A downloadable game for Windows

Buy Now$2.00 USD or more

This game was created over a few days in July of 2022 for the Portland Indie Game Squad (PIGSquad) July Summer Slow Jam. The technical theme was "stealth" and the creative theme was "critters"; I implemented the stealth prompt by allowing player pieces to color-shift and hide within their own color squares, and I implemented critters by reconsidering the word as a portmanteau of "critical hitters" and providing rank and file dice to randomly select a potential piece to deal critical attacks.

This game is a unique twist on classic chess!

It can currently only be played by precisely two players (there is no AI), and some basic knowledge of standard chess is assumed. The game also does not restrict certain player behaviors, so some responsibility is put upon the players to willfully follow the designated rules (pasted further below and available in-game).

Basic Game Concepts:

  • Plays like chess but pieces deal damage to adjacent opposing pieces in order to kill them (remove from board).
  • Most of the game will have the pieces color-shifted to the board colors, allowing pieces to hide within the board.
  • The dice, once unlocked, will allow for increased damage dealing.
  • A player wins by killing the opposing King or if that King is the only opposing piece remaining.

Because this game does not (yet) programmatically enforce all of its rules, it is highly recommended you read through them to fully understand how to play.

It's not overly complicated, it's just a bit different and nuanced.

Player Input:

  • Mouse and Left Click for all game elements.
  • Minimal keyboard input for limited functions (quit, restart, rules, etc).


Technical Notes:

  • This game was programmed at a default 1366x768 resolution and coded around the 16:9 aspect ratio. Playing on a display with a different ratio may produce undesired visual issues.
  • There is currently no audio.

Designer Notes:

  • I have not yet robustly tested the balance and game length with the current hit point values; these may change.
  • I decided to charge for this game because unlike many of my other jam games, which have mostly been either incredibly short one-off experiences or unfinished prototypes, this is a unique creation that is fully playable and will be improved upon; I felt since it requires two players, that $2 was a fair asking price.
  • By purchasing this game you are directly supporting my efforts to continue its improvement and possible release on other platforms (I really want to port this to iOS and play it on an iPad!). You may also leave feedback which might potentially help this game's development.

Game Rules:

Basic Movement Rules:

  • All pieces follow their standard chess movement rules.
  • A player may only pick up and move one of their pieces per turn.
  • A piece may not occupy the same space as another piece.
  • A player may choose to not move any pieces on their turn.
  • If a piece is picked up, that player must endeavor to make a legal move with that piece.
  • Once a piece has been picked up, placing it back on the same square is considered a legal move.
  • A move is considered completed once the piece has been released from the player's grasp.
  • Players may discuss *house rules* for how to handle potential illegal moves.

Special Movement Rules:

  • A piece may move through a *hidden* piece (i.e. those that are on a square of their same color).
  • If a player attempts to move on to a space with a *hidden* opposing piece, the acting player's piece will receive one strike and be forcibly returned to its previous space; this is considered a completed move.

Basic Combat Rules:

  • Pieces do not take (i.e. remove) opposing pieces from the board.
  • Opposing pieces interact by being adjacent to each other (i.e. any of the surrounding squares).
  • Pieces may interact with multiple adjacent opposing pieces.
  • When opposing pieces interact they each strike each other.
  • Each piece type has a total hit point value:
    • Pawns have 10 hit points.
    • Rooks, Knights, and Bishops have 15 hit points.
    • Queens and Kings have 20 hit points.
  • The base strength of a strike deducts 1 hit point.
  • When a piece has lost all hit points it is then removed from the board.

Special Combat Rules:

  • There are two dice that each begin the game locked.
  • The left locked number die corresponds to standard chess board *ranks*.
  • The right locked letter die corresponds to standard chess board *files*.
  • Whenever opposing pieces are adjacent to each other, a die may be unlocked based on the acting player's end turn selection.
  • When a die is unlocked, its displayed value will highlight that corresponding rank or file; this highlight will reveal hidden pieces.
  • A player may choose to roll each unlocked die once per turn, or opt to not roll either, at any time before making an end turn selection.
  • Ending the turn by selecting an arrow corresponding to an already unlocked die has the following effect:
    • Rank: all pieces in this highlighted rank strike for 2 hit points.
    • File: all pieces in this highlighted file strike for 2 hit points.
    • Combination: a piece on the intersection of both highlights strikes for 4 hit points.

Additional Info:

  • A player may press the turn indicator icon, located to the lower right of the board, to reveal their own hidden pieces.
  • Pressing the turn indicator again will color-shift the pieces back to hidden.
  • The turn indicator will always start a player's turn (after the very first turn of the game) with pieces hidden.
  • Hits are displayed by randomized red wounds on a piece; these provide a visual indicator of total damage and prevent a piece from visually hiding, but cannot be used to discern a hidden piece's type.
  • Taking a hit also causes a piece to bleed on their square; as a blood pool grows it will visually show a piece hidden on that square and eventually even the piece type.
  • A hidden piece visible via wounds or the blood pool is still considered hidden for movement purposes.
  • A hidden piece visible by the rank or file highlights is considered revealed (not hidden) for movement purposes.


Buy Now$2.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $2 USD. You will get access to the following files:

critical_chess_v1-1 2 MB

Development log

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