pteryx: A neutral sprite of Pteryx. (Default)
[personal profile] pteryx
So I was pointed at this and immediately took to dreaming something up. It could serve as a replacement for the knight or to make far stranger chess derivatives. Out of laziness, I'll be modifying an existing fairy chess piece's symbol into something appropriate for this rather than trying to draw something from scratch.

The archer is a fairy chess piece which involves a unique method of capture and different rules for moving and capturing. Whether moving or capturing, the relevant range for an archer is every square within a knight's move or a dababba's move. Put another way, an archer's range is all squares one square orthogonally further away from it than all the squares adjacent to it.

The archer's range.

An archer can move to any square in its range, but cannot jump. If a piece is next to it orthogonally, it cannot make the corresponding dababba move. If a piece is next to it diagonally, it cannot make either of the corresponding knight moves. Furthermore, due to its different capture rules, not only can it not move into a square occupied by a friendly piece, it cannot move into a square occupied by an enemy piece either.

An archer captures by standing in place and removing an enemy piece within its range from the board. Unlike its move, an archer's captures "jump", ignoring all adjacent pieces. Unlike normal chess pieces, it never moves in the process of making a capture.

The archer cannot move past the white pawn,
but since it doesn't move while capturing
it can still capture the black pawn.

Implications: While the archer lacks the mobility of rider pieces like the rook and queen, it's still a powerful piece with significant implications. For one thing, since it captures without moving, it's the only piece that, while pinned, can capture a piece other than the one that's pinning it.

Even though the bishop has pinned the archer,
it can still capture the black pawn
before it can finish moving in to threaten it.

The archer's ability to capture without moving also means that the standard defense against capture for non-royal pieces wherein one threatens the space occupied by an allied piece, thus setting up the capture of any piece that may capture that piece, does not apply against archer capture. As such, it has the potential to prevent exchanges and force moves in ways that normally only come up for royal pieces, which by definition aren't defensible in that manner anyway.

Archers are not invincible. Rooks, queens, bishops, and other riders pose an easy threat to archers. Furthermore, if one is not mindful of pawns, even they have the potential to pose a threat to an archer. Archers counter standard knights too well, however, to the point that using knights and archers in the same game is not recommended.

Indeed, archers could serve as an interesting alternative to knights. While they cannot jump while moving, their range is slightly improved to the point of a similar degree of mobility even if it's different in kind. While they cannot jump while moving, they do preserve the knight's ability to threaten and capture across barriers while putting a new twist on the idea.

I encourage people much more into chess than myself to run with this thought experiment, no charge, no lawsuits.


pteryx: A neutral sprite of Pteryx. (Default)

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