The best thing about chess is the rules - finely balanced, universally understood regulations that many know but few master.
The worst thing about chess is the rules - rigid, over-familiar laws that encourage rote tactics and invariably one-side games.
Chesh is at once in love with the game of chess and determined to rip it up and start again.Bird to squiggly line's ghost 3
Each game of Chesh is recognisably chess-like. It's played on a grid-like game board, there are distinct pieces arranged in rows opposite a rival force.
You take it in turns with another player (AI or real) to move a single piece at a time. Each piece moves according to its own prescribed ruleset.
The only thing is that playing piece and its ruleset changes with every game, and you have no idea what those movement parameters will be until you've tapped on it.
Another thing - once you've tapped on a piece, you have to move it.Ripping up the rule book
Even as a casual chess player with no real love for the game, my first experience with Chesh's contrary, chaotic nature instantly grated. It was like some fundamental law was being flaunted in front of me.
After my initial few games, however, the true benefit of Chesh's approach started to seep through.
Here's a game that levels the playing field in between rounds, where learned strategies and ingrained tactical play will only get you so far.
Instead, the emphasis is placed on your ability to memorise and fully understand the implications of new rules on the fly.All the variables
As you might expect, Chesh isn't too precious about its own rules. You can tweak various aspects of the game, from the shape of the game board to the number of pieces you start with.
Online play, too, is a casual Game Center-driven affair, but it can be hard to find a game - mainly because there's no asynchronous play. This is clearly because of Chesh's snappier, more arcadey pace (one of the modes even gives you a move timer).
But it's a shame there isn't a facility for juggling multiple games at once. After all, one rule that doesn't change is that the action is turn-based.
Regardless of these drawbacks, Chesh is a bold re-imagination of chess that dares to mess with its most sacred rules.