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 37 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 37 armies as balanced as possible, but we understand that some armies may be better than others. We appreciate all the comments we can get! =)
European Chess was developed and playtested by Alex Nisnevich, John Fritzen, Joe Richman, Michael Fienberg, and Neil Shah.
Rules are the same as in ZM Machiavellian Quadchess, except:
Most importantly, each player chooses a different army, with a unique starting setup and a special ability!
Complete Army Reference
18th Century Armies (“European Chess”)
5th Century BC – 5th Century AD Armies (“Classical Chess”)
Carthagian Empire – Power of elephants
Hunnic Empire – Power of tribute
Barbarian Invaders – Power of ferocity
20th-21st Century Armies (“Modern Chess”)
Terrorists – Power of suicide
UN Peacekeepers – Power of pacifism
The Mafia – Power of assassination
18th Century Armies (“European Chess”)
You have the power of democracy. Because you have no king, it is extremely difficult to checkmate you.
Ministers move like kings and knights, but you cannot use knight moves two turns in a row.
France (The French)
You have the power of seclusion. The French king refuses to go on the field, but sent an advisor instead.
The French king is captured like a regular piece, and cannot be checked or checkmated. The French lose the game only if all their pieces and pawns are captured.
You have the power of defense. The Spanish king is protected in a tower.
The Spanish king cannot move. However, he can attack any piece up to two squares away vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. When a piece is attacked by the king, it is captured, but the king does not move. The king’s attack can go over other pieces.
You have the power of navigation. The Portuguese have discovered new ways to travel around the world.
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.
You have the power of escape. The ministers of the Catholic church are nearly impossible to capture, because of their ability of jumping away from any attack.
Italian ministers can move like bishops, but can instead choose to jump two squares diagonally in any direction. When jumping, like knights, ministers can jump over other pieces.
You have the power of neutrality. The Swiss are naturally protected from almost any attack, and can choose to stay out of most conflicts.
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 captured or lost at least three pieces.
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.
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 case, you may still make the move, but no trade occurs.
You have the power of
The same German rook may not move two turns in a row. A German rook may not move in the same direction that another German rook moved on your last turn. 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.
However, when a German rook is adjacent horizontally, vertically, or diagonally to the German king, all of the above restrictions are removed and the rook can move as in standard chess.
You have the power of tactics. When two of your horsemen surround an enemy, he is as good as dead.
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.
You have the power of enlightenment.
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 have the power of
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 left, 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.
You have the power of bureaucracy. The Swedish army is so micromanaged that the king can move independently of his soldiers.
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.
You have the power of serfdom. Although the Russian army is as large as any, the serfs will run away as soon as they get the opportunity.
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 exactly like a queen, but if the king is the last remaining Russian piece, you lose the game automatically.
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
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. Additionally, 3 of the first 5 pieces you play must be the king and two pawns.
5th Century BC – 5th Century AD Armies (“Classical Chess”)
You have the power of training. One Spartan soldier will equal a hundred others.
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.
You have the power of the sea. You may move through the sea to anywhere on the board.
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.
You have the power of loyalty. Alexander the Great’s men will die for him, if the need arises.
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.
You have the power of discipline. Your soldiers are so disciplined that they almost move in tandem.
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.
Carthagian elephants can move up to three squares horizontally or vertically each turn.
You have the power of fear. Your soldiers can frighten the enemy into submission.
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).
This is very similar to the power of
You have the power of numbers. Your army is so vast that you surely cannot lose.
Every time you lose a piece, you can put it back near your starting area (red squares in the diagram to the left) at the end of your next turn.
If your king is ever checked, he is automatically checkmated, unless you can capture the checking piece on your next turn.
You have the power of retreat. When attacked, the Byzantines can quickly retreat back to their own borders.
At the end of every opponent’s turn, 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.
You have the power of belief. Your people believe that you are a God and would do anything for you.
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 minister)
Hunnic Empire (The Huns)
You have the power of tribute. Your great reputation allows you to enrich your coffers.
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).
You have the power of bravery. The Picts will stand their ground no matter what.
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 squares horizontally or vertically. The Pict bishops can move as bishops, but can also jump two squares diagonally.
You have the power of ferocity. Your opponents are so afraid of you that they will not attack you.
Whenever one of your pieces captures an opponent’s piece, it may not move on your next turn, but may not be captured until after your next turn.
20th-21st Century Armies (“Modern Chess”)
You have the power of the bomb. You have a powerful nuclear weapon just waiting to go off.
Your bomb moves like a king, and doesn’t capture, but each turn, instead of moving, you have the option of detonating the bomb. If you do, the bomb and all pieces horizontally, vertically, and diagonally adjacent to it are removed from the game. However, if the bomb is captured, then it doesn’t detonate.
You have the power of secrecy. Nobody knows what’s happening behind the Iron Curtain, not even who the leader is.
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.
You have the power of blitzkreig. With unnerving swiftness, your army can suddenly reposition itself on the battlefield.
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.
In the diagram at left, the red group of pieces can be moved into the position outlined in blue.
You have the power of barricades. You can predict your opponents’ moves in advance and build up barricades to hinder them.
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, pieces may not move into or through that square.
You have the power of chaos. Even your enemies are afraid to bring their pieces close to you, and for a reason.
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 (horizontal or vertical) squares of each other, immediately remove both of them from the game.
You have the power of insanity. Your moves are wild and unpredictable, and it is this that makes you dangerous.
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.
You have the power of censorship. You can prevent unfavorable moves from occurring.
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.
Japan (The Japanese)
You have the power of capitalism. Once you take over an industry, your Western rivals are no match for you.
If any one of your pieces is the only piece of its kind on the board, that piece may move twice in one turn.
You have the power of suicide. You can use the threat of suicide bombing to bring the world to its knees.
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.
You have the power of pacifism. Although you do not carry lethal weapons, you have other ways of ending wars.
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.
If any opponent moves at least three of his/her pieces into your starting area, you lose the game.
You have the power of assassination. Rather than use conventional methods of warfare, the Mafia prefers to pick off enemies from a distance.
Your pieces do not move when they capture other pieces.
Your bishops and rooks may only move up to three squares each turn.