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Aliens vs Predator Chess from Scenery World Workshopimage © Scenery World Workshop
Chess - Wargame system analysis

Article updated: 2023.01.21

Chess is a game of abstract warfare.

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Wargame: Chess system

Current edition: Chess (19th century) system

Rules: Chess (19th century) system

Previous editions: Chaturanga (ca. 300-500), Chess (ca. 600), Chess (Shatranj) system, Chess (1475-1500)

Setting: Earth (expansions offer play in other settings)

Company: Public domain

Designer: Unknown

Aliens vs Predator Chess from Scenery World Workshopimage © Scenery World Workshop

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Analysis - Chess

Players of the game

Abstact player: The player uses the pieces to win an abstact battle.

Player skills required:

  • Dexterity: You need to be able to coordinate your hands to move your pieces, while you don't topple other pieces. Also, you have to be able to touch the piece you intend to use.
    Even if you have a disability in this area, it won't cause a problem unless you are playing with chess clocks, and even then the only problem is finding out the bonus time you'll need to play the game
  • Planning: You need to plan your moves ahead.
    If you have a disability in planning, you'll have to rely on memorising your moves. If your opponent also knows your strategy, he can use planning, and get an adventage over you.
  • Memory: You can either plan your games during playtime, or memorise moves you (or other clever players) have planned ahead.
    If you cannot memorise moves, you can still play the game, but people with better memory will have an adventage over you.

Number of players: 2

Powers: Same. Both sides get the same pieces. The pieces have various abilities. The only difference is that the light side starts. Winning the game depends on your playing skills.

Unit abilities: Various, asymmetric. There are several unit types. The Pawns are the least powerful, the Queen is the most useful. Most units attack at the end of their movement, and they cannot leap over other pieces.

  • Pawn: Limited movement direction (towards opponent). Short movement (1 square) or 1-2 squares on their first move. Can't move forward to occupied square. Attacks diagonally. Can be promoted to an officer of same colour if it reaches board edge.
  • Rook: Long movement in straight directions.
  • Knight: Short movement (L shape), leaping over the first square.
  • Bishop: Long movement in diagonal directions.
    • Chess (Shatranj) system: Short movement (2 square) diagonally, leaping over the first square.
    • Chess (Xiangqi) system: Short movement (1-2 square) diagonally, can't leap over the first square. Has to stay on the owner's side of the playing area.
  • Queen: Long movement in any direction.
  • King: Short movement (1 square). A castling action can be made by an unmoved king, when it is moved 2 squares towards an unmoved rook, then the rook is moved 2-3 squares to stand by the king, towards the middle of the row.

Choosing units: Fixed. The players get 8x Pawn, 2x Rook, 2x Knight, 2x Bishop, 1x Queen, 1x King.

Deployment: Fixed. The first row has: rook, knight, bishop, black queen / white king, black king / white queen, bishop, knight, and rook. The second row has 8 pawns.

Playing area

Playing area: Fixed. 8x8 board.

Playing area features: Abstract - black and white squares. Affects setup. Doesn't affect gameplay.

Terrain scale: None. The playing board is an abstract representation of a battlefield that is not in scale with the miniatures.

Heights: None. It's irrelevant in Chess.

Playing pieces

Units: Single miniatures. Every playing piece is a single unit.

Playing pieces: Unit type. The pieces depict the type of the unit.

Playing piece ratio: Unspecified. As the pieces represent an army, a single piece is more than likely represent 100 or 1000 soldiers.

Play styles

Abstractness: Abstract. Although you could compare the rules to reality, they do not try to simulate reality.

Cooperativeness: Competitve. Both players try to win, defeating the other player.

Rule system

Randomness: None. There are no random effects in the game, everything is based on player skill.

Risk management: None.

Spending resources: None.

Turn structure

Player activation: Taking turns.

Duration of a turn: Abstract. There is no indication.

Actions by the player: Partly based on dexterity. If you touch a figure by mistake, you have to move with it, but your move is not final until you take your hands off the figure.

Taking actions: Taking action with a single unit. The active player has to move a piece to complete his turn. Castling is a rule that allows moving two pieces in as one action.

Time for actions: Unlimited. Unless a chess clock is used for competitions, than it's fixed time gameplay.

Movement: Movement grid (square). The game is played on a 8x8 square grid.

Victory conditions: Victory: Getting in a position that enemy king can be attacked, but that king cannot attack back. Draw: Stalemating is forcing the enemy in a position that it cannot take any actions. Or in a position that it can only repeat the same action forever. 

  • Chess (Shatranj) system: Removing every enemy piece, except for the leader. Stalemating is a victory for the player that forces the stalemate.

Theme: Combat.

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Games Nexus reviews

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Resources - Chess

Chess WikiPedia article

History of chess WikiPedia article

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Buying the product - Chess

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Have you played Chess? How do you like it? Would you recommend them to others? Tell your opinion in the comments!


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