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Dragonchess. A three-dimensional fantasy variant. (12x8x3, Cells: 288) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Anonymous wrote on 2002-09-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Anonymous wrote on 2002-02-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Great game

Anonymous wrote on 2001-03-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
There weren't any real instructions in the magazine just some suggestions, if I remember correctly. I think there was a suggested miniatures list, though. I'm thinking of making my own set, also. I will make the boards out of Plexiglas, clear for the top, transparent green for the middle, and red for the bottom (trans or not, it's on the bottom). I plan to use transparent contact paper for the alternating squares, blue on top, orange (which should make a decent brown when on the green board), and black on the bottom (if I can't find black, I'll just use some limo black window tint sheets). The hard part is the miniatures. You'll have to combine different scale miniatures, since some figures would be much to large or small if they were the same scale. You want your Oliphant and Dragon to be roughly the same size as the humanoid figures, so they will fit in the squares. The size of the board I am designing will be 19' x 13'. This allows 1' squares, and an extra 1/2' border. I haven't decided what to use to support the boards and keep them apart, but it will most likely be allthread rods and bolts, with some sort of fineal on the top, likely lamp hardware...

Anonymous wrote on 2000-12-07 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I had a friend in college that had a 3d chess game. He built it and played it acc to rules from a magazine. It was a beautifull set, wood frame, etched glass boards, and hand painted pewter figurines. I've been looking for some time for a copy of this information for some time, and I was thrilled to find your site with almost everything I need right there. I'm wondering you happen to have the diagrams for building the set? Of course, I'm assuming those diagrams were actually in the magazine and that he didn't come up with the board setup himself.

Greyskull wrote on 2003-01-31 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I like his game, but I have a question:

Did anyone ever create game pieces specifically for this game?


Roachman wrote on 2003-04-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Played it a couple of times. I ordered all my pieces from Ral Partha. It takes a while to play a game. Mine average about 3 hours due to double checking the moves. Not many people play and it's hard to get a game in.

Ditto wrote on 2003-05-15 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I created my own board for this game several years ago, and a friend and me
became very good at it ... games between the two of us could go for hours
... (and it wasn't any problems double-checking moves!!)  hehe

It's a VERY complicated game ... and takes a while to learn, but is a
load of fun to play.  I use Ral Partha miniatures for my pieces ... (gotta
be careful of those big, bulky dragons, though).

My suggestion:  2' squares ...  I used 1.5' and space is a little tight
for the larger, airborne pieces ...

I also used 1/2' plywood, and 1/4' rerod for the supports.  A couple
washers and nuts on the rerod to secure each board, and wooden 'foot'
for levelling and stabilization, and this sucker goes anywhere!!  (I took
it camping once, and set it up on rough, uneven ground ... worked like a
charm . hehe)

As for the the fixes to the 'problmes'  mentioned .. I just wanted to
offer my 2 cents:  don't fix them.

I'll go through the fixes, and the problems with each fix:

'the Dragon problem'
The 'Fix': no orthogonal movement for the Dragon.
The problem this causes:  Weak spot at: 1g2 and 1g7 ... 
Consider these moves:
1) 1k1-1i4   ...
2) 1i4-1g7 

I take either a Mage or Paladin for a Griffon ... done deal.

Oh, and as a note ... in all the games I've played, anyone who started
off with a 'Dragon Rampage' ... has lost the game .. every time ... ;)

'the Dwarf Problem'
Fix: Change the move on the middle board to move backward's, not

I don't have a real pickle with this one .. but for the record:  In the
dozens of games I've played:  The dwarves have NEVER reached the back
rank ... and besides .. they can still threaten above them ... so they're
still a threat ...

'the Sylph Problem'
Fix: Change the startup of all the pieces ...

Don't do this .... first off, the Sylphs and Dwarves are *supposed* to
start on opposing squares, not above/below each other, secondly you've
totally exposed holes in the defences which are so much easier to work on

On the new grid, take a close look at:
1f3 -> Paladin = checkmate
1f2 -> Griffin = Cleric or Mage
2b2, 2d2, 2f2, 2h2, 2j2, 2l2 -> weaker than before, no sylph/dwarf
now you have to realy completely on:
2b2 -> Hero at 2c1, Basilisk at 3b1
2d2 -> Hero at 2c1 (double shift) ;), Cleric at 2e1
2f2 -> ... well, ok, this one's *more* protected .. ;p
2h2 -> Thief, Mage, Paladin (Mage and Paladin are pretty big pieces to be
protecting warrior!!)
2j2 -> Thief at 2i1, Basilisk at 3j1
2l2 -> Oliphant at 2l1!!!  This guys weak, and no way to get to it

I don't know .. maybe I'm just old-fashioned ... hehe

Victor Amuro wrote on 2003-06-10 UTCGood ★★★★
About 16 years back I played this chessvariant with a friend. He came
across the rules in a Dragonmagazine. For some unclear reason we only
played it several times although we liked the game very much. From that
time on I always had in my mind to make my own boards an carve my own
wooden pieces. 
It seems to me that the character of the game is more different from
normall chess then you can tell on first sight. The more powerfull pieces
are played much earlier than in normall chess. It's risky to move you
queen in an first stage of the opening in normall chess, not so here. This
is maybe at the same time one of the weaker points of dragonchess. I got
the feeling (but I'm not be able to prove cause I played not enough games
to be sure)that the game is a little unbalanced. The first player
(gold)has a big advantage to move first, more than in normal chess. No
only can he/she take on his first move a piece for free (Rx1a7 with the
threat Rx2a8 by CAF) but forces scarlet to take defencive steps with R1d4.
Maybe a really strong Dchess computerprogram will never loose with gold
and the best thing the scarlet player can hope for is to play for a draw
and make the best of some weaker moves of his opponent to win the game.
But this didn't stop me to finaly fullfill a promise. Two months back I
started to make my first wooden dragonchesspieces. It will take some time
to finish a complete set and I reckon it will take about a year to become
a proud owner of a complete game (at the moment I got 28 pieces).
Hopefully at that time there are still players around who are willing to
play the game (by mail).

Regards Victor Amuro

greenpeas wrote on 2003-06-12 UTC
Does anybody know where to track down a way to play this online now? (other than the zillions implementation)

Dungeon_Master wrote on 2003-06-28 UTCGood ★★★★
The old Gary Gygax website is no the dragonchess program his site had (in my opinion FAR superior to the zillions of games version) cannot be downloaded there. I have posted the ZIP file of that game on my website, and you can download it there if you like. <a target=_blank href=''></a> is the URL. You do have to be a registered user, but it is free. I will also be making available a document that will cover the basics of dragonchess and if I get enough interest, I may even organize an online tournament. Check out the site if you like, and you're always welcome there.

Gary Gygax wrote on 2003-06-28 UTC
Just for general information:

My website is back online, but it is not fully operational as yet.  I plan
to have both the X-Factor Chess game and the 21st Century Chess Variants
manuscripts available there again.

The URL is:


Goonie wrote on 2004-11-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
In the 'first try' game, it should read 44) W2e4 instead of P2e4. Otherwise, 63)... UxW2e4 would not be possible.

Ken wrote on 2005-06-16 UTCGood ★★★★
I did like the way there were many new rules for this game. However I give it a rating of good because this is the most confusing rulebook I have ever read. I wasn't able to understand several pieces that were introduced.

Anonymous wrote on 2006-02-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I love this. I have been looking for this game for years. Thank you

TheDragonMaster wrote on 2006-11-12 UTCGood ★★★★
Just found the game recently, been playing the version offered on this
site. It seems like a lot of fun, but have only been able to play against
myself. Went looking for a set, figured someone would have constructed a
set and offered it up for sale by this time, but no luck. 

I'm in the middle of constructing my own set right now. 

Just found a DIY 3D Chess Board on Instructables. 

Picked up some Shapelock ( to sculpt the pieces myself.

I've seen that others have used everything from Heroscape to DnD
miniatures, but I don't care much for the look provided. 

The nice thing about shapelock is that if I decide that I don't like the
look I can just take a hair dryer to the piece in question and rescupt
Though I don't quite know what I will do about the final version. I
like to create a mold of the pieces, but have to be carefull which
material I make it out of, because if I use something that produces heat,
I will end up melting the piece down before I get a proper mold.

Having made the mold I could consievably make it out of any moldable

That being done, I can get the pieces made with greater ease, I'm sure
that some of my friends would like the to have a set of their own.

James Spratt wrote on 2006-11-16 UTC
Hi, DragonMaster:  You can make heat-free rubber molds of considerable
durability for many repeated castings out of simple clear silicon
window-caulking, available in tubes in most hardware centers, for next to
nothing.  You can also use fiberglass resin, sold in small amounts, mixed
with about 50% by volume inert filler, such as plaster or sand, colored
with a bit of carpenter's chalk, for the castings, also for minimum
A lot depends on the complexity of the form of your models; simple rather
conical forms are easiest, but once you catch on how to make a 2-piece
mold, your patterns can become much more intricate, taller, etc. Build the
silicon up on your model in thin coats, letting air-dry between, until
it's maybe 1/8' thick all over, remove it from the original like a sock,
inside-out-wise, and there's a simple mold.
You can paint the resin castings with model car paints.

dallas wrote on 2007-04-29 UTCPoor ★
dragon chess wes not invented by you enless it is a didderent game by=ut it cant be because dragon chess is ® so you did not invent is brcause i play it every day and it was invented by my granpa

Gary Gygax wrote on 2007-05-04 UTC
Well darn! I must have imagined inventing the game then. Please tell your
grandfather that I pity him having to play the game that he
created...which you rate as 'Poor.'


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