Medieval War Chess is a chess variant that uses the same pieces and the same board but has entirely different rules. The idea is to capture the essence of medieval melees. The long range movement of chess pieces doesn’t really capture this. But the game moves slowly, because pieces can only move to one adjacent square per move, so each player gets 3 actions a turn, which can include moves, attacks or cannon attacks.
The notation for recording games should be pretty clear from my games. I’m using the chess position editor at http://www.apronus.com/chess/wbeditor.php to visualize the games because that system allows moves that aren’t legal in standard chess.
I would like to test this game and tweak it, but for that to happen, I need to find someone else interested in playing. For now I’m just playing solitaire to explore the possibilities of the game.
The rules are listed at the bottom of this post.
1. c2-c3, d2-d3, b1-c2 — A new opening I haven’t tried before. Cannon attacks aren’t much of a worry yet because the rooks have little range to manuever with all of the pieces still on the back row. So why not develop the queenside knight and/or the queen itself.
1. …g7-g6, f7-f6, g8-g7 — Open up an attack on white’s a2 point. I think there are broadly two types of cannon attacks to consider. There’s the protected attack, where the rook takes one action to get along the open rank, file or diagonal, one action to destroy the targetted piece, and the last action to move back to where he was hiding before.
Alternatively, there is the unprotected attack, where the rook moves twice to get in position, and then attacks. Early in the game, these unprotected attacks often expose the rook to too much danger of being either destroyed by a counter-battery from the other sides rooks, or to being melee attacked. The rooks should be protected like the queen is in normal chess. They are extremely valuable and fragile.
In this case, black’s threat isn’t likely to work out, but it forces white to do something on the queen side again to defend against it.
2. d1-d2, d2-e3, c3-c4 — Defend the a2 pawn and advance the queen into a more aggressive position. Be careful with your queen, but black hasn’t really presented any melee power yet, so the white queen may be able to do something.
2. … b7-b6, c7-c6, b8-b7 — Black does the same thing on the queen side that he did on move one. He is slowly advancing the black knights, but very slowly.
3. g2-g3, g1-g2, g2-f3 — Protect the h2 pawn and move the king’s knight forward. White is going for a melee assault plan.
3. …b7-a6, a6-b5, b5 attack c4 — The c4 pawn was exposed without a strong counterattack threat. Easy pickings. 2 c3-c4 was a blunder perhaps.
4. e3-f4, f4-g5, g5 attack g6 — White leaves the a2 pawn open to cannon attack in order to advance the queen and attack a black pawn. This is risky, but it doesn’t seem like black can take the white queen without preparation.
4. …h8-g8, g8 cannon a2, g8-h8 — White’s queen is threatening Black’s kingside rook, so he has to hide it back away in the corner after attacking, but this situation is dangerous for black as well as white because of that threat.
5. a1-b1, h1-g1, h2-g2 — Both of white’s rooks as well as the h2 pawn were under the threat of cannon attack. So white has to play defensively.
5. … a8-b8, b8 cannon g3, c8-c7 — White anti-cannon defense didn’t quite work. White now has only 5 pawns left to black’s 7. Cannons become very powerful as the board empties.
6. g5-g6, g6 attack h7, g6-g5 — White has to avoid the h row, which is a free firing lane for the h rook, and the threat of bishop and knight together which can overpower the queen. Black’s rook is now in the hot seat. Black has to drive off the black queen.
6. .. d8-d7, c6-c5, h8-g8 — Black offers the trade of rook for queen, but protects his rook from cannon attack, while starting to get his queen in the game.
7. b1-a2, a2 cannon g8, a2-b1
7. …d7-e6, e6-f5, [f5, f6] attack g6.
8. c2-c3, d3-d3, b1 cannon f5 — This whole sequence surprised me. Every turn I thought I knew what was going on. I’m pretty much Mr. blunder at this game right now. White now has the lead with an extra rook.
8. … c8-c7, c7-c6, b8-c7 — Gets the queenside bishop and rook closer to the fight.
9. g2-h2, g1 cannon g7, h2-g2 — As pieces start to fall, a bad formation like black’s will fall apart. White’s formation is very defensible against cannons in contrast.
9. … f8-f7, f7-e6, d6-d5 — Black is pretty much lost, but trying to get pieces together for a final melee assault attempt.
10. b1-a1, a1 cannon a7, a1-b1
10. …c5-c4, d5-d4, c6-c5 — Preparing for a melee attack.
11. c3 attack c4, c3 attack d4, f3-d4 — This is strange, it makes me wonder if there should be some rule about how many melee attacks can happen in a turn.
11. … c7-d7, d7 cannon d2, d7-c8 — The loss of black’s pawns gave him range on the white pawn. Finding a safe place for the last black rook is getting harder thought. Finally black makes an aggressive action again.
12. c1-d2, d2-e3, f3-e4 — Knights feel a little too indestructible currently. Every other piece feels fragile, but I don’t know how anyone is supposed to lose their knights once the queens are off the board. Maybe I’ll adjust the knight defense to 7, so 2 knights can defeat 1 knight.
12. …c5-d6, c8 cannon c3, b5-c4 — good move on black’s part, but not enough material left, especially after his own knight falls
13. b1-c2, c2-d3, d3 cannon c4 — trading rook for knight.
13. … c8-d8, d6-c5, d8 cannon d3 — taking the rook with a bishop results in losing the bishop.
14. f2-g3, g1-f2, f2 cannon f6 — trading down pawns.
14. …d8-c7, c7 cannon g3, c7-d8
15. e2-f3, f1-e2, e1-f1
15. … e8-f7, c5-d6, b6-c7 .. defending against the threat of a cannon attack on his rook and trying to link up his 2 remaining pawns eventually.
Rook sight lines are a huge factor in restraining movement by both sides here.
16. e3-f4, e2-e3, e3-d4 — preparing for a melee assault, the queenside bishop is exposed, but the black rook would be lost if it was cannoned.
16. … d6-c6, d7-c8, d8 cannon d4
17. f2-e2, e2-d1, d1 cannon d8
17. … c7-d8, c6-d7, e6-d6
Its over, black doesn’t have the power to do anything, and the knights and bishops no longer are restrained since black’s rook is gone. They can march on, finishing off the rest of the black’s army with help from the white rook.
RULES OF THE GAME:
|Piece||Off. Strength||Def. Strength||Note|
|Queen||6||6||The Queen is the only unit without doubled defense strength|
|Rook||0||0||The Rook has the special cannon attack but no melee strength|
|Bishop||3||6||Bishops are a moderately powerful piece.|
|Knight||4||8||Knights are the best melee combatants.|
|Pawn||Varies||Varies||Pawns have 1 off., 2 def. strength for every pawn surrounding them.|
|King||2||4||In version 1 of the rules, the King has special powers. He is mundane now.|