chess variant needs more play testing. It may evolve
Who said that a chess-variant
board should have even dimensions?
uses a 11 x 11 board. Why not going a step further with
the odd number 13? This is the starting idea governing this
An odd game should be different. That is its nature. Then, the
army at fight in this game presents men which have not or seldom
been used in my other games, despite they have a familiar style
which make them easy to familiarize for the new players.
There are 13 types of pieces in this game, naturally if it is
possible to say so. Several of them have a long three-square
distance effect which is perturbing. The atmosphere at play is
weird. It is just fantastic.
The board is odd with 169 squares,
made by 13 rows and 13 columns.
There are 30 pieces in each side: 1 King, 2 Snakes, 2 Ships, 2
Hawks, 2 Mammoths, 2 Cheetahs, 2 Squirrels, all of them on the 1st
row of each player; 2 Trolls and 1 Prince on the 2nd row, another
single Troll on the 3rd row and 13 Pawns forming a complete line
on the 4th row.
That sums to 10 types of piece in the setup. But three types of
men may appear by “elevation”: Saber-tooth, Eagle, and Rhinoceros.
In total, they are 13 different types of pieces.
The goal is to checkmate the opposing King. White side plays
Initial Setup at Fantastic XIII
- Pawn: it
moves as in Metamachy, not as is
usual Chess. It can move straight forward one or two square from
any position on the board, without capturing. It captures
one square diagonally forward. It may capture en-passant and get
promoted to a Saber-tooth when reaching the opposed side of the
- Prince: as in Metamachy.
He moves and captures one square in any direction like a King,
but without being hindered by check. Like the Pawn, he can also
move without capturing to the second square straight ahead from
any position on the board and he get promoted to a Saber-tooth
when reaching the opposed side of the board.
- Troll: as in Terachess,
it jumps 3 step horizontally, vertically or diagonally. No
matter what intermediate squares contain. It may capture while
jumping in that way. The Troll is also able to move and
capture as a simple Pawn, one step straight ahead to move on a
free square or one step diagonally forward to capture an
opponent. The Troll cannot move two steps forward at any
moment. This permits the Troll to reach any square on the
board. No e.p. It may promote to a Saber-tooth on the
opponent's back row on some conditions explained below.
- Squirrel: it is a "ring" leaper which jumps as
a Knight or jumps at 2 squares, diagonally (a move called Alfil)
or orthogonally (a move called Dabbaba).
- Cheetah: it is
another "ring" leaper which jumps on any square situated at 3
squares distance from where it stands.
- Mammoth: it steps horizontally, vertically or
diagonally one or two squares, leaping over the intermediate
square if it is occupied.
- Hawk: it jumps horizontally, vertically or
diagonally two or three squares, leaping over the intermediate
squares if they are occupied.
- Ship: a piece also used in Tamerlane
II. It moves one square diagonally and then, goes away of
an indefinite number of cases vertically, never horizontally. It
can move one square diagonally only. It can not jump and must
begin its move with the diagonal step. The Ship is more limited
than the Eagle (which can move horizontally, see
below). Nevertheless its move power is comparable to the Rook
and the Bishop.
- Snake: it moves
one square vertically and then, slides away of an indefinite
number of squares diagonally. It can not jump and the
unobstructed path must start with the vertical movement. The
Snake is the counterpart of the Ship. Both pieces are
constrained bent-riders because the vertical direction is
favored compare to the horizontal one in the definition of their
Three pieces are not present on the initial setup but may
appear during the game by promotion:
- Eagle: exactly as
in Metamachy. This piece may appear
in this game by promotion of a Ship. It moves one square
diagonally and then, slides away of an indefinite number of
squares vertically or horizontally. It is authorized to go only
one square diagonal. It can not jump and the unobstructed path
must start with the diagonal movement. This piece is also known
as Gryphon in many chess variants.
- Rhinoceros: exactly
as in Maasai Chess. This piece may
appear in this game by promotion of a Snake. It moves one
square vertically or horizontally and then, slides away of an
indefinite number of squares diagonally. It is authorized to go
only one square in line or column. It can not jump and the
unobstructed path must start with the orthogonal movement. It is
a counterpart of the Eagle. It is now called Manticore
on the chess-variants pages.
- Saber-tooth (Tiger):
jumps on any square situated at 2 or 3 squares distance from
where it stands. This piece may appear later on by promotion of
a Pawn, a Prince or a Troll.
The Saber-tooth is a “double-ring” leaper: it combines the
powers of the Squirrel and the Cheetah, meaning that it can leap
at any square at two or three-square distance from the square
where it stands.
- Pawn and Prince Promotion:
A Pawn or a Prince reaching the last rank of the board is
immediately replaced by a Saber-tooth. Promotion to any other
type of piece is not allowed.
- Troll Promotion:
Trolls also promote to Saber-tooth on last row but only when
they reach that line with a one-step move or capture, i.e. like
a Pawn. They do not promote when they reach the last row by a
long 3-square jump.
- Ship and Snake Promotion:
These two pieces promote to Eagle and Rhinoceros respectively on
last row, which is a manner of completing their powers for a
uniform move in all directions.
- En Passant capture: Any
time a Pawn or a Prince takes a double step and passes through
the capture square of an opposing Pawn, that Pawn may capture
the opposing piece as if it had only moved one square. This en
passant capture must be made in the immediate move
following the double step. Only a Pawn may capture en
- End Of Game:
The end-of-game rules, checkmate, stalemate, etc., are
identical to standard chess. The goal is to checkmate
the opposing King.
Our estimate average pieces value, normalized to 5 for the Rook
this piece was present on this game, which is actually not the
Pawn: 0.75, Troll: 3.25, Prince: 3.25, Snake:
3.5, Ship: 4.5, Hawk: 5.5, Squirrel: 6, Mammoth: 6.5,
Rhinoceros: 7.5, Eagle: 8.25, Cheetah: 8.5, Saber-tooth: 17.5.
You can play Fantastic XIII if you own
Download this zip-file: (soon)
variante étrange !
tablier de 13 x 13 cases, 13 types de pièces
différents, dont plusieurs assez déroutantes
Diagrams made with the fantastic Chess Board
Painting Tools provided by Musketeer
Thanks to Paul Rapoport for his
discussion, corrections and playtesting