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European Chess

A New Variant of Four-Handed Chaturanga

By Alex Nisnevich

Latest news (2/25/07): We have started a design competition for European Chess. Check it out!!

Note: A printable version of these rules, as a Microsoft Word document, can be found here.

 

Introduction

Recently, Four-Player Chaturanga and its variants, especially ZM Machiavellian Quadchess, have become very popular at the Oak Park Chess Club. Wanting a little more variety, we spent two months experimenting with different pieces and positions, and finally designed European Chess, a variant of ZM Quadchess in which every game is completely different, due to the fact that each player chooses one of 38 different armies, each with a different starting position and a different special ability that can affect the course of the game.

We have tried to make all 38 armies as balanced as possible, but we understand that some armies may be better than others. We appreciate all the comments we can get! =)

Basic Rules

Note that rules are very similar to ZM Machiavellian Quadchess, with some exceptions.

  • European Chess is a four-player game, where each player starts out with 8 (in some cases 6 or 7) pieces, as shown in the diagram at right. Each player has a different setup, and a special ability, based on his/her country (see pages 3-17 for explanations of all 38 countries). The countries may be chosen at will or randomly (i.e. with cards).
  • All pieces move as they do in standard chess.
  • When a player’s king is checked, play proceeds normally, without any skipping.
  • Checkmate is declared when your king is in check and is unable to move at the start of your turn. The player whose piece is checking your king (if several player’s pieces are checking your king, the piece that moved last counts for this) takes control of all of your pieces.
  • In some situations, it is possible to capture an enemy king directly. If you do so, you then immediately take control of all of that player’s pieces.
  • If you ever have only one piece left (counting your king – this is the most common situation, though others are possible with certain countries), you automatically lose the game. Nobody takes your remaining piece – it is simply removed from the game.
  • Pawns can move ahead two squares only if they are on your second row. This rule only applies to regular pawns – special pawns (i.e. Spain) cannot move ahead two squares.
  • Pawns can promote to any piece that you start out with. If they promote to a royal piece – i.e. king – then your royal pieces can be captured like normal pieces, until only one is left, at which point it can be checked/checkmated.
  • There is no castling or en passant.
  • If you resign, you must remove all your pieces from the game.
  • By default, players may communicate with each other, but everyone must be able to hear what you say (open communication). However, the game can also be played silently (no communication allowed) or secretly (you may communicate privately with other players). The mode of communication must be unanimously agreed upon before the first move, otherwise it is open. If a communication-related violation occurs, the player(s) who broke the rule must skip his next turn.
  • This game can be played 2v2 or free-for-all. Some other variations exist (Bughouse, Capture the Flag, King of the Hill), and will be discussed later.
  • Most importantly, each player chooses a different army, with a unique starting setup and a special ability! Your army is chosen at the start of the game, and may either be chosen at will or selected at random.

Complete Army Reference

Contents

18th Century Armies (“European Chess”)


Britain (The British)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF DEMOCRACY. Because you have no king, it is extremely difficult to checkmate you.


Starting configuration for Britain

Britain has four ministers , and is only checkmated when the last surviving minister is checkmated. As long as Britain has more than one minister on the field, British ministers can be captured like normal pieces.

Ministers can move like kings and like knights.


France (The French)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF REVOLUTION. If unhappy with your current regime, you can radically alter your entire country.


Starting configuration for France

Once per game, you may declare a revolution instead of moving. You may only declare a revolution if you are not in check or checkmate, you have at least two pawns, and at least one piece was lost in the game since your last turn.

When you declare a revolution, you first lose your king and two pawns (you choose which pawns to lose). However, you cannot be checkmated unless you lose all your pieces except your pawns. After this, all your pieces become different pieces, with different names (however, if you gain control of another player’s piece, the piece becomes transformed as well, and if another player gains control of your piece, the piece changes back to a normal chess piece.

Your pawns are citizens that can move and capture exactly like a king in standard chess.

Your knight is an executioner that can move (but not capture) up to three squares horizontally or vertically. If there is an enemy piece in the executioner’s way, that piece will be pushed backwards by the executioner as many squares as needed for him to reach his destination. If there are multiple pieces in the way, then they will all be pushed, but a royal piece cannot be pushed. If a piece is pushed off the board, it is destroyed.

Your bishop is a constitutional bishop. It moves and captures like a normal bishop, but if it ever moves to a square horizontally or vertically adjacent to an enemy piece, its owner takes control of the bishop (if it is adjacent to multiple players’ pieces, you choose the player who takes control of your bishop.

Your rook is an orator. It moves like a knight but does not capture, and all pieces within two horizontal or vertical squares of the orator cannot move.


Spain (The Spanish)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF CONQUEST. The Spanish know better than anyone else how to exploit the natives of the Americas.


Starting configuration for Spain

Spanish pawns can move like kings.

At the start of the game, place 16 Natives in the 4x4 square in the center of the board. The Natives do not belong to any player and do not move. No player may lose pieces or capture an opponent’s pieces until all the Natives have been captured. Once a piece has captured two Natives, it may not capture any more Natives.

Players keep a running total of the number of Natives that they capture. After all Natives have been captured, every player gains a number of pawns equal to the number of Natives that they captured. Each new pawn must be placed next to an existing pawn that that player controls.


Portugal (The Portuguese)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF NAVIGATION. The Portuguese have discovered new ways to travel around the world.


Starting configuration for Portugal

You may move your pieces as though the top and bottom sides of the board are connected, and the right and left sides of the board are connected. You may not capture while crossing a side of the board.


Italy (The Italians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF PROMOTION. Italian bishops get special powers, and have the ability to become even more powerful as they move up the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.


Starting configuration for Italy

Italian bishops can, instead of moving normally, choose to jump two squares diagonally in any direction. When jumping, like knights, bishops can jump over other pieces.

Whenever an Italian bishop moves into another player’s corner, it promotes to an archbishop . Archbishops can move like regular Italian bishops, but can also jump one or two squares horizontally or vertically.


Switzerland (The Swiss)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF NEUTRALITY. The Swiss are naturally protected from almost any attack, and can choose to stay out of most conflicts.


Starting configuration for Switzerland

An enemy player may only capture a Swiss piece if:

  1. The Swiss captured a piece belonging to that player at some point in the game.
  2. The enemy player has already either captured or lost at least three pieces.
  3. The enemy player is in check.

Netherlands (The Dutch)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF TRADE. You can use your vast reserves of money to trade soldiers on the field to confuse and overpower your enemies.


Starting configuration for the Netherlands

Whenever a Dutch piece moves to a space horizontally or vertically (not diagonally) adjacent to an enemy piece, you take control the enemy piece, while that player takes control of your piece. If a Dutch piece moves to a space adjacent to two or more enemy pieces, you can choose which piece to trade with.

Neither your king nor enemy kings can be traded. You cannot trade on your first turn. If trading is not allowed in any situation, you may still make the move, but no trade occurs.


Holy Roman Empire (The Germans)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF INDEPENDENCE. The German princes can act independently of each other, but do not always get along.


Starting configuration for the Holy Roman Empire

On your turn, instead of moving one piece, you may choose to move two rooks. However, you may not move them in the same direction.

When a German rook is captured, the piece that captured it cannot be captured by a German rook on your next turn, but can be captured on later turns.


Austrian (The Austrians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF TACTICS. When two of your horsemen surround an enemy, he is as good as dead.


Starting configuration for Austria

Whenever an Austrian knight moves to a position where he is threatening an enemy piece that is also threatened by another Austrian knight, that piece is immediately removed from the game.


Prussia (The Prussians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF ENLIGHTENMENT. Prussia’s supposed “refinement” draws people from near and far to it.


Starting configuration for Prussia

Whenever an Prussian piece moves to a square where it is on the same rank or file as an enemy piece of the same type, and there is no other piece between them, the enemy piece is pulled 3 squares toward the Prussian piece (or until is adjacent to the Prussian piece).

In the diagram to the right, when the Prussian knight A made its move, enemy knight B is pulled 3 squares towards knight A. Knight C is not pulled because there is a pawn between it and the Prussian knight. The pawn is not moved because it is not a knight, and Prussian pieces only pull pieces of the same “type”.

You may choose whether or not to pull each piece.


Poland (The Poles)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF ALLIANCE. Although your army is weak, you can still conquer though cunning diplomacy.


Starting configuration for Poland

On your turn, after you move, you have the option of giving a pawn to any opponent, once per turn. Remove that pawn from the game, and the chosen opponent can put an extra pawn of his/her color into the game, as outlined below. That opponent, for the next two turns, may not capture any of your pieces, and whenever he captures any piece during his next two turns, you get an extra pawn (not from any player, but just an additional pawn).

Whenever a player receives additional pawns, he/she must place the pawn(s) on any of available red square, as shown at right, at the start of his/her next turn. If you are unable to place a pawn at the start of your next turn, or choose not to, that pawn is lost.

Your pawns can promote to a bishop, knight, or king.


Sweden (The Swedes)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF BUREAUCRACY. The Swedish army is so micromanaged that the king can move independently of his soldiers.


Starting configuration for Sweden

You may move the king and another piece on the same turn, in any order. You may not use this ability two turns in a row.


Russia (The Russians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF WINTER. Your enemies have to be careful lest they freeze to death.


Starting configuration for Russia

Whenever a Russian pawn is more than five squares (vertical or horizontal, not diagonal) away from the Russian queen, and there is an enemy piece (not a pawn) closer to it than the Russian queen is, the pawn switches color to be on the same side as the piece that “helped it escape”. Whenever a pawn “escapes” once, it remains that color for the rest of the game, unless a different country’s special ability is used to change its color.

When the Russian queen is captured, the king moves and acts (in terms of Russia’s ability) exactly like a queen.


Ottoman Empire (The Turks)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF DEPLOYMENT. Although you have a powerful army, you are forced to deploy it piece-by-piece because your main army is stationed so far from Europe.


Starting configuration for the Ottoman Empire

The Turks do not start with any pieces, but with four deployment squares (represented as ?’s in the diagram at left), and have one king, two pawns, two bishops, two knights, and one rook. On your turn, you have the choice of either moving a piece or placing a piece from your reserve onto an empty deployment square.

If you don’t have any pieces in play, and it is not your first turn, you lose the game automatically. However, your pieces may not be captured until the end of your second turn.

Three of the first five pieces you play must be the king and two pawns.


5th Century BC – 5th Century AD Armies (“Classical Chess”)


Sparta (The Spartans)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF TRAINING. One Spartan soldier will equal a hundred others.


Starting configuration for Sparta

The Spartan warrior can move as a queen and as a knight, and cannot be moved or captured as a result of other players’ special abilities.


Athens (The Athenians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF THE SEA. You may move through the sea to anywhere on the board.


Starting configuration for Athens

You may move an Athenian bishop to any open space on the board, as long as you don’t put an opponent in check by doing so. Additionally, you may not use this ability two turns in a row.


Macedonia (The Macedonians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF LOYALTY. Alexander the Great’s men will die for him, if the need arises.


Starting configuration for Macedonia

After moving a piece on your turn, you may move again if you sacrifice a piece you control. Remove the sacrificed piece from the game. You may do this any number of times per turn, but if you put another player in check, your turn automatically ends.


Roman Empire (The Romans)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF DISCIPLINE. Your soldiers are so disciplined that they almost move in tandem.


Starting configuration for the Roman Empire

On your turn, instead of moving one piece, you may choose to move two pawns.


Carthagian Empire (The Carthagians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF ELEPHANTS. These slow but powerful beasts can decimate the enemy ranks.


Starting configuration for the Carthagian Empire

Carthagian elephants can move up to three squares horizontally or vertically each turn, and may only be captured by pieces no more than two squares away from them.


Gaul (The Gauls)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF FEAR. Your soldiers can frighten the enemy into submission.


Starting configuration for Gaul

Whenever an Gaul piece moves to a square where it is on the same rank or file as an enemy piece of the same type, and there is no other piece between them, the enemy piece is pulled 2 squares away from the Gaul piece (or until is adjacent to the boundary of the board or to another piece). You may choose whether or not to push each piece.

This is very similar to the power of Prussia, but works backwards. See Prussia for an example.


Persia (The Persians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF ESCAPE. Your king always seems to elude his captors.


Starting configuration for Persia

Whenever your king is put into check or checkmate, you may choose to immediately switch the positions of your king and any of your other pieces.


Byzantine Empire (The Byzantines)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF RETREAT. When attacked, the Byzantines can quickly retreat back to their own borders.


Starting configuration for the Byzantine Empire

On your turn, instead of moving a piece normally, you can move any of your pieces back to the space where it started the game (any pawn square for pawns), provided the space is unoccupied.


Egypt (The Egyptians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF BELIEF. Your people believe that you are a God and would do anything for you.


Starting configuration for Egypt

Your pieces cannot be moved or captured as a result of other players’ special abilities.

The pharaoh can move as a king, but can instead choose to jump two squares diagonally (like an Italian bishop).


Hunnic Empire (The Huns)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF TRIBUTE. Your great reputation allows you to enrich your coffers.


Starting configuration for the Hunnic Empire

On each of your turns, instead of moving a piece, you may instead choose to place an additional pawn into your starting area (any red square in the diagram below). However, you may not place pawns two turns in a row.


Scotland (The Picts)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF BRAVERY. The Picts will stand their ground, no matter what.


Starting configuration for Scotland

Your pieces cannot be moved as a result of other players’ special abilities.

The Pict rook can move as a rook, but can also jump two or three squares horizontally or vertically. The Pict bishops can move as bishops, but can also jump two or three squares diagonally. However, you may not use either of these abilities two turns in a row.


Barbarian Invaders



YOU HAVE THE POWER OF FEROCITY. Your opponents are so afraid of you that they will not attack you.


Starting configuration for the Barbarian Invaders

Whenever one of your pieces captures an opponent’s piece, it may not be captured until it moves, or until three of your turns pass. However, it may not move unless another one of your pieces is within two squares of it.


20th-21st Century Armies (“Modern Chess”)


United States of America (The Americans)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF ESPIONAGE. You can attempt to steal your opponents’ secrets and use them to your advantage.


Starting configuration for the United States of America

At the start of your turn, roll a (six-sided) die. If the die lands a 5 or 6, choose any other player. For the remainder of your turn, you can use that player’s special ability (that is, everything written here under that country, except of course the starting configuration).

If the die lands a 3 or 4, roll again. If it lands a 1 or 2, you can “steal” the ability of the player clockwise from you, as outlined above. If it lands a 3 or 4, you can “steal” the ability of the player across from you. If it lands a 5 or 6, you can “steal” the ability of the player counterclockwise from you. In all cases, you may choose not to “steal” if you don’t want to.

You may not the abilities of a country with special units (i.e. Sparta or the Carthagian Empire) or one that requires special setup (i.e. Terrorists or Spain). If the second roll gives you one of these countries, you may roll again.


Soviet Union (The Soviets)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF SECRECY. Nobody knows what’s happening behind the Iron Curtain, not even who the leader is.


Starting configuration for the Soviet Union

At the start of the game, mark one of your pieces in a way that won’t be seen by other players during the game (i.e. sticker on the bottom of the piece). The marked piece is your royal piece. Check and checkmate do not apply to the Soviets, but when your royal piece is captured, you lose the game.


Germany (The Germans)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF BLITZKREIG. With unnerving swiftness, your army can suddenly reposition itself on the battlefield.


Starting configuration for Germany

Once per game, you may take a group of your pieces that form a horizontally/vertically connected chain, and move the whole group of pieces anywhere on the board, as long as the pieces within the group have the same arrangement as before, and all the pieces are on unoccupied squares.

You may not use a blitzkrieg to move a pawn to a square where it would promote.

In the diagram at right, the red group of pieces can be moved into the position outlined in blue.


Israel (The Israelis)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF BARRICADES. You can predict your opponents’ moves in advance and build up barricades to hinder them.


Starting configuration for Israel

At the end of your turn, you may choose any unoccupied square on the board and visibly mark it (i.e. with a counter or post-it note). Until the start of your next turn, non-royal pieces may not move into or through that square.


Iraq (The Iraqis)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF CHAOS. Your enemies are afraid to even bring their troops close to you, and for a reason.


Starting configuration for Iraq

At the start of your turn, if any opponent’s piece (that isn’t royal – i.e. king) is horizontally or vertically adjacent to one of your pieces, remove it from the game.

If your bishop and knight are ever within two squares of each other, immediately remove both of them from the game.


North Korea (The North Koreans)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF INSANITY. Your moves are wild and unpredictable, and it is this that makes you dangerous.


Starting configuration for North Korea

At the start of your turn, roll a (six-sided) die. If it lands a 1, 2, 3, or 4, your turn proceeds normally. However, if it lands a 5 or 6, do the following:

First, roll another die. If it lands 1 or 2, you can move one piece this turn. 3 or 4: two pieces. 5 or 6: three pieces.

Then select the piece(s) you wish to move. For each piece, roll a die. If it lands a 1, that piece moves and captures as a pawn this turn, 2 – knight, 3 – bishop, 4 – rook, 5 – queen, 6 – king. After this, you can move your piece(s), ending your turn.

Even if a different piece is moving as a king, your actual king has to be checkmated for you to lose the game. Because insanity can prevent checkmate, checkmate is declared against you only after you roll the first die.


China (The Chinese)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF CENSORSHIP. You can prevent unfavorable moves from occurring.


Starting configuration for China

When any opponent moves a piece, you may “censor” that move: move the piece back, and let that player redo his move, but the piece that was censored may not move that turn. Once you censor a move, you may not censor again until the end of your next turn. You may not censor moves for players that have three or less pieces.


Japan (The Japanese)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF CAPITALISM. Once you take over an industry, your Western rivals are no match for you.


Starting configuration for Japan

If any one of your pieces is the only piece of its kind on the board, that piece may move twice in one turn. However, if a piece’s first move results in a check, your turn automatically ends.


Canada (The Canadians)

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF HEALTHCARE. With free health-care, you can heal your troops from a state of near-death.


Starting configuration for Japan

Twice per game, you may take any piece that you once owned that was lost at some point in the game, and place it anywhere in your 2x4 starting area.


Terrorists

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF SUICIDE. You can use the threat of suicide bombing to bring the world to its knees.


Starting configuration for Terrorists

At the start of the game, mark one of your pieces in a way that won’t be seen by other players during the game (i.e. sticker on the bottom of the piece). That piece is carrying a bomb. Each turn, instead of moving, you have the option of detonating the bomb. If you do, the piece carrying the bomb and all pieces horizontally, vertically, and diagonally adjacent to it are removed from the game. However, if the piece carrying the bomb is captured, then the bomb doesn’t detonate.


UN Peacekeepers

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF PACIFISM. Although you do not carry lethal weapons, you have other ways of ending wars.


Starting configuration for UN Peacekeepers

Your bishops and rooks may only move up to three squares each turn. Your pawns may move one square in any direction each turn.

Your pieces can only be captured within your 2x4 starting area, but you can only capture other pieces normally if they are within your 2x4 starting area.

If an opponent’s piece cannot move, and at least one UN Peacekeeper is horizontally or vertically adjacent to it, that piece is captured.

You cannot be checkmated normally because you do not have a king, but if any opponent moves at least three of his/her pieces into your starting area, you lose the game.


The Mafia

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF ASSASSINATION. Rather than use conventional methods of warfare, the Mafia prefers to pick off enemies from a distance.


Starting configuration for the Mafia

Your pieces do not move when they capture other pieces.

Your bishops and rooks may only move or capture up to three squares each turn.


Law Enforcement Agents

YOU HAVE THE POWER OF TASER. You can stun your opponents’ pieces so that they cannot move.


Starting configuration for Law Enforcement Agents

Only your king and your pawns may capture, check, or checkmate enemy pieces. However, whenever another player’s piece is within the standard capturing zone of any of your pieces (but not pawns), that piece may not move.


Rule Clarifications

  • A royal piece is one that must be checkmated or captured to win the game.
  • Whenever a special ability (i.e. Prussia’s pulling) would cause a player’s king to be checked by any player other than the current player, the special ability is completely ignored for that turn.
  • If a new piece is introduced (i.e. elephant), feel free to replace it with whatever piece you want. However, remember that when an ability requires “pieces of the same kind”, only pieces of that kind are allowed, not even minor variations, i.e. pharaohs are not kings and British ministers are not Italian ministers. However, even if a piece is modified (i.e. Athenian bishops or Mafia rooks), it is still considered a “piece of the same kind” as long as it has the same illustration in the configuration diagram.
  • When an ability refers to a player’s starting area, the 2x4 corner is usually referred to. Occasionally, a 3x5 area is used, but this is always clarified.
  • When a piece says that it cannot be captured as a result of another player’s special ability, this only prevents it from being automatically captured (i.e. Austria or Iraq). It does not prevent it from being captured by a unit with a modified move or attack (i.e. Mafia or UN Peacekeepers).
  • Similarly, if you receive a special piece (i.e. minister or archbishop), when you checkmate an opponent, it moves as described in the rules for its country, but if you receive a modified normal piece (i.e. Athenian bishop or Mafia rook) it loses its special powers and moves as it does for your country.
  • When an ability refers to units being X squares away (i.e. Russia and Iraq), this only counts horizontal and vertical moves. In the diagram to the right, the pawn is five squares away from the elephant.
  • When a player is defeated through his own special ability (i.e. Persia or UN Peacekeepers), it counts as though the player who just moved defeated him. Remember that when you defeat another player, even through his own ability, you get all his remaining pieces!
  • The United States and North Korea requires a six-sided die, Soviet Union and Terrorists require markable pieces, and Israel requires a counter. If you do not have these materials, you can exclude these armies from your game.

Gameplay Suggestions / Variations

  • The most popular way to play European Chess is in a free-for-all, 1v1v1v1 game. However, a 2v2 team game can also be very fun: in this case a team wins when both members of the opposing team are checkmated.
  • Capture the Flag European Chess is a fun variation, with each player’s king holding a flag at the start of the game (you can mark flags with counters). When a piece is captured (kings are captured like normal pieces in Capture the Flag), the piece that captured it gets the flag. You win if you can bring an opponent’s flag to the space where the king started, while your king still has his own flag. Capture the flag works great 2v2 – your team must capture both of your opponents’ flags.
  • Another idea is King of the Hill Chess. At the start of each player’s turn, he/she gets one point for every piece he/she has in the 4 middle squares. You win when you have 10-20 points (you must decide on this number at the start of the game) or if you are the last player remaining.
  • Bughouse European Chess requires eight players, but can be fun if you have a large group of people. Bughouse requires two European Chess boards and four 2-player teams, with one member of each team on each board. Whenever you take a piece, give your partner that piece (of his color). On your turn, instead of moving you can choose to play a piece that you have been given, on any space in a 6x6 square from your starting corner, as shown in the diagram at right. You may play a piece in check but not in checkmate. If you receive a special piece (i.e. minister or archbishop) it moves as described in the rules for its country, but if you receive a modified normal piece (i.e. Athenian bishop or Mafia rook) it loses its special powers and moves as it does for your country. (For example, if an Italian player receives an Athenian bishop, that bishop moves like an Italian bishop. However, if that player then promotes his bishop to an archbishop – see Italy for rules on bishop promotion – and then loses it to Athens’s partner, then when the Athenian player plays the piece, it moves like an archbishop, not like an Athenian bishop, because the archbishop is a special piece.) You win the game if your team is the only one left, that is, if one or both of the members of your team are the last player(s) remaining.
  • “Lightning Chess” variant: This is a very fun variant that enables players to constantly play as different armies. You’ll need a deck of cards, one for each country. First, take all countries with special units (i.e. Sparta or the Carthagian Empire) or additional setup (i.e. Terrorists or Spain) and remove them from the deck. Then, deal a country to each player, but each player still uses the standard setup (see United States for the standard setup). You use the special ability(s) of your country, but not its setup. Meanwhile, shuffle all remaining country into a face-down deck. Whenever any player captures or loses a piece or checkmates another player, he/she places his current country card on the bottom of the deck, and draws a new country. Expect to play 5-10 different countries over the course of the game.
  • One idea to prevent players from always picking their favorite armies is to make cards, one for each army. Shuffle, and deal two cards to each player, who then picks which if the two he/she wants to use. This prevents people from being stuck with really bad armies (most of the time), while still constantly giving each player a different army. This is a good method if you’re new to European Chess, so you and your group can try out all the armies.
  • A variation of the above method for more experienced groups would be to deal three cards to each player. First, the player clockwise from you chooses one card for you to discard, and then you pick from one of the remaining two cards. This makes sure than the game is well-balanced and that nobody has an especially powerful country.

Playing Tips

Coming soon!

Credits

European Chess was developed and playtested by Alex Nisnevich, John Fritzen, Michael Fienberg, Neil Shah, Ben Pyle, and Joe Richman.

Special thanks to John Zimmerman, Bruce Moon (RIP), and the rest of the Bay Area Chess Club for designing ZM Machiavellian Chess, off of which this game is based.

Special thanks also to all the members of the Oak Park Chess Club (you know who you are!) =)

Finally, I would like to thank Peter Olotka and the Cosmic Encounter community. The boardgame Cosmic Encounter was my main source of inspiration for the different countries in European Chess.

Contact Us

Questions? Comments? Email us at Alex Nisnevich.