Streamlined Gaming SLG Academy Chess Challenge

Ch. 02: SLG Chess Challenge

Exercising your mind is a good way to improve your game design skills.

Whether you want to make a game to publish or just to play for fun with family and friends.

So we will do just that with this chess challenge.

This is a much more simple challenge than our first where your task was to create a bluffing game.

For this chess challenge, I asked several people to:

  1. Make up a new rule to add to Chess and
  2. How do you think that rule would impact the game?

Note that none of us are chess masters and most of us just play for fun.

And this type of exercise can be applied to any game.

So use it to help you think creatively which will help you make more exciting games!

(Related – 5 attributes of a great game)

Calvin Keeney

I wanted to play this challenge as well so here is my answer.

The King cannot be moved.

How you think it would affect the game?
This would speed up the game.

I’ve never really enjoyed the endgame in Chess. And with this rule I think it would basically remove the current endgame.

I like games that reward aggressive plays and I think this rule would do just that.

Corbin Ellis

Favorite Game: Lords of Waterdeep

An actual chess mod I did when I was a kid was something I called “corner chess” where the pieces were set up in four triangular sets in the corners of the board.

I also allowed pawns to move in any straight direction and capture in any diagonal direction, instead of just always forward, but they couldn’t “upgrade” by reaching the enemy backline.

Yang Pulse

You can’t move the same piece twice in a row. Ever.

How you think it would affect the game?
A lot of chess games come down to a series of checks near the end. This would mean if you can put someone in check twice, you immediately win the game. Excepting non-King pieces from stopping the check, that is.

It also means if you set up a piece for attack or defense, you can’t use it again the following turn. You have to position much earlier in advance.

You have to be much more wary of when and how you move the queen.

Adding this rule would be complicated since there are times when you only have one piece that can legally move. How this would be handled (do you just lose?) is an interesting followup discussion.


Favorite Game: Pandemic

Pandemic the Board Game Box Image

Proposed Rule:
Pawns can no longer move.

Estimated impact:
Tricky knights for daaaayyyyssss!


When a piece is taken, the piece that does the taking assumes the role of the taken piece. Knight takes pawn? Now can only move as pawn until it takes another piece.

Would be hard to keep up with on a real board but could be possible with software.

How you think it would affect the game? (Calvin’s take)
This would make pawns really strong.

Not only do pawns get stronger when they take a better piece but stronger pieces get weaker when they take pawns.

Michael John

Favorite Game: Treasure Hunter because its simple enough for beginners or kids to enjoy, with enough depth to accommodate advanced players and strategies. Plus it has enough rng (luck) to allow for some epic moments but not too much to overweigh good decision making.

For a higher level player, it would be super interesting to just switch the king and queen position on either side.

How you think it would affect the game?
It wouldnt have much affect on the casual player but basically every professional opening would be altered.

Chris Amburn

Favorite Game: Robber Knights
My first thought (as a casual player only) is that the most boring part of the game is when two pawns bump up against each other and then stop, so maybe a rule that if there are opposing pawns in front of each other that you can use your move to move one of them one space left and one of them one space right? I think that could be interesting.

How you think it would affect the game?
Pawns would be more important and useful for area control and could be also be used for a denial strategy to block higher value targets.


Knights can NOT go over the enemy pieces. They can only go over their own pieces.

How you think it would affect the game?
Makes it a more defensive game.

Drew Keeney

Favorite Game: Treasure Hunter. I love how its easy to play, hard to master.

My rule change is that there is one pawn that is like a bomb. It can be different on the bottom of the piece or something so the opponent doesn’t know it.

When it gets taken, it explodes and takes the piece that took it as well.

How you think it would affect the game?
The rule change will add an element of surprise to the game. It will make players think twice about capturing pawns with pieces that are worth more in fear of trading “down”. I think it will create a little bit of variance that changes the outcome of games that wouldn’t normally happen.


Rook can either move regularly or move 1 space diagonally. But they still can’t attack diagonally.

How you think it would affect the game?
Adds to offense.


Favorite Game: Chess

Pawns move forward and diagonal but can still only attack diagonal.

How you think it would affect the game? (Calvin’s take)
This is another rule that would make pawns much stronger.

There are many times in a chess game where pawns block each other. This would allow pawns to “run past” other pawns and make it to the other side of the board.

And once they get there they get upgraded to a super strong piece (queen typically).


There is a “port square” (the middle white square on the outside of the board).

If you land on the port square, then you would teleport to the other side of the board to the middle white square.

No additional move once there, just a movement across the board. Both squares must be open.

How you think it would affect the game? (Calvin’s take)
This would allow more movement options for pieces. Especially rooks. Players could line up their rooks on the same row which is powerful.

Interesting information on Marty
He likes chess but also likes two variations of chess,

1. Chinese Chess and

2. A version of chess with the standard chess board and a special deck of cards. The cards are drawn randomly and give an optional move to a certain piece for that turn. This makes the game much less easier to predict because every turn a random piece will be stronger than normal.

SLG Chess Challenge Summary

Again, this isn’t an exercise to try to find the next awesome chess variant.

But instead it is intended to help game designers like you and me to think creatively.

So I’m curious to hear what rule you came up with for the chess challenge. And how do you think it would impact the game?

Let us know what you brainstormed in the comments below.


See more about game design with SLG

How I print card game prototypes at home
Kickstarter Campaign Template
Evolution of card game prototyping (Notecards and Proxies)

  1. binance
    | Reply

    Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

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