Sunday, June 25, 2006

New Download: Jedi Chess

In keeping with my latest post about empowerment, here's a little bit of empowering fun. While driving home with my kids the other day, we thought it would be a good idea to write a Jedi Chess program. Since I don't like to duplicate effort, I first Googled the web to see what others had done. What I found was horribly disappointing.

I found that a little hard to believe... here it is, 30 years since filming began on Star Wars, and there's not a single "Jedi Chess" game out there? There's no "Sith Chess" either, and the only "Star Wars Chess" was a knock-off of battle chess that played under standard rules. Obviously this has to be rectified immediately! So, after 30 years of waiting in darkness, you can finally download and play Jedi Chess! (cue the appropriate fanfare, preferably written by Johnny Williams).

Since I have Zillions of Games I didn't have to do the bulk of the programming. Instead, I provided Zillions with the rules and it grokked what I wanted and plays a really good game. Actually, I've recommended Zillions of Games before, but I can't say enough good things about it. Here are the rules:
  1. The game pits a standard chess army (the Jedi) against one Sith Lord and his Apprentice (the Sith). Of course the Sith take their places at the Dark Side of the board.
  2. You can play as either the Jedi or the Sith.
  3. The Sith Apprentice moves the same as a chess queen.
  4. The Sith Lord has the moves of a chess queen PLUS a chess knight. (This is commonly called an "Amazon" among chess variants). Needless to say, he is powerful in the ways of the Force.
  5. The Jedi win when both Sith are destroyed.
  6. The Sith win when the Jedi Grand Master (a King) is checkmated.
For fun, and as an homage to the game's inspiration, the game uses images of the characters from Star Wars: Episode II. Of course there is the Sith Master (Darth Sidious) and his Apprentice (Count Dooku). The Jedi are as follows: Yoda as the Grand Master (King); Mace Windu as the Master (Queen); Obi-Wan Kenobi as the Adept (Bishop); Ki-Adi-Mundi as the Knight (Knight); Annikin Skywalker as the Padawan (Rook); and Clone Troopers as pawns.

The game includes an "Episode IV" variant that pits Rebels against a less powerful Sith Master who combines the moves of a chess King with a Knight. The Sith Master is Emperor Palpatine and his Apprentice is Darth Vader. The Rebels are Luke Skywalker (King); Princess Leia Organa (Queen); Han Solo (Bishop); Obi-Wan Kenobi (Knight); and Chewbacca (Rook). Rounding out the Rebel side are Droids as pawns.

Overall, the game is similar to Maharajah and the Sepoys, except that there the death of the Maharajah is a foregone conclusion, assuming that the Sepoys play carefully. The addition of an Apprentice (Queen) in Jedi Chess makes the Dark Side formidible indeed.

(Shhh...Kaaah...Shhh...Kaaah...) Now, my description is complete.

Well, the description is, but this post isn't. This is one of the examples of what you can do when you aren't constricted by your software choices. You have a need, can't find an existing solution, and with a little empowerment you have a solution in an hour or so.

Jedi Chess is free to download and use. Obviously, all images are the property of LucasFilm, but I'm calling dibs on the game rules. They're mine, and I'm granting you a non-exclusive free license for non-commercial use.

Download Jedi Chess here. It requires a licensed copy of Zillions of Games, but don't bust a gut... Zillions only costs about $25, and you get... well... zillions of games (and you can also play my implementation of Qui-Vive). It's a bargain.


  1. An elegant variant, for a more... civilized age.

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