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02 February 2005 @ 09:09 pm
Got another chess variant for y'all. This one is partly inspired by Alice Chess.

Underworld Chess

This is played with a standard chess army (plus two extra kings) on two 8x8 boards. The regular armies are set up as normal on one board (the World), while the two extra kings are set up on the usual king positions on the second board (the Underworld). The object is the checkmate the opponent's king on the World.

Play is the same as in orthochess, except that when a piece is captured it is dropped on the nearest unoccupied square on its home file in the Underworld (pawns cannot occupy the first rank when dropped, and are dropped on the same file they are captured on). Play on the Underworld is the same as play in orthochess, with the following differences:
  • Only the enemy Underworld King is capable of actually capturing pieces permanently. Otherwise captures in the Underworld are treated exactly the same as captures in the World, resulting in the piece being dropped back in the Underworld.
  • There is no pawn promotion. To pawns, the board is cylindrical, with the first rank following the eighth.
  • Underworld Kings have the same restrictions as regular Kings, except that "checkmating" them does not end the game, and if the Underworld King cannot escape check, its player may make any otherwise legal move. Successfully capturing an Underworld King with a regular piece results in the regular piece being returned to the World in the closest unoccupied space on its home file (the file it captured on for pawns). If the capturing piece is the other Underworld King, the capturing player gets to choose any of his pieces (including "permanently" captured ones) to return to the World, and the captured Underworld King is returned by its player to any unoccupied and unattacked space on his first rank (2nd rank if there are no qualifying spaces in the first).
The full turn order is: white on World, black on World, black on Underworld, white on Underworld. So, while white has the same first-move advantage on the World as he does in orthochess, black has first-move advantage on the Underworld. If either board is reduced to only its native Kings, it is rendered inactive immediately and play there stops until another piece is introduced. White always gets the first move after activation of the World, and black always gets the first move after activation of the Underworld, regardless of who had the last turn before it was deactivated. Deactivating both boards (which can only be done by capturing all non-Kings with Underworld Kings) counts as a draw.
Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Hideki Naganuma (Jet Grind Radio) - Humming the Bassline
Alun Clewealun_clewe on February 3rd, 2005 06:55 am (UTC)
Okay, wait...the rules say that if an Underworld King is captured by the other Underworld King, the captured king is returned to the board. But they say nothing about returning the captured king to the board if its captor is a different piece. So if an Underworld King is captured by a piece other than the other Underworld King, is it removed from the game permanently?
gwallagwalla on February 3rd, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC)
No, it doesn't move at all. The "capturing" piece just returns to the World, while the Underworld King sits there and takes it like a man.

Originally, I intended the Underworld King to return to its starting position every time it was captured, but then I figured that having it stay put might encourage players to try to set up multiple captures of the Underworld King, which would be a new and different twist on chess strategy.
Alun Clewealun_clewe on February 3rd, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
OK, I figured it didn't seem sensible for the Underworld King to be removed permanently from the game, but in the absence of any mention of what did happen to it in a capture I wasn't sure. Having it stay where it is makes sense, but isn't something I would have assumed from the given rules description.
uzeromay on December 26th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC)
A good game in its own right.
Independently of you, Dan Troyka created a game called Heaven and Hell Chess, similar to yours. I have been working on a variant called Limbo Chess with three layers. May I have your permission to publish your variants on chessvariants.org?
gwallagwalla on December 29th, 2006 06:03 am (UTC)
Re: A good game in its own right.
Looks like it's not quite the same. My underworld kings can't be checkmated, "hell" has regular capture while my underworld uses circe rules with a limited way of returning pieces to the world. Pretty similar though.

I've been holding off on publishing any of these because they haven't been playtested at all, but you can publish this and my philosophical variants if you like as long as you give me credit (I intended to do so eventually myself, but keep putting it off). I'd kinda rather you didn't publish Thermonuclear Fusion Chess, because I'm rethinking that one. Or Shatranj al'Hashishin, because I really want to playtest that to determine what pawn promotion rule to go with. I make no guarantees about the playability of any of my philosophical chess variants.
uzeromay on January 9th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
Re: A good game in its own right.
Just getting back to you now. Thank you. Of course, you'll be credited as the inventor. If you want, I'd be glad to playtest any variant with you using the Game Courier PBM system.