Each Rook is replaced by a piece called a Lancer (also from 8-Piece Chess). This change allows for a player to use almost any piece early in the game, whereas standard Chess tends to allow Rook moves mostly in the endgame.
The setup is as in standard Chess, except that Lancers replace the Rooks. Each Lancer begins the game aimed horizontally toward the king:
All standard Chess pieces are used except the Rook.
Lancer: The Lancer is a directional piece that is always oriented in one of the eight cardinal directions. It must move in the direction it is aiming. After a move, the player may re-orient it (turn it) to a different direction, as long as it could still move (any of the 8 directions if it's in the center of the board, 5 directions on the edge, and 3 in the corner). Changing the orientation is optional, as long as it is not against the edge of the board, and thus unable to move any farther.
A Lancer can jump over any number of friendly pieces, but it does not need to jump over anything to move or capture. It cannot jump beyond the first enemy piece in the direction it is facing - it can capture the first enemy, but can't travel any farther). A Lancer must move in order to change directions; it cannot rotate on its current square.
All rules are as in standard Chess, except as noted below:
Pawns can promote to Lancer, as well as the usual Chess pieces (except for the Rook, which does not exist in this game.) Pawns can promote to a Lancer oriented in any direction (except pointing into the edge, per the usual restriction).
Castling is legal, under the usual restrictions, but with one small difference: when castling Queen-side, (using White as an example), a friendly piece can be on b1, and the castling would still be legal, assuming c1 and d1 are empty. This is because Lancers can jump over friendly pieces. Lancers may change orientation when castling.
When moving a Lancer to the edge of the board, it must change orientation so that it faces an actual square; otherwise it would be stuck forever, and this is not permitted. It is legal, however, to keep that orientation with a friendly piece in-between you and the board edge. In some circumstances, it might make sense to play for a stalemate in this way.
The value of a Lancer is very similar to that of a Rook in standard Chess. Each Lancer should be worth about 4.75, and a single Lancer can force checkmate against a lone enemy King (with the help of the friendly King).
The Lancer is notated with an L, and if it re-orients, the new orientation is added, based on compass directions from White's perpective. I.e., Lxg1nw means Lancer takes g1, then re-orients to a northwest direction (diagonally up and to the left for White, which appears down and to the right from Black's perspective). If the Lancer does not change orientation, then no direction should be mentioned in notation.
Playing over-the-board is very easy; you can use Rooks as Knights (flipping them upside-down to avoid any confusion of such a familiar shape). The Knights can be used as Lancers because they are already "facing" a specific direction. Another method is to instead bring in Knights from a different-looking chess set to act as lancers.
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By JT K.
Web page created: 2020-09-10. Web page last updated: 2020-09-10