A great deal of chess strategy can be carried over or extended into Chess 2. For a given principle ask yourself what the greater purpose of the principle is, and how that may apply to a new piece or concept. For example: In chess we know to “develop our rooks onto open files”. The larger principles at work here are increasing the mobility of our pieces, and controlling squares in enemy territory. Ask, what is the optimal square for a Tiger to increase mobility and controlling enemy squares? You will probably conclude that the tiger should be moved forward into the center where it can fork the enemy.
Principles that derive from controlling the center, increasing the mobility of your pieces, gaining a space or material advantage, avoiding pawn holes, developing to outposts, and many others can be carried over into Chess 2.
Do not blindly follow any opening book learned by playing chess. If either army is not classic then trying to follow a chess opening is bankrupt. Even when the rare classic vs classic matchup occurs, chess openings should not be played without considering the implications of midline invasion and dueling in the position.
Following solid opening principles such as not moving the same piece twice in the opening, developing minor pieces first, and not developing powerful pieces (such as a Queen or Jungle Queen) too early will guide you to explore new openings suitable for the armies you are playing.
Tigers and Elephants capture defended pieces without fear of re-capture. That makes them good at breaking up pawn chains, kicking pieces off of an outpost (a square defended by a pawn), or opening a closed position.
The ability of the Wild Horse to take friendly pieces may not seem like an advantage, but there are some situations where it may make sense. For example, you can take your own pawn to set up a fork. Or, take a blockaded pawn in a closed position to gain an outpost in the center.
Although slow, the Tiger’s attack is very powerful and ideally suited to assaulting the front lines of the enemy, or scattering well placed enemy pieces into disarray.
Keeping the position closed can afford extra time a slowly developing Tiger needs to maneuver into an optimal forward position.
The Jungle Queen’s ability to move as a Knight makes it well suited for maneuvering in a closed position, but also can bring the powers of a major piece behind enemy lines.
The combination of the Knight’s move for a Jungle Queen, the Elephant Rampage, Tiger’s pounce, and Wild Horses all work together to make this army good in closed positions. Start off the game with a closed pawn center, slowly move your pieces into optimal position, and then open the position when you are ready.
Elephants can be immediately developed in response to a rush to the midline by rampaging through your own pawns.
Whether a king is in check from an elephant through an enemy piece depends on whether it can guarantee a rampage - which depends on stone counts. Do not let your opponent have a stone advantage while you have elephants in play.
A Jungle Queen is about as powerful as a Queen, and therefore also should not be developed too early.
When countering Animals in the opening after a move like h1xh4 protect the h5 square before the Elephant can occupy it with a move such as e7-e5, g8-g6, or g7-g6. If the elephant occupies h5 there may be nothing that can be done to prevent an attack on h8, or even to re-capture after the attack - leading to more trouble.
When playing as Animals against Reaper Elephants have additional freedom of mobility because they cannot be captured by a piece more than two squares away. Therefore develop them early so they can defend a likely rush across the midline.
All possible forks from pawns, bishops, and knights as well as the majority of forks from queens and rooks attack squares from the same color. Therefore keep your warrior kings on opposite colored squares to avoid this devastating kind of checkmate.
Keeping your warrior kings far away from each other and away from your own pieces maximizes the effective range of whirlwind attacks.
Look for an opportunity to put your opponent in perpetual check. This is basically a win condition because you have unlimited free moves with your kings. Even if you can’t waltz across the midline it is likely you can at least take a few pieces for free.
With a possibility of two moves a warrior king can always gain the opposition against a king. This makes them great at defending against a midline invasion. Even if an opponent attempts to gain the opposition the warrior king will defend on it’s extra move, leaving the opponent behind.
When playing against two kings knowing that they defend well against the midline but there are more opportunities for checkmate, focus your efforts on checkmate.
With the help of an empowered rook or empowered knight empowered bishops can change from a light to dark square or vice versa. In situations where you would normally consider trading a bad bishop (one that is hemmed in by pawns), look first to see if you can convert it to a good bishop.
Avoid trading off your empowered pieces. Every time an empowered piece is lost all remaining empowered pieces are weakened by losing an opportunity to link up with the missing piece. Even an empowered knight for a rook is probably a bad trade when there are many other empowered pieces left on the board.
Especially avoid trading an empowered piece for the same piece that is not empowered. Eg: Trading an empowered knight for a knight is not a good exchange.
Some trading is inevitable if your opponent is set on it. Therefore try to gain an advantage quickly while your power is still overwhelming.
Empowered pieces control a lot of squares and therefore are adept at setting up checkmates and shutting down a rush across the midline.
Once the empowered knight is developed the opportunity to develop the empowered rook is lost. Consider developing your rook first, or leaving another way to develop the rook Eg: c1-a2
A good opening links many pieces and controls many squares quickly. The most obvious example is to develop all three pieces with a knights move, but there are many other combinations that even involve linking the pieces from one side to the other.
To attack forward it is more potent to have a bishop or rook in the center of a three in a row than a knight
When countering Empowered protect squares that would allow for the pieces to link up even before they do. For example, if the opponent opens with h1-g3 and you anticipate a three knight-move opening, plan to Fianchetto your bishop to c7 protecting the f3 square which is they key square to link the three pieces. If the opponent does not get this square it renders their previous two moves impotent.
Moving a ghost does count as developing a piece, because no additional squares are controlled. If in the opening a ghost is moved to block a certain enemy development, they will respond by making another development instead. This is a loss of tempo for reaper because it is better to make a non-ideal development then no development at all.
The best pieces in the classic army for delivering checkmate are the queen and rooks. Neither the reaper nor ghosts that replace those pieces can threaten an enemy king. Therefore do not aim for a checkmate when playing reaper but focus all your energy on midline invasion.
Ghosts can contribute to a midline invasion by blocking enemy control of invasion squares.
When there is threat of midline invasion the reaper can pick off pieces that control midline invasion squares. Because the enemy needs to quickly regain control of the invasion square the reaper often does not need to fear re-capture.
The reaper makes a great sacrifice to open up opportunity for a midline invasion.
Invasion squares need to be either overprotected (protected by multiple pieces) or protected by re-capture (a pieces defender would also protect the same squares when re-capturing).
When playing against reaper a defensive opening to consider might look like d2-d3, c1-e3, b1-d2 (classic in this example). In just 3 moves it protects all 4 central invasion squares with overprotection for the light squares and re-capture protection for the dark squares.
The greatest threat to a Nemesis is being trapped or enclosed by enemy pieces. Avoid the edge of the board where mobility is limited.
The job of a nemesis is to limit the movement of the enemy king. The place where it can control the most squares is in the center. Therefore develop your nemesis to the center early. Unlike a queen, a nemesis cannot be harassed by an attack.
It is possible to develop a rook early by moving a nemesis pawn out of the way.
Invading the Midline
Do not attempt to cross the midline prematurely. If the king is forced to backtrack by a solid enemy defense many moves are wasted.
Each army has varying strength in invading/defending the midline as well as setting up a checkmate. Consider both the strengths and weaknesses in these areas for your army and your opponents army to set up a long term plan.
When deciding to go left or right with your king, consider the balance of power on both sides. It is best if your king is accompanied by many developed pieces ready to break a hole in enemy defenses.
Look for opportunities to sacrifice to wrestle control of invasion squares from the enemy.
A piece defending the midline is not protected, unless the squares it controls are overprotected by other pieces, or the defending piece can also control the squares when it recaptures.
As long as you do not bluff, when you duel you give your opponent a chance to either waste stones, lose a piece, or break even. Therefore it is better to duel then to be dueled.
If you are unsure what to do with a chance to duel for free, duel and bid one stone. The only outcomes are: the opponent bids 0 and you capture a piece, the opponent bids 1 and the situation is relatively unchanged, the opponent bids 2 and wastes a stone.
Winning back a stone is an extra incentive for dueling a pawn.
Even if you can capture a piece without dueling, by successfully dueling you can trade your stones for a move somewhere else on the board. So consider dueling anyway.
In the previous situation even if you intend to move your piece to re-capture, by dueling you can deprive the opportunity for your opponent to duel you in return.
In many situations the opponent cannot afford to lose a duel, for example dueling the oppont into check (an automatic loss of the game, as the king is under threat of capture at the end of their turn). Duel. This is a good opportunity to either gain stones or win the game immediately.
- For all the reasons above, duel early and often.