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4-Player Pothole Chess

by Seth Blanchard & Dave Hogarty

The Board:

(The black spaces are potholes and don't count as part of the 39 squares.)

  +---+---+---+   +---+---+---+
7 | k | c | d |   | d | c | k |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 | c |###| b |   | b |###| c |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 | d | b | | |   | b | d |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
4     |   |###|   |###|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 | d | b |   |   |   | b | d |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 | c |###| b |   | b |###| c |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 | k | c | d |   | d | c | k |
  +---+---+---+   +---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f   g

b = bulldozer

d = dirt devil

c = car

k = king

The Pieces

The King

The King is a normal chess king.

The Bulldozer

The bulldozer moves one square in any direction, as it moves it pushes the piece on the square it's moving to to the next square in the same direction. It has no capture, but may kill pieces by pushing them off the board or into potholes.

A bulldozer cannot push more than one piece. It can also push friendly pieces.

The bulldozer promotes (see 'promotion' in the rules section) to a megadozer (m). A megadozer can push more than one piece, and can move any number of spaces in any direction provided there is a piece adjacent to it in the direction it is going to travel. The adjacent piece can be a friendly piece as well as an enemy piece

Example A

  +-+-+-+
3 |D| | |
  +-+-+-+
2 | |b| |
  +-+-+-+
1 | | | |
  +-+-+-+
   a b c

The bulldozer at b2 can kill the enemy dirt devil by moving to a3 and pushing it of the board.

Example B

 +-+-+-+
3| | | |
 +-+-+-+
2| |C| |
 +-+-+-+
1| | |b|
 +-+-+-+
  a b c

By moving to b2 the bulldozer pushes the enemy car to a3

Example C

 +-+-+-+
3|D| | |
 +-+-+-+
2| |K| |
 +-+-+-+
1| | |b|
 +-+-+-+
  a b c

The bulldozer can't move to b2 because that would be pushing more than 1 piece.

Example D

 +-+-+-+-+
4|M| | |R|
 +-+-+-+-+
3| | | |B|
 +-+-+-+-+
2| | |D| |
 +-+-+-+-+
1|K|Y|C|m|
 +-+-+-+-+
  a b c d

The megadozer at d1 can kill the enemy King, Cyclone (Y), and Car by moving to a1. It can kill the enemy Dirt Devil and Megadozer by moving to a4. It CAN'T kill the Bulldozer and Racecar (R) because there isn't an adjacent piece in that direction.

The Dirt Devil

The Dirt Devil moves along the edges of the potholes. It can only move around one pothole at a time.

The Dirt Devil promotes to a Cyclone (Y). A cyclone can move along the edges of multiple potholes.

Example A

 +-+-+-+-+
4| | | | |
 +-+-+-+-+
3| |#| | |
 +-+-+-+-+
2| | | |#|
 +-+-+-+-+
1| | | |D|
 +-+-+-+-+
  a b c d

(#=Pothole)

The Dirt Devil can move to c1, c2, c3, & d3, if it were a cyclone it could move to c2 or c3 and then start moving around the pothole at b3

The Car

The Car can move two squares like a rook or one square as a bishop. It promotes to a Racecar (R). A Racecar moves three squares as a rook or two squares as a bishop.

The Rules

Turn Order

Turn order is white, red, black (gray), and blue.

Moves per Turn

You get to make two moves on each turn. A move consists of moving either a piece or a pothole. You can't move the same thing twice in one turn.

Moving Potholes

  +---+---+---+   +---+---+---+
7 | @ | @ | @ |   | @ | @ | @ |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 | @ |###| @ |   | @ |###| @ |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 | @ | @ | * | * | * | @ | @ |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
4     |   |###| * |###|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 | @ | @ | * | * | * | @ | @ |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 | @ |###| @ |   | @ |###| @ |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 | @ | @ | @ |   | @ | @ | @ |
  +---+---+---+   +---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f   g

The only person who can move one of the 4 corner potholes is the person whose pieces started around it. Corner potholes can only be moved to the squares marked with a @.

When one of the 2 center potholes is moved it can't be moved again until after the next turn of the person who moved it. The same person can't move a center pothole twice in a row. Center potholes can only be moved to the squares marked with a *

The unmarked squares are promotion squares (see Promotion.)

Potholes must be moved to empty spaces.

Promotion

A piece is promoted once it reaches all four promotion squares (Kings can not promote). A good way to keep track of the status of a piece is to use poker chips of four different colors (one color for each square) and assign the colors to each of the squares. Then, when a piece lands on a promotion square, you just put that square's color poker chip under it until it has all four chips and gets promoted.

Killing an Enemy King

There is no check or checkmate. When you kill an enemy king, you get to use all of their pieces in their unpromoted state. (to promote you have to land on all 4 squares again). You also have control of their pothole.

In Conclusion

This game has not been playtested, so if you play it and have suggestions, please email me or Seth with them at:

(email removed contact us for address) mail.com - Dave Hogarty (email removed contact us for address) .com - Seth Blanchard

This is a submission for the contest to design a chess variant on a board with 39 squares.
Text and diagrams by Dave Hogarty and Seth Blanchard. . HTML conversion and slight editing by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: November 25, 1998. Last modified: November 26, 1998.