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Tabletop Game / Chess 2

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Chess 2: The Sequel is a chess variant created by David Sirlin, creator of the Fantasy Strike collection of games. In an effort to remove the rote memorization and prolonged endgame, Chess 2 adds the following new rules:

  • A New Victory Condition: Midline Invasion. Players win immediately once they legally move their king past the center of the board. Additionally, forcing your opponent into what would be a stalemate position in regular chess also counts as a loss for them and a victory for you.
  • Bidding: When pieces are captured, the defender can challenge the attacker to a hidden-knowledge bid that may result in the attacking piece being destroyed as well.
  • Multiple Factions: Each side can play with one of six different armies, including the Classic Chess army as well as five other variations.

Has a video game version of Ouya and Steam. It can also be played with a real-world chess set, with only a few additional pieces required; the official rules can be found here.

Chess 2 provides examples of:

  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: The Animal Army is composed mostly of animals, all of which are intelligent enough to move as strategically as any human army.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game is designed so that it can almost entirely be played on a normal Chess board with normal Chess pieces. The only things it needs are a means by which to bid for pieces when dueling, and maybe rule cards to explain the armies' features if either player forgets or isn't familiar with them.
    • The midline invasion rule is meant to speed up the game and prevent "solved" chess endgames, in which looking up optimal moves is trivial.
  • Competitive Balance: With exception to the Animal Army, each of the new armies has a different strategy and favored piece.
    • Nemesis favors Pawns and uses their properties to put pressure on the enemy king and win by checkmate.
    • The Empowered Army favors Rooks, Knights, and Bishops. By combining these pieces' movement abilities, it can control a lot of space on the board and set up victories early, when it has all its pieces and is the strongest.
    • Two Kings favors king pieces. With its unique ability to have a second turn just to move one of its warrior kings, it typically wins by perpetually keeping enemies in check while slowly moving its kings to achieve midline invasion.
    • The Reaper Army favors its Queen. It is most dangerous when it threatens midline invasion, as the reaper can pick off pieces defending the midline and constantly force its opponent to prevent midline invasion.
  • Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation: The game started out as a chess variant that works with a normal chess set, and a video game version was later released for the Ouya, followed by a Steam version.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted for warrior kings, whose Whirlwind attack destroys both allied and hostile pieces, elephants, which will destroy all pieces in its path when it attacks, and wild horses, who are able to capture allied pieces. Played straight for everyone else: they can't capture friendly pieces even if they want to.
  • Instant-Win Condition: There are three ways to win instantly: checkmate, stalemate, and Midline Invasion.
    • Checkmate works the same as in Chess 1; if your king is unable to get out of check, you lose.
    • Stalemates occur when someone has no legal moves left. Unlike in Chess 1, however, the person who cannot make any moves loses instead of draws the game.
    • Moving one's King over the middle line of the board initiates a win by Midline Invasion. Do note that kings are still unable to move into a spot if it means getting into check, even if making that move means crossing the midline. Also, the Two Kings Army requires both kings pass the midline.
  • Joke Character: The Empowered Army has Empowered Rooks, Bishops, and Knights that will grant each other their movement when adjacent to them. To compensate for the stunning amount of movement they offer, however, their Queen is replaced with a far less powerful Elegant Queen, which has the movement of a King.
  • Jungle Princess: The Animal Army features a Jungle Queen, which moves like a combined Rook and Knight instead of a combined Rook and Bishop.
  • Nerf: Pawn pieces are a bit weaker in Chess 2, even when using the Classic army that otherwise stays entirely identical to normal Chess. For every Pawn your opponent captures, they'll gain a stone, giving them better bargaining power in duels and forcing you to play a bit more carefully with what's otherwise Cannon Fodder.
  • No-Sell: Kings have diplomatic immunity, and cannot be lost in duels.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • The dueling mechanic makes players bid when one piece attempts capture on another; the exception to this rule are the King pieces, which can't be challenged in a duel. The Two Kings army, which is based on having proactively powerful Kings, would be notably worse if its user had to constantly manage their stones to avoid losing via duel while using their Kings as the power pieces they're meant to be.
    • The namesake of the Reaper army is capable of moving anywhere and capturing every enemy piece... except the King piece, so it doesn't just instantly win by capturing it, nor any piece in the opponent's back row, so it won't be able to immediately cripple the opponent by taking out their higher value pieces.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: The Nemesis of its namesake army can only be captured by the opponent's King. Inversely, the Nemesis isn't capable of capturing any piece except the King.
  • Power Copying: The theme of the Empowered army is that if a knight, rook or bishop is orthogonally adjacent to a friendly knight, rook or bishop, both pieces temporarily gain the movement of its neighbour in addition to their regular movement. For instance, if a rook is next to a friendly bishop, both pieces can move as a Chess 1 queen.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking:
    • The Two Kings Army has two kings instead of one, and both of them are capable of powerful abilities such as extra turns and enacting a whirlwind attack, making them exceedingly powerful members of their army.
    • As in Chess 1, most armies have powerful queens. The exception is the Empowered Army's elegant queen, which moves like a king but with none of that piece's importance.
  • Taking You with Me: The dueling mechanic allows captured pieces to take down their attacker. If the person that owns the defending piece bids more stones than the attacker, both pieces are captured.
  • Spin Attack: The warrior kings of the Two Kings Army can do this, destroying all pieces around them, enemy or otherwise.
  • Stone Wall: The ghost rooks in the Reaper army can never be captured. However, they can't capture either. They're best used to block enemy attacks.
  • Straight for the Commander: The Nemesis Army employs this strategy. Its pawns can make a nemesis move, allowing them to go one space cardinally or diagonally in the direction of an enemy king. The queen is replaced with the nemesis, a mostly identical piece except for the detail that it can only capture or be captured by a king.
  • Teleportation with Drawbacks: The Reaper army features two pieces capable of teleport: the reaper (can capture, can't teleport to the opponent's back row) and the ghost rook (can teleport to any vacant square, but can neither capture nor be captured and only serves to block the opponent's pieces).