Looking at different ways of running Go, I noticed that a typical beginner’s set allows for a 9×9 grid, which is very much similar to the 8×8 grid of Chess, the key differences being (apart from pieces) counting intersections instead of spaces, and alternating colors. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Go, you play on the intersections.

I thought the 8×8 thing was pretty cool, and it got me thinking about something else – tactical range in Dungeons & Dragons. Actually, this one really started to get me kind of weirded out, which is why I’m honestly writing it this early in the morning. I was trying to imagine every combat encounter represented on an 8×8 board.

But why? Why does this thought bug me so much? I keep turning over all the things that standardizing the playing field could fix, from movement and range to spatial relations between characters. Of course lots of the “plus-one to this or that” wouldn’t work nearly as well for selling books, but a better game might well result. *huffs*

Still, I’m thinking of how starting positions could be standardized. Imagine lining up all the player characters along one side of the board, facing the other. Each side moves one at a time as it is, so not a whole lot is changing there, except perhaps for the fact that each player moves once, to multiple monster moves. It’s more abstract.

But I also keep thinking about how much easier it could be to abstract the terrain, put in blockers and so forth to actually create significantly different maneuvers and such. It would certainly be interesting to force creatures or characters to move in only a single direction on a charge attack, for example (“must charge in a straight line”).

If you compare existing Chess pieces to characters, you can easily see the pawn, knight, and king all have restricted movement – one square forward, the knight’s “jump,” or one square in any direction. Imagine either the bishop or castle barreling across the field. Or the queen. They might represent archers of for their range.

Classic or famous “pawn structures” could be used to create intricate patterns for characters to navigate. I think we’d probably have a new iteration of the diagonal-move rules from Third Edition. And I also keep thinking about how much easier it’d be to create and arrange new maps. At least at first. *shrug*

No, I’m probably nuts. Moving right along now.