Chesimal: a "chess animal".
An introduction to self-contained Autonomous Multi-unit Pieces [AMPs] on a 12x16 board, with 32 pieces per side. This game is playable with 2 chess sets appropriately marked.
Each AMP, or chesimal, is a unique color. The game has 8 chesimals total.
The sides are White vs Black, with the White side being the yellow, white, grey and orange chesimals; and Black being green, blue, red and purple.
Victory is by capturing both enemy royal Chiefs, or brain units. The royal chiefs are white and grey for the White side, and blue and red for the Black side.
A turn consists of each side moving one AMP/chesimal, with the white side moving first each turn.
This playable preset shows the setup, pieces and colors used:
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.
The royal guard unit. It moves as a standard western knight, one square orthogonally and then one square diagonally outwards; it leaps exactly 2 squares, landing on a square of different color than it started on.
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 guard steps 1 square in any direction, exactly like the king in chess.
PIECES Level 2:
Each chesimal has one leader [or brain] unit, the Chief, 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 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.
- 9-unit ortho AMP - 1Ch, 4DW, 4G; or 1Q, 4R, 4P for over the board with 2 FIDE piece sets
- 9-unit dia AMP - 1Ch, 4AF, 4G; or 1Q, 4 B, 4P
- 7-unit royal AMP - 1K, 2N, 4G; or 1K, 2N, 4P
There are 4 pieces per side:
- one 9-unit ortho AMP
- one 9-unit dia AMP
- two 7-unit royal AMPs
A turn consists of each side moving one AMP, with white moving first each turn.
- The "White" side is yellow, white, grey and orange.
- The "Black" side is green, blue, red and purple.
At least one unit of a chesimal must move.
Each and every individual unit of one chesimal may move, in any order the owning player desires.
Any individual unit must be connected to the leader unit by an unbroken chain of same-color units at the instant it starts its move. If the unit is not connected to the same-color leader/brain unit at the start of its move [on its original square], it may not move.
Each unit, including the brain, may only move once per turn. It may not "save" part of its move for later in the turn. No unit may move during the movement of another unit.
No moving unit may move through a square occupied by another unit, even if that piece just moved into the square or will move out later in the turn. Every unit moves as if it is the only piece moving in the turn.
A unit may move directly away from and out of contact with all other same-colored pieces.
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.
When an amp's leader is captured, the remaining pieces in the amp are leaderless, although still colored. They just cannot move, but may be captured.
The object of the game is to capture both of your opponent's royal chief units - the white and grey ones for the White side, and the red and blue ones for Black, not the entire multi-unit royal AMPs - before losing both of your own.
There is no castling, pawn doublestep, or promotion in this game.
Playtesting by Carlos Cetina and Joe Joyce
This is a step closer to amoeba-like chesimals. It's closer than Chesimal Fusion I because the individual AMPs are able to stay individual, being easily able to identify self and non-self, even if two or more units become intertwined.
The difference is most easily explained by slightly changing the definition of "friendly unit" in the basic chesimal movement rules.
In the unrestricted version, Chesimal Fusion, a friendly unit is any chesspiece of the same side. All the starting chesimals are the same color, so their individual units are indistinguishable.
In the restricted version, Chesimals, for friendly unit activation and movement purposes, a friendly unit is defined as only a unit of the specific color, not merely any unit on the same side.
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 multistep process, if it's an enemy unit. In one method, 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… [Note: I am going to slip and say "piece" where I mean "unit", if I haven't already. Guess I should just establish the convention of calling the multi-unit pieces amps or chesimals, and never "pieces", which could then be freely used for the individual units. Less confusion all around; I'll work on it] …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…]
This version then could also allow a friendly leader to activate an adjacent friendly, different-color piece, one 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, by changing a friendly color directly to the brain's color. [This may be something a non-moving leader can do, given proximity and turns proximate without moving.]
A simpler and possibly more interesting way to convert individual units would be to allow leader/brain units that capture a piece to change its color to the brain's own, and place it on the last square the leader unit moved from to capture [land on] the "absorbed" unit.
The following section was removed from the rules because it restricts the flow of the piece too much:
"The royal leaders have different powers than the non-royal leaders, which are orange and green, and yellow and purple.
Royal leaders may order some guard units to move diagonally and others to move orthogonally in the same turn. Non-royal leaders may not.
Non-royal leaders may order their guard units to move orthogonally on one turn and diagonally on the next, but all their guard units must move either as only wazirs or as only ferzs in the same turn.
A non-royal "Ortho" leader cannot move its warmachine units when the guards move diagonally.
A non-royal "Dia" leader cannot move its elephant units when the guards move orthogonally."
Opinion: These pieces need to be ramped up a bit soon. Possible piece set:
Ortho: 1 bent sliding general, 4 linear heroes, 4 linear sliding generals
Dia: 1 bent sliding general, 4 linear shamans, 4 linear sliding generals
Royal: 1 bent sliding general, 4 knights, 4 linear sliding generals
This option is currently [10/7/08] being playtested by Graeme Neatham and Joe Joyce.