ROOK JONES: Chess Maze Puzzle Books for Children & Adults
ROOK JONES: Chess maze story books! Navigate dungeons and rescue friends in interactive adventure stories for all ages.
What is ROOK JONES?
Each ROOK JONES book is a collection of 20 chess maze puzzles framed within an adventure story starring ROOK JONES, a lone rook on a mission. ROOK JONES is the last piece standing after a losing chess battle, and now he must navigate a series of mazes, search for keys to rescue his captured friends, gather diamonds and other rewards, and escape the traps laid by enemy forces.
ROOK JONES moves like a traditional rook piece on an actual chessboard—that is, he can move in a straight line, horizontally or vertically, across an unlimited number of open squares. But watch out! Opposing rooks, bishops, and knights all stand guard throughout the mazes, blocking Rook's path. Just like in a real chess game, ROOK JONES cannot land on any square where he would be captured by an opposing piece.
How does a chess maze work?
The image below is the Beginner-level, introductory maze in ROOK JONES #1: Dungeon of Diamonds. (This is the only maze marked with X's, in order to demonstrate player movement and strategy.) ROOK JONES enters this maze at the top-left corner, where the image of the rook appears. The player must guide him through the maze in straight-line, horizontal or vertical movements across open squares, gathering diamonds by passing over them as he makes his way to the exit in the bottom-right corner.
Players familiar with (or learning) the rules of chess will notice that ROOK JONES can safely pass over but cannot land on squares marked with X's, where he could be captured by opposing rooks or bishops:
Below is another sample maze, this time with an Intermediate difficulty level. This is puzzle #12 (out of 20) in Dungeon of Diamonds. This time there are more opposing pieces, making it trickier for ROOK JONES to safely pass through:
The green path below shows a sample solution to the maze above. Notice that it takes about 27 moves to get the key, rescue the pawn from his isolation cell, and escape the dungeon. The trickiest moves in this maze are the ones required to get around (and stay out of the potential paths of) the white bishops standing guard at various points:
Each book has a different story line, but a similar progression of maze challenges for the player to complete. As one last example, here's a maze from ROOK JONES #2: Gauntlet of Gold:
Who can play ROOK JONES?
ROOK JONES chess puzzles can be played by all ages at any level of chess expertise, but they're especially great for chess beginners. The books have been play-tested with children ages 4 to 12, and we're delighted at the positive feedback we've gotten from both kids and parents.
ROOK JONES puzzles help players practice their understanding of chess moves while sharpening strategic thinking and creative problem-solving skills.
The text in the books is at a 4th- to 6th-grade reading level. The difficulty level of the mazes increases as each storyline progresses, from Beginner to Intermediate to Challenging. Kids can go through the books independently—they're great for car trips, plane trips, waiting rooms, or quiet play time—or the books make great interactive bedtime stories for children and parents to read together!
Thanks for taking a moment to learn about ROOK JONES! We're excited to share with these fun, clever, and adventurous mazes and stories with chess lovers and beginning chess players everywhere.
Special thanks to Richard Pineo for his wisdom and feedback in helping to shape ROOK JONES, and to his incredible children for volunteering as some of our play testers! Thanks also to Nien Lam and Sebastian Buys for the early developmental collaboration that led to this project.
Music in this Kickstarter video is by Karpov Not Kasparov, used with permission from Local Records. Check out their terrific, five-song LP, perfectly titled Soundtrack for a Game of Chess!
Risks and challenges
I have successfully completed and delivered rewards on two previous Kickstarter projects—a sculptural animated GIF for turntable users, and a tabletop role-playing game called Lotus Dimension, based on creative problem-solving and principles of nonviolence. Throughout these campaigns and their reward fulfillment, I learned a great deal about production and shipping processes, and I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the fantastic Kickstarter community!!
Having completed the creative development of ROOK JONES and begun production already, I can confidently promise that I will deliver every ROOK JONES reward in a timely manner. Any unforeseen challenges along the way will be communicated to backers through clear project updates.
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