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Chesimal Fusion I

What is a chesspiece? Every variant changes some aspect of chess. This variant extends the definition of "chesspiece", quite literally.


Click on picture for preset.


AMPs, Leaders, and Activation

An AMP is an Autonomous Multi-unit Piece, which is a fancy way of saying a group of chesspieces that are tied together for movement and have their own personal "king". An AMP is killed only when its leadership has been captured.

Leaders are kings and/or other specially-designated units that have the power of activation.

Activation is what allows a chesspiece to move. Any piece, to move, must be "activated" by a leader. A leader activates a piece just before it moves by declaring: "this piece is going to move now". Activation is limited by distance and other conditions, so it is not automatic.

PIECES Level 1:


All leaders may move 2 squares, sliding 1 square in any direction, and then, if desired, sliding one more square, again in any direction, except back to the first square. Like all other units, leaders must be activated to move.

The king is the only leader who can activate knights.
Kings can activate all piece types in a turn, activating any 6 other pieces [incl. the other leaders] and also itself as an optional 7th piece. The king can activate pawns to move as both wazirs and ferzes, and can activate both orthogonally and diagonally moving units, all in the same turn.

Princes may only activate certain units in a turn, but may activate up to 9 allowed units.
Princes may never activate knights, although they may trace a chain of units through knights to activate other pieces. A prince must choose to be "Ortho" or "Dia" and announce it [or demonstrate it by movement] at the beginning of each turn. This is a free choice.
An ortho prince activates leaders, warmachines, and pawns. The pawns must move as wazirs for this turn, only. Next turn, each may move as either wazir or ferz.
A dia prince activates leaders, elephants, and pawns. The pawns must move as ferzes for this turn, only. Next turn, each may move as either wazir or ferz.


The kings guard unit. It moves as a standard FIDE knight.

The warmachine is an exclusive [see DHowe's Taxonomy] combination of dabbabah and wazir. It may step 1 square orthogonally, or leap 2 squares orthogonally.

The elephant is an exclusive combination of alfil and ferz. It steps one, or leaps two, squares diagonally.

The pawn is not really a pawn. The pawn icon is used, but all pawns are promoted whenever they actually move. When it is activated, the pawn promotes to, moves, and captures as a wazir, or a ferz, or a guard, depending on the specific leader who activates it at this time. The "pawn" is the resting state. There is not yet an appropriate piece icon for what the pawn "really" is.

PIECES Level 2:


Each chesimal has one leader or brain unit or whatever you choose to call it, that activates the individual units that make up the chesimal. Any individual unit, to be able to be activated and then move, must be touching, that is, directly adjacent to [in one of the 8 surrounding squares], either a leader unit, a unit that is touching a leader unit, or touching a piece touching… in other words, the leader must be able to trace an unbroken line of friendly units to the unit being activated and moving, at the time of that activation and move. The piece may move into isolation as a result of its activation and move, but must be connected to the leader to actually activate and move.

If 2 or more friendly chesimals are touching, a leader may activate any contiguous chesspieces, regardless of whether those pieces were part of another chesimal, subject to specific exceptions detailed in the rules. This is where the fusion part of the game comes in. See the notes for an explanation.

The game starts with 3 different kinds of chesimals on the board. As I have no idea of what to actually call them, I've fallen back on descriptive names.

Ortho AMP

This is a 9-unit chesimal consisting of one leader, 4 modern warmachines, and 4 pawns.
[1S, 4DW, 4W; or 1Q, 4R, 4P for over the board with 2 FIDE piece sets]


This is a 9-unit chesimal consisting of one leader, 4 modern elephants, and 4 pawns.
[1S, 4AF, 4F; or 1Q, 4 B, 4P]

Royal AMP

This is a 7-unit chesimal consisting of one leader, 2 knights, and 4 pawns.
[1K, 2N, 4G; or 1K, 2N, 4P]


There are 4 pieces per side: Victory: the object of the game is to capture both of your opponent's kings - the individual king chesspieces, not the 7-unit royal AMP - before losing both of your own.

A turn consists of each side moving one AMP, with white moving first each turn.

Capture is by replacement.
The capturing unit must stop in the captured unit's square.
Captures are made by individual units, not AMPs.
The AMP may continue activating and moving other of its units after one or more of its units has made a capture. The royal "pieces" may thus capture up to 7 enemy units in a turn, and the ortho and dia 9 each.

There is no castling, pawn doublestep, or promotion in this game.

In this game, any friendly unit may be activated by any friendly leader as long as the 2 chesspieces are part of a contiguous line of friendly pieces.

Alternate setup - here is an alternate setup:


A 12x16 board can be made from 3 chessboards, if one is cut in half. A nice number of pieces is 32 per side, or 2 chess sets. This game can be played using 2 standard sets of chess pieces and 3 standard 8x8 boards, suitably rearranged. The preset shows kings, knights, and pawns, and also warmachines, elephants, and sliding generals. For an over the board game, these last 3 piece types can be replaced by rooks, bishops, and queens, respectively.

I originally pushed pieces around on a board, and quickly realized I had no way of telling just which pawns belonged to which AMP. So I gave up trying, and re-worked the rules to allow some different effects. That's why the preset shows pawns instead of ferzes, wazirs, and guards.

There are actually 2 ways to play this game. One way allows free swapping of units among leaders. The other doesn't. It marks the units of each "piece", each amp; restricts movement compared to the first version, and requires a cost to move units between leaders.

The difference is most easily explained by slightly changing the definition of "friendly unit" in the basic chesimal movement rules. In the unrestricted version, a friendly unit is any chesspiece of the same color.
In the restricted version, for friendly unit activation and movement purposes [not capture], a friendly unit is defined as only a unit of the specific AMP, not merely any unit of the same color.

One optional rule would be to allow a leader to change the color of a unit it was directly adjacent to by "activating" it. This could be a 2 step process, if it's an enemy unit. In this, the first activation turns the enemy unit neutral, and a second activation is required to turn the neutral piece to the friendly color. So a third activation would be required for the newly-friendly unit to move. This would be a 3 turn sequence, as no individual piece can be activated more than once in a turn. And I'm not ready to mess with this rule yet. [Later, when things are more settled…]
The restricted version could allow a friendly leader to activate an adjacent same-color piece not in the same amp and recruit it, or make it a part of its own amp on the following turn, ie: activate and move it. When an amp's leader is captured, the remaining pieces in the amp are leaderless, although still colored. In the restricted version, these pieces can never move again unles they are recruited into another AMP.

Finally, chesimals are AMPs that are meant to mimic some aspects of one-celled organisms; the name is a contraction of "chess-animals". Should anyone be interested, there is more information on AMPs and Chesimals at the CVwiki.

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 Joe Joyce.
Web page created: 2007-05-24. Web page last updated: 2007-05-24