Check out Glinski's Hexagonal Chess, our featured variant for May, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Francois Tremblay.

Action Man's Chess

by Francois Tremblay, November 2000


I read somewhere on the web a complaint about the expression "a thinking man's game", saying something like "thinking man this, thinking man that... why isn't there an action man's chess ?". Well, here it is. A small board and simple pieces ensures lots of easy-to-understand action, but thinking is still required (unfortunately, you can't really use standard pieces and get away from thinking). Due to the simpler nature of this variant, the opening feels more like playing checkers than chess, but its chess nature shows as the game opens up.

The game is played on a smaller board (5x6), with only four types of pieces (spearman, castle, bishop, queen). The goal is to capture the opponent's pieces. However, if both players agree to stop the game, either the player with the most points win, or the game is a draw if both are left with equal points.

This simple game is particularily good for people who don't want or don't have the time to learn all of chess, and there is also no need to learn new pieces, except for a little variation on the pawn.

Spearman The SPEARMAN (here represented by the image of a pawn) moves and captures by moving one step forward, and can also move (but not capture) one step backwards. For more experienced chess players, the spearman does NOT follow any of the rules for pawns (double-move, en-passant, promotion, etc), but only follows these movement and capture rules. Worth 1 point.
A2, B2, C2, D2, E3 / A5, B5, C5, D5, E5

Rook The CASTLE (rook) moves and captures sideways, forwards and backwards (all orthogonal directions). Worth 5 points.
A1, D1 / A6, D6

Bishop The bishop moves and captures diagonally. Worth 3 points.
B1, E1 / B6, E6

Queen The QUEEN combines the castle and bishop's moves : she can move and capture sideways, forwards, backwards and diagonally. Worth 9 points.
C1 / C6

If you play a game, please send me an email at (email removed contact us for address) to tell me how it went.

Written by Francois Tremblay. Web page posted by David Howe.
WWW page created: 30 Nov 2000. Last modified on: February 28, 2001..