The Chess Variant Pages

Chexs

Stephen P. Kennedy ( spkennedy@mail.com ) made this chess variant for two to six persons, that is played on boards, made from hexagons.

Below, you read his text about his game.

Board Layout

The pieces are laid out at opposing corners, not edges. Each set of pieces has a unique color. The board uses white, black and red colored hexigons where the same color can not be used for any two adjacent hexigons.

There are two sides to the board. The first is a hexigon made up of smaller colored hexigons with six per edge. This board can be used for games with 2 or 3 players (see below). The flip side of the board uses a larger hexigon made up of nine hexigons per edge. This can be used for games with 4 to 6 players.

For 2 or 3 players

For 4 to 6 players

Rules

  1. Pieces move similarly to regular chess, but in six directions.
  2. Kings can move only to adjacent hexigons. This removes their diagonal motion as in regular chess.
  3. Knights also have an extra restriction. When they move up two and over one, the "over one" must be a forward over motion from the "up two". This restricts them from making a single diagonal move.
  4. As in normal chess, pawns can only move forward from their base. However, they do not attack diagonally (like bishops) along corners, but across edges instead (like rooks) (only 2 attack directions). The initial double move and en passant apply. Promotion is achieved when a pawn lands on a hex which has no hex directly infront of the pawn's normal path. This pawn can only be promoted to a previously captured piece of the same color.
  5. Since all bishops start on red hexigons, they are restricted to red. This sounds bad but it actually plays very well. As in normal chess, bishops can only be blocked if a piece sits directly in their path.
  6. If you place a king in check, it's not considered for mate until it's the defending player's move.
  7. The player that initiates a check that becomes mate, gets control of the defeated pieces.
  8. Turns are given per player, not per set of pieces.
  9. Each player starts with one set of pieces. If they lose control over these pieces (via mate) they can continue to play only if they control atleast one other set of pieces. Any player who has lost control over all their pieces is out of the game.
  10. If a player has two or more sets of pieces, and atleast one of them has just been mated, then those pieces are automatically considered hostile and can lead to further check-mates before the player even has a chance to move.
  11. If a player has more than one set of pieces, and more than one of them are in check, the player has only one turn to try to get as many of his kings out of check. Those kings which are still in check after the turn, are considered mated, and the pieces for this king are given to the player who initiated the check. As per rule 10, these mated pieces are automatically considered hostile and can lead to further mates before the turn switches to the next player. As in normal chess, the player must be notified that he is still in check and is given the chance to change his move before losing the game.
  12. If an army is mated by two opposing armies, control of the defeated army is given to the player who first initiated the check. If the player, with this new army, can not remove it from check from the opposing army, then it is considered stalemated until a time when one player can overcome the others attack on that army. Stalemated armies can not be moved unless used to get itself out of check from one of the opposing armies. All of the stalemated pieces, except the King, can be captured by any other army.
  13. Armies controlled by a single player are considered friendly and can not be captured by any color army controlled by that player.
  14. The player who gains control over all the sets of pieces, wins.

History

A few years ago, I tried to come up with some games for Franklin's Digital Book System. David Justice suggested a hexigonal crossword game, but it didn't work out. So I tried to think of some other square oriented games that might be adapted to hexigons.

I think chess was the first which came to mind and even though I didn't think it would work well for the DBS, I decided to design a workable game around it.

I first wanted to see how many colors were required to avoid having any two adjacent, so I scribbled out a small hex grid pattern and started labelling them by letters. It quickly showed that it only required using three colors, so I picked white, black and red.

The three colors suggested three players, so I created a game board to fit three sets of pieces. I believe the first board contained eight hexigons per each six edges of the entire hex board. The pieces were oriented along every other edge:

                                     .--.
                                    /    \
                                .--< Rook >--.
                               /    \    /    \
                           .--<Knight>--< Pawn >--.
                          /    \    /    \    /    \
                      .--<Bishop>--< Pawn >--<      >--.
             Black   /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
                 .--< Queen>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--.
                /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
            .--< King >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--.
           /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
       .--<Bishop>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--.
      /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
  .--<Knight>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--.
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
< Rook >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Rook >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<Knight>
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--<  red >--<  red >--<      >--<      >--<Bishop>
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--< white>--<  ..  >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--< black>--< black>--<      >--<      >--< King >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<  red >--<  red >--<  red >--<      >--< Pawn >--< Red
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--< white>--< white>--<      >--<      >--< Queen>
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--< black>--<  ..  >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--<  red >--<  red >--<      >--<      >--<Bishop>
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<Knight>
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
< Rook >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Rook >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  `--<Knight>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--'
      \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
       `--<Bishop>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--'
           \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
            `--< Queen>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--'
                \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
                 `--< King >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--'
             White   \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
                      `--<Bishop>--< Pawn >--<      >--'
                          \    /    \    /    \    /
                           `--<Knight>--< Pawn >--'
                               \    /    \    /
                                `--< Rook >--'
                                    \    /
                                     `--'

After making the arrangement on paper, I had somebody at work print this layout on a plotter. I also went to the toy store to get two cheap chess sets. I used spray paint to color one of the sets of pieces red.

After trying this layout, I realized it wasn't very playable. The pawns did not offer adequate defense. So I switched to a triangular format, also along the edges. I played with this for a while, making most of the rules as I went along:

        Triangular format:                .--.
                                         /    \
                                     .--<      >--.
                                    /    \    /    \
                                .--< Pawn >--<      >--.
                               /    \    /    \    /    \
                           .--< Rook >--<      >--<      >--.
                          /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
                      .--<Bishop>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--.
                     /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
                 .--< King >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--.
                /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
            .--<Bishop>--<Knight>--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--.
           /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
       .--< Rook >--<Knight>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--.
      /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
  .--< Pawn >--< Pawn >--<Queen >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--.
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--< Pawn >--< Pawn >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Rook >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--<  ..  >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--<white >--<  ..  >--<      >--< Pawn >--<Bishop>
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<black >--<black >--<      >--< Pawn >--<Knight>--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--< red  >--<  ..  >--< Pawn >--<Queen >--< King >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<white >--<white >--<      >--< Pawn >--<Knight>--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--<black >--<  ..  >--<      >--< Pawn >--<Bishop>
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--<  ..  >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<  ..  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Rook >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  >--<      >--<      >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<
 /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \
<      >--< Pawn >--< Pawn >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >
 \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
  `--< Pawn >--< Pawn >--<Queen >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--'
      \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
       `--< Rook >--<Knight>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--'
           \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
            `--<Bishop>--<Knight>--<      >--<      >--<      >--<      >--'
                \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
                 `--< King >--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--<      >--'
                     \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
                      `--<Bishop>--< Pawn >--<      >--<      >--'
                          \    /    \    /    \    /    \    /
                           `--< Rook >--<      >--<      >--'
                               \    /    \    /    \    /
                                `--< Pawn >--<      >--'
                                    \    /    \    /
                                     `--<      >--'
                                         \    /
                                          `--'

I liked that game, but not the arrangement, so I continued looking for other patterns. The main problem still seemed to be centered around the motion of the pawns. This led me to shift each set of pieces over to the corners. This also allowed me to shrink the game board to a more reasonable size.

I quickly realized that this could work for more than just three people. This six-hexigon-per-edge board would work for two or three players, and the flip side could have a nine-per-edge board which could handle four to six players.

Stephen Kennedy


Written by Stephen Kennedy. An html-version was made by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page made: 1995 or 1996. Last modified: March 12, 2002.