that’s marked slightly different. don’t ask me why it’s a ghost. max said so.): 5 points
queen: 8 points
king: 8 points

wagering points are used to increase the number of a dice roll. any time a player’s bishop, ghost, queen or king are in a battle, that player can choose to wager as many additional point values as they wish, up to the amount they have left for that game piece. for example: if your pawn challenges my bishop to a battle, you get to use one die, and i get to use two. in addition, i can wager (assuming i’ve not previously used any of that bishop’s wagering points) up to 5 additional points. it would be a bit silly to use that many, so i’d likely wager about 2. that means i have 3 remaining for that bishop (hence the scrap paper and writing utencil). if our battle is a tie (say, if you roll a six for your pawn, and i roll a two and a four — meaning, i use the four, and add my two wagering points to it, for a total of six), i lose my wagering points, and have to decide whether or not to wager more in the rematch.

another sample scenario:
a rook battles a king (and the king has 4 remaining wagering points). both get to roll two dice. king wagers 2 additional points (and notes that on paper). the rook rolls a 2 and a 6. the king rolls a 1 and a 3 (meaning, the king’s high number is 5 — 3 + 2). rook wins.

the primary strategy max and i discovered is to use pawns and game pieces without wagering points to wear down the wagering points of the more strategic game pieces, while trying to retain as many of your own wagering points as possible. in the end, the player with the most wagering points seemed to have a huge advantage. game ends when one player takes the other player’s king in a battle – Correction: game ends when all of one player’s pieces are eliminated in battle. max just corrected me. we’d found the game wasn’t as fun when it was only about attacking or defending the kings.

seriously, this is a fun game. max and i dare ya to try it.

5 thoughts on “battle chess”

  1. Does the Ghost have any special powers or moves or is it just like the Bishop with paper in its visor.

  2. I stuck the rules on my Palm for future reference. I’m a gamer and love trying out new rules in things and this looks like a winner! I have a great rule change I’ve used in LOTR Risk with the ring.

  3. bullfrog — the only reason for the ghost is that the two bishops need to be differentiated for the use of their individual wagering points. so max renamed one of them. it really doesn’t matter if you want to have them be bishop 1 and bishop 2.

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