The best Chesslike already exists (see Into The Breach) but there’s room in this large 8 x 8 monochrome world for at least 63 more Chess-inspired games. That is why you might consider participating in Chess Jam. It’s a month-long game jam hosted by Sophie Houlden, creator of Bang Bang Bang and many ducksnakes. For a jam spawned from a regimented game of strict logic, it has surprisingly few rules. Your game just needs to be inspired by the King’s Game in some way – it doesn’t need to resemble it. “The only real rule,” says Houlden, “is ‘Don't be hurtful or harmful’”. Chess on, friends.
You can read the full FAQ about the jam here and see what people are submitting on its Itch.io page. At time of writing there are just asset packs and basic chessy stuff, alongside a jokey game about two kings facing off on a Minesweeper board. It’s called The last pawn had been eaten but the war was not over yet . Good name, chess game.
It will be nice to see what monsters are birthed from this experiment. I like chess and its dumber interpretations, such as Really Bad Chess by Zach Gage, a reinvention where each player gets a randomised collection of pieces. Five bishops? OK. No queens? Fine. It’s infuriating and overwhelming and wonderful but sadly only available on phones. So here’s hoping some ridiculous things are created this month to fill that hole.
The jam ends on May 2nd and here are some ideas to get you started.
- Chess but all the pawns are on strike
- Chess but the Rooks are tiny castles and there's a party inside that the other pieces must attend
- Chess but the board is slowly becoming lava
- Chess but your King is King Lear and he won’t stop soliloquising
- Chess but you’ve got to Connect 4
- Chess but you're being observed by Stefan Zweig
- Chess but all the Bishops have joined forces and created their own faith militant to fight both white and black sides in a doomed uprising that will leave the whole board a sorry mess for centuries
I hope that's got the pawns and knights in your brain moving around in interesting ways, game jammers. Now go forth and chess.