Category Archives: Chess Variants

Chess Variant: The Walking Dead


Walking Dead: Zombie Chess Variant

invented by Charles Carroll, September 2014


Pawns become Zombies

  • Pawns that die get replaced immediately. The replacements can be placed anywhere on on first 3 rows of original player’s side of board.
  • Pawns can never capture other pawns.
  • Pawns do not promote.
  • If several pawns can capture in a turn they can and must all do so. Capture sequence is from left to right.
  • Pawns move and capture as Kings. Pawn captures are mandatory.
  • Pawns can capture diagonally multiple times if the captures are contiguous, like in checkers.
  • If a diagonal capture would eliminate multiple pieces including your own pieces, the capture is mandatory.

No other changes to the game.



Testing has shown the following:

  • This will really slow down a 4 player Chess game or a 6 player Chess game.
  • Pawns are much deadlier than you can imagine in this context.

Enjoy this variant!


Charles Carroll’s 6 Player Chess Variant

6 Player or 8 Player/Octopus Chess

Designed by Charles Carroll  – May 2014

Chess-Stockings SONY DSC


You will need to order 2 (or more) of these to play:

Additional Supplies and Preparation:

  • You will need to paint the silver and gold pieces some other color
  • or order another set of 2 or more Chess pieces in a non-silver or gold color. I choose red and blue.

Ideally you need twice as many pieces in each color for when a player conquers or subjugates an opponent (see rule #4).


The Board Setup: 6 player Chess


Alternate Setup: 8 Player/Octopus Chess!

Here is an alternate setup that could support 8 player Chess just place the boards side by side:



The following rules are relevant for 8 player variant only:

  • The pieces that are backed up 4 deep next to each other in center of board cannot move backwards or capture backwards until there is an empty space there.
  • They cannot capture on that row till the major piece (non-pawn) has left that row once.


Rule #1 Pawns = Princes (4 player Chess too)

Pawns are now “Princes”

  • they can move 1 in any direction (but not backwards), or 2 forward or left or right spaces at any time.
  • They can capture diagonally forward or backwards.
  • They can make a cascading capture where they make multiple diagonal captures like Checkers.

This is designed:

  • To encourage promotion which seems to rarely happen in 4 or 6 player games
  • Allowing pawns to be able to deal with the sheer distances involved in the board
  • Have some “teeth” if a good player uses them right as they do in regular Chess.

1.a.  Pawns are subject to En Passant for the entire game.
1.b.  Promoted pawns can draw pieces from the original player’s color, or any pieces of an army they have taken over (see rule #3)


Rule #2 Knights = Assassins (4 player chess too)

Knights are now “Assassins” – they can move one Knights move forward, or two Knight moves forwards on a turn.

They can capture on first move only, not on the second move. They can capture on first move, then move away if desired. On a board this long this keep knights from being second class citizens compared to Bishops, Queens and Rooks.

2.a. Assassins are subject to En Passant for the entire game. The first square they land on as part of a 2 part move that is not a capture is vulnerable.


Rule #3 Checkmate and King Capture

As in 4 player Chess if a King is checkmated, upon the move where a player actually captures the king all the pieces in that kings army change control to that player – they become a conquered or subjugated Army. The player still only has 1 move, it is just an increase in size of army.

3.a. Ideally at that point you trade all the captured/controlled player’s pieces for the color of the player who captured the king.

I own a few extra sets for this reason. When for example a gold player checkmates and captures a White player’s pieces I trade all the white pieces for gold pieces to signify their new owner. Rule #1 becomes essential then because in the most common 4 Player Chess rules pawns can only move forward, and capture diagonally. If not playing 6 player Chess with Rule Variation #1, the pawns will remain the same color as the original player so their direction restrictions can be maintained.


Rule #4 Truces and Betrayal (4 player chess too)

Any player can ask for a 1-3 turn truce with any other player. During the truce neither can attack each other. This means for duration of truce the player need not fear attacks from player they have truce with. But once truce expires, all bets are off. There must be a minimum of 3 turns between truce.

There is a tendency for players to informally ally, this formalizes it for very short term situations without creating any need to make any alliance rules. 4 player Chess rules, the main ones discourage allying but have no way of enforcing it, since Chess is not a game of mandatory captures.

4.a. BETRAYAL The King can be killed during a truce. Check still has to be announced. This increases tension, and give other player in truce chance to protect other player’s king and reduce odds of successful betrayal. This betrayal can be done regardless of verbal promises.

APPENDIX: Compatible Variants


Card Games

Card Chess is fun.

So we have incorporated this into our 4 or 6 player Variants.


More Variants

  • Atomic Chess. Atomic Chess is very compatible with this variant.
  • Extinction Chess. Very compatible with this variant.


Enjoy! Charles Carroll