Martian Chess

From IcehouseOrg

Jump to: navigation, search
Martian Chess
Andrew Looney
Colorless simplified chess nevertheless has subtle strategy
Min. Players: 2
Max. Players: 4
Icehouse stashes: 3/5 per player
Treehouse sets: 3/5 per player
Other equipment: chessboard or chessboard wedges
Setup time: one minutewarning.png“one minute” is no number.
Min. Playing time: 5 minutes
Max. Playing time: 30 minutes
Rules complexity: Low
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: None
Primary Mechanic: chessboard
Additional Mechanic: colorless
Theme: chess
BGG Link: Martian Chess
Can be played with 2-6 players with user designed print-and-play chessboard wedges.


Andy believes Martian Chess is the second oldest game for the pyramids, and the first created after the eponymous Icehouse. The earliest dated version of the rules are from 29 January 1995.

martian Chess plays similarly to Earthling Chess, using similar mechanics such as:

  • moving and capturing individual pieces
  • turn-based
  • played on an chessboard
  • distinct pieces have distinct movement rules

However, Martian Chess uses some different features than Chess:

  • control of pieces is determined by location rather than color
  • the victory conditions are based on captured points instead of capturing a certain piece
  • a player can force the end of the game, and still win based on points
  • is playable with more than two players

For seasoned chess players, Martian Chess has subtle paradigm shifts that offer convention-challenging lessons (though not to the same extent as Icehouse itself).

The game requires three nests per player, not necessarily of the same color.

see also

Featured in Playing with Pyramids
Gnostica · Martian Chess · RAMbots · Pikemen
Volcano · Zagami · Zendo · Martian Backgammon
IceTowers · Icehouse · Thin Ice · Homeworlds
Featured in ICE-7
Zendo · IceTowers · Volcano · Homeworlds
Martian Chess · Icehouse · Tic Tac Doh!
Featured in 3HOUSE
Black ICE
Martian Chess
Binary Homeworlds
Facts about Martian Chess
Additional Mechanic Colorless  +
BGG Link Http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/19803 Martian Chess  +
Description Colorless simplified chess nevertheless has subtle strategy
Designer Andrew Looney  +
Max. Players 4  +
Max. Playing Time 30 minutes  +
Min. Players 2  +
Min. Playing Time 5 minutes  +
Name Martian Chess  +
Other Equipment chessboard or chessboard wedges  +
Primary Mechanic Chessboard  +
Primary Theme Chess  +
Random Chance None  +
Rules Complexity Low  +
Sets 3 /5 per player  +
Setup Time warning.png“one minute” is no number.
Stashes 3 /5 per player  +
Strategy Depth High  +
Personal tools