I have always been fascinated with games--not only playing them, but often just buying them in order to read the rules and study the mechanics. I have also always loved chess, but over the years experienced a stagnation with the classic game. As players get better, they rely on "standard" openings and tend to be less aggressive, often not risking pieces with the fear of losing. 

With this in mind, and after exploring a number of chess variants, I set out to make a game that used the traditional rules of chess, but with more action and aggression. As I also love to explore with different colors, I started to wonder what role a red piece (or blue, yellow, orange, etc.) would play in a game that is still--traditionally--a battle between black and white. Thus were born the squares of color, certain squares that would allow a player to control some pieces, and instantly make them vulnerable to capture to the other person. The immediate benefit to this setup is that if a player could "control" pieces of another color, she could use them to capture another player's original pieces. Even if that meant sacrificing, say, a red queen to capture a black knight, since the red queen wasn't "yours", it was still a net gain on your behalf.

Once most of the rules were in place, I was able to construct a tournament-style board, mounted on wood and with spray painted tiles and pieces. The entire setup weighs about 40 pounds, measures 4 feet by 4 feet and rarely leaves my garage. A break came, however, on a family trip to Santa Cruz, where a local game store was selling a number of magnetic chess sets at a bargain. Thanks to inspiration from my friend, Nate Conklin, I had enough pieces to paint by hand and create a board backed on a magnetic metal sign.

With this prototype in hand, I have been able to take this on trips, show random people, and even display at some game conventions. I am currently looking for both a traditional boardgame publisher, as well as an app developer to create an electronic version of the game.

Thanks for exploring the site, and for being part of the journey.


Screen Shot 2012-06-30 at 6.00.55 PM.png

Mark Bates