The Chess Variant Pages

Soul Reaver Chess

By Robert Kalin


One 8x8 chess board with notation of location. 

One 64 square hexagon board with a corner of the hex's facing the opponent, not a flat side so there is no straight path to the other side of the board. The hexes arranged loosely into a square formation to mimic the square board. The hexes are labeled with notation to match squares on the regular board.


All pieces are setup as standard chess on the square board.


A standard chess set of playing pieces. 


Game objective: 

To get the king into checkmate.

Piece movement rules:

When a Rook is captured on the square board it is removed. (See primary unresolved rule for importance.)

When a Pawn is captured on the hex board it is removed.

The King, instead of moving, has the option of transporting to the corresponding notation point on the other board.

All other pieces when captured are transported to the corresponding notation point on the other board.

To get the King into checkmate he must be in check on both boards so that he can not escape from one board to the other and thus escape check.


Commonly used term: "Transport" referring to the movement of a playing piece from one board to the other.

Primary rule unresolved:

A Pawn can be transported back to the square board by landing on the hex whose notation corresponds to that of their own side's Rook. Then in the next move instead of a normal move it can be transported back to the square board as long as it is in an unoccupied square next to the aforementioned Rook.

This creates a problem with Pawn movement on the hex board. If the Pawn gets captured on the far side of the board then there is no way (with its normal Pawn one-way movements) to reach the Rook.

Secondary rule options: The aforementioned transport could possibly be used.

A. When a piece lands on the space matching the notation of the Rook it could be transported instantly and move ended. Instead of using a move for the act of transport itself.

B. For all other pieces instead of requiring capture to move back and forth. Basically using the Rooks as mobile 'portals' between boards. (So far proposed one way from the hex board to the square board.)

Primary problem:

Space occupation between boards.

Up to this point most of the moves are made irregardless of the placement of pieces on the other board. It is only with capture that it becomes a problem. When two pieces are captured on the same square and the piece originally captured on that square (now on a hex with same notation) has not moved.

Two primary events can occur.

A. X captured piece lands on top of Y piece on other board (and vice versa).

B. X captured piece lands on top of different X piece on the other board.

So far this game works to the point in which the errors creep in. If anyone has some ideas on how to handle this irregularity I would be glad to work with them on it.

Theme Note:

The "soul reaver" part of the chess game is inspired by how the primary character of a video game can go into a kind of spirit/shadow realm that seems like a twisted version of reality. In this case the square board represents the material realm and the hexagon board represents the Astral realm. As in the video game the primary character can transport from reality to the astral board at any time. (in this case capture). But it is the role of the Rook that acts as the stable gateway between realms. I know the correlation between the theme and current game play is not exact but is merely the inspiration.