Sometimes we wonder what the term “Real Time Strategy” encompasses. Most people think of war games like Warcraft and Age of Empires, some debate that MOBAs and Tycoon games also count. But here’s one you might not have considered: RTS Chess.
Yes, it’s real! Though it’s not called that. There is a variation of the classic tabletop game that’s been around since the early 2000s, called Kung Fu Chess.
The rules are simple. Instead of taking turns, both players can operate their pieces whenever they desire. Each piece has a cooldown after being used, so you have to be strategic about where AND when you move your pieces. The other major rule change is that you don’t have to trap a King to win, but simply capturing it with any piece will work.
The game first surfaced in the early 2000s. It was developed by independent game studio Shizmoo Games for the PC. The game was a massive success, winning a number of gaming awards. Shizmoo would eventually close down their website in 2008, along with access to the original Kung Fu Chess.
Of course, someone picked up the ball up and ran. The following year, a new game had surfaced called Tempest. The game has successfully cloned the original Kung Fu Chess, even adding in new modes, such as a four-player option. Alas, this website would also close down, this time in 2014.
Don’t worry, you can still play Kung Fu Chess for yourself. Yet another website spawned, called KFChess.com, that allows people to play both regular and lightning speed modes with AI counterparts as well as online friends.
I played a couple of rounds. It definitely feels like an RTS in the way you have to manage all of your different pieces at the same time. It’s great fun, I recommend giving it a try.