Anybody who has played Nethack will know where I got the idea for this!
A random number generator is required to play this game; a pair of
ordinary dice can be used.
This game is a nifty idea, and seems to be quite playable; but it is
a bit complicated, and it requires a bit of bookkeeping.
Of course, you could play Progressive Wand Chess with different
armies on a trapdoor earthquake board; the Wand rule is the type of
rule that can easily be combined with other games. Why you would
wand to is another question....
In addition to its normal powers, every piece or Pawn has a wand;
instead of making a move, it can zap the wand at any neighboring
square, or at itself.
There are several wands with different effects, and until you zap a
wand at an occupied square you do not know which wand each piece
has. Furthermore, every wand always has a chance to misfire, which
simply wastes your move and destroys the wand.
Some wands have good effects, and you would prefer to zap them at
friendly pieces; most wands have bad effects, and it makes you happy
to zap enemy pieces with these wands.
For the purists, here are the rules of Wand Chess in "legal"
The rules of Wand Chess are the same as the rules of FIDE
chess, with the following exceptions: (this time there is more than
Every piece starts the game with a wand of unknown power.
Instead of making a normal move, a piece may zap its wand at any
neighboring square or at itself.
The first time a wand is zapped at an occupied square, a random
number is generated to decide what kind of wand it is. (Zapping a
wand at an empty square wastes a move without identifying the wand.)
Each of the following wands has an equal chance of being identified:
Teleport: The piece on the target square is teleported
away to a location of your choice.
Death: The piece on the target square is removed from the
Sleep: The target cannot move for 5 turns; after that, it
wakes up and is normal again.
Before then, a wand of healing could wake it up.
Whether a piece is normal speed, fast, or slow, it must sleep for 5
turns in every case.
A sleeping piece does not give check until it is ready to move.
Stoning: The target becomes a statue for 10 turns: it
cannot move, but cannot be captured and is immune to the effects of
all wands. After that, it wakes up and is normal again.
There is no cure for this, you have to wait ten turns.
Stoning is not necessarily bad. Sometimes you might want to stone
your own King.
A statue does not give check until it is ready to move.
Sloth: The target becomes slow. When it moves or zaps, it
must wait three moves before it can move or zap again. This
condition is permanent, unless the target is zapped with a wand of
Speed or Healing. If the target is already slow,
zapping a wand of Sloth at it has no further effect.
A slothful piece does not give check until it is ready to move.
Polymorph: The target changes to some other kind of
piece, possibly the same kind it already is. The probability of
becoming each kind of piece is proportional to the representation of
that piece in the initial position of the game.
There is a 50% chance of becoming a Pawn; failing that, there is a
25% chance of becoming a R, N, B, or royal; if royal, there is a 50%
chance of becoming a King, 50% Queen. (Phrased this way to make it
easy to do with dice).
If you have no King, you have lost the game; if you have two Kings,
you can ignore check (until one of them is captured, of course).
Polymorphing is permanent, and cannot be reversed.
Demotion: King becomes Queen; Q becomes Rook; R becomes
B; B becomes N; N becomes P; P is dead.
Demotion is permanent, and cannot be reversed.
Peace: The target loses all ability to capture.
Pacifism is permanent, but can be reversed by a wand of Healing.
Sickness: the target dies three turns later, unless it is
zapped by a wand of Healing.
Speed: the target becomes fast. It can move twice in one
turn, or it can move once and then a different fast piece can move
HOWEVER, capturing a normal or slow piece takes a
whole move -- a fast piece can't capture and retreat, or capture
twice. This rule was added for play balance, to keep fast pieces
from being too strong.
Unless its victim is also fast! A fast piece can
capture two fast pieces in one move, or can capture one fast piece
and retreat. Sample position: White has Ke4, Black has Ke6; if both
Kings are fast, whoever moves can capture the other King (somebody
made an illegal move, otherwise this position could not have
happened); but if only one King is fast, neither King can capture
the other. This rule was added for play balance, so that there is
some disadvantage to being fast.
Sample position: White has Ke4, Black has Ke6, White's K is fast,
Black's King has an unidentified wand. Black to play zaps his wand
at himself, and if it turns out to be a wand of Speed, White can
If the target is already fast, zapping a
wand of Speed at it has no further effect.
Speed is permanent, but can be reversed by a wand
Protection: the target becomes immune to the effects of
Protection is permanent, and cannot be reversed.
Healing: if a piece is sick, slow, asleep, or peaceful, a
wand of Healing restores it to normal.
Note: there are 12 wands, and if you are rolling dice you should
roll one for even/odd to decide if it's wand 1-6 or wand 7-12, and
then roll the other die to choose which wand.
Note: there are no guarantees. You could have a game in which all
your pieces have Wands of Death, but this is less likely than
winning the Lottery.
When an identified wand is zapped, there is one chance in three that
it will misfire; misfiring destroys the wand, has no effect on the
target, and uses up your move.
If you have no King, you have lost the game; it's okay if your King
is a statue. If you have two Kings, you can ignore Check. If you
give checkmate, the game is over (an important rule if your King is
Pieces that cannot move because they are Stoned, Slothful, or Sleepy
cannot zap wands. Pieces that cannot move because they are
stalemated can zap their wands.
If you have no other moves, you must zap a wand. If you have no
moves, and have no wands, the game is over, stalemate. Stalemate
caused by Sloth is interesting.
Timers on White pieces run out after White moves; timers on Black
pieces run out after Black moves. This relates to Sickness, Sloth,
Sleep, and Stoning.
Notation is important, because people like to be able to write down
the moves they made and think about them afterwards, and talk about
them, and so on.
Notation for Zapping a Wand
Use the letter Z as though it were the name of a piece, write the
move as a capture, and put the name of the wand's effect in
parentheses after the move.
Example: 1. e4 e5 2. Ze4:e4 (polymorph = Queen);
White's Pe4 zaps its wand at itself; it turns out to be a wand of
polymorph, and the lucky Pawn becomes a Queen!
Notation for Timers Running Out
Square brackets, and a separate line for each event, for example:
47. Ne4-f6 Nf8-g6
[Qd3 dies from Sickness]
[Ra4 wakes from Sloth]
[Ke8 wakes from Stoning]
Stoning is not necessarily bad. Sometimes you might want to stone
your own King.
Each wand has three shots on average; but the first shot, you con't
know what kind of wand it will be. Most wands have bad effects, so
you want to zap them at enemy pieces. So you zap an enemy Pawn, and
it polymorphs into a Queen; you might not lose the game -- luck will
tend to equal out.
When you zap the enemy Queen, and your wand turns out to be a wand
of Speed, expect it to be a Speedy game.
Zap or Move
You have to find the right balance between zapping and making normal
moves. Normal moves can be quite powerful; don't be so obsessed with
zapping wands that you overlook checkmate!
I want there to be a good balance between normal play and wand play,
and have tried to provide this by having unidentified wands, whose
powers may be both good and bad, combined with a small number of
zaps for each wand and a short-range wand effect.
A new tactical element is introduced by the fact that pieces can
disappear (sick and dying) or suddenly come to life (stoned,
slothful, or sleeping).
When a piece is captured, the capturing piece could be able to take
the victim's wand. Likewise, when a piece is killed by wand of
death, or by sickness, its wand could stay on the floor until
another piece moves there and picks it up. I rejected this because
of the extra difficulty of keeping track of so many wands.
If you have a moderator available, by all means try this with a Wand
A Wand of Nothing would simply waste a move; a Wand of Lightning
would blow up enemy wands, leaving the target piece unhurt.
A Wand of Reflection would coat the target piece with a shimmering
silvery shield that not only protects against wands, but reflects
them back at their shooter.