Played in "Human Chess" fashion (a large board with people as pieces), GoT Chess almost requires that the pieces take their own initiative, settling private feuds under the guise of gameplay, working their own sometimes treasonous agendae, et cetera. Fun to watch and fun to play.
Players - two participants, one on each side, nominally directing the moves.
Pieces - participants who are a chesspiece for the entirety of the game.
Line-Of-Sight - all the spaces a piece could move to, in one move, from where it is.
Message - a message passed between pieces in a structured fashion: can be intel, gossip, suggestions, or a relay from another piece.
Turncoat - a Piece that has joined the other side (or been marked as a Traitor by the original side)
Right then ...)
Each side has 17 participants: 1 Player and 16 Pieces. As can readily be deduced, each Piece is one of the 8 pawns or 8 ranking pieces; the Player is the one titularly playing the game.
The Game's piece movements, rules and objectives are the same as a normal chess game*: it's the behind-the-scenes action, leading up to the moves, that differs.
For each turn the Player chooses a Piece to play. At this time the Piece can be given direct instructions on how to proceed, a message to pass onto another Piece, or free rein to move or issue its own orders.
The more experienced Player will send messages indirectly as well as directly. As an example, at the opening move the Player might give a nod to the King who touches his pawn lightly on the shoulder, which interprets that as a command to move up two squares (in the standard opening move). Likewise a message purportedly from the Queen could be received by the Queen's Knight saying "take care of that annoying Bishop", etc.
Now it gets even odder because any Piece in the chain can simply decide to do his/her own thing and pass an instruction elsewhere or give the wrong instruction or make a move in defiance of orders.*
Eventually an actual chess move gets made and then it's the Opponent's turn. The game continues until one side wins.
Due to the physical logistics of 34 people having their hands on the board, of necessity this type of game can only be played through a distributed electronica network, or played live in a "human chess" match.
Chatting It Up:
To add to the intrigue the Pieces can talk or send messages to each other at any time, independent of movement or turn.
Chatting on a side is ranked: a Piece can talk directly only with its military/social direct subordinate or superior, or another piece of the same rank, eg: a pawn can converse with any other pawn or its owner, the King can chat with the Queen, his Pawn or King's Bishop, Knight, Rook. The King is the only piece that can send messages to the Player directly at any time.
Messages between sides can only be from a piece that has a line-of-sight to an enemy piece. (A pawn can also message a piece blocking it).
During online play, potential message paths for texts are determined by the system; during a live "human chess" match, a Piece will summon one of the League spectators to deliver a message if the recipient is too far away for privacy.
(As an aside, the League spectators, dressed as pages, also take care of delivering water or food to the Pieces when necessary)
Pieces are expected to chat it up, to relay or block messages as appropriate, etc.
* The Turncoat:
The exception to the standard rules of Gameplay is that a Piece can change sides, either willingly in the form of a self-declaration, or unwillingly by being marked as such by his/her Player. Such loyalty changes can be made at any time independent of turn. Control of the Piece is handed over to its new side. Such declarations may also be rescinded, turn appropriately.
But life may be short for a Turncoat. Not only is the original side holding a grudge, but the Opposing Player is given the option of executing the Turncoat as a suspected Double Agent (despite the colours its wearing). The executioner piece doesn't even have to physically move: as long as the Traitor is within line-of-sight it can be removed from play. Such a moveless move does not count towards the turn.
A Piece executed by either side while in the livery of the Opponent cannot be brought back into play by pawn promotion.
(For symmetry's sake, a Piece can declare itself neutral as well, at which time it just sits there waiting to be captured by one or the other side.)
The League - Ranking System
League member ranking is based on accumulated positive and negative scores received during each game.
Game scores are determined partly by chess algorithms, other participants, and by other League members (whether spectators or not).
The chess-algorithms analyse the Pieces' movements during the game: how the piece was used by the Player and any original plays made. For instance dying senselessly is a minus, but going against orders to initiate the winning checkmate-sequence is a plus.
The Pieces are also rated by each other including the Player and the Opposing Pieces and Player as well. Scores are expected to include Skill and Participation and are weighted according to League ranking of the rater and the average League ranking of the side.
Getting chosen for a game as a Piece is simply a matter of showing up or logging in to the server. League ranking determines the pecking order of choosing which Piece to play. Members are also eligible to join the Player pool after a certain time-period plus ranking-score is achieved.
The highest ranking player might be a chess master but will just as likely to be somebody with good interpersonal and/or managerial skills.
(This could easily be reskinned as "Godly Chess", with the side's Deity giving messages to the The Faithful who interpret them in the war against The Heathen (who of course are doing the same thing) on the other side of the board. This would have the visual of a god peering over a Piece's shoulder, telling them what to do.
A Piece could declare Agnosticism at which point it's open to capture from either side - it is allowed to communicate with any Piece it can see or is adjacent to.
A Piece that declares Atheism, on the other hand, sits there immobile, unable to be captured, but disallowed from communication with other Pieces.)