New! Hawaiian Vampire Chess. Improved Kings. Gothic Omega.
The best alternative chess games I've found are Gothic, Hawaiian, and Omega. So why not combine them all? Then add in new moves for the king based on vampire characteristics like holding others in thrall on adjacent squares or using batform to fly back to his crypt (teleporting) or moving with preternatural speed while mere mortals remain "stuck in the mud" and maybe then even disappearing into the mist so that he's removed from the board and has to be found in a manner similar to how people find enemy vessels when they play Battleship.
I also favor the idea of kings being able to lead a single brave charge into the heart of battle, moving as a more powerful piece; if it fails and the king is slain, the game continues due to a witchy precaution the king took beforehand: a soul-possession body swap. This means another piece took on the king's bodily risk, so whatever wounds are dealt to the monarch fall upon the safely castled stand-in (which can now be checkmated in place of the king.) If the king falls during his charge, it is the stand-in piece who gets removed from the board and the king retreats back to the cloistered safety of his castled position to await the outcome of the battle, having done all he can personally to change the tide of the battle.
That would give us kings more deserving of the name, I feel. Because usually in life a dynasty started because someone in the family was brave in battle, right? Or at least that's what we'd like to believe about our kings. So these helpless chess kings are understandable if you're talking about humans protecting their king, but if you're playing vampire chess and your king is supposed to be the most powerful vampire, suddenly you realize the king is lookin' kind of like he's cowering back there behind the pawn wall.
What brought all of this on is my intense need to make a custom chess set from the characters in the Legacy of Kain video games for Playstation. Because it would just be so cool. The armies are Vampires Vs. Dark Forces, with the "extended families" of both sides represented, so on the vampire army you'd also have some wraiths and devolved monstrous forms hailing from Nosgoth's bleak future. And on the other army you've got demons and shade sorceresses and time streamers and the other species of ancients whom vampires banished long ago from the world, the hylden.
Only problem was, I didn't have enough room in a 16 man army to include everyone I wanted to! So that's where Hawaiian Chess comes to the rescue. I feel the Hawaiian set is arranged in a much more realistic way so it looks like an actual march into war. I'm using it as the starting arrangement for the pieces.
Check out this sweet lineup of pieces:
And to sneak in an extra 2 pieces per army in a very prestigious way, we'll add the special wizard squares from Omega Chess to our 10x10 board, along with the spooky and gracefully moving pieces who occupy them:
And after the game starts, each side will be able to drop their "fool" onto the board within the first 20 moves. I'm thinking of dividing the powers described in the link below between my fool and king, giving the immobilize and teleport powers to the king but allowing the Fool free reign to immitate whichever enemy piece just moved last:
And since the Hawaiian "fortress" piece is very similar to Omega's "champion," I'll just use the one from Hawaiian. But more stuff can still fit on the top of this pizza! From Gothic chess let's include the 2 new kinds of dudes, the Archbishop and the Chancelor (bishop-knight & rook-knight). These could replace the normal knights on the Hawaiian set, or they could be additions parachuted into the game after it starts:
Both players should also be drunk.
But this new Vampire Hawaiian Gothic Omega Chess dumps lots of powerful pieces onto the expanded board, which allows all the Legacy of Kain characters to take part and move in spooky and strong ways appropriate for who they are. This would also work great for a chess set of all the greek gods Vs. titans!!!!
And it raises the bar even higher for crazy chess.