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Military Chess

A good source of much information on new and old boardgames is the website BoardgameGeek. On this website, I saw a commercial chess variant called Military Chess.

The chess variant has pieces inspired by military forces.

The information on boardgamegeek included that the game was marketed in 1880 by a company called A. N. Myers & Co from London, and invented by E. Joseph Cossman. However, you can read in the comments on this webpage, that the origin of the game in the 19th century is very unlikely, as at that time jeeps and bazooka's were not yet known. Possibly, there may be a confusion between two different games with the same name? If someone has more information or owns a set, please help us with providing more information!


The precise rules are unclear: anybody who owns a set, please add clarifications, e.g., with the comment system here! Thanks. From the sparse information available, one can however make a reasonable guess at most of the rules.

The game is played on a checkered eight by eight board. In the middle, there is a river with four bridges where the river can be crossed; these bridges are between squares a4 and a5, c4 and c5, f4 and f5, and h4 and h5. Each side has two minefields; the minefields are between squares d2 and e2; d4 and e4; d5 and e5; and d7 and e7.


Players have twelve pieces:

These moves are limited by the bridges and the mines. It seems reasonable to assume that one must cross the river by a bridge, and one cannot cross the minefields.

I assume that each piece takes as it moves, except for cannons, who also can take pieces by firing: probably, a cannon does not move when firing, but instead removes the attacked piece.

From a picture at the Boardgamegeek website, one can guess the following on the opening setup:

Assumed opening setup

One wins by taking (or mating?) the general of the opponent, or by moving ones own general to the opposite side of the board.


Do you know more? Do you own a set? Please comment! If you own a set, I would be happy if you send one or more photo's of your set.

Another setup might also be possible: place the king between the two "queen-like" pieces, i.e., between the bazooka-man and the jeep. I.e., use the following setup.

Different setup

Written by: Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: February 12, 2012. Last modified: February 23, 2012.