The Chess Variant Pages




Fusion Chess

by Fergus Duniho

Fusion Chess is a Chess variant in which pieces may merge together or split apart. In some philosophical inquiries into personal identity, fusion is the process whereby two individuals merge together as a single individual, and fission is the process whereby a single individual divides into two people. Fusion Chess borrows these concepts of fusion and fission from personal identity theory and applies them to Chess pieces. Fusion and Fission Chess would be a more descriptive name, but I favor the shorter name Fusion Chess. Fusion is also one of my favorite forms of music, though that is incidental to the name. Fusion Chess also draws inspiration from Power Rangers and other Sentai shows where the heros merge their ships together into more powerful fighting machines, and it is related to my other game Sentai Chess, which is more closely based on this idea.

Equipment

A regular 8x8 Chess board, all the regular Chess pieces, and other pieces for Marshalls, Paladins, Popes, Dragon Kings, and Eques Rexi.

Alternately, the game can be played entirely with regular Chess pieces, with pairs of simple pieces used for compound pieces. Doing it this way will make the combination and division of pieces much easier to handle, and it doesn't require anything but the regular equipment. At startup, replace the Queen with a Rook/Bishop pair. You'll need an extra Chess set for the extra Rook and Bishop.

Setup

The initial setup for Fusion Chess is exactly the same as for regular Chess. So there is no need for a diagram.

Rules

Fusion Chess is played like FIDE Chess with the following exceptions:

  • A simple piece (King, Knight, Bishop, or Rook) may combine with another non-royal simple piece by moving onto its square.
    • The combined piece is the piece which moves as either of the two pieces just combined.
      • King + Bishop = Pope
      • King + Rook = Dragon King
      • King + Knight = Eques Rex
      • Bishop + Rook = Queen
      • Bishop + Knight = Paladin
      • Rook + Knight = Marshall
    • A piece may not combine with another piece of the same type.
      • Knight + Knight = Rook + Rook = Bishop + Bishop = Illegal.
    • A non-royal piece may not move to combine with a King, but a King may move to combine with a non-royal piece.
    • A piece may combine only with a piece belonging to the same player.
    • Compound pieces may not combine with other pieces.

  • A compound piece may split into its components by moving one of its components, under its own powers of movement, to an empty square.
    • A Rook which separates from a piece must move away as a Rook moves.
    • A Bishop which separates from a piece must move away as a Bishop moves.
    • A Knight which separates from a piece must move away as a Knight moves.
    • A King which separates from a piece must move away as a King moves.
    • The compound piece is replaced by the component which doesn't move away.

  • There is no castling.

  • Pawns may promote to Rook, Bishop, or Knight, but not to any compound piece.

  • The object is to checkmate your opponent's current royal piece, which may be a King, Pope, Dragon King, or Eques Rex.

Pieces


King
The King moves one space in any direction, but may not move into check. The King is one of four possible royal pieces which a player may have. A King may merge with a Bishop to form a Pope, with a Rook to form a Dragon King, or with a Knight to form an Eques Rex. If any one of these pieces gets checkmated, you lose.

Pope
The Pope moves as a King or Bishop, but may not move into check. The Pope is a royal piece and is formed when a King merges with a neighboring Bishop. When the Pope is on the board, it is the player's only royal piece, and the game is lost if it is checkmated. The Pope may split into its components by making a non-capturing move with one of them.

Dragon King
The Dragon King moves as a King or Rook, but may not move into check. The Dragon King is a royal piece and is formed when a King merges with a neighboring Rook. When the Dragon King is on the board, it is the player's only royal piece, and the game is lost if it is checkmated. The Dragon King may split into its components by making a non-capturing move with one of them. The name for this piece is borrowed from Shogi.

Eques Rex
The Eques Rex moves as a King or Knight, but may not move into check. The Eques Rex is a royal piece and is formed when a King merges with a neighboring Knight. When the Eques Rex is on the board, it is the player's only royal piece, and the game is lost if it is checkmated. The Eques Rex may split into its components by making a non-capturing move with one of them. The name is Latin for Cavalier King.

Knight
The Knight moves as the Knight in Chess, jumping in an L shape, two spaces forward and one to the side. A Knight may merge with a Rook to form a Marshall or with a Bishop to form a Paladin.

Rook
The Rook moves as the Rook in Chess, any number of spaces orthogonally. A Rook may merge with a Knight to form a Marshall or with a Bishop to form a Queen.

Bishop
The Bishop moves as the Bishop in Chess, any number of spaces diagonally. A Bishop may merge with a Knight to form a Paladin or with a Rook to form a Queen.

Queen
The Queen moves as the Queen in Chess, any number of spaces in any single direction. The Queen is a combination of Rook and Bishop. It may separate into its components by moving one of them to an empty space.

Marshall
The Marshall moves as a Rook or Knight. The Marshall is a combination of Rook and Knight, and it may separate into its components by moving one of them to an empty space.

Paladin
The Paladin moves as a Bishop or Knight. The Paladin is a combination of Bishop and Knight, and it may separate into its components by moving one of them to an empty space.

Pawn
The Pawn moves as the Pawn in Chess. It moves forward one space, but is allowed a double move on its first move. A Pawn captures by moving one space diagonally forward. If a Pawn makes a double move to a space alongside an enemy Pawn on its fifth rank, the enemy Pawn may capture it by en passant. Upon reaching the last rank, a Pawn may promote to a Rook, Bishop, or Knight. It may not promote to a Queen, Marshall, or Paladin.

Notation

Use algebraic notation as you would for Chess. Use P to denote Paladin and M to denote Marshall. Denote Pawn moves without the use of any letter to identify it. When a piece merges with another piece, follow the move with = and the abbreviation for the new piece. For example, R a4 - d4 = M indicates that a Rook moved from a4 to d4 and merged with a Knight on d4 to form a Marshall. When a piece separates from a compound piece, identify the move as belonging to the piece which moves away from the compound piece. Follow its move with a semicolon and identify what piece is left behind. For example, R a4 - d4; a4 = N indicates that a Rook moved to d4, separated from a Marshall at a4, and left a Knight behind at a4.

Play on Your Computer

If you have Zillions of Games, you may play Fusion Chess on your computer. In March 2001, the graphics and audio were updated. Pictured on your left is the new board used with Zillions. It was made from computer generated textures. In April 2001, the code was slightly optimized.

Download fusionchess.zip



Written by Fergus Duniho
WWW Page Created: Tue Nov 09, 1999. Last Modified: Sat Apr 07, 2001.