Each player has a Box, a Pajama, and a Great Pajama.
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 8 | j |:::| |:x:| |:::| |:p:| +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 7 |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 6 | |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 5 |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 4 | |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 3 |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 2 | |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 1 |:P:| |:::| |:X:| |:::| J | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ a b c d e f g h
- Box (X): e1
- Pajamas: (P) a1
- Great Pajamas: (J) h1
- Box (x): d8
- Pajamas: (p) h8
- Great Pajamas: (j) a8
The White Box starts the game on e1 and the Black Box starts on d8.
Whenever the Box moves, after it moves a friendly piece is shaken from the Box and placed on any square adjacent to the Box, the square being chosen by the player who has moved. This is not optional. It is not legal to move your Box unless you also shake a new piece from it.
For example, if White moves Box from e1 to d2, a new piece will appear (see below for details), and White may choose to place it on c1, c2, c3, d1, d3, e1, e2, or e3.
Four kinds of piece may be found in the Box: the Rhino, the Headless Rhino, the Bat, and the Crumb.
You get one Rhino per game. This means that not only can you not have two Rhinos in play at once, but also if your Rhino is captured you cannot find another one in your Box.
It would have been a Rhino, but it was damaged when you shook the Box.
You get one Headless Rhino per game.
You can find an infinite number of Bats in your Box, but you may not have two Bats on the board on the same file.
It can capture like a Wazir, one square Rookwise in any direction, or it can make a non-capturing move like a Rook, but only forwards or backwards.
You can shake an infinite number of Crumbs from your Box.
When placing a Crumb, you can choose to place it on the same square as an already-existing Crumb of your own color; this creates a Cookie Monster.
When a Cookie Monster is created, pieces that are already on adjacent squares are not in danger. Only by making a move that ends on a square next to a Cookie Monster do you wake it up.
You cannot capture your own Cookie Monster, but you can capture an enemy one. In balance, the Cookie Monster whose value is less than zero, but there are tactical situations when it pays to create one.
The Pajama moves one square diagonally, or one square straight forward. It can make no captures. After you move your Pajama, you look in it and find a piece, which is then placed on an adjacent square of your choice.
It is not legal to move your Pajama unless you also create a new piece.
Two kinds of piece can be found in your Pajama: the Elephant and the Lint.
You can have only one Elephant in play at any given time, but if your Elephant is captured you can find a replacement in your Pajama.
You may create any number of Lints.
When you place a new Lint, you may place it on a square that already contains a Lint; this creates a Dust Bunny.
Strategy note: if you want to get rid of a Cookie Monster, feed it a Dust Bunny.
White's Great Pajama begins the game on h1 and Black's begins on a8.
It moves as FAfWfD (that is, one step forward or diagonally, or a leap of two squares (possibly passing over an occupied square) forward or diagonally), but may not capture; and when it moves it must create a new piece on an adjacent square of the mover's choice.
The Great Pajama may create either a Great Elephant or a Dust Bunny; and, by placing a new Dust Bunny on a square which already contains one it can indirectly create a Dust Demon.
Forward is defined by who moves the piece, but you may not capture your own pieces with a Dust Demon.
A player who is stalemated has lost the game.
It is forbidden to repeat a previous position. This rule can cause you to be stalemated and therefore to lose the game.
Because it is forbidden to repeat a previous position, there is no need for a rule that forbids you from moving a neutral piece in a way which simply undoes the opponent's previous move.
Here is my suggestion:
X Box P Pajama J Great Pajama R Rhino H Headless Rhino V Bat W Booh C Crumb M Cookie Monster L Elephant N Lint B Dust Bunny E Great Elephant D Dust DemonAnd here are some of the reasons for choosing these letters: V looks a bit like the wings of a flying bat or bird, and W is a pair of V; and doesn't "elephant" start with an "L"?
John Lawson points out that "Rhino" with its head cut off starts with "H". He must be good a cryptic crosswords. As for me, I had thought that R minus a few pixels was close to H; I must be an inveterate computer geek.
When a move has more than one part, use a slash to separate the parts.
Here is some opening analysis that shows possible methods of defense.
1. Xe1-e2/Rd3 Xd8-e7/Ce6 2. Rd3-d5+ Xe7-f7/Me6The Cookie Monster defends the Box; but things are not so simple.
3. Rd5-d4 Xf7-g6/Rg5! 4. Jh1-g2/Eg3 Xg6-h5/Hg4 (Black has no choice?) 5. Eg3xg5?! Hg4xg5 6. Rd4xe6 Ph8-g7/Lh6 7. Re6-f6+ Pg7-g6/Nf5 8. Rf6-f7 Pg6-h7/Ng7This is a long variation and I may have missed some better moves.
Black is happy now; but what about
3. Rd5-c7 Ja8-c6/Ed5!The threat is 4...Ed5-f3+ winning the Jh1; and Black should be in no danger.
1. Jh1-f3/Ee4 Xd8-d7/Hd6 2. Ee4-e5 Xd7-c6/Rd5The H and R defend each other; a pack of Rhinocerocerusses.
3. Ee5-g7?! Ph8-g8/Lh7!The Greater Elephant loses some of its mobility by advancing too far, and is now in danger of being hunted down and trapped.
1. Jh1-f3/Ee4 Xd8-d7/Hd6 2. Xe1-d2/Rd3 Ja8-b8/Ec7 3. Rd3-d4 Ph8-g7/Lf6!? 4. Ee4-e6+? Xd7-d8/Ve7! ===or=== 4. Ee4-e6+? Hd6xe6 5. Rd4xe6 Xd7-c8/Rd7! ===or=== 4. Rd4-e6? Hd6xe6 5. Ee4xe6 Xd7-d6/Re7!If 3. Ee4-f5+, Xd7-e7/Re6 (Re6 to prevent Ef5-f6+ winning the Ph8), and White has no more scary moves.
The Elephant and the Headless Rhino are short-range pieces, so it's hard to get them to join in a blitz attack; but it's easy to get their help in defense.
An hour or so later, here it is, with no playtesting. (As can be seen from the above, it has since been playtested.) My experience as a game designer tells me that the game must work; the major danger would be if it were impossible to win, but I think that I avoided that with various details of the rules.
It's a Chess Variant, for certain; after all, there's a King which can be "checkmated" (captured, actually). However, my impression is that the experience of playing the game will not be very Chesslike at all.
A very logical variation of this game would be one in which Dust Bunnies could be used to taunt Elephants.
He also inspired the style of this page with his light-hearted and whimsical approach to chess variants, an approach which at first seems vaguely Partonian, but then as one becomes more used to it one realizes that it is Aronsonian -- an adjective that will be heard more in the future.
The style of this page proves that I am not too old to learn new tricks, and steal them.