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Werewolf Chess

Introduction

Werewolf Chess is a modest variant, which differs from orthodox Chess only in that the Queens are replaced by a new piece, the Werewolf. Because Werewolfs are almost impossible to kill, they usually survive deep into the end-game, making sure the game cannot easily degrade into a boring orthoChess end-game by an early trade of Werewolfs.

Besides being virtually indestructable, surviving almost any form of violence, Werewolfs have the nasty habit to eat their attackers. They cannot help themselves in that, it is their nature. But their allegiance to human factions is only weak. So out of respect for the brave but futile attempt to kill them, and out of gratitude for the juicy bite, an attack on them makes them change sides, and they start fighting for the color that just attacked them. They have a lot less respect for prey they hunt down by themselves, though. So a piece that captures a Werewolf becomes one (i.e. the piece itself is gone, but the turned Werewolf takes its place), but nothing special happens when a Werewolf captures a piece during its own turn.

Only Kings can kill a Werewolf, as only these can afford the gun with the silver bullets needed to do the job.

Setup

White

  • a1, h1 Rook (R)
  • b1, g1 Knight (N)
  • c1, f1 Bishop (B)
  • d1 Werewolf (contageous Q3AD(cK-fK))
  • e1 King (immune K)
  • a2-h2 Pawns (fWfceFifnD)

Black

  • a8, h8 Rook (R)
  • b8, g8 Knight (N)
  • c8, f8 Bishop (B)
  • d8 Werewolf (contageous Q3AD(cK-fK))
  • e8 King (immune K)
  • a7-h7 Pawns (fmWfceFifmnD)

Pieces

King, Rook, Bishop, Knight and Pawn move exactly as in orthodox Chess.

Werewolf

The Werewolf can slide up to 3 squares in any of the 8 directions. When the first square in any direction is occupied, it can still jump directly to the second square (ending there). In this case it can optionally capture the opponent piece it jumped over, possibly in addition to what it captures on its destination square.

Rules

Unless explicitly contradicted here, all rules are the same as in orthodox Chess. (Castling, e.p. capture, check, stalemate, repetition draws and 50-move draws...)

Promotion

Pawns promote to Rook, Bishop or Knight upon reaching the last rank. They cannot promote to Werewolf just because they reach the last rank! Any non-royal piece (including Pawns) that captures a Werewolf instantly promotes to the latter, though.

Notes

The property of a piece type that capturing it makes the attacker promote to (i.e. become) that piece type was borrowed from Maka Dai Dai Shogi. A piece with this property is called 'contageous', and an attacker that is exempted from this rule is called 'immune'.

That Werewolfs are contageous makes it impossible to plainly trade them: After W x W, any x W, you lost your Werewolf, but the opponent got one back, and effectively only lost the 'any'. And as the Werewolf is worth about as much as a Queen, and the next-valuable piece is a Rook, it is not likely you would ever want to do that. Even when your Werewolf is trapped in a position from where it cannot escape, you would try to protect it with another piece rather than sacrifice it for an opponent, as when the opponent takes it, and you can recapture, you will have your Werewolf back! Indirect trading also won't work: If both sides capture a Werewolf with another piece, the Werewolfs will have merely changed places (and the other pieces will have gone).

Only when the King starts to participate in play, and will be used to protect the Werewolf, it becomes possible to trade the Werewolfs out of the game. When Werewolfs capture each other, one of them will disappear from the game, though.

Required equipment

With 'woodware' you can play this game using a Queen for Werewolf, if you have a spare Queen avalable. (Needed because occasionally both Werewolfs will be fighting on the same side, even if only temporarily during a tactical exchange.) But a better solution might be to represent the Werewolf by two stacked Draughts chips, one white, the other black, the color of the uppermost chip determining which side the Werewolf is on. You can then simply flip the stack in-place when the Werewolf gets captured, discarding its assailant ('turn the Werewolf').



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By H. G. Muller.
Web page created: 2015-03-17. Web page last updated: 2015-03-17