The Chess Variant Pages




Heroes Hexagonal Chess

by Tony Quintanilla

Overview

Introduction

I developed Heroes as an attempt to see what kind of Chess game I could come up with on a hexagonal board. I tried consciously not to be overly influenced by well know hexagonal Chess variants, such as Glinski's Hexagonal Chess.

Heroes Hexagonal Chess is submitted to the 84-Spaces Contest!

Setup

See the piece images and descriptions below to explain the above setup. The dark colored 5-hex areas at opposite ends of the board allow Guards to promote to Heroes. The medium colored areas indicate areas belonging to each player. The light colored areas indicate areas belonging to neither player. The light blue hex in the center is not part of the board and may not be entered.

Pieces


King
The King moves one hex in any direction, but may not move into a hex where it could be captured (check). The King captures any opposing piece it lands upon.

The player that checkmates the opponent's King wins the game.


Hero
The Hero may move away one or two hexes in any direction, including different directions. The Hero may not jump over any intervening pieces. The Hero captures any opposing piece it lands upon.

The Hero gives special movement and capturing powers to Knights, Camels, Elephants, Fresh Pawns, and Pawns, if they are adjacent to the Hero. The image above shows this influence with a ring.

The player that captures all of the opponent's Heroes wins the game.


Chariot
The Chariot may move up to five hexes in any of the six directions away from its hex. The Chariot may not jump over any intervening pieces. The Chariot captures any opposing piece it lands upon.


Knight
The Knight may move two or three hexes in any of the six directions away from its hex. The Knight may not jump over any intervening pieces. The Knight captures any opposing piece it lands upon.

If the Knight is adjacent to a friendly Hero, the Knight may also move two hexes in alternating directions. For this special move only, the Knight may jump over any intervening pieces. The Knight captures any opposing piece it lands upon.


Camel
The Camel may move up to two hexes in any of the six directions away from its hex. The Camel may not jump over any intervening pieces. The Camel captures any opposing piece it lands upon.

If the Camel is adjacent to a friendly Hero, the Camel may move up to three hexes in any of the six directions away from its hex. The Camel may not jump over any intervening pieces. The Camel captures any opposing piece it lands upon.


Elephant
The Elephant may move one hex in any of the six directions away from its hex. The Elephant may only enter an empty hex.

If the Elephant is adjacent to a friendly Hero, the Elephant may move exactly four hexes, or up to the edge of the board, in any of the six directions away from its hex, as long as the first hex is empty. The Elephant jumps over any intervening pieces. The Elephant captures any piece it lands upon, whether opposing or friendly. It also captures any intervening pieces, whether opposing or friendly. Finally, the Elephant itself is removed from the board.


Pawn
The Pawn may move one hex straight forward, if it is empty. Or, the Pawn may move forward one hex to the left or to the right and capture any opposing piece it lands upon.

If the Pawn is adjacent to a friendly Hero, it may also move one hex backward to the left or to the right, if it is empty. Or, if moving straight forward, it captures any opposing piece it lands upon.

If a Pawn moves into the opponent's side of the board, medium colored, it becomes a Guard

If a Pawn moves adjacent to an opposing King, it becomes a Heroic Pawn


Fresh
Pawn
The Fresh Pawn may move one or two hexes straight forward, if they are empty. Or, the Fresh Pawn may move forward one hex to the left or to the right and capture any opposing piece it lands upon. 

If the Fresh Pawn is adjacent to a friendly Hero, it may also move one hex backward to the left or to the right, if it is empty. Or, if moving straight forward one hex only, it captures any opposing piece it lands upon.

If the Fresh Pawn moves two hexes forward, it becomes a regular Pawn after moving.

If a Fresh Pawn moves into the opponent's side of the board, medium colored, it becomes a Guard--even if it moved two hexes forward. 

If a Fresh Pawn moves adjacent to an opposing King, it becomes a Heroic Pawn


Heroic
Pawn
The Heroic Pawn can perform only one action: become a Hero. During the player's turn, a friendly Heroic Pawn may be removed from the board and replaced with a friendly Hero.

Guard
The Guard may move and capture an opposing piece in any of the three forward directions. Or, it may move in any of the three backward directions without capturing.

If a Guard moves into the 5-hex dark-colored area at the opposite end of the board, it becomes a Hero

If a Guard moves adjacent to an opposing King, it becomes a Heroic Pawn

Rules

  1. This game is played on an 84-hex board.
  2. The initial array is as shown in Setup, above.
  3. To win, checkmate your opponent's King or capture all your opponent's Heroes.
  4. Mobilization: at the start of the game there is a three turn mobilization phase. 
  5. On the first turn, White may move up to three of the Fresh-Pawns, Knights, Chariots or Heroes, once each. Then Black moves up to five of these pieces. 
  6. On the second turn, White moves up to five and Black moves up to three. 
  7. On the third turn, White and Black move up to six. 
  8. No move during the mobilization phase may result in a capture. 
  9. If no legal move is possible during the mobilization phase, the turn passes to the opponent. 
  10. After the mobilization phase, White and Black start alternating moves normally following the piece descriptions above.

Playing Tips

Force: As in FIDE Chess, material advantage and concentration is the key to achieving your goals and ultimately to checkmating the King. In Heroes, the coordinated use of the pieces, particularly in conjunction with the Hero is very important. The pieces tend to be mutually supporting. Particularly, pairs of Fresh Pawns, Pawns or Guards can be very powerful. 

Time: As in FIDE Chess, time is critical for concentrating one's material, as well as to do so in an advantageous manner. The mobilization phase is critical in positioning your pieces to develop quickly. In particular, how you develop your Heroes can be critical because they enhance the capabilities of other pieces. Another piece that bears careful development is the Elephant, that moves slowly but can be powerful in attack. Note also that development takes a fair amount of time because the pieces have short moves relative to the board size. There is also a missing hex in the center of the board, which tends to divide it. All of this makes commitment of pieces to a certain area of the board an important strategic decision.

Space: As in FIDE Chess, space both gives freedom or movement or limits it. Since the board is large and movement is short, space constraints are related more to one's own development rather than the opponent's actions. However, control of space can be very important in the end-game as capture of the King becomes an immediate goal. 

Pawn Structure: In FIDE Chess, Pawn structure is very important because of the mutual support of Pawns, their promoteability, and their relatively low worth in the game--individually. The same principle applies in Heroes, perhaps even more so. The mutually supporting properties of Fresh Pawns, Pawns and Guards is very strong and can make them difficult to defend against when working in pairs. 

Equipment

A paper set can be made by printing and cutting out the below board and pieces.

Here is a photo of a game of Heroes set up with my Chess variants set.

Sample Game

The game illustrated below shows how a game of Heroes might develop. 

Move 1-a: White and Black complete their first mobilization move.

Move 1-b: White and Black complete their second mobilization move. Black takes advantage of the 2-hex move of the Fresh Pawns right away to capture territory.

Move 1-c: White and Black complete their third and final mobilization move. Each side attempts to advance their pieces while keeping them close to their Heroes.

Move 5: Black initiates an offensive on the left field, trading a few Pawns and exchanging a Camel for a Chariot. Black gains a slight early material and positional advantage.

Move 14: White trades a Knight for Black's Elephant in the left field then starts to advance on the right field. While meets Black's advance on the right field. Black's still has some advantage.

Move 21: White initiates an attack in the right field. White takes advantage of Black's exposed Elephant to drive back a Hero while placing the Elephant in a defensive position.

Move 27: White exchanges a Knight for a Chariot; advances the Pawns in tandem and promotes them to Guards! This drives back Black's Hero and allows White to capture Black's Elephant! Although apparently extended, the tandem Guards with their Hero are a formidable force. Black is in full retreat!

Move 30: Black advances a Chariot and captures a Knight! Black attempts a last-ditch defense by advancing a Guard and attacking Black's rear Guard with a Hero.

Move 34: Too little, too late! Black pushes forward, promoting a Guard to Hero on the last rank. The newly created Hero places Black's King in check, forcing the capture of Black's Elephant with the Chariot and then the capture of Black's Hero! Black's King is now in check, while White's Chariot threatens Black's sole remaining Hero! Black is doomed!

Move 35: Black's King is forced to retreat to avoid checkmate. White captures Black's only remaining Hero and wins! A rout!

Credits:

Thanks to David Howe for the wonderful Alfaerie image set, and to Peter Aronson and Glenn Overby for play testing.


Written by Tony Quintanilla
WWW Page Created: October 1, 2002.