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Initiative Auction Phase
Action Phase
Wearing the Crown
Penalized Behavior
End of the Game
Signup Sheet

Synopsis: The object of this human-sized chesslike game is to capture the crowns of the Kings of both parties of chess pieces. It can be won with chess tactics, or resource management, or diplomacy. Work together to capture whoever is the current King of the opposing party. But only do that in such a way that you are set up to backstab each other for one individual to wear both crowns! Watch out, the surviving members of the other party of adventurers can take their crown back! Will the two parties of adventurers work as a team to protect their crown, or will they munchkin in an attempt to keep it for themselves?

A timer
A black crown and a white crown
Fourteen sandwich signs of posterboard with duct-tape straps
One grid mapped out on the floor with tape
Pawns: fourteen white, four red.
A couple of hundred bracelet-sized rings or hoops
Fourteen staves of PVC or wood
Fourteen treasure sacks
Fourteen get out of jail free cards


During the prep time before the event, every participant designs his or her own chess piece movement and promoted power, spending points RPG style to put dots and arrows in a movement grid. Before the event, the gamemaster has drawn empty grids on sandwich signs, with a triangle in the center square to represent the square the piece is standing on. The players put large stickers of dots and arrows to fill in the blanks according to the move they designed. The dots represent a leap, and the arrows represent directions in which they can move as far as they want.

  • Dots (all places in the outer ring are leaps, all places in the inner ring are steps):
    • 3.5 | 3.0 | 3.5 | 3.0 | 3.5
    • 3.0 | 2.5 | 3.0 | 2.5 | 3.0
    • 2.5 | 2.0 | /\ | 2.0 | 2.5
    • 2.0 | 1.5 | 2.0 | 1.5 | 2.0
    • 1.5 | 1.0 | 1.5 | 1.0 | 1.5
  • Arrows:
    • Forward, Forward-Left or Forward-Right Ranged Move: 12
    • Left or Right Ranged Move: 10
    • Backward, Backward-Left or Backward-Right Ranged Move: 8

  • Discounts:
    • Your Piece is Colorbound: -5 Has such a setup that it ends up only able to walk on one color of the board
    • Your Piece is 1/4 bound: -10 Has such a setup that it ends up only able walk on 1/4 of the board

If your piece is finished and you didn't spend all your points, you get a number of gold rings equal to your unspent points.

Email matt dot mattarn at gmail dot com with your interest and let's get started on your design.

The sandwich signs can be flipped inside-out when they level up to a more powerful chess movement. Players start with 25 character-building points, and are required to spend more of their points on their leveled-up version than on the standard one. They start the game with the standard version on the outside of the sign the leveled-up version (which has red decoration) on the inside of the sign. Each standard grid has a large number written under it, which shows how many character-building points was spent on it (rounded up to the nearest integer). That will be referred to as the value of that piece. The players invent the names of their chess pieces and write them above their grids.

A playing field has been mapped out on the floor, similar to the board of Navia Dratp.

The areas on the sides are prisons for opposing teams, and are full of chairs. The participants start on the rows of squares seen on the top and bottom ends of the board, grouped into two parties of adventurers by the gamemaster. They are sitting in chairs. They are off the board and are safe from capture until they put themselves in play.

Each crown starts the game sitting in the middle square of the back rank on its team's side of the board.

The second rank on each side of the board is filled with black or white pillows that serve as pawns. The pillows have the numeral "1" written on them, and movement grids drawn on them that show they only move one space directly forward. There are also two red pillows on the back rank of the black team, and two yellow pillows on the back rank of the white team. The colored pillows have the numeral "3" written on them, and have movement grids drawn on them that show they can move one step directly forward or diagonally forward. Unlike regular chess, pawns do not have a different move to capture than the move that they use to go into an empty space.

Initiative Auction Phase:

Before a new turn, every player receives 1 Gold, but at the start of the game, every player has 5 Gold. The last person to take an action may not participate in the initiative auction because no one may take a turn twice in a row. The chess timer is set, and players may bid rings from their loot bags by putting them on their stave and holding up the stave. When the timer goes off, or when no one wants to bid any more, bidding is over. Those who lost the bid put the rings on their staves back into their bags. Whoever bid the most rings gives all the Gold on their stave to the gamemaster and gets to be the one to take an action this turn.


  • If players are tied and have no more Gold, the one with a lower point value wins the initiative.
  • If both players are the same point value, the player with the lowest total team points wins the initiative.
  • If both teams are the same point value, the one who agrees not to make a capture wins the initiative.
  • If in addition to these conditions both or neither are capturing, they both forfeit their turn and have their bids refunded. Start the auction over with only the other players.

Action Phase: The gamemaster starts the chess timer. Before the chess timer goes off, the player who won the auction gets to take one of the following actions. When it goes off, the gamemaster will demand an action be taken, or make the choice.

  • If you are still in the off-the-board reserve area, you may conjure yourself onto one of the empty summoning spaces marked on your side of the board. Take 1 Gold from the gamemaster. This is never a capture move. You can't conjure yourself back into the off-the-board reserve.
  • Choose a black pawn if you are a black team member or a white pawn if you are a white team member and the gamemaster will move it one step forward.* Take 1 Gold from the gamemaster.
  • Choose a red pawn if you are a black team member or a gold pawn if you are a white team member and tell the gamemaster whether to move it one step forward, one step diagonally forward left or one step diagonally forward right.* Take 3 Gold from the gamemaster.
  • If you are on the board, move*** to one of the spaces indicated on your movement grid.
  • If you are on the board, move*** to one of the spaces indicated on your movement grid and level up.**
  • If you are on the board, level up** without moving. Pay the number of Gold equal to the number of character-building points you spent on your leveled-up grid.
  • Get out of prison and back into the off-the-board reserve. Pay the number of Gold equal to the number of character-building points you spent on your standard grid. If you are leveled-up, level back down to the unpromoted version.

* If you move any pawn off the far end of the board, take 10 Gold or a get out of jail free card from the gamemaster, instead of the normal amount of gold. Pawns can't collect Gold or wear a crown.
** To level up, pay the number of Gold equal to the number of character-building points you spent on your promoted grid, and flip your sandwich sign inside out to show the more powerful chess movement. Half, if you're on a half-price square in the center rank of the board. You may not level-down except when you are captured.
*** There is no castling in this game. "Move" includes any leap, step, or ranged motion your chess piece can do on its movement grid. If the destination square is occupied by a pawn, player, or Gold, capture it. If you have the crown, look at the rules labeled "Wearing the Crown."

When the Action Phase is done, start over with a new turn at the Initiative Auction Phase.

Wearing the crown:

Wearing a crown gives you the additional power to take one step to any adjacent square, just like a chess King, even if it wasn't on your movement grid. The crown can only move to an adjacent square, like a chess King. If you move farther, you have to leave the crown sitting on the square you left! If you move to an adjacent square, you may not leave the crown behind.

If any player you capture is wearing a crown, or you land on a square it was sitting in, put it on.

There is no obligation to declare check on a crown, or someone wearing a crown, and there is no rule against moving into check. A crown or a crowned player is not checkmated, just captured.


Just like in chess, when a piece moves and lands on another piece's square, the piece which was moved onto is captured. There is no en-passant in this game. If you are captured, go to the jail. Or, go back to the reserve by spending a get out of jail free card if you have one. Captured pawns are out of the game permanently. Jailed players are not allowed to move pawns, but still accumulate the piece of Gold that is handed out to every player before the auction of every turn.

If you capture an enemy piece or pawn by moving yourself or one of your own team's pawns, take Gold equal to the number of character-building points written under the movement grid of that piece or pawn.

You are not allowed to capture your own team's players until your team has both crowns. Then anyone is fair game except your own pawns. You may not capture your own team's pawns, ever.

At the start, one Gold has been set out on every square of the board (not the reserve area or jail) to be captured by the first player to move there. Pawns do not capture rings. You can not get a ring by conjuring yourself onto the board on that square-- you would have to move off and then back again to put it in your bag.

Penalized Behavior:

Your distance from other players matters because you will have to communicate in a loud, clear voice and that might affect who can listen in. All players may threaten, beg, deal, strategize, or conspire with each other, but may not leave the squares they are standing in. Both feet have to stay in the square, and they may only sit or lay down if they are not doing so to get into whispering range. This includes the jail or the off-board reserve squares. Sorry, communicating with another player via electronic devices or a non-player intermediary is cheating. Feel free to communicate visually and hope other players don't notice. Players may be penalized by the gamemaster for leaving their square in whatever way he deems appropriate.

Don't hit anybody with a staff or the gamemaster will penalize you or remove you from the game.

End of the Game:

When both crowns are worn by the same person, that is the winner and the game is over.

When both crowns are worn by members of the same team, a player wearing a crown may carry it off the far end of the board, and pay Gold equal to the value of all pieces left on the board, to win and end the game. Remember, the crown can only move to an adjacent square in one turn, like a chess King! You must carry it across!

Signup Sheet

The signup sheet will be available at Ops beginning Friday afternoon. The following people have expressed interest, but will still have to sign up on the sheet. Being on the following electronic register is no guarantee that the person will not have to cancel at the last minute, so vacancies may be available. Email matt dot mattarn at gmail dot com to express your interest, please! If we get your chess piece designed for you in advance, setup won't take as long and you will probably also have time to give it more thought.

Gamemaster: Matt Arnold
1. Ron Hale-Evans
2. Clark Rodeffer
3. Gerald Gentry
4. Bill Kolasa
5. W. Craig Trader
6. Jer Lance

penguicon6.0/chesslarp.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/14 11:24 (external edit)