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Chess-like game using more pieces, with health points

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I'm just curious if anybody else has come up with ideas as to how to make a strategy game similar to chess, but with more realistic pieces and moves.

I personally have used lego pieces to make a game where each "piece" (unit) has health points, and each weapon has different powers. Ultimately, the weapons determine the strength of the unit, but you get the idea. It is played on either a hex board (for more realistic moves), or a square-spaces board (my original idea), and you get 2 "commands" per turn. The weapons determine the attack power and range of the units, but I did add some other interesting units in there (captains, rangers, knights, generals, wizards, standard bearers). Below is a little info on the game units.

( means that the Move Speed is 1, the Attack Power is 1, the Attack distance is 1, and the last 1 stands for the # of HP)

Swordsman -
Axeman -
Archer -
Spearman -

Monted units:
Knight - 2.2.1(on sides).3
Captain - 2.3.1(on sides).3
Ranger -
General -

Special units are:
Wizard - 3.n/a.1.2 The wizards "attack" is not really an attack at all, but a healing spell. The wizard is used to keep your forces alive.

Standard Bearer - 3.n/a.n/a.1.2 The Standard Bearer is a unit I developed in order to move more units around without having to add more commands. Any units around (in the spaces next to him) the standard bearer can move with him, but may only move at the speed of the slowest units.

I have developed this game into the playtesting area, rulebook and all. I have played it with some of my friends, and they seem to like it. I was going for a strategy game that did not use any chance, but was still somewhat realistic. If anybody has any other games fitting this description, I would very much like to hear about them, as long as you don't mind me using the ideas. I realize that this is going to cut out alot of you, but that's okay.

Hedge-o-Matic's picture
Joined: 07/30/2008
Chess-like game using more pieces, with health points

Well, Chess-like games are intruiging because of the game dynamics the piees bring. Much of the evolution of Chess was revision of the pieces, and the result we play today contains no more pieces than it needs to to be its best form. Even the placement of pieces is the result of evolution. When designing a Chess-type game, we've only got a couple of tries at getting this balance to the evolved level of Chess itself... a very difficult task.

My advice would be to limit the number of pieces in some given way, rather than having thousands of swordsmen simply because you can. Again, a smaller number of any piece increases its relative value, but in play it might only work in pairs, or in combination with another piece. The knight/bishop team is a Chess example of this synergy that springs to mind.

Also, some elegant way of indicating clearly what the current healt of the piece is would be ideal. My idea hear is to have rings on the pieces, which could be easily removed. Each unit would need one less ring than it has health, and a unit that has no rings, and takes damage is removed. This way you won't need as many rings, overall, and setup will be quicker.

Another consideration is play dynamics. I highly rcommend you get the computer-based game "shogi varients" (free online here: and play Dai-shogi once. It is a massive game played on a 25x25 board, with each player commanding an army of over 300 pieces, many of them unique. It's a mess. then play regular Shogi, and see how much more elegant it is.

I think your goal is a good one: to make an abstract strategy game that isn't quit as abstract. But if you deviate too radically from what makes a good abstract game, you'll need other play mechanisms to make the game playable. that then your game will become a wargame, which doesn't seem to be what you wanted to make. I'd be interested to hear how this goes for you.

Chess-like game using more pieces, with health points

I had a similar goal in mind with my current project, originally my idea started out with the "chess" premis, but soon evolved. The idea of a game with depth and strategy like chess, yet using modern day game mechanics intrigues me. My game is now closer to a strategy/ rpg. Let me know of any further developments you may have

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Chess-like game using more pieces, with health points

So if I 'take' your bishop with my pawn, and my pawn inflicts 1 damage and your bishop has 3 HP... what happens? Do I not move the piece and instead inflict damage? do pieces share a space on the board (I move into the bishop's space, but only remove one if his 'damage rings' rather than removing the piece itself)?

This seems like an interesting chess variant. Maybe you could upgrade pieces by buying rings of rthem. Or you get a certiain number of rings total at the beginning, and you distribute them as you choose between all the pieces...

- Seth

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