free tracking


Game Development Resources

Moths and moth trapping

Terry Greer





Over the last year I've taken the plunge, set up Cliffhanger Games and become an indie developer. It's along time since I was able to work on a project of my own choosing, and the temptation is always to be too ambitious, so, for my first project I thought I'd keep it relatively simple.


I've long wanted to create my own variant of chess, not because I'm a particular chess fanatic, but because of its place in game history and the fact that it is already well known. So I started on Pawned!.


Chess has always been considered an abstract war game. Pawned! takes this further by creating a points/turn-based strategy game using the basic rules of chess. There's a couple of minor changes surrounding the movement of the pawn (which now has a facing) and how pieces get promoted, but otherwise movement rules are identical.


Player Armies

The main difference is that games are based on 'armies' which (apart from the king) are purchased using a standard chess points system.


    Pawns - 1 point

    Knight / Bishop - 3 points

    Rook - 5 points

    Queen - 9 points


Players can use their points to buy whichever pieces they want, and can even set up their starting positions as they like (within limits). This means that there is a truly astronomical number of possible starting configurations.



Movement uses the same points system - so it costs more to move the different piece types, and the player can move multiple pieces (up to the movement point limit for the game) each turn (but any single piece can only move once).


Because chess is popular worldwide and the rules are already familiar to many age groups it means that players already know how to play. Additionally the non-violent symbolic ‘combat’ of chess pieces on a board, plus the strategic nature of the gameplay, makes for an experience that can appeal to any demographic worldwide capable of understanding the original game.


The Game

The aim of the game is still the same as in standard chess, to get your opponent’s king into checkmate. In Pawned!, however, game boards can vary in size and shape, contain obstacles and be at different heights.


There will be a range of board and piece styles to choose from as well, including at least one unique chess set (such as this based loosely on the Isle of Lewis set created by my friend Wayne Peters).


Pawned! is currently being working on in Unity and I plan to release it initially on the PC and Mac, followed shortly afterwards by a version for Android and iOS tablets.


Note that images here are mockups and I'll be updating them with real ingame screengrabs soon.


I've plans for both ongoing development of the game and several other interesting projects, but they'll have to wait for a while.


There's more detail on Pawned on the Cliffhanger Games website.


Pawned! has been backed by Creative England - who provided a grant to help get this project underway, and I couldn't have done it without them.


Pawned is a product of the GamesLab South West programme.

Creative England GamesLab South West is a programme of investment and support, designed to aid and sustain the growth of the region’s burgeoning games’ industry through the development of innovative games and IP. Working with emerging and established companies, Creative England GamesLab South West aims to create the conditions necessary for the most innovative and commercially astute games companies from around the region to flourish. Working with employers, students and individuals, Creative England GamesLab South West also delivers initiatives to create jobs and ensure the retention of established and emerging talent within the region to sustain

the growth it aims to deliver during its two-year lifespan. Creative England GamesLab South West is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and led by Creative England.