Check out Chess with Different Armies, our featured variant for July, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Jörg Knappen. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

Beautiful Beasts

This team for Chess with Different Armies is based on the Roc piece from Beastmaster Chess by Glenn Overby. The Roc (Alfil-Camel compound) is an underused and underestimated piece with the nice feature that it can triangulate.


The setup consists of 8 pawns, one King, and seven pieces. In place of the Rooks there are two Knight-Dabbaba compounds named Ouroboros in this game. In place of the Knight, there are two Flying Geese, in place of the Bishop is the Roc, and in place of the Queen is the Vouivre, the compund piece of Roc and Ouroboros.


Ouroboros (ND)

The Ouroboros moves as a Knight or as a Dabbaba.

Flying Goose (fKbW)

The Flying Goose moves forward as a King and backwards as a Wazir, having four single step moves in total.

Roc (AC)

The Roc moves as an Alfil or a Camel. It is a colourbound piece.

Vouivre (DNAC)

The Vouivre combines the moves of Roc and Ouroboros.


The standard rules of Chess and Chess with Different Armies apply.


In the beginning was the Roc from Beastmaster Chess. Designing a whole team of beasts for it was quite a challenge, because the pieces got very strong soon. I recruited the Knight-Dabbaba compound because it us the dual piece to the Roc. I created the name Ouroboros for this game to match the theme of the army, none of the alternate names Templar, Doughnut, Scribe, or Carpenter denotes a kind of beast. The Queen piece is the combination of the Roc and the Ouroboros, or the combination of the Squirrel and the Camel, or the combination of the Gnu/Wildebeest and the Alibaba. I named it Vouivre after a mighty dragon from Franche Comté and Jura.

Now these pieces are already on the strong side: Two rook strength pieces, and a piece potentially one pawn stronger than a queen. So I have to choose a piece with four steps only, and I selected the Flying Goose from Taikyoku Shogi to complete the army. It has the advantage of protecting the pawns in front of it. The piece is also known as Copper General or Climbing Monkey in Shogi variants.

I checked that the Vouivre has no immediate tactical threats in the initital position. Playing the Beautiful Beasts against themselves is no problem since the pieces with Camel moves cover a lot of the fourth rank already. Against the FIDEs there is the following opening line to consider: 1.Vd1-e3 e7-e6 (forced to prevent a smothered checkmate on d5 or f5) 2. Ve3-g5 h7-h6 3. Vg5xh8 d7-d5 4. Vh8xf8 Ke8xf8. The net result of this line is a trade of the Vouivre for a Rook, a Bishop, and castling rights. This trade is unfavourable for White and therefore the line is not reasonable.

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 Jörg Knappen.

Last revised by Ben Reiniger.

Web page created: 2021-05-07. Web page last updated: 2021-06-12