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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Epic Chess

Happy Holidays, everyone!

I've worked on Epic Chess earlier last month, and had a bit of fun with it, but like all "great" projects, I've gotten bored with its downsides. However, I still think it's a great concept and easy to get back into any time I want.
A selection of Epic Chess cards.

Below is a list of what each card does. If you want, you can make your own simple cards. They obviously don't need awesome pictures on them like mine do. They can just be little tabs of paper with the word of the attack on one side. I'm also thinking that it'd be nice to have tiny rubber bands or rings of some kind, to record which pieces have buffs that last more than one turn such as Slow, Petard, etc.

Each card has an ability, but it also needs to have a spectrum of which pieces you can target (K=King, R=Rook, etc) on which side (B=Enemy bishop, K=Any knight, P=Your own pawns only). Many if not all also need a determiner of when you can use the card. For example, can I play a card and then make my move? Or does my playing the card use up my turn? These are things I still need to figure out.

Basic Cards - 2 of each card
  • Slow - Choose an opponent's piece. The piece can only move 1 square in its respective pattern on its next move. (QBKR)
  • Teleport - Move a piece to any unoccupied square on the board. A pawn moved in this way may not be promoted. (KQBKRP)
  • Control - For your turn, move one of your opponent's pieces instead of yours. (KQBKRP)
  • Disarm - Choose an enemy piece. It cannot attack during its next move. (This can interrupt check) (KQBKRP)
  • Tactics - Use this turn to move 2 of your pieces instead of one; however, you may not attack with either. (KQBKRP)
  • Stealth - One piece may move through other pieces for this turn only. You may not attack this turn. (QBRP)
  • Doppelgänger - Switch an enemy piece with an equal piece of yours. (KQBKRP)
  • Petard - Choose a piece. When the piece engages in battle (either attacking or being attacked) both pieces are destroyed. Kings are unaffected. (QBKRP)
  • Strike - Destroy one enemy pawn, or one friendly pawn and one enemy adjacent to it. (PP+?)
  • Revive - Place one of your dead pieces from the graveyard into an unoccupied square on your first row. (QBKRP)
  • Loyalty - Choose a piece. If that piece is taken, place it on the square of the nearest pawn and kill the pawn instead. (QBKR)
  • Haste - Move one of your pieces twice this turn. It may only attack one enemy during its two moves. (KQBKRP)
Unique Cards - 1 of each card
  • Joust - Knight Card - On your Knight's move, destroy all pieces through which it moves. (KQBKRP) 
  • Wall - Rook Card - Walls extend either vertically or horizontally from the selected Rook. No pieces can pass through the walls. They extend as pieces move out of their way, and remain until the Rook moves or dies. (R)
  • Conversion - Bishop Card - Move your Bishop 1 space either horizontally or vertically, changing the color of square on which it moves diagonally. (B)
  • Oppugn - King Card - When an enemy piece puts your King into check, play this card to instantly kill the piece. (QBKRP)
  • Fervor - King Card - When played, allows the King to move as many spaces as there are friendly pieces in the graveyard. (K)
Those are the cards I've come up with, but that was the easy and fun part. The part I'm struggling with now, after several rounds of testing, is the most important rule: How do you obtain cards in the first place? I've come up with a tentative set-up rule, which is that each player draws five cards, but how do they obtain more? Or do they obtain more? Every attempt I've made to make this system work has failed.

Killing pieces to gain cards quickly sways the game in the favor of the player who kills more, thus making it easier to kill more and more, etc.

Drawing a card as an alternative to reviving a friendly piece when a pawn gets to the other side sounds like a good idea, but how often do you really get a pawn to the opposite side? And even then, you probably have only reached it after you've lost your queen, and reviving her is almost always a better choice than getting Haste or Stealth, which won't help you at all.

I think this game has lots of potential, but I need suggestions. If anyone wants to play a game of it with me, or have any ideas after trying it themselves, let me know. For now, enjoy this small bit of one of my rare projects!


  1. Instead of beginning the game with cards, you should draw a card every other turn after the first turn. That way, the game will still use some of the basic strategies of chess, and you won't use all your cards right away. Conservation is a weird but effective tool to implement into a game. If things are not easy right away, then the person playing it has to anticipate he will get a card he wants. There is suddenly more of an element of chance. I think that's what made HMM3 so effective. This is just a suggestion.

  2. A very good suggestion indeed... That way they both start seemingly the same, and both gain advantages at the same time. Which element in Heroes 3 are you referring to? Luck and morale?


I love feedback and suggestions. Please comment with your thoughts!