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Necromancer Chess

I've talked before about how disillusioned I am with vanilla chess.

Most modern games give you a first player experience to learn the moves before it throws you into player vs player combat.

But not chess, it seems so much mentally antagonistic than playing other board games. Maybe it is because of how much society has charged the game and being good at it with being "smart".

In any case, I had an idea for a version of chess to help Kelvin learn to play that would make things clearer.

This is what I came up with. Necromancer chess.

White sets up like normal.

Black only sets up his "lich" and two "skeleton" pawns. The black player also takes the 6 remaining pawns and one each of rook, knight, bishop and queen and puts them aside, this is his "necro pool".

White plays as normal.

Black can play as normal or take one of two other actions:

  • "Raise" one of the uncaptured black pawns from the necro pool bringing it into play in any of the four directly adjacent, empty spaces to the king (not diagonals). Any pawns captured by white are moved to their side of the board, and do not go back into the necro pool.
  • "Send" a spirit attack. The king can unleash any one attack equivalent to any of the rook, knight, bishop or queens in his necro pool at a white piece. The white piece must be unproctected/unguarded by another white piece. If it is, remove the white piece from the board. This attack does not move the king, and it removes the used piece from the necro pool for the rest of the game. It cannot target the white king.

Special rule: If the white piece is spirit attacked by a piece of the identical type, (e.g. an unprotected white queen his by a spirit queen attack) the piece becomes "possessed" and is replaced with its black counterpart permanently.

Anyway, I just played this against my son a few times, and found it an interesting match. It encourages the white player to be aggressive, but not overly so (e.g. keep the queen back). It also teaches sacrifice to try to draw out some of the black player's powers.

Also, the black king's pawn spawning power becomes interesting in the end game if the black king gets close to white's backline, since it can start creating quite a bit of potential queens.

This is not a finished or polished game, but I enjoyed it.