Monday 27 May 2019

Topple the King

Project Scotland is undoubtedly one of the best, most enjoyable and  productive of all my CSC ventures.

Last week we caught up with some of the activities that are flourishing in Scotland, such as the Chess in the Park project and chess at Govanhill.

I made many excellent friends, such as Colin and Julien - both of whom are mentioned in the reports linked above - and many more besides during my time in Scotland.

It was in Govanhill back in October 2018, during my tour of Scotland, that I first met Mike McCafferty, who introduced me to his original version of dice chess, called Topple the King.

Mike came to the Glasgow Training Day the next day to support my event and also to demonstrate his game, all of which was very well received.

I have used dice chess for many years, starting back in the late 1980s with the Chuck-a-Chess dice, although the concept is much older than that, of course. In fact it is definitely possible to use standard dice and to allocate each number to one of the six chess pieces; after each roll one is only able to move a piece shown by the dice.

There were different versions of Chuck-a-Chess, with three and four dice. Topple the King uses just one dice for each player.

Dice chess is always good fun and the introduction of an element of luck is a great leveller in games between  players of different strengths. Anyone can beat anyone.

I have been testing Topple the King against juniors and seniors alike and even though having just one dice each sounds like a slow game, it actually leads to great tension as a king could be under attack for some time before it is either captured or manages to escape (there is no such as thing as check in this game).

When I spoke with Mike he was planning on having the dice mass-produced but costs were prohibitive. He had also had some thoughts on the potential for a TV series, complete with audience participation, all of which sounded very interesting.

Further information is available over at the Topple the King website.

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