MY CHECK VERSE IS GROWING: Royal Check Chess Variant Birth - Check 11 Trance Upgrade - Cards Chess Variant WIP!
So, some interesting changes happening from my Check Verse!
First, I have created a new variant: Royal Check!
Lately I have read a lot of game design articles talking about simplicity, elegance, depth, complexity and stuff like that…And It made me remember something my playtest partner said to me in late 2015, when I decide to add trance during the design of Check 11.’Why do you add trance when you already have so much trouble to balance the game with all those 11 factions at this state? Pfft! Even only with the basic orthodox, hologram and magnetic factions, this variant is very good and fun!’
I didn’t listen to him because I wanted to get as much ideas as I could out. Now that Check 11 is finished, I realize how much complex it can be for some people. Me? I like that complexity. But for a lot of people that are testing it? Not so much. Not 3, 4 or 5 factions, but 11 factions you must keep track of during the game since you don’t know which one your opponent has chosen. Add to that the trance, which is unique to each 11 factions. It is very overwhelming to a lot of them. I decide to find and select the simplest rules of Check 11 and make a more elegant chess variant from these.
So, in Royal Check, you can still select your faction secretly, but your selection is limited to the 3 most basic factions (orthodox, hologram and magnetic); the goal is reduced to the enemy king capture only; and for the trance mechanic… it’s completely gone.
Secondly, I have upgraded the trance mechanic in my Check 11 chess variant!
During playtest, trance almost never happened, to the point that some playtesters were always suggesting that I removed it. I have to admit that it crossed my mind, but, I just love that mechanic so much that I wanted to find a way to keep it.
So, previous trance mechanic rule said: ‘One faction can pass into trance mode and get new powers when that faction is down to 8 pieces’. The rule was inspired from comeback mechanics which give something to the losing player to resist the winning player more to keep the endgame interesting. What I didn’t envision about it it’s that, in chess, capturing all enemy pieces is not a goal in itself, so one can lose the game way before its remaining pieces reach 8. Even more so in Check 11 where there are more ways to end the game quickly like making a surprise move or reaching the enemy first line.
Now, the new rule for the trance mechanic says: ‘One faction can activate trance once and at any time during the game; the trance last until the number of pieces lost by the faction equals the number of pieces it has already lost’. This change allows a player that has never lost a piece to at least activate trance once, even if it’s only during same activation turn that he can use it and lose it immediately after. And, the player can still activate trance after losing 8 pieces or more and is able to use his faction trance powers until the end of the game like before.
Finding when one should activate his trance will be a major point in Check 11.
And at last, one more variant again in the work!
Well, I am very happy with Royal Check which takes the essence of my Check 11 variant to create a very simple, lifting and elegant new experience of chess. I am also very happy with my original baby, Check 11, in which I put everything I have to make it the most intricate chess variant ever created.
But there is a group of people (like my mother or my nephews, some of my friends) that cannot experience my Check Verse because even the basic rules of standard chess are too much for them to memorize. What is better than some cards to overpass this memorization issue! I create cards in which I represent the different moves and abilities of the Check 11 pieces. I have to find a way to integrate those cards with classic chess materials.
I just start and have nothing concrete right now. Ideas exploration undergoing and I hope something special comes out of it.
I want the most people to be able to experience chess through my Check Verse, even if only casually.
Take care and let the spirits guide you.