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Chesses 2 throws a classic back into the blender with eight new twists

Thought you’d seen just about all that chess had to offer? Following last year’s Chesses, experimental game developer and Chess menace Pippin Barr is back with kingly sequel Chesses 2, offering eight more variations on the time-worn strategy puzzle – a checkmate challenge that defies dimensions, predictability, and the structural integrity of your computer monitor.

As with Chesses’ grab-bag of weird and wonderful Chess remixes, Barr’s new sequel is a free browser game offering eight remixes of the thousand-year-old board game – ranging from immediate gags to fascinating new puzzle scenarios.

Fog entrusts players to look away from the screen during the other’s turn, each side’s view obscured by their own RTS-style fog of war. Musical turns the position of each piece into notes on a repeating tracker. There are modes where moving a piece changes its type or team, and even a homage to the wall drawings of minimalist New York artist Sol LeWitt.

Then there’s XR, pictured above, which simply instructs you to “orient your device screen up and place appropriately-sized Chess pieces in the standard opening position.” Very funny.

Barr is keen to note that these aren’t all original creations. People have tried giving Chess an information-gathering element through fog-of-war before with games like 1989’s Dark Chess, and he’s by far not the first to mash Chess and Checkers together – though he still reckons his variations are distinct enough to stand on their own.

But largely, Chesses 2 is a lovely bundle of quick little “what if?” Chess scenarios. For something with a little more teeth, Barr and Johnathan Lessard’s Chogue turns Chess into a proper dungeon-crawling roguelike.

Chesses 2 can be played in your browser for free. Tired of checking mates? Barr’s got a history of remixing classics, with Breaksout and Pongs each providing a whopping 36 twists on their respective base games.

That’s like, 72 games right there. Should keep you busy.

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Natalie Clayton

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