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The Chess Variant Pages

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

Against the Odds

The name comes from the fact that you are fighting a bunch of odd armies.


Played by four players on a 16x16 board.  Each player sets up their army normally (with the pieces all replaced by others- the regular ones are all at the FIDE meeting, and the almost normal ones are rewriting their Piecyclopedia entries today) in the middle eight rows, along the edges.

Each player picks an army and sets it up like normal.


Leapers: Pick this army if you want to avoid most of the combat.  Your pieces are too clumsy and awkward for successful attacks, and you need to use your king, queen and pawns for success.

King: Squirrel- Moves as a Dababa or Alfil or Knight.
Queen: Buffalo- Camel, Knight, or Zebra.
Bishop: Root-Fifty Leaper- (7,1) or (5,5).
Knight: Antelope- (3,4).
Rook: Flamingo- (6,1).
Pawn: Prawn- Moves forward without capturing as a Dababa or captures forward as an Alfil.

Benders: These pieces are far too often exposed.  Your pieces will have to take the offensive to avoid being on the defensive, where they are significantly weak.  Use the regular pieces and don't rely on pawns.

King: Cyclone*- Moves as a king and must continue by turning 45 or 90 degrees in either direction.
Queen: Octopus- Moves as a Griffin or an Aanca (diagonal griffin).
Bishop: Fox**- Moves as a Wazir, then a Bishop outward (or not), then a Wazir.
Knight: Rabbit- Moves as a Knight, turns 45°, then moves as a Nightrider at a angle (or not), then another Knight move at a 45° angle.
Rook: Wolf**- Moves as a Dababa or Alfil and then a Rook outward.
Pawn: Fawn*- Moves as a Wazir to the side, and then as a Ferz (to move without capturing) or a Wazir (to capture, no null moves).

Riders: You have selected, arguably, the closest analogue to the regular army.  This team will play more classically, and, perhaps, even win more classically.  Don't use your King like you know him well, as he has a strange, strange move.
King: Star*- Moves as a Knight, then makes a 90° turn and can make another knight move.
Queen: Gnu-rider- Moves as a Camel-rider or a Nightrider.
Bishop: Alibaba-rider- Moves as an Alfil-rider or Dababa-rider.
Knight: Iris*- Moves like a Rose until the fourth step, after which it continues in the last direction as a Nightrider.
Rook: Telegraph*- Moves like an Alfil, then makes a 90° turn so it is in an orthogonal line from the starting point, then moves one space back to the starting point, then repeats.  Can stop at any point.
Pawn: Grappling Hook*- Moves up to four squares as a Mini-rose that starts by moving forward.

Crooks: These pieces bear little to no resemblance to their straight counterparts.  These pieces will be best on the offensive, but, as a result, have very bad defense.  You do have the best pawn, though.
King: Crooked Wazir**- May move as a Wazir and take an optional Wazir step at a 90° angle.
Queen: C1C2B3*- Moves in Crooked Bishop moves that, every two squares, change directions crookedly.  Can also move as a Crooked Bishop or a Bishop.
Bishop: Swordsman*- Moves as a Crooked Nightrider (to (3,3)) for up to two spaces and then moves out from the second only as a Crooked Rook.
Knight: Crooked Dealer*- Moves as a Ferz, then moves like a Knight at an angle so that the longer stretch of the move goes back towards the starting space and beyond while the short proceeds away, reaching a space a Knight's move away from the start.  Then moves like a Camel back, then a Giraffe (1,4), etc.
Rook: Passionflower*- Makes a Knight move, and then can take up to two Crooked Bishop moves out, from either of which it can make another Knight move out.
Pawn: Fence*- Moves one square forward and then as a Crooked Bishop sideways, starting with a forward move.


There is no castling or en passant.  Pawns promote on the last rank.  To win, capture your opponents' kings.  If your king is captured, keep playing.  The player who captures the most kings wins!  In case of a tie, the player who captured one of their kings first wins!


Plural of note.  * means I created it.  ** means I changed an existing piece.

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: 2013-07-16. Web page last updated: 2013-07-16