Chess is an ancient game that does not use Icehouse pieces. It is popular worldwide and very well-known, and the board of 64 black and white squares it is played on has come to be known as a chessboard.
Chess is played by two players with sixteen pieces each (distributed among six types) on an 8 x 8 square grid. Players alternate moving a single piece. When a piece is moved to a space occupied by an opponent's piece, the opponent's piece is captured and removed from play. In standard modern chess, the objective is to arrive at an arrangement where the opponent's king piece will be captured regardless of any move it might make or not make ("checkmate"). See full modern chess rules at Wikipedia.
The origins of chess are probably with the Indian game of chaturanga. Chess variants are sometimes called "fairy chess," and many pyramid games fall into a loose interpretation of this category.
Pyramid/Icehouse Games Similar to Chess
- Coaster Chess is a sort of Martian Chess on Martian Coasters.
- Extinction Stacked pieces are uniquely vulnerable to some pieces and immune from attacks from others. The goal is to eliminate all pieces of a particular type.
- Krump, played on a 6 x 6 grid, uses captured pieces to enhance the mobility of the capturing player's pieces.
- Litróf A six-stash chess variant. Its "power pyramid" stacks each have different abilities determined by their colors.
- Martian Chess is a variant of chess that uses Icehouse pieces. It was developed from the game Monochrome Chess, which is similar to Martian Chess but uses normal chess pieces.
- Martian Chaturanga has two players on a 5 x 5 board.
- Martian Chaturaji is a four-player variant of Martian Chaturanga on an 8 x 8 board, where the players are partnered against each other.
- Olympus Mons is derived from Martian Chess, with more piece promotion options. Its name was chosen in part as a rhyme with "amazons," which denotes a common fairy chess piece.
- Pikemen uses piece orientation instead of size to control offense/defense and movement.
- Shapeshifter Wars, played on a 5 x 5 grid, uses chess-like mechanics of movement and capture, with pieces that routinely change their abilities among three basic forms.
- Stack Chess applies a field promotion mechanism like that in Martian Chess back to standard modern chess.
- Stacktrices using transparent and opaque pieces, the powers of stacked pieces are assembled by players at the setup. These stacks are altered throughout the game by the addition of captured or purchased pieces.
- Whack Chess is a variant of modern chess that uses piece promotions like those of Stack Chess, and a transforming modular board made of Chessboard wedges.
- Zugzwang is another pyramid-based chess variant that perpetuates many traditional chess features.
Other Chess Variants Playable with Pyramids
- Rosicrucian Chess (also called Enochian Chess) is a four-handed chess variant originated by 19th-century occultists. It is customarily played with little images of Egyptian gods and goddesses as pieces, but Icehouse pieces make an efficient and attractive substitute.
- Barsoomian Jetan is the "other Martian chess," invented by Edgar Rice Burroughs for his sword-and-planet tales. It is played on a 10 x 10 grid, and can use pyramids, of course. Doubtless derived from Jetan is the quite similar game of Gorean Kaissa described by novelist John Norman.