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Chess variant (another?!)

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Epigone
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Joined: 12/31/1969

A few days ago I was admiring some chess games from a list of some guy's "top 10 games of the century". I realized that after moving, I wasn't sure if I actually had a nondigital chess board and went to look for one. I found this game, a four-player 8x8 with four 3x8 added rectangles board, that I got as a Christmas gift.

Almost all chess variants are either a) terrible, or b) nothing like chess. This one is both. But since I had the components already, I figured I'd try to make a variant I'd actually enjoy.

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Setup: choose positions randomly. The player to your left is your Mortal Enemy. If you take his king you win. The player across from you is your Enemy's Enemy. You cannot capture his pieces. The player to your right is your Rival. When you capture his pieces they are not removed from the game, but are removed from the board.

All kings start to the left of their queens.

If you have more than one of your Rival's captured pieces at the start of your turn, he may insist that you place one back on the board. You may place one back on the board even if he does not insist. If you have his king you must place it on the board. You may place at most one piece on the board per turn.

If your pawn reaches any other back row, it may promote as usual. When captured and placed back on the board, a promoted pawn reverts back to a pawn. Pawns may not be placed on any back row and there is no en passant.

Kings may move into or stay in check, but if your king is not on the board, you may not capture your Rival's pieces. If you cannot move a piece, your turn is skipped. If no one can move a piece the game is a draw. If the same game state occurs 3 times, the game is a draw. If everyone agrees the game is a draw, it is a draw. Players who did not win or draw have lost.
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The only real flaw I found was that players never get taken out of the game without the game ending, but can get extremely weak (i.e. just a king). I can't think of a way to fix that, though.

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