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The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Daniel MacDuff.


Mars is a somewhat cold planet.  At -63°C (84°F), Liquid water exists only for incredibly short spans.  But it has little water to worry about.  The real features of Mars are its massive valleys and mountains.  One such valley, the Valles Marineris, is 7 km (A little over 4 miles) deep, 4000 km (2500 miles) long, and 250 km (120 miles) wide.  Yes.  It's big.  And in this valley, there is a war between two nations of Martians.  ThIs war has gone on for centuries, and continues today.  The front has moved over the years, but Martian War Etiquette has changed little.


You need a regular 8x8 board.

On the third row for each player: Gripper, Cyzneo, Ice Swarm, Mantacron, Mantacron, Ice Swarm, Cyzneo, Gripper

On the second: M Foot Soldier, M Hunterglider, M Thief, War Man, War Man, M Thief, M Hunterglider, M Foot Soldier

On the first: War Man, M Rider, War Man, M General, M Master, War Man, M Rider, War Man


There are 11 kinds of pieces:
Grippers- Their long spindly fingers end in suction cups coated in a natural glue, but otherwise they look like a monkey's torso on a rhinoceros' body.  They move as a Rook but capture igui as Wazirs.

Cyzneos- These giant bat creatures are weak in battle, but can shoot little balls out of their mouths that grow into new Cyzneos.  They move as Queens, and cannot capture, but can place a new Cyzneo, of the same color on any square a Knight's move away.

Ice Swarm- These Martiopolar insects constantly swarm around their target, stealing its warmth to produce eggs, but it either takes many or an especially long exposure to kill.  They move as Wazirs and can land on a piece's square to immobilize it.  After four turns, they can make another swarm.  After twelve turns, they kill it.  Swarms can gang up on one piece to half these times.  Round up if you have more than three.

Mantacron- These fearsome beasts have a thousand clawed feet, the horns of an ibex, a snakelike body, a hundred three-inch fangs, and a scorpion's tail covered in spines like a porcupine's.  It also has vestigial bird wings, but the feathers are coated in poison.  Thank goodness it is sentient and somewhat friendly.  When it has the right of way moves as a Queen or captures every piece orthogonally adjacent to it without moving.  It also destroys all pieces attacking it when it is captured if it has the right of way.  When it doesn't have the right of way, it moves as a Rose and captures any piece that captures it.

War Man- A human, pumped full of alcohol, and strapped in a Robo-suit.  It is sentient, because it is controlled by Martians.  It moves as a Rook when it has the right of way, and as a King when it doesn't.

Martian Foot Soldier- A Martian.  He looks somewhat humanoid, but with no arms and an extra leg.  He has prehensile head-tails that come from the back of his head.  He moves as a Knight when he has the right of way, and as a Wazir when he doesn't.

Martian Hunterglider- All Martian warriors reserve a special kind of fear for this aerial attack machine.  With its ability to fry its foes out of existence, it is known as the Reaper of Mars.  It moves up to four squares orthogonally in any combination or arrangement.  It leaps when it has the right of way, but when it doesn't, it must slide.

Martian Thief- Thieves are already on death row, and therefore have no fear in failing the right of way.  However, Thieves' Honor does require them to obey certain rules.  The thief moves as the following, determined by the number of pieces next to it:
0- Queen-Advancer
1-2- Queen-Withdrawer
3- Queen-Coordinator (with all other Thieves) 
4- Moves as any adjacent piece (except Thieves)
5-6- Maharajah
7- Man
8- Queen-Long Leaper

Martian Master- These Martians are known across the Red Planet for their astounding ability to throw the traditional Martian war knives.  They move as Wazirs or Knights when they have the right of way, and Ferzes when they don't, and can rifle capture as Dababas or Alfils when they have the right of way.

Martian Rider- These Martians are masters and tamers of the strange, ground-hugging, danger-sensing, highly aggressive starfish-slugs known as Gallumpos.  They move as Wazirs when they have the right of way and Ferzes when they don't.  When they are attacked, those moves extend to Rook and Bishop moves, respectively.

Martian General- This Martian leader rides triumphantly on Victory, his artificial steed.  He is the oldest man on the battlefield, having remembered the start of this battle, and is ready to end it now.  He moves as a King when he has the right of way, and doesn't move when he doesn't.


Martian War Etiquette recognizes a few rules regarding the presence or absence of the right of way:
-The Front for each side is determined by where their farthest Martian piece except a Thief is in each row.  If the two Fronts touch, it is an Active Front; otherwise, it is a Passive Front and no matter what, the land between them is No Man's Land.

Each higher rule in the list below overshadows the lower ones.

•If the Front is Passive, all units have the right of way.
•If your piece is in your territory, it has the right of way.
•If you captured on your last turn, none of your troops have the right of way.
•If your troop is in No Man's Land, it does not have the right of way.
•If one of your units was captured on the last turn, you have the right of way.
•If your piece is attacked, it haas the right of way.
•If your piece attacks a sentient piece, it does not have the right of way.

Martian War Etiquette only affects sentient pieces.


#3 in a series!

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By Daniel Robert MacDuff.
Web page created: 2013-12-10. Web page last updated: 2013-12-10