Kartenschach (Card Chess), by Reiner Knizia

Translated by Ron Hale-Evans, rwhe@ludism.org.

Foreword (p. 7)

Kartenschach extends the classic game of Chess with a set of cards. The rules of Chess apply as before, but the cards determine in various ways which pieces are moved.

The combination of demanding games of Chess with the ease of playing card games means a lot of fun. 16 different games are described with simple rules, many game variants, and helpful hints on tactics.

Some of the games are of a strategic nature, without the element of chance, like the game of Chess itself. In Feudal Chess, for example, you and your (FIXME: teammate(s)? opponent?) each have an assortment of cards in front of you, showing every type of piece. Whenever you move a piece, you will mark the corresponding card with a game chip. That type of piece is now blocked and cannot be moved any more. On the next turn, you must select another piece. Its choice will usually be limited. But at the proper time, you can sacrifice your turn and clear all cards instead. You will lose tempo but gain new game possibilities.

Most of the games are loose and entertaining and reflect the nature of the card game. In Purist Chess, you take a card from the shuffled deck, lay it down, and move the corresponding piece.

Several games bring whole new elements into the game. Liar Chess is played like Purist Chess, except that you conceal your card, then discard it, and your opponent never knows whether you're cheating. If he checks the cards and catches you, you lose your piece; otherwise, he loses his turn and you move again.

In Capitalist Chess, when a card is revealed, players bid to obtain the right to a turn and to move the corresponding piece.

Kartenschach is aimed primarily at the hobby gamer, who enjoys all new games. The diversity of the games speaks for itself, with something for every taste -- even for serious Chess players.

(FIXME: Credits, etc.)

Game Rules (p.9)

Game components

All that you need for the games is

It is important that you know the composition of the Chess Cards: there are two white and two black Kings, Queens, Rooks, Knights, and Bishops. In addition, there are four white and four black pawns. Altogether, that makes 28 cards. The additional four Joker cards come into the game only occasionally. For most games, the colours of the cards are unimportant.

Game Rules

Advance knowledge of the rules of Chess is assumed. The golden rules, however (with important exceptions) are as follows:

These rules are important, because not every attacking piece may actually move and capture. Therefore, the following rules also apply:

Purists and Liars (p.10)

We begin with this simple game principle: the cards directly control the movement of the Chess pieces. You draw a card from the shuffled deck and then move the corresponding piece. That's simple, but regrettably in this form also boring. You are at the mercy of the cards and have too little influence on the game. In the beginning you need a Pawn or a Knight card, or else you can't even move. You draw a Rook Card, but the Rook is blocked. The enemy Bishop moves in front of your King, and you're missing the cards you need to defend yourself. The luckier one wins!

So, what is to be done? The core idea is good. But you need more influence on the events of the game. And that's what this chapter is about.

Get ready to bring a little change into the game: if no movement is possible with the card you draw, you always receive a free turn, with which you may move any piece you wish. This brings us to our first game, exactly the right one for the introduction.

Game 1: Purist Chess (p.11)

The cards are shuffled and placed in a deck face-down beside the chessboard.

White starts; afterwards, players move alternately. The general rules described in the introduction apply.

The player whose turn it is first takes the topmost card from the deck and lays it face up beside it. In the course of the game, this will become a discard pile, with only the top card visible.

Now there are two cases:

For a short example: On the first turn, White draws a Knight card, therefore can move only a Knight, and opens Knight b1-c3. Black draws a Rook, opens with a free turn, and answers Pawn e7-e5.

You can always move only one piece. The colours of the cards are meaningless. If the draw deck is depleted in the course of the game, the face-up discards are shuffled and form the new draw deck.

Whoever finally captures the enemy King wins the game.

We've tried to bring you into the game as quickly as possible. There now follow a few tactical hints.

Professional Failure

The new rule, that you may move any piece you wish if the type of piece revealed is blocked, returns control over the events of the game. With this rule, you can always move. You clearly have more breathing room than if you were dependent on the cards alone. That enables reasonable strategy, and the individual games stay dynamic until the endgame.