In Barion the objective is to checkmate the opponent's king. Normal chess rules apply. Instead of the regular pieces in the initial position, there exist "shaman" pieces (residing in a "spiritual trance-state"), that can travel directly to any empty square on the board. Alternatively, the shaman can directly be transformed to a piece from the regular piece set. Only the pawns and the kings are initially defined. Until the shaman has been defined as a real piece it cannot interact with other pieces, that is, cannot make captures. In order to transform a shaman (allow a shaman to leave the shamanic state and become a normal piece) the player must use up a move on the spot. A shaman can transform himself to any piece there remains to drop. The shaman is only mobile once. Hence it becomes immobile on the square where it has landed. So the only option is, later, to transform it to a normal piece.
Castling is allowed with a shaman instead of a rook. Since the castled shaman has moved it cannot move again, but must later be transformed to any remaining piece. Should a shaman be captured and the player has several pieces that remain to be dropped, the opponent has no way of knowing which piece has actually been captured. The two bishops must be dropped on different colours. If only a bishop remains to be dropped, the player must see to that the shaman is positioned on the correct colour. Otherwise the bishop cannot be dropped. Barion was invented and implemented by undersigned, January 2006. It is inspired by Bario and Shamanic Chess
Don't overestimate the shamans in the early phase of the game. Remember that shamans, although extremely mobile, are weak pieces while they become immobile after they have landed. Even the enemy king can step up to the shaman and capture it. This game could be played on a real chessboard with checkers pieces as shamans.
There is an affinity between Barion and modern quantum physics. A quantum particle can exist in an "undefined" state, until it is observed, when it obtains its properties. This is reminiscent of the undefined piece in Barion.
(Don't miss my other chess variants.)
You can download my free Barion program here (updated 2006-06-28), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it.
© M. Winther (January 2006).