CHECK 11: Design Choices - Main Features
# Multiples Factions
Coming from versus fighting games, this is a trivial one. One of the main reason why I started working on Check 11 is Chess 2: The Sequel by David Sirlin. I loved the 5 different armies and had so much fun playing them (with myself only but oh well…)
# Hidden Selection
I included this rule when the design process was already well advanced. I already had a preliminary stage of the first 5 factions down and I needed to think about the physical part of the design. Instead of creating a bunch of new pieces with all movement powers new to my variant, I opted for the simple road: The pieces would remain the same on the material side. The players would have to find which opposite factions are in play through suspect behavior detection in the opponent play. I tested it and I like it.
Now Check 11 was not a test of calculation depth only, the uncertainty brought by the hidden selection was a new level to also take into account while playing.
# Enemy king capture as the goal
This rule was a direct consequence of the one before, the hidden selection, plus the presence of a faction where a captured king could switch its place and stay in play. Staying or moving into check also became legal at that point.
# Opposite backline reach as the goal
Between the factions that I created, some of them had pieces that cannot capture, like the queen of the faction Magnetic and Royale or the knights of the faction Jungland and Paradox. This created endgame situations were those factions could not win at all when they only had pieces that could not captured besides their king. I thought this was not cool and added the rule of reaching the opposite backline with the king. It seemed more fair.
Now you could win by checkmate (when the opponent has already revealed its faction), by capturing the opponent king with a surprise move (when your faction moves are still kept secret), or by placing your king on the opponent back line.
I just love comeback mechanics states in versus fighting games, so…
# No castle rule
The first versions of the faction Hologram and the faction Magnetic had 2 queens and 2 kings respectively. I let you think about all the versions of castle I had to imagine to fit in these 2 factions. But, it was not a problem anymore when I added the hidden selection rule, since I decided to put Hologram and Magnetic in line with others factions and gave them one king and one queen. But then again, the new winning condition above came and made castle almost irrelevant during gameplay.
Well, considering that there were also a lot of new and more interesting gameplay elements I wanted the players to focus on, I decided to just cut it off.
# No capture en passant rule
There is one faction where the pawn can move 2 spaces forward even after its first move: Should an opponent pawn be able to capture it en passant even after its first move or only during its first move? And the pawn of the faction Element also (my god!), with all the four variations it can take: How should I have handled capture en passant for the pawn of the air, or the pawn of the fire?
The implementation of the capture en passant rule was such a pain in the a** on the technical side that I decided to remove it all at once.
# No promotion into the queen
At the time where the faction Magnetic had 2 kings, I made this rule to put every faction on the same foot for promotion. And for the faction Hologram which had 2 queens, it stopped the ability to grow the number of ability to come back with the king.
I liked how the gameplay worked overall across all the factions with it, so even when the factions Hologram and Magnetic changed to one king and one queen, I kept it unchanged.
That’s it about the general rules decisions I made to shape Check 11.
Take care and let the spirits guide you.