Golem Chess!

Since a bunch of people asked me for the rules after an offhanded comment this morning:


A chess variant written on a 10-minute break. (Traditionally played on a black-and-purple checkerboard)

Each side has one golem, one noble, and one wizard. These are determined randomly, and have special powers. Other than that, the game is played as normal chess.

Each player should do the following:

Number you pawns 1-8, your rooks, bishops, and knights 1-2.

Create a deck of cards that has 8 pawn cards, numbered 1-8. (Index cards work)
Create a second “court deck” that has two rook cards (1, 2), two bishop cards (1, 2) two knight cards (1, 2) and a queen card.

Before play, shuffle the pawn deck. Place one pawn card at random in your court deck. Do not look at which pawn it is. Remove the remainder of the pawn deck from play without anyone looking at it.

Shuffle the court deck. Then, without looking, deal two cards in the golem slot (the one on bottom upside-down), one in the noble slot, and one in the wizard slot. Remove the remainder of the court deck from play without anyone looking at it.

You may now look at the cards in each slot. Do not reveal them to your opponent.

Golem: The top card in the golem slot determines which of your pieces is a golem. A golem can only be captured by one specific opposing piece. When any other piece attempts to capture a golem, the piece fails (and shares the same square as the golem until one of the two pieces moves). The first time this happens, the player of the golem must reveal both that this piece is a golem, and which piece can actually take it (by reveals the upside down card in the golem slot). A golem must move into an enemy piece’s space to capture it – it cannot capture a piece that moved into the golem’s space on the opposing piece’s move.

Noble: A noble may move as its normal movement, or as a knight. Each round it can only move one of these two ways.
Exception: If your knight is the noble, it may take two knight moves in a single turn. If its first move captures a piece, it cannot make a second move.

Wizard: A wizard may do each of the following things once per game.

Fireball: The wizard captures one adjacent enemy piece. This cannot be used to capture the king, and the threat of this ability does not place a king in check. This counts as the wizard’s move.

Polymorph: The wizard becomes any one normal chess piece, and then moves as that piece. It captures as that piece. After moving (and capturing, if appropriate), the wizard goes back to being its normal piece. This counts as the wizard’s move.

Summon: The wizard summons a pawn into any adjacent space. This counts as the wizard’s move. The pawn can move, capture, and be captured normally (but cannot move two forward on its first move). You must have lost a pawn to use this ability.


You do not have to reveal that a piece is a golem, noble, or wizard until it does something a normal piece of the same type could not. When a pawn is promoted, it cannot choose to be a golem, noble, or wizard.




About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on August 1, 2016, in Boardgames, Business of Games, Con Season, Game Design, Gen Con and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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