The Chess Variant Pages



Chess Empire

Chess Empire is a commercial four player chess variant. Its box shows a copyright notice of 2002. Currently, 2011, it appears no longer for sale. It was produced by Pressman Toy Corp., a well known game company from the US.

The game is played on a large board: at each side of a 14 by 14 square, there are three rows of 14 squares, making a total of 322 squares. The board is checkered, with different colors for the four outsides, showing the four colors of the players: white, green, red and black. In the example below, just two colors for the squares are used.

Each player has a king, a queen, four rooks, four knights, two bishops, two spies, and fourteen pawns.

Kings, queens, rooks, knights, and bishops move like in usual chess. Pawns, when not taking, move one or two squares, i.e., the pawns keep the ability to make a double move. The rules are unclear about en-passant captures. It is also not clear where pawns promote.

Spies move exactly two squares, either in a direction of a rook, bishop, or a knight move, and can jump. More concretely, the spy has precisely the move of the fairy chess piece known as the squirrel; you can view our webpage on the squirrel for the precise details.

From my information, I assume that each player plays individually.

When a player is checked, he must lift the check directly; otherwise, he is, like in usual check, mated. A mated player is out of the game.

The rules are also somewhat unclear what happens after two player are remaining. I quote:

When there is only two players remaining on the board, You have to place all remaining pieces in the main board before either team can attack.

Then you have five moves to either checkmate your opponent or capture as many power pieces as possible.

After the fifth move even if your pieces are not all on the main board, you can capture pieces as defense only until your pieces are in the main board.

The starting setup is shown below.

Chess Empire Setup

Apparently, the company also sold a 'booster', containing 19 'strategy cards'.


Written by Hans Bodlaender. More information can be found at the Boardgamegeek website.
WWW page created: December 31, 2011.