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This page is written by the game's inventor, Sean Duggan.

Duggan's Fantasy Chess

Sean C. Duggan invented the following variant, and, upon my request, he send me the rules of it. While Sean calls the game Fantasy Chess, to avoid confusion with other uses of the term Fantasy Chess, I (HB) renamed it Duggan's Fantasy Chess. Sean wrote about the game:

Ok, I named it fantasy chess and it is not very good. I am afraid that I created it for the fun of it. Anyway, here are the rules:


Pawns are Mercenaries.

Can move forward one space. Can not kill someone with this move. If in danger, another piece can attack it, it can move sideways 1 space. This will kill another piece. Note: If two mercs from opposing sides are side by side, they both have the ability to slide even if neither is in danger from another piece. If it reaches the final rank, it starts moving forwards the other direction.

Bishop and Knight are Horsemen.

The bishop is unchanged. The knight attacks by moving n spaces one direction and then n spaces in a perpendicular direction. Vertical and Horizontal only. Can not jump pieces. Originally, one could also shoot arrows, but this did not work well.

Rooks are Golems.

Can move 3 spaces any direction. If one is one space from the end rank, one may take one move to enter the last rank. Capturing pieces is done as so. If the third move takes a piece, the rook can mow down all in his path, Enemy or Friendly. If two opposing golems are touching in any way, they both explode, killing all within one space of themselves and themselves. Other than this, golems are invincible to everything but the adept's Mana Bolt (to be explained later) unless their adept has died in which case anything can kill them.

King is Adept.

Moves one space any direction. Can kill with this move. Has three spells.

  1. Mana Bolt - kills any one creature within 4 spaces in a straight line.
  2. Shield - Puts up a shield protecting one creature within 4 spaces in a straight line until next turn. Said creature can not be hurt.
  3. Teleport - Teleports the king to any unsettled square.

After any spell, the king can not use magic on the next turn.

Queen is Assassin.

Can either teleport to any unoccupied square or attack. Said attack will kill one creature within one space of the assassin. This move will not move the assassin onto the square on which its victim is.

Special rules


Mercenaries can berserk at anytime. First they must spend one turn working themselves up. No piece can move on said turn. Player with berserking merc will announce that one merc will be going berserk. He does not have to specify which one. On the following turn, the pawn gets to go on a killing rampage in one direction. He kills everything in his path until he meets a golem whose adept is alive, a shielded player, or the edge of the board. The merc dies at the end of the move. All pieces that surrounded him when he started can not move for the next 3 turns due to the massive drain of psychic energy. It does not matter whether the surrounding pieces are friend or foe.

Optional rules

If there is an adept alive, the adept can sacrifice 3 pieces to summon a golem onto an unoccupied space next to him.

Final comments

I hope that you like it. I started it after reading a DragonMirth cartoon in Dragon magazine. In there, a cavalier is saying to a barbarian on the other end of a chess table with all toppled pieces accept for one pawn, "There is no such thing as a berserker pawn!" I've been playing it with friends for some time. It's not a very good game, but maybe someone will be able to fix it up.


See also:
  1. Duggan's Fantasy Chess - Variant.

Text by Sean C. Duggan, introduction by Hans Bodlaender.
Last modified: February 16, 1996.