Sub-Variations and other Game Design ideas within the quintessential game: Birds and Ninjas

Birds and Ninjas also unveils a few exciting sub-variants certain to provide chess lovers with hours of exhilarating mental combat. In addition to the main variation, there is the exciting Leaping Ninja Guards sub-variation whose possibilities are very intriguing. This Birds and leaping ninjas variation, Birds Only (with Diagonal Bombers) Variation, the "Capture the Scepter" variation and the "Insane Ninja Knight Promotion" variation, plus the two board setups make Birds and Ninja not just one chess variant, but a whole family of variants out of which one game could very well be the future of Chess!

If you have not yet seen the chess variant: Birds and Ninjas - click here

Moves of the "Extended Landing" Flying Bomber

The pre-release moveset planned for the flying bomber might interest researchers and experts. While the short range leaping/double capture is the same, the usual fly over move is slightly different. The Extended Landing Flying Bomber can land on ANY square after the enemy piece, instead of the square immediately after.

Flying Bomber Power Moveset
diag 3 (sideways rook rep. flying bomber)
Diag 3:The black Flying Bomber is threatening white’s pawn at d4.

Notice how difficult it is to defend against the Extended Landing Flying Bomber.

Black can capture the pawn by landing safely on h4. The squares e4,f4, and g4 are being defended by white.
The bishop could have blocked the bird by sliding to e4 but the black king would capture it.
If white plays e3-e4+, then black plays d5xd4.

While the more powerful version of the flying bomber was adapted inititally for both Birds and Ninjas and Flying Bombers grand chess, it was discovered that the limited version actually lead to a more balanced game. The author's opinion is that the more powerful version is quite playable, but too dificult to defend against. The current version of the bomber is much easier to defend against, since there is only one possible square it can land after capturing if not carrying out the special 2 square helicopter move.

Birds and Leaping Ninja Guards

The Ninja Guards in this variation are powered up, and have extraordinary leaping capabilities! In addition to their normal moves, they can also leap an extended knights move that is, 3 squares in an orthogonal line and 1 step perpendicular (3,1) compared to the the knight's (2,1) leap. Obviously, this is a very intriguing piece, and despite being color bound is quite powerful, and takes some getting used to.
Leaping Ninja Guard moveset In addition to its original moves, (shown in green), the leaping ninja guard can leap to the squares shown in red.

Diag shows smaller board than that used for game.

The leaping ninja guards are around the same relative value of the flying bomber, slightly less than the rook and slightly more than the bishop. There are no hard and fast rules for the piece values. On an open board, the bishop is very powerful and probably almost as powerful as the leaping ninja guard. The knights are clearly the weakest pieces, but this could very well be advantageous as they can be easily deployed in the center and pose many short range threats to more powerful pieces.

The alternate board position is ideal for this sub-variant.

This subvariation is VERY action packed and will probably play like Omega Chess on steroids!
The tactical possiblities of this game are truly extraordinary. The added power make for an exciting game, and it could very well be the surprise break away game in terms of popularity.

Play Birds and Leaping Ninjas!


The Ninja Pawn

white ninja pawn black ninja pawn The ninja pawn possesses slightly different modes of movement and capture depending on which half of the board it is on.

The ninja pawn can always move 1 square up or 1 square sideways to an empty square regardless of where it is situated on the board.

When the pawn is situated in the lower half of the board (for White, rank 0-5 and for black 11-6), it can move forward multiple vacant squares (1-3 squares) to reach the middle of the board (rank 5 for White or rank 6 for Black). This move can be done at any time regardless of how many times the pawn has moved. Thus White can on each turn move from e2-e3, e3-d3 and d3-d5.

Once it passes the middle, the ninja pawn can only move 1 square forward at a time, or move 1 square horizontally.

Like the standard pawn it can capture one square diagonally up, regardless of which half of the board it is on.
When the ninja pawn is on the top half of board (White rank 6 +, Black rank 5-) , it can also capture one square horizontally.

There is no en passant. It cannot capture another pawn or ninja pawn en passant nor can any other pawn capture it this way.

Promotion: The ninja pawn promotes on the last row (rank 10 for white, rank 1 for black), to any piece. Promotion to a piece is mandatory so it would cease to be a pawn in the last row.

The ninja pawn is not present at the start at the game and is dropped by the player into the drop zone, which are the 2nd row squares (row 9 for black, 2 for white). For example, the drop zone for white is a2-j2 and for black a9-j9.
The square must be vacant to drop the pawn. You can drop a pawn to check or to checkmate the opposing king A maximum of 4 ninja pawns (1 per turn) can be dropped by each side during a game.
After dropping a pawn, the player can optionally move the ninja pawn forward 1 or multiple squares towards the center on the same move. A capture or a side move is not permitted during the drop, so the player can just drop a pawn, or drop a pawn and move it 1-3 vacant squares towards the center.

In diagram, the black ninja pawn can go from e9-e6 or any other square in between or d9 or f9. The white pawn at f7 cannot capture it en passant

Lets say the white ninja pawn went from e3-f3 , it still has the option of shooting forward to the middle (f5) regardless of how many moves it made before. e.g. it can go e2-e3, then e3-f3 . It can now (see diagram) go f3-f5 if unobstructed.

The white ninja pawn at h9 can capture the bishop at i9 in addition to being able to go to g9 or to promote by going to h10.

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Optional Rule - Capture the Scepter

The following rule adds new depth to the familiar endgame situation: In addition to the usual way of winning by checkmate, any side can also win by moving its king to the opponent's rear side of the palace (the squares: e11,f11 for white or e0,f0 for black) without being captured i.e. if the squares are not protected by the opponent's pieces. The reason is that there is a scepter located at the rear of the palace (on any of the two protruding squares) and if retrieved by the opposing king results in an immediate loss!

So the endgame now will involve additional strategy in trying to prevent your opponent from capturing your scepter while trying to capture your opponent’ scepter.
Since the usual rules of stalemate, 3-move repetition apply, 50 move draw, the use of the opposition is key here. One side may allow the opposite side even queen a pawn as a diversionary tactic while marching the king towards the palace.

It is important heading towards the endgame, that the castled king return to the palace to protect the scepter.

This strategically rich aspect of the game adds an entire new dimension to the chess endgame and guarantees exciting play.

Insane Ninja Knight Promotion!

This rule also makes use of the protruding squares making up the palace. If the white knight or ninja guard can land on the squares f11 or e11 or the black knight or ninja guard can land on f0 or e0, that piece is promoted to the insane ninja knight! This new piece has the combined powers of the ninja guard, an orthogonal version of the ninja guard and the knight.
Insane Knight moveset Moveset 1: The ninja knight moves and captures like a knight exactly as in standard chess capturing once only on the landing square. (uncolored squares c2,e2,f3,f5,e6,c6,b5,b3).
Moveset 2: The ninja can move like a non-royal king: orthagonally (sideways, up or down) and diagonally 1 step. Moving and capturing on landing square. (yellow colored squares all controlled by black knight)
Moveset 3:
The ninja can leap two squares orthagonally (sideways, up or down) and diagonally, capturing the enemy piece on the landing square. It jumps over a friendly piece. (all blue squares are controlled by black knight)
It also eliminates any enemy piece that it jumps over. Thus it can capture two pieces in this manner.
It adds the orthogonal equivalent moveset of the ninja guard.
This sub-variation can be used in conjunction with Capture the Scepter, since both sub-variations make use of the palace's rear squares.

Birds Only

Action Packed

This sub-variation substitutes diagonal versions of the flying bombers for the ninja-guards. This would appear to some to have been the most logical piece to compliment the orthogonal flying bombers. The harmonious balance of the main variation is unrivaled, but this game has its own unique nature. For those curious and seeking to experiment, this may prove to be even more action packed because of the added power on the board.

Late breaking news: this subvariant has now been released as Raptor Chess.
Click here to view.

Diagonal Bombers moves The diagonal flying bomber on d4 can capture pawn on b6 by flying over to a7 or by flying to b6 (2 square helicopter landing)
It can capture the knight by flying over to h8.
It can capture both the pawn and rook by flying over to f2. It cannot fly beyond f2 and it must capture both since it cannot move to e3.
The diagonal flying bomber cannot capture the pawn at c3 since it is blocked by the white pawn at b2.
Note that the ninja guard could have captured on c3, but it could not have captured the knight at g7.

Diag shows smaller board than that used for game.
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Posted by: emangroove on 2012-11-14 18:08:56     Rating: Excellent
thanks, this is pretty awesome. I plan on making one of your sets for personal use. I love chess and all of its variants.