I am no good at chess. If I'm lucky, I can manage to remember what direction the Knights go (they're the "L" path pieces, right?) but most of the time I can't tell a Bishop from a Rook. So when I learned that Archon was a variation on the classic game of strategy, I had reason to be afraid of it.
Created in 1983 by Free Fall Associates, Archon is a precursor to Battle Chess, but in this case pieces are won and lost by the player's direct control. Utilizing a unique light/dark scheme, the player moves pieces across the board in order to occupy five makred spots on the board. When two fighters meet, the game switches to a top down arcade style arena battle where the fate of the two warriors is decided.
Archon is unique, I'll give you that. The trick is to understand the best way to match up the chess pieces. You don't want your Warrior pawns to go toe to toe with Sorceror's because they'll be easily decimated. A golem, however, stacks up well against orcs and opposing warriors. The arena matches themselves are large open areas filled with obstacles that don't allow for players to simply dash after their opponent. Those with projectile weapons don't have the benefit of rapid fire, so each shot has to be planned.
It's a nifty set up and I can see the combat aspect of it drawing in those who wouldn't normally play chess because of its slow paced nature. Still, I found the game to be just as difficult and taxing.