Chess meets Rogue in, er, Chogue.
Ienjoy a good portmanteau, but even I was taken aback by the unrepentant horror of the compound word title ‘ Chogue’. It sounds like something a cat has barfed onto the floor, but I can’t deny that it’s the perfect name to describe this chess-meets- Rogue hybrid. Chess meets Rogue! There’s a brave combination, of one of the best board games ever (after Boggle), and the venerated grandfather of the roguelike genre. In the first stage of Chogue, the chess bit, your goal isn’t to take your rival’s king: It’s to clomp your way to a set of steps, which will transport everyone to a procedurally made dungeon. Once in, you’re suddenly in Rogue territory, but with pawns, knights, and all their chessy mates.
Now, in chess, every piece moves very differently, from the knight who moves in an L-shape, to the queen who can do whatever she damn well likes. In its second stage, Chogue asks you to explore a traditional, multilevel Rogue dungeon, but with units that move in this peculiar way. Everything else stays the same: You move your pieces turn by turn, against the enemy’s, and each one dies, lamentably, after a single strike.
As such, the flavor of Chogue’s main section is very different to that of chess. With unexplored areas obscured behind a fog of war, this is less about tactical decision-making and more of a horror game, as you carefully map each floor with the awareness that a supernaturally powerful unit could be lurking around any bend. It’s basic, sure, and it comes off as more of an experiment than a full game, but Chogue is thoughtfully made, and more considered than its mashup name might lead you to believe.
Reach the stairs and everyone gets dumped in a big dungeon.
It’s no Deep Blue, but the AI is surprisingly good.