The next step in the evolution of chess tuned for more viable options, strategic interest, and years and years of expert play.
User reviews: Mixed (56 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 19, 2014
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Recommended By Curators

"Zac Burns joins us to discuss Chess and how David Sirlin's Chess 2 is better in so many ways."
Read the full review here.

About This Game

Chess 2: The Sequel is the next step in the evolution of chess tuned for more viable options, strategic interest, and years and years of expert play.

There are six armies to choose from, each with their own abilities and unique flavor:
  • Classic: The original army from classic chess and the only army with a queen.
  • Two Kings: Two warrior kings with a powerful attack and extra move.
  • Empowered: Bishops, knights, and rooks gain each other's movement powers when adjacent.
  • Animals: A wild mix of atypical attacks that are difficult to defend against.
  • Nemesis: Focused attack on the enemy king for those who prefer checkmates.
  • Reaper: Haunted army with teleportation and immortality.

The 21 matchups and 36 opening books reward strategy and positional play from the very first move, not rote memorization.

If you cross the midline of the board with your king (midline invasion), you win. This makes for faster, more dynamic, and more aggressive games while eliminating the draw problem that plagues high-level chess.


  • Online multiplayer with competitive ranked matchmaking
  • Designed and balanced by master game designer David Sirlin
  • Six armies to choose from, midline invasion, and dueling
  • A pleasant, cohesive experience fit for the "Game of Kings"
  • Beautiful and unique 2D and 3D piece sets for every army
  • Play asynchronously in Correspondence mode with 11 days per move for Chess 2 on the go.
  • Live matches have 25 minutes Fischer time with 15 second increment.
  • Cross platform play with OUYA.

What people have been saying about Chess 2: The Sequel

"Chess 2 is more like Chess than Chess. That’s a good sequel.", "it’s actually pretty damn good" - Kotaku

"Precision-honed but gleefully inventive." - Eurogamer

"Open up a whole new realm of chess" - BigSushi

"Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever play chess again- and it used to be something I quite enjoyed. But now I can’t see any context in which I wouldn’t just rather play Chess 2." - Scanline Media

"The visual design is gorgeous and shows a loving attention to detail" - Indie Statik

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP, 7, 8
    • Processor: 1 Gigahertz
    • Memory: 300 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 9 or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 350 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
796.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 23
This is a truly great game! It has some bugs and is missing some features but the core is great and that is what really matters when it comes to games. Some more options and features would have been nice but it has all the essential pieces and you will certainly be able to enjoy the game for a long time.

It is simple enough that you can get into it fairly quickly but advanced enough so it will feel fresh for a long time and surprise you with new combos and strategies. A must try for fans of the turn based strategy genre or chess fans. If you want a strategy game without luck then this might be the game for you.

The six armies manages to make new games feel fresh and you have to adapt different strategies depending on who you are facing. The mid-line invasion rule makes the games shorter and more intense and often result in heated battles around the chess boards mid-line. The game feels very balanced, there are no best or worst army.

If you don't like chess or think you are bad at it I would still encourage you to try this game, I think it feels different enough that you might enjoy it even if you don't like normal chess. Also, if you are bad at chess you will feel right at home here, we are all starting from scratch and are trying to figure out how to play this game ;) However, I think you get better at normal chess by playing this game so this might be something for someone who want to get better at normal chess as well.

If nothing else I would recommend this game so you can learn the rules and play it with a physical chess against your friends because it is a really fun chess variation when you get the hang of the new rules. I was quite skeptical in the beginning, especially about the bidding and the new armies but it actually works and fits really nice together. So do yourself a favor and try this strategy game, the worst thing that can happen is that you don't like it :)

Rules: 9/10
UI: 6/10
Fun factor: 9/10
Options: 5/10
Graphics: 10/10
Music: 8/10
Game modes: 6/10
Army Balance: 9/10

Score: 8/10
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2014
great game perfect for anyone who wants chess with an added dimension
lacking in features but the dev is still working, and a small but growing community over at the websites forums
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9 of 15 people (60%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2014
like chess but now it's a sequel
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
224.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 16, 2014
This... is better than I was expecting. Nice chess variant, good looking game, nice classical-music soundtrack. The AI is supposedly terrible, but I don't have the rules down well enough yet to be able to tell.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 8
Broken with no working multiplayer. A good idea for a game with fun ruleset being held back by a poor ai, weak netcode, and no playerbase. Extreme disappointment with this purchase.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 11
I like it. A fresh take on chess. Dueling adds complexity.

What the game needs: A live online finder that isn't so bleak and hopeless (you NEVER find a match).
A computer that actually plays well (the computer made stupid moves 50% of the time).
The ability to pick your opponent in single player.
Conditional moves (If they do this, then I do that) AND email alerts in Coorespondance.

I have other suggestions, but they'd be mostly cosmetic (add more boards, more music, though I love the music you picked). Try to partner with and really get this online!!! Great game!
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85 of 100 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
76.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 4, 2014
Chess 2 was clearly developed with the intent of making Chess new and fresh again, and it succeeds completely at this prospect. One of the most intimidating aspects of Chess 1: The Original is just the wealth of pre-established metagame that's been developed over the many long years it's been around. With six (count em, SIX!) unique factions instead of just one, all the old material is completely thrown out the window and you have to learn Chess all over again, and that, I feel, is wonderful. No longer is it about memorizing countless openings or having a wealth of unfathomable experience. Instead, you play it like you would play a modern strategy game - thoughtfully pondering your own decisions and creatively coming up with your own solutions. The midline rule also keeps the action tense throughout and prevents the more boring, drawn-out endgames of Chess 1; it feels like the way Chess was always meant to be played.

If you have ever been intimidated about picking up Chess before, now's the time to join Chess 2. The sooner the better - joining in while the game is young will be an exciting opportunity to see it evolve, and to help shape the metagame and history of the game yourself!
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57 of 69 people (83%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2014
If you do like chess and agree to pay 25 bucks just for an upgraded chess game buy it. But only for the game... Chess 2 does not have a UI that reflects the price. Moreover it's lack of in-game chat between players, the missing rating and post-game stats and the slow-pace (The graphics seem sloppy, it makes me think twice if I'm clicking the right spot) don't help...

They new rules are indeed genius but it needs much more to get to its actual price. The game just feels incomplete. I really hope they put work on it but in the state it actually is... I do not recommend the game.
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36 of 46 people (78%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 19, 2014
This is "Chess" on steroids. It could use an options menu (I was unable to find one) so that I could adjust basics like screen resolution and audio volumes. I would have also liked the ability to choose a side and a difficulty when playing against the AI. Complaints aside, the new armies and the midline invasion rule really gives players a new way to play. A little pricey for the content it offers, in my opinion, but still fun nonetheless.
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28 of 33 people (85%) found this review helpful
23.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2014
EDIT: There are no more future updates (afaik) planned for the game, and IMO its a great game but wasn't fully fleshed out with all the basic features. The population has bottomed out, so if you're buying it for multiplayer then you may be out of luck in finding games. This isn't really the developers fault, as indie games have a hard time in capturing a big multiplayer player pool. It was an interesting take for a chess variant, and I hope more tactics games similar to it come out. I am always looking for that next pvp tactical game.

To Chess Players:

If you're more of a tactics player (short term captures and plans), you'll enjoy this game. Chess 2 (C2) is a much more fast-paced and unpredictable game than traditional Chess. C2 has 6 armies to choose from (there is the classic Chess army, but also new armies with unique units & movesets), and you can face any of them from your opponent, so games will have very diverse matchups each time. There are also 2 ways to win: Getting your king past midline and checkmate. This ensures games are faster and have less draws. But with the midline invasion rule, it is very "race-to-win"; there are less quiet moves, less subtle improving moves to a better position, less strategic play. Rather, its more just a string of tactical plays IMO.

Knowledge of Chess can help you in C2, but it will only help you so far. You can throw most chess rule-of-thumbs out the window, as there are new pieces with new rules. Controlling the center is good, but controlling the sides is also important as the king usually tries to flank to one side to invade midline instead of going into the center where he'll be mated. Castling early and often is actually a bad move. Fianchetto is waste of tempo, as bishops are on a better diagonal from their starting position. Knights are usually better in C2 because its usually semi-closed or closed positions. And because of that, rooks are usually worse pieces because the position is closed, but also because you castle less often providing less exits for your king rook. However, pawn majority in center is still important (if not even more important), and also the knight on the rim is still grim :-)

If you liked Chess because of same teams and starting off on even foot, you might dislike the 6 different teams. They are balanced, but are balanced in a bubble (as in they are balanced with respect to Classic Chess army, but some have advantage/disadvantage versus each other). It's a case of Perfect Imbalance (Two Kings army>Reaper>Nemesis>Two Kings). So you might dislike the fact that your army performs better/worse versus the enemy team, but it is is only slight advantage. But this provides opportunity for each game and opening to be very unique. Another factor in the game is the duel system (betting system). Whenever a piece is captured, you can bet against your opponent for the fate of the unit doing the capturing (that unit will also be removed if you lose the bet). This duel system was implemented for mind games, but it is only wild guessing IMO. It is like rock paper scissors, the player that picks his weapon by thinking 7 moves ahead is just as good as the player thinking only 4 moves ahead or 1 move ahead. Although there are limits to the betting system (you only gain betting stones by destroying an enemy pawn), and it is more complicated than I give it credit for, it is still for the most part an arbitrary system.

Overall, I would recommend C2 to chess players, because of its familiarity to Chess but also because it brings new life and something refreshing to it. The less you think of it as chess + new elements, but rather just a new board game with chess elements, the more you will enjoy the game for what it really is :) GL HF.
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25 of 29 people (86%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 24, 2014
The game Chess 2 is very enjoyable; the application Chess 2 is a mess. It feels like very little work was done to port this from Ouya. There are zero options: you cannot adjust resolution, quality, you can't even adjust the volume or turn off the music! The menu's don't seem to like being controlled by mice, you can only click on the deepest "slice" of a menu, even if the other menu options are on the screen.

Online play also has zero options. You search for a game and pick an army, but have no control over who you play or extra rules like the time each player gets. There is no rating system for players, no chat system, no friends system, no ability to start a game with a specific person (!), nothing. This application is missing SO MUCH that paying $20 for it makes me feel ripped off. This is not $20 of quality. This is like $4 of quality. Maybe. I'd pay $5 if I could turn off the terrible music.

In other words: don't expect much.
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18 of 22 people (82%) found this review helpful
47.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 25, 2014
I want to like this game so much. The ideas behind Chess 2 seem so good. So far Chess 2 seems like a great Chess variant.

The problem is that this particular implementation just seems unfinished. You can play Chess 2 against a horribly weak AI. You can play live in 25 minutes a side games and you can play Correspondence games. Your rating goes up if you win and down if you lose (presumably based on your opponents rating).

The game looks nice and bar a few crashes, plays smoothly. But there is so much missing that you would normally take for granted.

No rankings ! You can see your opponents rating and yours in game. Out of game you see...nothing. No win/loss ratios. No breakdown of each armies win/loss. No leaderboards!!!!

You cannot challenge a friend. You play against random opponents only.

For a game that's supposed to be all about multiplayer this is just unforgivable.

There are no options. You window resize (unless you edit the game launch properties yourself). The music is nice but you cannot turn it down. You cannot even turn it OFF !

Your games are saved for replay. There's no chess notation. You cannot view your opponents or your own previous moves.

Even the Steam Achievements are just so boring. Again, just ... barely ... there.

Mind boggling. If this was early access I'd give it some slack as the core of the game is there and it is great. But in 2014 the total lack of any features is crazy. Especially when you consider the price.

Hopefully the game can get some much needed support and thrive but we will have to wait and see.

Right now... I would not recommend this to anyone.
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
16.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 21, 2014
Below you'll find both a video and written impression
Chess 2 takes the classic game of chess and adds in a bunch of new armies and it's own flavor of new rules. Chess players should feel right at home, as chess 2 still keeps true to it's heritage. Besides a selection of armies to play as, one of the most significant rule addition is the new median line. Any king that passes it wins, essentially adding a whole new win condition to the classic game of chess. Chess being an old as the hills game, the Sequel does a pretty good job at introducing new metas and strategies to really freshen up this ageless classic.

Visually the game goes with a realistic look. At first glance it may not have the visual impact of a more stylized game, but I think fans of chess will appreciate it's more sophisticated aesthetic. The pieces are well detailed with intricate trimmings and most importantly off all, the new pieces look like they belong in chess, and describe's it's characteristics well.

Though Chess 2's core is strong and enjoyable, it's not with out it's flaws. There are serious "quality of life" issues with the game. The lack of any sort of options, visual, audio, or even a menu is very odd. Even 8bit games have an options menu so I don't understand why Chess 2 doesn't. The game also focus on it's multiplayer. Though there is online play, there is no lobby system, no way to match with your friends currently. This is a huge over sight for a game like this. The devs did mention that they have an update planned for some sort of match making, which is great to hear, but it is missing on it's release so keep that in mind.

Overall Chess 2 is a wonderful game that will have veterans giggling like school girls, delighted at the discovery of new metas. For chess fans, this is an easy recommendation, but if you are just the regular gamer, curious to chess 2, with out more features or an options menu, it's always good to do more research.

- Discovery of new metas
- Armies are interesting and unique
- Appropriate and detailed visuals
- New rules are enjoyable
- Still feels like chess, but new!

- No options
- No Lobby
- Low on features
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16 of 23 people (70%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 11, 2014
Pre-Release Review
I came into this as someone who was initially interested in playing traditional chess, but didn't find it to be very fun due to the emphasis on memorization. I think it's more fun to think more "on your toes" instead of having to invest time up-front to memorize chess openings in order to enjoy the intricacies of higher-level play (just like how some people don't like having to memorize long combos in fighting games in order to really enjoy the game at even a novice level). Chess 2 really nails this issue, as well as fixing other issues that make it much more fun to play.

It's not really feasible to have an "opening theory" due to the many different possible matchups, so you actually have to think about the strength of different moves right from the start.

The midline invasion rule really helps to keep the games from dragging on and making it easier to win without having to figure out how to checkmate or end up with a stalemate.

The "dueling" mechanic adds a fun challenge of trying to predict what your opponent will do.

Overall, the experience of playing and learning this game has been quite enjoyable, and this implementation gives you a nice way to find opponents to play against that are around your level (using an ELO system), so you don't have to worry about being thrown into match after match with people who are much more experienced than you.
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14 of 20 people (70%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 22, 2014
This is a fundamentally ingenious and fun game, but it lacks features that would more easily justify the rather high price point.

Key Missing Features (at time of writing, in order of importance to me):
Hotseat local multiplayer
The option to play matches against Steam friends
A playerbase - seriously, the peak concurrent players for this game was 22 on release day and the average for these first three days might be less than 10.
Visible usernames in multiplayer
Chat - one-on-one during matches and maybe even a social hub for people to discuss the game and organize matches

I was able to get this game on the cheap because of a Dota 2 item I had recently sold. As good as the core gameplay is, the package is definitely not worth $25. If you can get it for $10 or less then at least you can get a jolly and worthwhile time playing against the AI, but you won't be able to do much else in its current state.
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 7, 2014
Quick first impressions review: I'm not a huge fan of chess, but the rule changes in this game really spice up the gameplay and give it a new appeal. Having six different chess armies with new pieces and new abilities adds a lot of variety to the game and requires new tactics to win, especially with different army match-ups. I recommend this if you have any interest in chess and fancy a different challenge from the standard game.
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10 of 13 people (77%) found this review helpful
6.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
Complete lack of options even for basic stuff like volume
AI is very poor and seems to move completely at random, making no attempt to stop your pawn taking its queen etc......
No one else playing it online so AI is the only option.

All the more frustrating because the rules seem like they could be fun - if there was actually a chance to play!
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14 of 23 people (61%) found this review helpful
81.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 6, 2014
I was fortunate enough to be part of the beta test, so maybe some bias here!

I could talk about the game's polish all day (hint: reaaaally good polish. I'm a particular fan of the music, but wow do the 3d pieces look amazing), but the most important thing is that it's just really, really fun. Playing around with the different armies, improvising new strategies, trying out openings-- it's really refreshing to have this level of freedom compared to chess.

It's surprising, too, because usually when a game is designed to be really well-balanced (which Chess 2 is), the designer takes out most of the exciting stuff and you're stuck with a game that's really well-balanced, but not all that fun. But in Chess 2 you have an army with teleporting pieces, an army with two kings, and an army where adjacent minor pieces share eachother's powers-- nothing is broken, but there's a ton of variety and a ton of experimentation you can do.

Midline invasion is a really underrated change, too. It makes games way faster and more exciting, and it makes kings less weak as a piece!
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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 20, 2014
Although "more like Chess than Chess" is pure hyperbole, Chess 2 is still an excellent game. It retains the strategic, thoughtful core of basic Chess while breathing new life into it. The midline invasion and bidding rules encourage more aggressive play and force players to adapat and think on their feet, and the additional armies are fun without being unbalanced.

Is Chess 2 better than its predecessor? That's hard to say. But it certainly makes a compelling argument.
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9 of 15 people (60%) found this review helpful
28.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 4, 2014
As a long time follower of David Sirlin's games, Chess 2 does not disappoint.

I, myself, had the privileged of being part of the beta test group for this, and Chess 2 quickly became part of my daily routine. Being a chess enthusiast for many years, I quickly picked this game up and enjoyed it thoroughly. Its complexity is enough to keep me coming back, and its simplicity makes it easy enough for new players to learn how to play. (Yes, even for those new to chess)
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