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1. Go to your grandparents’ basement and dust off a chess board. Google the basic chess rules and set up the board.


2. Distribute 2 “Check Cards” to each player, face down (no peeking). Instructions on how to use check cards are on the check cards themselves.


3. Choose a mode.

  • Civilized Mode: Cards can not result in the immediate killing of a King or causing checkmate. This game could last forever.

  • Sudden Death Mode: Anything goes. The game could potentially end in the first move. You can switch modes mid game if you both decide to. It’s recommended to start with civilized mode and switch to sudden death mode if you’re getting bored or a giant meteor is getting close.


4. At the beginning of each turn, take a regular card from the top of the deck and read it out loud.  That card’s new rule usually applies only to the current turn. But some rules (such as relocation of pieces) are permanent. It’s usually obvious. After your turn, place the used card face up in a new pile where you can see which card was recently used (some cards reference the “previous card”).


5. If you are in checkMATE but have used up your check cards, pull a card from the regular deck. You might get lucky.



  • “Can” = Optional.  You could ignore the rule and take a normal turn. Or apply it to only some of the potential pieces involved.

  • “Must” = Mandatory.  You may only ignore some or all of the rule if it is irrelevant to the board, puts yourself in check, or is impossible for any other reason.


Sometimes a card’s rule is harder to interpret because it might refer to another card, or apply to pieces that are not currently on the board etc. Arguing over card interpretation is half the fun. Lawyer up and fight for whatever you think the card means in the current context. Or, if you’re cool, just interpret it in whichever way makes it a more interesting game.   If a card is deemed irrelevant (e.g. uses missing pieces, puts yourself in check, etc), unless otherwise noted, simply follow as much of the rule as you can. For example, if a card says to move all of your pawns to the left but that would put yourself in check, simply move all the pawns except for the problematic one.





• Decide on a number of normal chess turns to be taken before you start using the cards. 2-4 moves each should get you started, but this in not mandatory.  You could start using cards as early as the first move.


• If you pull a card that you feel is a wasted use of a good card (Maybe it’s too early in the game, or for any other reason), you and your opponent can mutually agree to hide it deeper in the deck and choose a new card.


• Feel free to alter the rules to your liking. It’s not about being “correct,” it’s about having a fun game. Tailor it to your needs.


• Be prepared to have more Queens on the board than a usual chess game. If your set doesn’t have extra queens, designate some salt and pepper shakers or something.. Pez? Storm Trooper action figures?


• Add your own twist. Maybe flip a coin to see if you take a card or not. Roll dice or include a trivia deck. As long as you and your stuffed tiger agree to the terms, it can be part of this game.    


• Keep these instructions readily available for legal disputes. Maybe put a lawyer on retainer.   

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