Diplochess (uh01)

by Edi Birsan and Fred C. Davis

The idea of new variants of Chess is probably rather dull to most of you….But, Diplomacy variants have some hold on your imaginations, so why not combine the two and once again prove that nothing is sacred in the Arena.

The Rules of DiploChess: [Birsan’s original rules]

1. All pieces may be moves at the same time.

2. Both sides move simultaneously by writing their orders (as in Diplomacy) or by diagraming them out on a chart like mock up of a chess board.

3. The pieces have the same move limitations as in normal chess.

4. En Passant does not apply.

5. The game ends when the King is dislodged with no retreat or one side has only a King and the other side has at least 4 points of power. Any other ending is a draw.

6. The pieces are assigned points of power in accordance with the traditional chess values of the piece: Queen-9, Rook-5, Knights and Bishops-3, Pawns-1.

7. The King has a value of 0 and may be dislodged by an unsupported pawn.

8. Orders for your pieces are: a. Move, b. Hold, c. Support. (Same as in Diplomacy)

9. Under no circumstances may two pieces occupy the same square.

10. A unit/piece ordered to move along a certain path will prevent any piece of lesser value from moving to a position on or across that path. Example: A Rook ordered to move from KP1 to QP1 (i.e. across the second row of squares from right to left) will block the move attempted by 8 pawns moving from the third row to the second row. For obvious reason, you cannot block the movement of a Knight. [This refers to movement through intermediate squares, of course.]

11. Combat Resolutions. [Letters added by Fred Davis]

a. When two pieces are ordered to the same space the total power points of both sides are computed in the square, and the side with the highest number of power points takes the square.

b. The loser must return to his original position in the same manner that a unit in Diplomacy can bounce back to its home spot.

c. If a unit is dislodged from its starting position, it must retreat in accordance with the rules of Chess (i.e. a Pawn can retreat only straight ahead).

d. You cannot retreat into the same square that the attacker came from, nor can you retreat into an occupied square or the site of a stand-off.

e. Two pieces ordered to the same square in a retreat will eliminate each other.

12. You may not retreat/dislodge your own pieces.

13. Any piece that cannot retreat must be removed from play.

14. You may give support to a piece that is moving or remaining in place, but you must be able to trace a path to the point of support (i.e. target square of action) free of enemy or friendly pieces at the end of the movement of all pieces.

15. Optional. A player may have one piece on the board for every square of the last two rows he controls. He may not build pieces above his initial type or distribution. Adjustments are made every 10th turn.

We tried a few solitaire games of Diplochess, and found that certain additional rules and clarifications were needed, especially on the matters of Queen Conversion and how a move was blocked. After correspondence, the following additional rules are added by us, using Edi’s original numbering system. (Edi has agreed to numbers 16, 19, and 20).

16. When a Pawn reached the 8th row, that ends its move. Conversion of the Pawn into another piece of higher value will take place as a separate “build” move after all moves are completed. Therefore, the Pawn can be dislodged or annihilated by another piece on the move, since it has only the value of an ordinary Pawn during the course of the move.

17. There can never be more than the initial number of pieces or types of piece on the board. Therefore, a Pawn reaching the 8th row can only be converted into a piece of a type of which the player has already lost. (i.e. No automatic conversion into a Queen).

18. If a Pawn reached the 8th row before the player has lost any major pieces, the Pawn will be removed from the board and held separately until such a loss occurs. The player must then build a piece of the same type as has been lost, and has the option of building same in any open square in his own first row. This will be called the “deferred build” rule.

19. (A clarification). A piece whose move across the board is blocked by the passage of a higher-valued piece across its path will return to its original square, in the same manner as would occur in a standoff. This affects a Knight’s move only if the final square of the move has been crossed by a piece of higher value. Piece of equal value do not affect each other’s moves if they cross each other’s paths.

20. Castling will be permitted, if neither the King nor the Rook has moved.

We also wrote an introduction to the game, which we’d intended to print first, but forgot, so we’ll put it here at the end:

DiploChess is a simo-move game using chess pieces on a chess board, but following the Diplomacy rules for conflicts, retreats and annihilations. Most of the pieces moves and have the same strength as in standard Chess. One intriguing difference is that a high value piece moving across the board cuts off the moves of any piece of lesser value which attempted to move across that path. The big change is that instead of trying to put the King in check, the King is constantly dislodged until he has not retreat left. As in Diplomacy, lack of a retreat results in annihilation. Loss of the King ends the game.

Edi also suggested a “Bloody” variant, in which all dislodged pieces except the King would be annihilated instead of retreated. He asked whether anyone was interested in playing the DiploChess game postally. I don’t recall that he had any takers. I’d be interested in knowing whether anyone has played this game by mail.