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The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Larry Smith.

Extreme 3D Chess Game

By L. Lynn Smith

[*This title is meant in humor, but I do dare anyone to top this. ;-) ]

The following is meant as an exploration of a potential for 3D Chess.  It is actually
possible to play a game using these rules.  All you would need is an 8x8x8 playing
field, a whole bunch of Pawns, cubes, and flat discs in the shape of circles, squares, 
triangles, and stars.  All of two distinct colors, possibly Black and White.


The Pawn in this game steps only one forward orthogonal.  It both moves and captures 
this way.  It promotes to the type of piece which it captures, or to the Heir Apparent 
upon reaching the far rank if it has made no subsequent captures.  There are 64.

Knight[N]	1x2x3 area leaper
Hippogriff[H]	2x2x3 area leaper
Wyvern[W]	2x3x3 area leaper

There are 8 of each of these leapers.  They can be created by marking a set of cubes
with the following patterns on each of their sides; crosses[+] for Knights, X's for
Hippogriffs and four dots[::] for Wyvern.  This is so that it is possible to distinguish
them from any angle.  They perform their move by leaping from one corner cell to the
opposite corner cell of their defined area, regardless of the occupants within the area.

The other discs will represent the following:

Squares denote the ability to move orthogonal.
Triangles denote the ability to move diagonal.
Stars denote the ability to move triagonal.

Circles are used to denote the King and the Heir Apparent.  One side of the disc is
blank and the other has a crown on it.  Checkers can actually be used.  With the crown
up, this represents the King.  With the crown down, this represents the Heir Apparent.

The various pieces in this game are formed by combinations of these discs and cubes.  

Initially there are on the field;

1 King[K]
3 Heir Apparent[HA]
8 single [+] cube or Knight[N]
8 single [X] cube or Hippogriff[H]
8 single [::] cube or Wyvern[W]
4 single squares or linear Rooks[lR]
4 double squares or planar Rooks[pR]
4 triple squares or cubic Rooks[cR]
4 single triangles or linenar Bishops[lB]
4 double triangles or planar Bishops[pB]
4 triple triangles or cubic Bishops[cB]
4 single stars or linear Unicorns[lU]
4 double stars or planar Unicorns[pU]
4 triple stars or cubic Unicorns[cU]

Pieces initially formed by single discs represent the linear move of that type.  Thus
a single square[lR] denotes the ability to move orthogonal linearly, a triangle[lB] denotes 
the diagonal linear move and the star[lU] denotes the triagonal linear move.  A linear move 
is defined by a series of cells along a direct axis, a piece moves from one cell to another 
without any occupied cells between it and its destination.  This move is normally 
referred to as a slide.

Pieces initially formed by double discs represent the planar move of that type.  Thus
a double square[pR] denotes the ability to move orthogonal planarly, two triangles[pB] 
denote the diagonal planar move and two stars[pU] denote the triagonal planar move. A 
planar move is defined by an area of cells located within the perimeter of any two specific 
axes, including the cells located on those axes.  A piece moves from one cell located 
on a corner of this area to a cell located on an opposite corner with no occupied cells 
within this area.

Pieces initially formed by triple discs represent the cubic move of that type.  Thus
a triple square[cR] denotes the ability to move orthogonal cubicly, three triangles[cB] 
denote the diagonal cubic move and three stars[cU] denote the triagonal cubic move.  A 
cubic move is defined by an area of cells located within the perimeter of any three specific 
axes, including the cells located on those axes.  A piece moves from one cell located on 
a corner of this area to a cell located on an opposite corner with no occupied cells 
within this area.

Only cells which are actually part of the move pattern are considered.  This means that
all cells are considered within an orthogonal pattern, half the cells are considered 
within a diagonal pattern and one-fourth of the cells are considered within a triagonal
pattern.  A player needs to be extremely familiar with diagonal and triagonal patterns
before attempting planar and cubic moves.

The King and Heir Apparent initially move only one cell orthogonal, diagonal or triagonal.


When a piece performs a capture, rather than simply removing the opposing piece from 
the playing field, it absorbs the abilities of that particular piece.  Thus if a single
square captures a single triangle, it now has the ability to move both orthogonal and
diagonal linearly.  If a single square was to capture another single square, it would then
be able to move orthogonal planarly.  If double stars were to capture another star, the piece 
then would then be able to move triagonal cubicly.  Any extra pieces which are not necessary
for absorption are removed from the playing field.

The same applies to the capture of the leapers.  Any piece which captures a leaper now has
the ability to perform that particular leap.  And any combination that it subsequently
absorbs.  And vice versa, leapers can absorb the other type of moves and not just their own.
It is recommended that there be no multiplying the power of one particular type of leap, only 
the addition of a new form.  But I will not deter someone from allowing the application of
'rider' functions with additional pieces of one type of leaper.

Only opposing pieces are eligible for capture.  The owner of piece will be denoted by the
piece located atop the stack of discs and/or cubes.

This ability to absorb powers includes the King.  And the King also has an additional power,
the ability to pass the crown to an Heir Apparent.  Any time that a King comes under attack,
it can transfer the crown to an un-attacked Heir Apparent.  This is done by turning the King's
and the selected Heir Apparent disc over.  Any abilities which these particular pieces have 
absorbed remain in their cell and are not transferred.  This can be done anytime the King is 
attacked, and only when the King is attacked.

A Pawn which captures a piece, ceases being a Pawn and becomes that particular piece.  If a
Pawn performs a capture on the far rank, it has the choice of either promoting to an Heir
Apparent or become that capture piece.  If it promotes, the capture piece is removed from
play entire.

The extreme piece might be one which consists of each of three cubes, three squares, three
triangles and three stars.  If you are able to create this with a King piece, you will be 
considered a grandmaster of the game.


Pieces are arrayed in following manner in planes on opposite sides of the field, whether this
is located up\down, left\right or front\back is at the discretion of the players.  The Pawns
are in the plane directly forward of this placement.

The following is the suggested pattern.  Opposing pieces should be located in the same column 
of cells, directly across from one another.

[lR][ N][ W][pR][pR][ W][ N][lR]
[ N][lU][ H][pU][pU][ H][lU][ N]
[ W][ H][lB][pB][pB][lB][ H][ W]
[cR][cU][cB][ K][HA][cB][cU][cR]
[ W][ H][lB][pB][pB][lB][ H][ W]
[ N][lU][ H][pU][pu][ H][lU][ N]
[lR][ N][ W][pR][pR][ W][ N][lR]


Possibly, NOT to go insane.  Just kidding.

It is to checkmate the King.  With the ability of the King to power-up, this can prove a difficult
proposition.  But with the possibility of extremely powerful pieces, this will become an inevitable
conclusion.  You may find draws and stalemates rare, far and few between.  And yes, it is possible
to check an opposing King with your King.


Allow me to apologize for the brevity of this work.  It is meant primarily for those who are familiar
with 3D Chess.  This game would be quite difficult for the beginner but should not deter any attempt
on their part.

This game incorporates several ideas from previous work.  For example, the absorption-capture was
part of a 4x4x4 Chess game which I developed years ago.  The planar and cubic moves were developed 
from ideas presented in "Exploring the Realm of Three-Dimensional Chess" by Dave Erick Watson.  The
ability for the King to transfer the 'crown' was a subject which was discussed at the Yahoo! 3D Chess 

Now before anyone screams that this game is just too difficult, well let me say that I totally agree.
This is not an easy game.  But with careful study, you may find that the rules are rather simple.  It
is just the possibilities which are extreme.