Greetings. I’m a long time lurker, first time poster. You probably want to jump to the TL;DR at the bottom.
I’m an active chess player, but for the past couple of years or so, I’ve been playing nothing but chess variants in my own personal study to find out what is the next best step for chess. One of the variants that I’ve come across is, evidently, Chess 2: The Sequel.
As a variant, I find it unique in that it’s an actual, fully fleshed-out game. For many variants, it seems that the creators just tend to slap in a couple of new rules and call it a day. And unlike the light variants offered on sites like lichess and chess.com, Chess 2 actively strives to be the de facto sequel to chess, answering the questions left by its predecessor while also creating some new stuff of its own which is all great in its own right, in my opinion. The midline invasion rule, which reduces the length of games and makes endgames much more exciting; the bidding rule which requires players to actively read their opponent more; and the six army shenanigans which, in addition to bidding, makes Chess 2 a game of imperfect information, are all very interesting concepts which have existed in chess variants before, but never in the way that Chess 2 presents them. From my perspective, it attempts to bring chess to a more gamery, e-sportsy audience, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
But I digress. Point is, Chess 2’s a great game, no doubt. But the mechanics described heretofore have turned away Chess 2’s primary demographic, i.e. chess players, from the game. This isn’t entirely Chess 2’s fault however - it stems more from the fact that chess players have turned these mechanics away for the sole reason that they aren’t chess. As a result, Chess 2’s playerbase has been reduced to, as far as I can tell, three or so regular players, and lord-knows-how-many players congregating on one cracked copy, owned by a certain three-letter Steam user. I’m sure that if you’ve played the Steam (or OUYA) versions, you know who this user is already. This is indeed a great shame - an even greater shame considering that Chess 2 is no longer worth the time for Sirlin or Zac Burns to invest in. HOWEVER - The digital version of Chess 2 is not the only version we should be taking into account here. There is also the physical version of Chess 2. I took the time and effort to 3D print myself a Chess 2 set, taking a few shortcuts here and there by re-purposing some chess variant pieces I found on the House of Staunton a few years back; for others who don’t have the time, effort, or dedication to do such a thing, they can use cards to represent the various teams, and checkermen or go stones as, well, stones.
This brings me to the main subject of this topic. For a number of years, a print-and-play was available to download for free on this site. As the site has been updated however, the print-and-play has been lost. An image version of it exists on Imgur, but upon discovering this, I decided that that’s not good enough. Using the images and backgrounds from the PDF version, while also updating the diagrams using a handy diagram creator tool, I have spent a few weeks or so rewriting the print and play. I say rewrite, but I’ve more or less lifted the text from the original while adding a few of the tips from Ludeme Games’ site, so I guess the better term would be I remade the print and play.
You can find it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9qCB9zFQM1neHVMY3pUanh5eXc/view However, there are a few new things in this remake that were not in the original:
- A form of algebraic notation for Chess 2, which tries to respect the integrity of algebraic chess notation as much as possible. I have made it so that the first move of any Chess game is notated with W=X B=X where X is an abbreviated name of one of the six armies (C is Classic, A is Animals, what have you). This makes it so that a person who is going over the game knows which player picked which army.
- A few extra rules for tournament play, if playing OTB, regarding duelling, and piece capturing (basically don’t be lazy when capturing pieces - a tiger actually has to capture and then return, not stay in the one spot!).
- A conversation I held with @Kristoph on another website, who as you probably know was a beta tester for Chess 2. We go over a little bit of opening theory (mainly the ground-breaking DGR, but there’s some Empowered stuff in there too), his opinions on some of the other armies, and the current state of Chess 2.
I also plan on releasing a sample games booklet, a second booklet full of sample games taken from various videos, streams, and OTB games. Unfortunately, I cannot release this as of yet because I do not have games for each of the 21 match-ups. There are some I am still missing: Reaper mirror, TK mirror, Classic mirror, Empowered mirror, Classic vs. TK, Classic vs. Empowered, and Classic vs. Nemesis are the ones I can name off of the top of my head. Until I can get games for these matchups, it ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.
TL;DR Using resources from the old Chess 2 print and play like backgrounds, images etc. and from the Ludeme Games website, I have remade the print and play with a few new things of my own which you can find here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9qCB9zFQM1neHVMY3pUanh5eXc/view
What is my aim in rewriting the print and play? It makes the rules more accessible to some, that’s true. The more important aim to me, and the reason why I remade the print and play in the first place, is to hopefully arouse interest within the Chess 2 community and beyond, and spark some in-depth discussion. Chess 2 definitely has potential to go places, and there is some form of passion for the game, but there’s no energy. No energy, it doesn’t go anywhere.
EDIT 17/6/17: Updated the PDF with changes suggested by @Hobusu
EDIT 15/7/17: Updated the PDF with a new section: a conversation I held with Toadofsky, another Chess 2 player. I also separated the conversations from the other stuff with another blue page. The sample games booklet isn’t done yet, but I’m working on it. Very slowly, that is.
EDIT 27/7/17: Updated the PDF with a new section: a conversation I held with sirius3100.