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  • Results From Game Design Challenge: Get On Board

    [03.27.18]
    - Danny Cowan

  • Cole Hopkins, Chess Tower

    Chess Tower is a multiplayer strategy/puzzle game that has absolutely nothing to do with chess. Instead of playing a classic board game of tactics and wits, they will stack their chess pieces into highly unstable towers before trying to knock each other's creations to the ground. Chess Tower combines elements of building games, physics puzzlers, and sheer chaos to create an accessible yet repayable gaming experience.

    Chess Tower is turn based, with gameplay alternating between construction and destruction phases. In the beginning of players are given a few chess pieces with which to start their tower. Each player gets the same set of randomly chosen set of pieces to build with, and must construct a tower that reaches the game's predefined minimum height line. After this initial phase, the player with the highest tower gets the first turn. They get to throw one very small, very light chess piece at their opponent's tower in an attempt to knock it down. This piece is selected at random as well, and is used by both players just like the construction pieces. Chess Tower features full physics simulation, so a well built tower will resist the impact easily while a poorly built one may fall down.

    A tower is only considered knocked down if it falls below the minimum height line, making it possible to recover from glancing blows with skilled buildings. If the receiving player's tower is still standing, they get their own piece to throw, after which the game re-enters the construction phase. At the beginning of each turn, the minimum height line is raised and the thrown piece's mass increases slightly. As the constructions grow higher and more elaborate, keeping them standing becomes much more difficult. Victory comes to the player that keeps their tower standing while destroying that of their opponents.

    The basic gameplay of Chess Tower is pretty simple, but it can be infinitely extended with a multitude of customization options. These range from modifying gravity to tweaking height rules to introducing modifiers like explosive pieces. Rulesets for custom game types can be shared as well, making it easy to find new ways to play. If players don't like the default black and white look of their pieces, they can customize them with decals and alternate color schemes as well.

    Chess Tower is designed to be a party game, with a basis in a simple but extensible construction-destruction gameplay loop. It includes support for both local and online multiplayer, along with a sandbox singleplayer component allowing players to build to their heart's content.

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