by Steve Jackson and J. Hunter Johnson
As if the game wasn't wild enough right out of the box . . . here are some different ways to play!
Players build their own decks . . . but instead of shuffling, they place their cards in the exact sequence they wish to draw them. When used with the Personal Sets variant, luck is completely removed from the game. Stacked Deck adds another level of strategy to Knightmare Chess and leads to some deadly games!
This variant was suggested by Rich Shipley of Round Table Games
You cannot get rid of a card except by using it. Exception: You may still discard a card if it requires a piece that you do not have! For instance, you could discard Split Knight if you have no Knights. When a discard is allowed, discard rules work normally. This variant moves more slowly than regular Knightmare Chess, because more turns will pass without the play of a card.
Customized Back Row
In one variation on standard chess, the Pawns are placed on the board normally. Then the players alternate placing one piece at a time on their first ranks until all pieces are placed. With Knightmare Chess, this would be done after examining the initial hands.
The Teaching Game
New players may have a lot to grasp in that initial hand. There's no need to spring it on them all at once. Instead, no cards are dealt at the beginning of the game. Each player draws one card at the end of each of his moves, until five have been drawn. Played cards are replaced immediately, as usual. Once each player has a five-card hand, the game proceeds normally.
A different mechanism would be to have each player start without cards, and draw one card each time he loses a piece, until he's reached a five-card hand.
What Was Yours Is Mine
This variation will probably require additional pieces. Instead of making a normal chess move, each player has the option of instead taking an opponent's captured piece as his own. The captured piece is then considered dead, and the moving player may place a corresponding piece of his own color on the board, in a square it could have started in. (This is reminiscent of shogi.)
Another non-random variation, with the added bonus that no information is hidden: Each player has access to a full deck of 80 cards, and starts the game with all of the cards "in his hand"! Since you probably won't want to literally hold all of the cards, just set them to the side as your arsenal (preferably sorted, so the card you need will be easy to find). This variation is best reserved for players who are very familiar with the cards and their effects.