Chess Gets a Poker Makeover in Chess 2: The Sequel

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5 September 2014, Created By: Arthur Crowson
Chess Gets a Poker Makeover in Chess 2: The Sequel

Game designer David Sirlin has done the unthinkable and created a sequel to the classic game of chess that introduces poker elements to the board game.

It’s not like people have been clamouring for sequel to the 1,500-year-old game but Sirlin believes he’s created a game that’s simply more fun to play.

Sirlin thinks the problem with traditional chess is that it’s basically a perfect information game. There are no random elements to the game and there isn’t any hidden information. It’s hard to attract new players if they can’t even get lucky.

Poker is the complete opposite. It’s an imperfect information game with an element of luck.

Sirlin actually got the idea for Chess 2 when he was working in the video game industry. In particular he was working on balancing issues in Street Fighter HD Remix.

He told Kotaku:

I was working on [the balance of] Street Fighter HD Remix many years ago and also going to lots of Street Fighter tournaments. I was just kinda thinking a lot about the different types of games, how chess is kind of on one end of the spectrum and poker's on the far opposite end in terms of how much leeway you have to out-guess your opponent. In chess it's super rigid and very much about memorization and patterns. In poker there's a lot of reading of what you think is going on in people's minds.

Sirlin saw elements of chess and poker in the way people played Street Fighter. He wanted to create a game that offered players the chance to use the rigid, mathematical patterns found in chess with the adaptive nature of poker.

Chess 2 has three main elements that differ from traditional chess: 

1) Bidding

This allows players to bluff each other when two pieces duel. This is basically taking a page from poker because you can trick you opponent into bidding way too much on a particular outcome.

2) Factions

There are six different factions, which drastically change the way your pieces move on the board. You can still select the standard chess army, which moves the same, but there are also ones like Empowered that allow knight, bishop and rooks to share each other’s powers when they are next to each other. Multiple sides is something that’s utilized in games like StarCraft or Hearthstone to create a rock-scissors-paper dynamic.

3) Midline Invasion

This is simple. Sirlin didn’t like how chess games can drag on after a certain point when victory or a tie is almost assured. It’s just not fun for the player behind. In Chess 2 if a king reaches the middle of the board than the game is over.

Screen Shot 2014 09 05 at 10.51.50 AM

Available Now on Steam

While chess purists will likely balk at the idea of Chess 2, Sirlin simply created the game because he wanted it to be fun. He didn’t care what hard-core chess players would think.

They’ve had great success with non-chess players and now that the games on Steam, Sirlin is hoping to see what a bigger audience thinks of the game.

You can currently purchase the game for $14.99 on Steam right now.

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