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Not Chess remixes classic chess into a party game with zombies, teleportation and a sniper rifle queen

'Expansion' adds 90 ridiculous powers - and doesn't play anything like chess.

If you’ve ever played chess and thought “this could really do with more zombies and guns”, good news: the creators of Not Chess have apparently made the game for you.

Not Chess is, despite the name, described by Australian designers Mitch Bruce and Jed Herne as an expansion to the centuries-old strategy game classic.

The party game consists of a deck of 90 cards that are designed to be used with a standard chess set, albeit with all the pieces reclassified as being either a Queen or a Not-Queen - in other words, everything that isn’t a queen in normal chess.

A 20-second explainer for Not Chess

Players start the game with a hand of cards, taking turns by playing a card, before moving a Not-Queen one space in any direction and then their Queen. Queens move as they do in chess, eliminating any pieces they land on. The first player to take all their opponent’s pieces, wins.

The cards introduce wild abilities and powers to the proceedings, doing everything from teleporting pieces across the board and shuffling all pieces forward as ‘zombies’ to zapping a piece into the Fourth Dimension - to emerge on a later turn - or sniping pieces off the board with a rifle-wielding queen.

Not Chess can be played by up to six people in teams, with two mini-expansions to the expansion adding rules to make chess into an adult drinking game in the Booze & Butts Edition and introducing extra mini-games to be played off the board in the Extreme Sports Edition.

Not Chess is the first game from Bruce, Herne and their publisher Goodlark Games. A Kickstarter campaign will launch on October 5th, offering the expansion by itself or as part of a box set including both expansions and a full chess set, if you don’t already own one.

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Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.