“Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out til too late that he’s been playing with two queens all along.”
— Terry Pratchett
A game which retains most of the rules and elements of traditional chess while changing some aspect — board size, number of pieces or players — is known as a chess variant.
Shuuro, designed by Alessio Cavatore, is such a chess variant, a two-player game combining the well-known pieces and moves of chess with the flexibility of miniature wargaming. (It’s not surprising, somehow, to find that Cavatore was for a dozen years employed by Games Workshop UK, whose Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40 000 are the gold standard of miniature wargaming.)
In Shuuro, each piece is assigned a point value (higher for more valuable strategic pieces, minimal for pawns) and players decide before the game how many points their “armies” will be. Within that maximum value, players have the ability to decide exactly which pieces they wish to field; and since each player can choose from 46 total pieces, the permutations are endless.
The board is also larger than a standard chess board, at 12 x 12 — but players’ movement across the centre of the board is impeded by eight cubical pieces placed randomly at the start of each game. These are designed to simulate the difficulties created on a real battlefield by terrain features.
The board may be flipped over to reveal a conventional 8 x 8 chess board on the other side, and the printed rules also contain the rules of conventional chess, so this is in fact two games in one. Also available is an expansion (sold separately) that allows four players to battle in one game.
Game: Shuuro. In stock now, CAD$59.99
Expansion: Turango. In stock now, CAD$39.99