E3 2011: Check vs Mate preview – because what chess is really missing is the chance to stab something

Perfecting the ultimate board game with action-based combat

You know what chess needs more of? Stabbing. Over the years there have been many video gaming attempts at translating the centuries-old game of chess, but most have been fairly imperfect thanks to the limitations of artificial intelligence (at least, when super computers aren%26rsquo;t involved). Or maybe they just needed more violence. In Check vs Mate (formerly known as Battle vs Chess), you don%26rsquo;t simply get to remove a piece from the board when you capture it. It%26rsquo;s as if the defending rook said to the attacking knight, %26ldquo;why don%26rsquo;t you make me get off the board, punk?%26rdquo; The two pieces then meet face to face with a squad of friends in mortal combat.

The neat thing about this is that pieces can actually fend off attacking players (though a defending player can never capture an attacking one.) Which means your twitch action skills can help you out if you%26rsquo;re deficient at Chess strategy. Defending players are at a large statistical disadvantage though. After the battle is over, if both players survived, they will have a smaller squad corresponding to how many of their squad were lost in the last battle.

This approach seems like a great addition, because it entirely changes the game. It enables pawns to play an even more active role in the game since they can be %26ldquo;sacrificed%26rdquo; with the goal of simply inflicting as much damage as possible on the opponent%26rsquo;s important pieces, eventually whittling the giants down to size.

The only reservation we have about the game is its price. Though it would be a very exciting game were it to be launched on XBLA or PSN for $10-$20, we%26rsquo;re not yet sure a full-price box release is as appealing. That said, given the vast amount of content we%26rsquo;ve seen in previous previews, there may be more than enough here to justify that price after all.

Jun 17, 2011

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