The Chess Variant Pages




Feudal Chess

An intense middle ages clash of massive proportions.

Inventor:
Rupert Hickton.

Background

Feudal chess had its beginnings in 1997.  Pieces were designed and professionally turned at this time to be compatible with Staunton pieces.  The new piece movements were chosen to be either similar to chess pieces, or easy to conceptualise.  This was to help players adapt to the game more easily. The concept was played and fine tuned until March 2005 when the final concept was chosen.  The game has been played by 5 people over this time who enjoyed the game and suggested further publication.

Introduction

Feudal Chess is a 12x10 themed chess with variable armies variant. The term variable armies was selected (as opposed to different armies) because the opposing armies may or may not share similar pieces.  Feudal Chess incorporates all the 16 pieces in a Chess army and introduces 4 new starting pieces (selected from a pool of 9) played on a 12 x 10 board. There are 15 or more balanced configurations (combinations) of feudal pieces so that the game is even.

The Pieces

Standard pieces:

PieceAbv.ValueMovement
QueenQ10R + B
RookR6orthogonally
BishopB4diagonally
KnightN2.52r opposite colour
PawnP1see notes

Note: values of standard pieces are adjusted because of larger board size.

Feudal pieces:
PieceAbv.ValueMovement
ProphetO231r, 2r, 3r
PontiffF13Q + N
Siege WeaponW9A + B
DukeD9R + N
SeerS91r, 2r
ArcherA53r opposite colour
CavalierC5N + 3 sq. diag. jump
PrelateL5B + K
GuardG2see notes

Note: ‘r’ stands for radius

Configurations

Configurations

Starting Squares

ORTHODOX

1

2

3

4

Royal

Pontiff

Duke

Cavalier

Archer

French

Pontiff

Duke

Cavalier

Prelate

English

Pontiff

Duke

Archer

Prelate

HETERDOX

Anathema

Pontiff

Seer

Cavalier

Archer

Apostate

Pontiff

Seer

Cavalier

Prelate

Schism

Pontiff

Seer

Archer

Prelate

ZEALOT

Conquest

Pontiff

S.Weapon

Cavalier

Archer

Crusade

Pontiff

S.Weapon

Cavalier

Prelate

Jihad

Pontiff

S.Weapon

Archer

Prelate

CAMPAIGN

Battle

S.Weapon

Duke

Seer

Cavalier

War

S.Weapon

Duke

Seer

Prelate

Siege

S.Weapon

Duke

Seer

Archer

DOOMS DAY

Apocalyptic

Prophet

Cavalier

Guard

Guard

Oblivion

Prophet

Archer

Guard

Guard

Redemption

Prophet

Prelate

Guard

Guard

The Setup

The numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 are the starting squares for the feudal pieces.

Piece Movement & Explanation:

Prophet: Captures the 1st, 2nd and 3rd radius.

Prophets were able to sway masses of people to follow them because ‘God’ had spoken to them. They usually founded an entire religion and wielded enormous power for people to do their will.

Pontiff: Queen + Knight

A pontiff was the head of an entire Religion and usually thought to be the successor of the Prophet.  His power overruled the monarchy of a country where that religion was established.  The citizens had to follow the pontiff over their own king.   Kings’ also had to follow the authority of the Pontiff or dire consequences could follow. 

Siege Weapon: Bishop + Archer

A siege weapon was a valuable tool in any campaign.  The defences of the enemy could be easily breached and the sight of such weapons would bring dread and despondency in any foe. 

Duke: Rook + Knight

A duke was the highest ranking nobleman next to a king or prince.  He was usually the owner of large areas of land and had significant military capability.  In battle the duke would be a valuable asset because of his tactical knowledge, resources and leadership.

Seer: Captures the 1st and 2nd radius.

A seer had the ominous ability to foresee future events making him very useful in conflicts.  The distinction between him and the prophet was that he did not have an army of religious zealots who were prepared to die for his cause.

Archer: Hit 3rd radius, opposite colour to original square.

Archers were useful in softening up the enemy before an assault.  They had range and could strike from some distance.  The best way to conceptualise the striking squares of the archer is to think of the third radius and the opposite colour to which it is on.

Prelate: Bishop + King

Prelates include bishops of higher rank such as arch-bishops, cardinals and primates.  They were often the top ranking bishop of a nation and were not so limited to the affairs of their own dioceses.  They could more easily sway the nations’ opinions and beliefs and therefore its forces as well.  The prelate is a bishop with capability on both black and white squares. 

Cavalier: Knight + 3rd radius corners (3 square diagonal hop)

Cavaliers were knights of distinction.  They were not only great soldiers but had greater influence because of their education and connections.  The cavalier has a significant increase in ability and range to mirror this.  A cavalier is a knight with red markings.

Guard: 1 diagonal, 2 square orthogonal jump,

A palace or royal guard was sometimes selected from the foot soldiers because of greater combat skill and loyalty to the king.  These ‘arch pawns’ are useful in hindering the enemies assault and have the ability to ‘queen’.

Rules of Feudal Chess

The rules are the same as chess with the following exceptions:

Pawn Movement:

Pawns may move up to 3 squares on the first move and then up to two from then on.  The en passant move will be more common because of a pawns ability to move 2 squares at any time.

Promotion:

Pawns and Guards may promote to any piece other than the Prophet or Pontiff that are not currently present on the board.

Castling:

Castling may occur on either side as in normal chess.  The rook can be placed on 3, 4 or 8, 9 (on queen’s side).  The king can castle when obstructed by feudal pieces by passing over them.  The King cannot castle when the bishop or knight are in their start position.

Choosing a configuration:

The configuration is written down before being announced.

Feudal Chess Additions:

Additional Configurations: (Gauntlet, Judgement Day)

Piece                       Abv.         Value       Movement

Dragon                     D              23            1 or 2 N moves

Champion                 M             9              C + 4 square

                                                orthogonal hop.

GAUNTLET

Feat

Pontiff

Champion

Cavalier

Archer

Quest

Pontiff

Champion

Cavalier

Prelate

Trial

Pontiff

Champion

Archer

Prelate

JUDGEMENT DAY

Armageddon

Dragon

Cavalier

Guard

Guard

Cataclysmic

Dragon

Archer

Guard

Guard

Insurrection

Dragon

Prelate

Guard

Guard

The Champion can also be inserted into any of the CAMPAIGN configurations at the expense of a 9 point piece.

Champion: Cavalier + 4 square orthogonal hop.

A champion was the undisputed first knight of the realm and answerable to the king or queen directly.  He had proven himself in combat against enemies and in sparing contests against his peers.  A champion is a knight with gold markings.

Dragon: 1 or 2 Knight Moves

A mythological creature of astounding strength.

Feudal Summons Variation

The cavaliers can summon knights to any attacking square as a move.  Prelates can summon bishops to any attacking square. Dukes can summon rooks and knights to respective squares. Pontiffs can summon prelates and bishops to respective squares.

Feudal Honours Variation

After 3 captures, Knights are promoted to Cavaliers.

Piece

Captures

Promoted

Knight

3

Cavalier

Cavalier

3

Champion

Bishop

3

Prelate

Pawn

2

Guard

Guard

2

Knight

Rook

3

Duke

Archer

3

Siege Weapon

LEIGE

1

2

3

4

Summons

Pontiff

Prelate

Cavalier

Archer

Honours

Pontiff

Prelate

Cavalier

Archer

Valour

Duke

Prelate

Cavalier

Archer

The Valour configuration combines both Summons and Honours abilities into one army.  All LEIGE configurations have been deducted material strength so they can be played against other configurations.

Acknowledgement

The Chess Variant Web team.

David Howe for his Alfaerie chess graphics.

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