500 Years In The Making: Chess 2 Coming To PC

Horses, Tigers, Elephants, and the Jungle Queen in the 'Animals' army.

Chess is a pretty good game, I hear, but I’m not really into retro gaming. After literally centuries (not to mention countless mods and patches) someone has finally made a proper sequel, so I might give it a crack. While the original Chess only had one faction, Chess 2: The Sequel adds another five armies with different rules, along with duels and a new victory condition.

It’s still kind of retro though, not upgrading the graphics at all. The story’s pretty much that same old war tale, though now it does now include ghosts, tigers, and elephants. A bit Far Cry 3-ish, then.

Each army changes how a few pieces work or gives them new rules and names entirely, such as teleporting Queens, Knights who can capture their own pieces, Elephants that rampage when they capture pieces, and units which boost others nearby. That new win condition is intended to speed up the endgame and stop stalemates, by letting players win by getting their King across the half-way line. And the final new thing is duelling, where players having a piece captured can try to take the attacker down too through a duel of blind-bidding ‘stones,’ a limited resource.

If you want the full rundown, you can download the rules for free. They work with any old physical chess set if you have one. Chess 2 has a few fans amongst serious tabletop folk, whose word I’ll certainly trust over your average video game reviewer in this matter.

Given that Chess is 500 years old (or 900, 1,500, 1,700 years, if we go by the Early Access, alpha, or pre-alpha release), frankly I’d hope for more drastic changes in the sequel, but there you go. It’s hardly Resident Evil 4, is it?

Chess 2’s rules were designed by David Sirlin (famed for rebalancing Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, I’m told), but the video game’s made by Ludeme Games. They first released it as an Ouya timed exclusive to score some of the money the Android microconsole was tossing about, but now they’re bringing it to PC in “the very near future.”


  1. Wauffles says:

    “And the final new thing is duelling, where players having a piece captured can start a duel where players blind-bid with their limited supply of ‘stones’ to decide who wins.”

    Somehow this is the most completely bananas part of this

    • sub-program 32 says:

      The wording is inaccurate, its more of a “taking you with me” situation where the captured piece is always doomed, but the attacker can be killed too. Dueling against more powerful pieces (queen capturing pawn for example) is also balanced by a forced payment of a stone by the lesser piece-owner before any actual duel starts.

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Can I just…

  3. Anthile says:

    Pff, just another game pushing white privilege.

    • Alphus says:

      And sexism. Why is it the king which is most important?

      • Eddy9000 says:

        The queen is the more powerful though and needs to protect the king; very much a subversion of the “damsel in distress” trope.

        • Anthile says:

          You simply can’t have a chess discussion without a couple of white knights showing up.

          • Mr. Mister says:

            CLassic army: Yep.
            Empowered: Queen moves just liike the King.
            Nemesis: Queen can only kill and be killed by the enemy king.
            Reaper: Queen can teleport and kill anything anywhere, except for the enemy backrow and the enemy king.
            Animal: Insteadf of keep and bishop, Queen can move like keep and knight.

      • Cockie says:

        The king is a huge wimp, and bloody useless too.

        • P.Funk says:

          So you’re saying Chess is historically accurate.

        • Mr. Mister says:

          Not with the Warrior army. You get two kings and they’re freaking Vikings at that, with their whirlwind attack.

      • Chuckleluck says:

        Not to mention religiously insensitive. Why bishops? Why no imams? I am thoroughly offended.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      1:55 my good man:

      link to m.youtube.com

  4. LionsPhil says:

    But there’s already been a sequel to chess intended to challenge the best players of it.

  5. WrongThinker says:

    Frankly, to release something called “Chess 2” is more than just a wee bit pretentious, IMO. It’s like someone adding a few passages to the Bible, changing a few words here and there, and releasing it as Bible 2 for purposes of financial gain.

    To piggy back on hundreds of years of game design and act like you’ve made a whole new game is lazy at best, but sleazy and pretentious at worst. I suppose it’s not too dissimilar from re-releasing a fighting game with over 10 years of playtest data to back your balance changes and acting like you’ve done something brilliant… so at least the man is consistent.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      I’ve always said that “Chess 2: The Sequel” was too subtle. Should’ve gone with “Chess 2: REVENGEANCE”.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      You’re joking… right?

    • Berzee says:

      “hundreds of years of game design”

      I think you mean 55 years.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      BIBLE 2. Patent pending!

    • gwathdring says:

      If by design you mean hundreds of years of random crap spreading virally. Chess is not designed, it is evolved. And if you’ve ever heard of the Giant Panda, you are well aware the evolution is not always a beneficial process.

    • Artist says:

      Frankly, to release something called “Chess 2″ is more than just a wee bit pretentious, IMO. It’s like someone adding a few passages to the Bible, changing a few words here and there, and releasing it as Bible 2 for purposes of financial gain.

      Fortuantly THAT never happened! Hehe…! Hehehe!

    • moonwalker says:

      saying that Sirlin is pretentious is like saying that the water is wet: link to sirlin.net

      • WrongThinker says:

        Wow… he really takes it to the next level with that one. Damn that is condescending.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Chess has seen patches quite often, the reason Sirlin made Chess 2 (call it a fork if you want) was that talking to pro players (#bsports!) they were getting bored by its sameyness and tendency to stalemate with plays becoming rote and memorized to the point where formula can take over 20+ turns before the end. People stopped patching the game because it was put on a pedestal as some sort of holy relic and so the metagame stagnated.

      Special rules like castling and pawns moving two spaces on their first move are evidence of game patches, likely to speed the game up.

      • gwathdring says:

        No one is saying that making chess variants is bad. The argument is, rather, that it’s so damn common, with grand masters in particular often making up their own chess rules to fix perceived problems, that calling your personal chess variant Chess 2 makes you look like the idiot who didn’t get the memo that chess wasn’t invented by Hasbro in the past 50 years.

        If he actually talked to players, how the heck didn’t he notice that what he has done is–however much fun and however successful it might be as a variant–utterly unremarkable in the world of chess?

  6. Syra says:

    Chess has always had elephants and camels. Before castles and horses were even a thing ;)

  7. SuddenSight says:

    David Sirlon is the Kanye of the board game design world.

    • pepperfez says:

      David Sirloin is the Cayenne of the board game design world.

      • Geebs says:

        I’d thought of peppering him for that mistake, but on second thoughts I fillet might be rude and I’d rather not brisket.

  8. Scurra says:

    Hmm. I was quite rude about this somewhere else (Eurogamer, I think) when it came up last time. My opinion hasn’t changed all that much. People have been modifying Chess since forever – hell, that’s how we ended up with the game we have, after all! I think my issue was with the presumption of this designer rather than anything fundamental about Chess 2 itself.
    (I guess in the end, I’d probably rather see a PC adaptation of something like Knightmare Chess, which at least knows it is not meant to be taken entirely seriously.)

    • gwathdring says:

      That’s how I feel; Chess variants are awesome. Publishing a really cool one as a PC game? Go for it. But calling it Chess 2 is a heap of crap.

    • KDR_11k says:

      What about laser chess?

  9. waltC says:

    Chess is an extremely easy game to learn. The moves possible for each piece are very simple to memorize. It’s the strategy part that takes practice and skill. I loved BattleChess on my Amigas! Chess will still be played when “Chess 2” is a barely remembered anachronistic joke…;)

  10. Carra says:

    Chess is such a difficult game, there’s so many pieces!

  11. Chris D says:

    No game is so good it lasts eternally, perfect rules can still be improved upon. But this has never yet prevented us playing in the same way for far too long. Look at how it could be played so differently! Now you could fight a duel before your pieces fell. It took me time to understand the rules, now at least I know I know them well.

    “Wasn’t it good?”, “Wasn’t it fine”, “Isn’t it madness to change it after this time?” But we need more than just security. We need our fantasy and freedom. You know it so well.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity to be looking at the board, not looking at the city.

    • disconnect says:

      I just hope Rab doesn’t get too annoyed about someone else writing a boardgame-related item on RPS; it’ll be a real shame if Florence quits.

  12. Smashbox says:

    If all they’re rendering is a chess board … Why doesn’t it look better?

    • Sam says:

      In a better world, the early games for new consoles are all Chess instead of brum-brum cars.

      High resolution realtime global illumination over the entire board!
      Actual reflections!
      Subsurface scattering on marble!
      Realtime erosion of the felt pads under each piece!
      Each mote of dust floating over the board accurately modelled!

      • AyeBraine says:

        You forgot debris system for food and beverages. Though my personal dream is destructible terrain – long overdue if you ask me.

        • Babymech says:

          That’s just graphical bullshit, it’s got nothing to do with actual game design, or real innovative gameplay. Everybody knows that a really innovative and fresh take on chess would need to have procedurally generated game boards, pixel art custom chess piece crafting, and perma-mate.

  13. Spacewalk says:

    The Duke is the real Chess 2.

    • Hypocee says:

      Thiiiissss, what a cracking little game.

    • mseifullah says:

      I completely agree. The Duke is basically Chess 2. For those unfamiliar with The Duke, it’s a board game.

      Just Google or Youtube “The Duke board game review” to see how it compares to Chess.

    • gwathdring says:


      Let’s not forget For the Crown, though.

  14. DoktorV says:

    We’ve had Chess 2 since 2002, it’s called Arimaa, and it is better than chess in every measurable way.

    • Smashbox says:

      Except international interest and competition, I presume.

    • gwathdring says:

      Better in every measurable way? It’s a completely unrelated game. Arimaa is like an abstract strategy game version of football where you want to get your rabbits to the other side of the field by pushing, blocking, and carving lanes into your opponent’s pieces. Chess, rather, is a game of positioning and death; your goal is to trap and pin a specific piece and support your own pieces by creating capture chains to make taking them more risky. The pieces don’t move in the same ways as in chess–further, one of the main features of chess is elaborate distinction of the way pieces move whereas Arimaa eschews that in favor of differentiating pieces by their ability to push more or fewer of their opponent’s pieces. The board isn’t even the same as chess–it has an Endzone and four traps. It has no fixed starting order. Players don’t take turns moving a single piece, but rather take turns making a variable number of “steps.”7

      Chess has a rich history of variants, and Armiaa looks like an interesting game. But it has so little in common with chess, lineage aside, that I struggle to understand it as a variant let alone a sequel.

  15. leandrombraz says:

    It’s interesting how they show “indie” with the features. Today, calling a game indie really is merely a way to appeal to people that see it as a symbol of quality, they even show it like “wow, or game is good, he is indie!”. Indie really is a label with no meaning. Nice game though..

  16. rokahef says:

    He likes fish sticks too?

  17. Eery Petrol says:

    ‘Ouya: A new kind of game console.’ as the closing words on a chess trailer… the irony is killing me xD

  18. farco says:

    The only real PC games of chess that worth this denomination is HIARCS chess explorer and Shredder, I use the first one.
    The one in this article is more of a joke than something else.