The New Chess: Rooks Keep

Chess is actually based on the Might & Magic games.
Remember Battlechess? It was like chess, but… well it was chess, only the pieces duffed each other up for your amusement. The same sort of thing seems to be true of Rune Storm’s Rooks Keep, which is based in the grand old game, but “where players battle using brutal, animated pieces in a gothic, fantasy themed setting. The blood, weapons and remains of the fallen litter the arena as players fight for glory in this barbaric take on Chess.”

BARBARIC CHESS. You can see why this excites me, obviously. Any chess sequel is pretty exciting, but barbarism just seals the deal. It’s not just chess, either. The game will apparently offer a number of turn-based battle modes of which chess is simply a variant. But can they best chess wit their new-fangled pawn manipulations? We’ll find out soon. The Rune Storm team have sent over a new trailer, which is below.


  1. lunarplasma says:

    The ‘battles’ look a bit meh.

    • ShadowBlade says:

      Fear not, as the video says, “WIP” :)

    • starclaws says:

      A waste of graphics for such a simple game as chess… They hit each other then just ragdoll down. Atleast Battlechess still had a decent view of the board. This would only be worth it if it had more piece sets. Battlechess was great because the animations were funny. This looks like they just hit each other and then command_screenshake_violently and command_ragdoll. If a rook took a piece on Battlechess then it either smashed them into their helmet and they ran around or the rook literally ate the queen head first with her legs wiggling on the way down.

  2. Will Tomas says:

    I wonder what Mr Chess would make of this…?

  3. Berzee says:

    Chess was invented in 1959 by Mr. Chess. It’s quite the game.

    edit: *barbarically attacks Will Tomas*

    • Daiv says:

      You are misinformed, sir. The noble board-sport was quite the hot topic in 1879, if I recall correctly. Perhaps you are confusing Mr Chess the descendant with Mr Chess the ancestor?

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:

    this is a great idea.

  5. Hensler says:

    Battle VS Chess was supposed to released this summer, but they got sued for infringing on the original Battle Chess. Still, there are copies around – fun game. Hopefully Rooks Keep has a better fate ahead of it.

  6. Harlander says:

    Variants, you say? Including stuff like Gary Gygax’s ridiculous three-stacked-boards-and-extra-pieces one?

    link to

    • simonh says:

      Or Star Trek chess?

      I don’t understand the point of the 1-on-1 battles though, I mean the attacker always wins in chess anyway, seems like they would just be an annoyance.
      I wonder if you’ll be able to plug in any AI you want, including world champion AIs, like you can in the proper chess programs.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Bah. Not as good as viking chess (hnefatafl).

      Chess and similar board games might be a nice theme for a piece here.

    • Spacewalk says:

      There’s also Jetan.

    • Fumarole says:

      Or Four-way Chess.

      Or Knightmare Chess.

      Or Tile Chess.

      Or for the really masochistic: Four-way Knightmare Tile Chess.

    • Tatourmi says:

      There is actually quite a good one called the Yalta if I remember correctly. Three sided chess. Sort of nice.

  7. ShadowBlade says:

    Thanks for putting it up Jim!

    Still more to reveal in due course, and we’re aiming at an estimated release near the end of the year :)

  8. Miodrag Kovachevic says:

    I hope they rebalance the game. White always had an unfair advantage.

    • pakoito says:

      I recently read that’s not quite true, that some gran grand maester said that being black only maimed your viable strategies by a third but other than that it was pretty winnable.

    • simonh says:

      Statistics! So, discounting draws, white wins about 52-55% of the time.

      Another interesting thing to note is that as the game play has evolved, the draw percentage has increased. I guess it’s like if you watch two inexperienced sword fighters, they’re going to hit each other a lot, but two masters dueling will constantly parry each others attacks, and you’ll see a lot fewer hits. The Blitz chess understandably has a lower draw percentage, since the players have less time to think.

      However, it’s likely that different players have different skill levels with the colors, so some may have a higher win percentage with black than with white. Also, in chess clubs where the same players play against each other a lot, metagaming might arise, and skew the statistics for that club.

    • ShadowBlade says:

      Btw, we have options to decide who starts in RK :)

      Also, customizable boards are soon to show up…

    • disperse says:

      white is op

  9. Geger says:

    remember Quake battle chess?

  10. pakoito says:

    Had this on my designer notebook for soooooooooo long. Also, Archon evolution/remake.

  11. diamondmx says:

    The battles don’t seem as well animated and interesting as Battle Chess of old. It’s all one-hit-smoosh attacks.
    I loved it when the two pawns would duel with their spears, then the attacking pawn would jab the other one in the toe and then skewer his opponent while he hopped around on one leg.

  12. jon_hill987 says:

    Queen is overpowered, needs nerfing.

    • misterk says:

      I never liked the game since they buffed the pawns. Like they needed buffing, pawns were imba anyway! Pros only really use pawns, only noobs use their queens.

    • pakoito says:

      As a paper myself, I think that rock is quite fine. Now, the scissors may need a bit of touch by the nerfhammer.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      To be honest the main thing that made me stop playing chess was not the constant nerfs/buffs they kept giving classes but when they added unlockables and *shudders* cosmetic items and trading.

    • The Hammer says:

      I didn’t like the RPG-style progression the pawns went through when they hit the other end of the board. I’m all for devising my own strategies, but must EVERY game these days include some form of unit upgrade?


    • Cinnamon says:

      It’s impossible for them to balance chess with so many units with different abilities and so many squares. That’s why I play castle and bishop only matches on a 4 by 4 grid.

    • Jake says:

      Queens should really have to take a stupidity or wild animal test like most other big guys.

  13. Gnoupi says:

    0:30 is obviously a QFSAA, together with the ending explosion

  14. Snuffy the Evil says:

    Chess 2: The Rookening

  15. jonfitt says:

    I wonder how the animations will handle en passant? The pawn walks around the enemy pawn who dies of fright? Or some cool backhand sword swing?

  16. takfar says:

    aaaaand.. Cue the DLC microtransactions for “exclusive” figures and sets.

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    Hodge says:

    But surely people don’t play turn-based games anymore?

  18. mandrill says:

    Nothing beats the cerebral brutality of Chess Boxing.

  19. gwathdring says:


  20. Vexing Vision says:

    Is this Archon with melee fighting?

    If there’s multiplayer via the internets, I am sold.

  21. MrEvilGuy says:

    Of course, the Might and Magic series laid the framework for chess, board games, role-playing games, the entire genre known as “fantasy”. Even Tolkien stole the concept of “goblins” straight from Might and Magic 6 (though he failed to distinguish their individual power in terms of skin colour).

  22. JackShandy says:

    Urgh, battlechess. Misses the point completely.

    • Shouldbeworking says:

      I would say the point was winged rather than missed entirely. I seem to remember my 8 to 10 year old self playing quite a lot of battlechess because it was fun. As a side effect, my appreciation for chess ‘proper’ grew. That said, I don’t really play at all anymore, so maybe I am not the best advocate.

  23. Big Murray says:

    The whole point of Battlechess was that the killing was meant to be comedic. Not sure this quite gets that … are chess players the kind of people who want more bloodshed in their game?

  24. Bfox says:

    But why cant the board be larger?
    why cant there be hundreds of pieces?
    why cant it be real time?
    why cant there be upgradeable units with stats + items?
    why cant there be more than two teams at a time?


  25. Vorrin says:

    hah, this reminds me much of a mod for Quake 1 that did pretty much the same thing, and pronto, at 1:15 I see what can only be a rehashed Quake Fiend, which I think played the rook in such mod… I guess good call on their inspiration though, I loved the Fiend :)