D. Talks On Games

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War is Not Chess

Chess...


I don't like it.


I don't hate it either. I'm glad I learned it and I'm not bad at it, but I can think of a dozens of games I'd rather play. I'd have to be pretty bored and out of options to play it at this point. Sound familiar? 


Also, there must be a more chess sets than people in the world. So if I want to design a game using chess pieces I can be pretty sure that you can get your hands on a copy, probably for free. 


So lets fix it!  (See my blog for more info on my design choices to fix the game).



Here is my game of "War is Not Chess".


A) Pieces Required: 

  • 1 Chess Board. 
  • 2 colors of chess men
  • 2 Six-sided Dice.
  • A piece of paper and a pencil.
  • 1 Token to Symbolize "Momentum"

B) Setup:


1) Setup Chess Board.

2) Give each player a set of chess men 

3) Each player decides which Faction they will be and sets aside the appropriate pieces for that army. (See this page for the various factions)

4) Players simultaneously reveal faction.

5) Optional: Choose a scenario. The scenario may give someone the momentum token. Otherwise neither player starts with it. 

6) Place a divider in the center of the board hiding each side from the other player.

7) Set up the pieces for your faction wherever you like in the 2 rows on the chess board closest to you.

8) Reveal Army setup.

9) If you have not chosen a scenario roll off to see who goes first.



C) Play Overview:


- Each army is made up of the same 3 kinds of units and 1 or more leaders.  Typical Armies get 2 of each normal unit. 


- Armies normally get 2 actions a turn plus 1 or more leader actions.  Each unit can normally only take 1 action per turn. Any unit can use the normal actions regardless of the distance to the nearest leader. Leaders typically provide 1 action each but the leader cannot be moved by normal actions. (Only Leader Actions). Leader actions are lost when you lose the leader.


- All units roll 1d6 + bonuses and penalties when fighting. Whichever unit loses gets removed from the board. Ties result in no unites being removed unless the attacker has "The Momentum" token. During a tie, if the attacker has the momentum token they may sacrifice the token to win the tie. If the winner of the combat does not have the momentum token they may take it (unless they sacrificed it to win the combat).


-Units cannot move onto a space containing another unit (friend or foe). 


- In Normal play the winner is the player who can hold the momentum token for 10 rounds without losing it or sacrificing it. Obviously if the entire other side is dead they will have no problem doing so and automatically win. Scenario play sometimes has different win conditions.



D) What the pieces do.



1) Pawn => Man At Arms 

Actions: 

Move: Move 1 space in any direction

Move and Attack: Move 1 space any direction and attack a unit next to it (with -1 penalty see below)

Attack: Does not move this turn but attacks a unit next to it with no penalty.


Combat Bonuses: 

+1 If Man At Arms is touching another Man at Arms. (Attack or Defense)

+1 if Any other pieces on the side as Man at Arms are touching the enemy unit (Attack or Defense)

+1 if Man at arms is the second unit to attack the same enemy unit this turn (Attack only)

-1 if Man at arms moved this turn.


2) Knight => Horsemen

Actions:

Move: 1 or 2 Spaces in any direction

Attack No move: Attack a unit touching it at -1

Move and attack: 1 or 2 spaces in any direction. Attack a unit touching it with bonuses for distance moved (See combat bonuses below) .

Attack then move: Attack at -1 and then if unit survives move it 1 space away.


Combat Bonuses:

+1 for each space Horsemen moved before Attacking. Moving into and out of the same space does not count as having move. (Attack only)

+1 If Horseman is only touching 1 enemy unit (Attack or Defense)

-1 if Horseman is touching more than 3 or more enemy unites (Attack or Defense)


3) Rooks => Archers

Actions:

Move 1 space in any direction

Attack: Attack any space 2 away from the units current position.

(Note: Archers normally cannot move and attack on the same turn).


Special Rules: Archers do not die when they lose a combat as the attacker. Archers do not kill the enemy unit when they win a combat as the defender.

Combat bonuses:

+1 if the unit Archer is attacking could is also 2 spaces away from another archer.

+1 if there are no units between Archer and the unit it is attacking. 

-2 if archer is the defender


4) Leaders: Each Leader is represented by a King, Queen or 1-2 Bishops. 

On top of the special leader rules:

King Leaders follow all Archer Rules 

Queen Leaders follow all Horseman Rules

Bishop Leaders Follow all Man-At-Arms Rules.


Usually their is one extra action per leader. Usually this action can only be used by the leader or units touching the leader. See specific leaders and factions for exceptions.


E) Factions:


1) Bishop Factions


a) Twin Generals:  

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders: 2 Bishops

Leader Actions: 1 Order per leader. Order Can only be used on Generals and units touching general. Lose 1 extra action per leader lost.

Special Rule: Units who use the Leaders order get +1 on attack


b) Healers

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders: 2 Bishops

Leader Actions: Just 1 leader action. Order can only be used to move a leader or a unit touching a leader. Leader Action is lost if either leader is lost.

Special Rule: When you lose a unit that is touching a Leader Role the dice. If the role is a 6 the unit doesn't die. If both Leaders are touching the same unit you may role once for each leader touching the lost unit.



2) Queen Factions


a) Bandit Queen

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders:1 Queen

Leader Action: Just 1 action but it can be used to move any unit on the board regardless of whether the Bandit Queen is touching it.


b) Fairy Queen

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders:1 Queen

Leader Action: 1 action that can be used by leader or 1 unit touching the leader.
Special rules: When fast queen uses her leader action you may move the unit given the action 1 space immediately. This does not count as the unit having moved this turn. (ie. archers can still shoot, no move penalty for men at arms, no move bonus for cavalry).


3) King Leaders

a) Witch

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders:1 King

Leader Action: 1 action used on herself or any unit touching her. 
Special Rules: Instead of taking her leader action the Witch can sacrifice the action to give all units friendly units within 2 spaces of her +1 on attack this turn and all enemy units within 2 spaces of her -1 defense.

b) Engineer King 

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders:1 King

Leader Action: 1 action used on herself or any unit touching her. 

Special Rules: Engineer king has a Catapult. He can attack any space 3 away  rather than 2 away. 


4) Combo Factions:


a) Hunting Party

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders:1 King, 2 Bishops

Leader Action: 1 Extra action that can only be used for the king or bishops. The action is lost if the king dies, but not the bishops.

Special Rules: Bishops are hounds. They cannot attack and do not count as men at arms. Instead they provide +1 to attack against any enemy unit they are touching. They defend at d6-2


b) Honeymoon

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders:1 King, 1 Queen.

Leader Action: 1 Extra Action that can be used for only the king or the queen. Action is lost if either leader dies. (note: this means neither one will attack ever again if the other leader is lost)

Special Rules: Horseman (and the queen of course) who attack a spot 2 spaces away from the king get +1 to attack.  Archers (and the King of course) Get +1

when attacking any spot that the is touching the queen.

c) Body Doubles

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders: 1 Queen, 2 Bishops

Leader Action: 1 Action that can only be used by the queens and the bishops.

Special Rules: Body doubles (The bishops) Cannot attack. They defend at -1. At the beginning or end of each turn you may remove a body double from the board and replace it with the Queen.


d) The Slavering Horde

Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders: 1 King, 1 Queen, 1 Bishop

Leader Actions: 3 Leaders actions. 1 for each leader that can be used by the leader or a unit it touches.

Special Rules: The Slavering Horde gets no normal actions. If the Horde loses all 3 leaders then the horde retreats and loses the game.


5) No Leader Factions


a) The Master Mind: 

 Units: 2 Men at arms, 2 Horsemen, 2 Archers. 

Leaders: None

Leader Actions: None (Just the 2 normal actions)

Special Rules:

- Men At arms Gain the following action:  Attack and then move.

- Horseman gain the Following action: Move, Attack, Move.

- All units the Master Mind has can move into spaces held by another unit, swapping that unit into the position it just held. The unit is not considered to have moved this turn.


b) Eunech Army

Units: 8 Men at arms

Leaders: None

Leader Actions: None (Just the 2 normal actions) 
Special Rules: A single unit can take both of the actions in the same turn. If you use this option and you started the turn with the momentum discard it at the end of your turn. If you use the option and neither player had the momentum at the start of your turn, give it the opposing player at the end of your turn. There is no penalty for doing this when the opposing player already has the momentum. 

6) Napoleonic War Factions: 

Go to Napoleonic War is Not Chess to learn more about the Napoleonic war variant.