The main idea of this chess variant is the asymmetrical balance, but according the orthodox rules, mechanics and types. Instead of the only one type of army there are 3 different armies, or races - 1 classic and 2 new:
1) Humans - orthodox linear oriented army
2) Elves - leaping, diagonal oriented army
3) Orcs - leaping, orthogonal oriented army
If two sides are Humans, this match-up is identical to Orthodox Chess, with no difference. In the other words, the Orthodox Chess may count as a part of the Asymmetric Chess.
Before each game each player chooses his army (on the tournament he chooses the one army for the all games). His choice may be a random army.
Pieces (or units) are similar as in orthodox chess, no need any additional equipment (except indicating names of races). All races use the same pieces and the same arrangement.
There is the list of all additional rules:
1) All Human units are the same as in orthodox chess; Elvish and Orcish units are similar but with extra unique features.
2) Elvish Pawns move only diagonally forward (to 2 sides as capture), Orcish Pawns capture only orthogonally (to 3 sides: forward, left and right).
3) Elvish and Orcish Knight have all moves of the orthodox Knight but can't leap, they move like linear units with limited range of 2 squares: Elvish Knight moves through adjacent diagonals squares, Orcich Knight moves through adjacent orthogonal squares; these adjacent squares are available for moving and capturing also (up to 12 squares total), but they also can be blocked by units at these squares.
4) Elvish Bishop and Orcish Rook are long-ranged and skip neighbour square, leaping it like the orthodox Knights (their minimum range is 2); they can't move to adjacent squares, can't capture adjacent units and can't be blocked by adjacent units.
5) Elvish Rook and Orcish Bishop can leap and have a limited range: a maximum range of the Elvish Rook is 3 squares, and a maximum range of the Orcish Bishop is 2 squares; they are not linear and can't be blocked by other units.
6) Elvish Queen moves as orthodox Knight and Bishop, Orcish Queen moves as orthodox Knight andRook.
7) The castling rules are orthodox, ignore alternative Rooks' features (leaping).
8) For Elvish and Orcish Pawns en passant capturing has the first prioity, there is no possible to ignore en passant capturing with a simple moving to the square without capturing of this square
9) All pawns can promote to any non-pawn, non-hero unit of their army, but Orcish Pawns can promote only to Orcish Bishops
Units' names and power:
King: Hero = 3.0
Pawn: Footman = 1.0
Bishop: Monk = 3.3
Knight: Knight = 3.3
Rook: Griffin = 5.0
Queen: Angel = 9.8
Pawn: Sprite = 1.2
Bishop: Ranger = 2.2
Knight: Unicorn = 4.1 (major)
Rook: Pegasus = 5.1
Queen: Phoenix = 8.6
Pawn: Guard = 1.1
Bishop: Harpy = 2.9
Knight: Werewolf = 3.9
Rook: Wyvern = 4.8
Queen: Dragon = 9.0
All rules are orthodox (except features of new races).
But there are possible additional optional rules (which are interesting for testing):
A) Stalemating your opponent is a victory, not a draw.
B) Promotion to only already captured units.
C) Free manual arrangement of units at 1 and 8 ranks (starting white then black to compensate a half tempo that has white).
The unit's comparisson
The Footman (orthodox Pawn) has different move and attack, can be blocked, but is universal, favorably exchanges with other pawns and promotes to the most powerful Queen - the Angel.
The Guard is unblockable by enemies (but blockable by allies), is strong - has 3 different attacks, but only 1 of them is frontal, that's why the Guard has a best defence but he is much weaker when attacks; also the Guard can promote only to the weakest, minor units.
The Sprite is unblockable by enemies (but blockable by allies), is mobile - has 2 different directions of move, but also has a color-bound weakness (like a Bishop).
The Guard and the Sprite are commonly stronger than the Footman (orthodox Pawn). The Sprite is commonly stronger than the Guard because of the promotion.
The Knight is vulnerable in melee, has a color-changed weakness, but is very strong at the mid-range (due to a jump), faster than other Knights and exchanges favorably with them. Neither one nor two Knights can't force checkmate a bare King.
The Werewolf is strong in melee, slow but well protected, creates the greatest number of threats per turn, but has a color-changed weakness. One Werewolf can't checkmate a bare King, but 2 Werewolves can checkmate at the any place (even in the center), can force it even without assisting of their King (by the cross-fire technics).
The Unicorn is strong in melee, slow but well protected, hasn't any color weakness, creates the greatest number of potential threats, can checkmate a bare King, that's why counts as a major piece.
If the Werewolf or the Unicorn moves to mid-range (like a Knight), they will return by other ways (and may be blocked by units which they get round at the first move).
The Werewolf and the Unicorn are commonly stronger than the Knight.
All the bishops has a color-bound weakness: 50% of squares for each of them are inaccessible; on the other hand, they are faster because of the diagonal moving.
The Monk (orthodox Bishop) is straightforward and powerful, but is often blocked or limited by allied pawns and unfavorably exchanges with other bishops. It gains the maximum power in an opened game, especially with the support of the second Monk.
The Harpy is slow but unblockable, prefers a closed game, favorably exchanges with other pieces.
The Ranger may attack behind the backs of the other units, is the best at occupied diagonals, active from the very beginning of the game, not afraid to exchange, but vulnerable in melee and has serious problems with maneuverability, can't quickly switch to adjacent diagonals. If the Ranger leaps over an adjacent unit to a long distance (3 or more squares), it can't return back. Neither one nor two Rangers can't force checkmate a bare King.
The Monk (orthodox Bishop) is commonly stronger than the Harpy and the Ranger. The Harpy is commonly stronger than the Ranger.
All the rooks has a weakness of passivity, because their horizontal attack is not a frontal, always passive direction; but most of them have strong vertical sieged attack with the great penetrating power.
The Griffin (orthodox Rook) is straightforward and powerful, but is often blocked by allied pawns and comes later in the game. It gains the maximum power in an opened game, especially in the endgame.
The Wyvern may attack behind the backs of the other units, is the best at occupied verticals, active from the very beginning of the game, but vulnerable in melee and has problems with maneuverability, can't quickly switch to adjacent orthogonals. If the Wyvern leaps over an adjacent unit to a long distance (3 or more squares), it can't return back.
The Pegasus is unblockable, is very active and flexible, prefers a closed game in which is very dangerous, but has a limited range and doesn't support the siege mode. The Pegasus is the only unit that can leap through up to 2 units (and the only unit with a range limited by 3).
All the Rooks are approximately equal to each other.
The Angel (orthodox Queen) combines a siege power of the Rook and an aggression of the Bishop, is straightforward and strong, but later comes into play and unfavorably exchanges with other Queens. It gains the maximum power in an opened game and endgame, also is very strong in melee.
The Dragon combines a siege power of the Rook and an agility of the Knight, can work effectively in a closed game, breaking into the enemy camp and causing chaos there, also is very strong at the mid-range.
The Phoenix combines an aggression of the Bishop and an agility of the Knight, is active in the opening, not so much static strong as dynamic dangerous, can checkmate a King easily, also is very strong at the mid-range. The Phoenix is the only unit that can checkmate a bare King solo sometimes (f6/h8), and is the only queen-type unit that can't stalemate solo.
The Angel (orthodox Queen) is commonly stronger than the Dragon and the Phoenix, because it is far superior both in melee and at long-range, weaker only at mid-range.
The King (or the Hero) is one of the weakest piece, is particularly vulnerable to the checks, can't be exchanged, very slow and passive. However, it is very strong in melee, so that in the endgame is particularly effective against the pawns if can catch them. The last Hero (a bare King) can be checkmated by:
- King and any major or super unit
- King and two minor units (except of a pair of Knights and a pair of Rangers)
- A pair of Werewolves
- Two major or super units
The King is the only unit that doesn't differ, because there is neccessary to save all mechanics and technics of the checkmating.
A demo of the units (versus orthodox Humans):
Checkmating a bare King:
Werewolf + Harpy
Is this variant a part of the "Chess with Different Armies"?
Yes, formally. But this is a special and closed subsystem, because:
1) Concept of all pieces can be described as "neoclassic", differ but conservative, using orthodox mechanics and saving classic types
2) The Pawns differ
3) The aim of this variant is chess with asymmetric balance, not chess with many exotic pieces
4) There are no upgraded or downgraded pieces, all the units are unique (within the subsystem) and have unique powers
It means that you can play the Chess with Different Armies with these new armies (Orcs and Elves) but not vice versa, because gameplay of Chess with Different Armies (with exotic pieces and strange moves) doesn't match to the main idea of the Asymmetric Chess.
Yes, you can say that leaping Rooks or diagonal Pawns are not conservative, but they are the most conservative as possible, to be the different, unique units at the same time.
A game balance
A game balance was tested by each match-up, with the engine Fairy-Max playing long series of games. Statistics is equal:
Human-Elf: 49,2% (human) by 500 games (+/- 3,5%)
Elf-Human: 48,1% (human) by 500 games (+/- 3,5%)
Human = Elf, 48,65% (human) by 1000 games (+/- 2,5%)
Human-Orc: 48,2% (human) by 500 games (+/- 3,5%)
Orc-Human: 47,7% (human) by 500 games (+/- 3,5%)
Human = Orc, 47,95% (human) by 1000 games (+/- 2,5%)
Elf-Orc: 50,3% (elf) by 500 games (+/- 3,5%)
Orc-Elf: 48,1 (elf) by 500 games (+/- 3,5%)
Elf = Orc, 49,2% (elf) by 1000 games (+/- 2,5%)
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By Dmitry Eskin.
Last revised by H. G. Muller.
Web page created: 2016-11-17. Web page last updated: 2022-11-24