Board games on steroids

Yesterday we had an interesting discussion with a colleague of mine.  We discussed the evolution of games, and, especially board games.  After a bit of whining and complaining, nostalgic tears, and laughter, our discussion took a more creative turn.  Together we came up with a few ideas on how to push the evolution of board games, given all that we’ve learned from other games in the last few decades.  Here are some of the ideas that we discussed.

3D Cross Zero

Firstly, the game that I’ve played plenty at high school.  The one where you have a 3×3 squares fields and two players draw crosses (one) and zeroes (the other) trying to put 3 in a row or column or diagonal and, at the same time, prevent the opponent from doing the same.

The game by itself is very simple and engaging.  Unfortunately, it has only so many combinations, and after playing it for a bit you’d know each and every one of them.  Especially those that increase your chances for success.

Now, the 3D Cross Zero game would have two important differences from the classic variant.

  1. The playing field can be endless.  No need to limit the game to 3×3.  You can have as many squares as you need, and you can play anywhere.
  2. The playing field won’t be limited to two dimensions.  That’s right!  You will be able to put three crosses or zeros up or down or on a vertical diagonal.

Chess Team Death Match

Chess is an ancient game, and it is a flexible one too.  But it’s a bit boring if you have more than 2 people who want to play.  Chess TDM comes to the rescue.  The number of teams and players per team can be adjusted as needed.  The different sets of rules can be adjusted as well.  Think Quake.  Consider, for example, a 4×4 – two teams of four players each.

Each player has a complete set of figures.  For this scenario you’ll need a board of 32×8 squares just to line figures up.  But given these armies on both sides, it will be a bit more fun if the board is slightly bigger.  Say 40×40.

Now, depending on how you want to play it, you can have either each player command his own figures, or teammates can command figures of specific class only – for example one player does pawns, the other does knights, etc.  You can limit the number of figures that each player can command, so that for example, you’ll need 2 pawn commanders.

The objective of the game can be different as well.  Still thinking Quake, you can have a free for all (each player for himself), or capture the flag, or team death match, or duel.  Oh, wait, no, you already have with the classic chess.

Chess Monopoly

Here is another chess variation – Chess Monopoly.  You play on the same chess board, but each square has properties and rent values associated with it like in the monopoly game.  The money are involved too.

This will give you an option of more strategies, ones involving pushing the opponent to more expensive squares and draining him of financials.

The money you earn can be used on resurrection of your killed figures, or purchase of additional army units or blocking parts of the board at all.  Private property sort of thing – trespasser will be shot on sight.


It took us less than 5 minutes to come up with these three ideas.  I’m sure we can do more, much more.  Too bad these won’t ever get implemented, or played and enjoyed.  Sad.

Chess bits

I’ve been fascinated by chess for as long as I can remember.  This is one of those games that brings it all together – intelligence, suspense, entertainment, magic…  Unfortunately, I wasn’t ever any good at playing chess, or even understanding most strategies.  But that didn’t stop me from enjoying a game now and then.

I have recently came across two interesting bits about chess.  One is this post on the gaping void blog with the history of chess pieces.  It explains where from the names and looks came, as well as why the pieces move the way they move.  Another one is this Battle Chess web site (in Russian).  Battle Chess is a variation of the chess game, which, as the site says “is a war, not a game”.  What they do is let each chess player arrange his pieces on his part of the board any way he wants.  The second player does the same.  The trick is that they don’t see each others positioning before the game starts.  And then they start.  Sounds exciting. And innovative.  Which I guess isn’t very easy to do with a game a few centuries old.