Nefarious and I have been playing a couple of variants of chess and checkers recently. At her school there’s a big chess board in the foyer, and the kids love playing while they’re waiting for their parents to pick them up. Some of them are quite experienced and good at the game, and others are beginners. Here are the two variants we showed them, both of which were received with great enthusiasm.
In “Chesskers” your main pieces are normal, but the pawns behave as checkers. They’re laid out in a staggered formation over two rows (all on the same color, for both sides), and move like checker pieces, diagonally, and when they jump, instead of landing on the piece they’re killing like in chess, they leap over it like in checkers, and they can do multiple kills like in checkers, and they can be kinged normally. This game is fun because you have a slightly more diverse set of thinking you have to do because of the variation in move types, but on the whole it’s pretty close to chess.
“M.A.D.” as in “mutually assured destruction”. The goal of this checkers variant is simply to kill. The checkers pieces move as normal, but you have the choice of moving either your own pieces or your opponent’s. You can also take your own pieces, but only by using your opponent’s pieces. You can not get kinged, so the game ends when there are no moves left. The winner is the person who has killed the most pieces, no matter what color. I think this game would probably end up with a stalemate most of the time with experienced players, but it’s great at first. It’s also fun because the game can be quite static, and then suddenly snowballs into a cascade of captures.
Other than that, a bunch of last minute stuff (including posting many new ducks — thanks everyone) and doing lots of packing! Tomorrow morning we leave for our big adventure in Costa Rica and Panama, so we’ll be gone for two weeks. There’s so much I’m looking forward to… Volcanoes, sloths (pictures below by alumroot, pierre pouliquin, mlleglass), waterfalls, horse riding, rainforests, beaches and snorkeling, spending vacation time with my family, and so much more. I will surely have much to report on our return in two weeks.