The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Daniel MacDuff.

Pawns in Hats

I was asked to begin writing chess variants again after a long break. I have come back to the world of chess variants with fresh new ideas, beginning with this one. Whether a similar game exists or not, I do not know. I based my game on an idea I have been working out for a card game that is very different in theme but not so different in ideas.


Each player places 8 pawns on his/her first file. Then, 16 unidenitifed hats are placed in the middle of the board.


PAWNS may move forward one space, or may "punch" the square in front of them. If they end on a square with a hat, they may first idnentify it. Then they may choose whether to put the hat on or place it in an adjacent square without a hat. If all adjacent squares have hats, the pawn must put the hat on. This can cause a loss of game, but such a situation would be extremely unique. If the pawn ends on a square without a hat, it may take off its hat and put it on an adjacent square. As stated above, in lieu of moving a pawn may "punch" the square in front of it. If a piece with a hat is "punched," the hat lands on an empty adjacent square (if none is available, the pawn that punched gets the hat). If a pawn is "punched," it is captured. Pease note that pawns cannot capture in the normal sense in this game. HATS are interesting. A hat begins the game unidentified. It is identified when a pawn picks it up. Hats do not block movement. To identify a hat, roll a 6-sided die on the following chart: 1- Kingly Crown (King) 2- Queenly Crown (Queen) 3- Bishop Mitre (Bishop) 4- Knighted Helm (Knight) 5- Hunting Tyrolean (Hunter) 6- Mirage Hat (The hat is removed from the board!) Then note that the hat is of the rolled hat. An identified hat will never be reidentified. When a pawn puts on a hat, it becomes the relevant piece and may move and capture (normally) as that piece. QUEENS, BISHOPS, and KNIGHTS are the same as in chess. HUNTERS are rooks by another name, exactly the same as rooks in chess. KINGS are essentially the same as in chess, with one exception- they may not be checked by a player without a king, unless no Kingly Crowns or unidentified hats exist. They may still be punched by a player without a king. Note that castling, en passant, and promotion do not exist.


The rules are the same as chess where applicable. The others have been (I hope sufficiently) described above. If there are any rules questions, please leave a comment below and I will clarify in a comment and include them in this page. The game ends in checkmate. If all hats are identified and none of them are Kingly Crowns, the game ends upon identification of the last hat and is a draw (with special notice given to the player with more pieces left).

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By Daniel Robert MacDuff.
Web page created: 2015-12-08. Web page last updated: 2015-12-08