It’s difficult to imagine that any game could challenge this eleven-hundred year old classic! However, a ‘new’ strategy game based on ‘Football’, might have just taken strategic play-making and prediction skills to a new level. Odess - Offensive Defensive Chess, offers a fascinating insight into a completely new board game ‘concept’. According to the inventor Julian Churchman, “Odess fuses ‘chess-like’ movements with a defined set of athletic abilities.”

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When you first hear of the ‘concept’, it’s difficult to imagine what it actual means, or how it translates into a board game but when you see the ‘concept’ in action, then you quickly come to realize, that this game could be the first of a ‘new wave’ of strategy games.

However, Julian is the first to say, “that Odess is intended to be a companion of Chess, one that offers players another board game to master - something new and dynamic.” When one of the worlds most respected chess players, Garry Kasparov, was asked if football was like chess, he said;

“Yes, maybe American football is closest to chess with its detailed planning of each move/play in response to opponent’s structure.”

So as you begin to understand the ‘concept’, you start to ‘internally’ ask a few questions. Do you pass a ball? Is there a running aspect to the game? Can you intercept the ball? Can you sack the Quarterback?

This is what Julian had to say;

“Yes to all of the above. Odess is football. A step-by-step - unfolding strategic play. Even the pieces involved ‘move and behave’ like the positions they represent.”

So instead of just ‘predicting’ a chess players movements, or planning for ‘piece exchanges’, Odess players will also have to account for the athletic and play-making abilities of all eleven unique positions, such as; the Quarterbacks ability to pass the ball. The Offensive Guards and Tackles ability to open up running lanes. The Wide Receivers ability to stretch the field and to catch the ball. The Tight Ends ability to block and the Halfbacks ability to gain territory by sliding between the Offensive Tackles.

With all of these offensive skills and weapons at the player’s disposal how can the Defense hope to shut down these offensive plays? The Defensive positions, also have their own unique set of abilities. For example; the Defensive Tackles can drive through the Offensive line by utilizing their ‘power’ and they can also force fumbles if ideally positioned when tackling the ball carrier. The Defensive Ends are diagonal ‘edge benders’ allowing them to cut around the Offensive Tackles to create ‘pressure’. Therefore, it seems that the Defense has all the tools required to shut-down the offensive players strategies.

According to Julian,

“Our engagement with NFL players has helped us to validate their positional skill-sets, enabling us to amend certain positions based on their positional expertise.”


“The athletic abilities comprise of; speed, agility, power and an array of ball skills, such as; passing, catching, hand-offs, intercepting or disrupting a catch. Depending on the exact position, only specific skill-sets were built into their capabilities.”

It seems this game is the most comprehensive study of football strategies and player skill-sets but also one that pays homage to some of the more pioneering strategists. So can Odess take the strategic complexities of our national game and translate it via a board game to the world? Will our future play-making strategists be weaned on Odess from all corners of the globe? It’s an interesting concept to consider.

What we do know is that a new generation of Odess players will learn how-to utilize pieces with; speed, power and precise route-running movements, to create a realistic and exciting football game experience.

However, the game still requires significant funding and is therefore, about to launch on KickStarter to entice some of the 600 million global chess players and the 400 million football fans, to pledge, and help bring this unique ‘concept’ to life. If the design and style of the game is anything to go on, then Odess might just become a household name that will help to educate players all around the world about our unique game of football.

“The brand is a blend of both ‘Apple & Jaguar’, as we want to convey the physicality of the sport, but with a strong sense of design aesthetic.”

For more information about Odess, you can visit or you can browse through some of the videos and posts on their Facebook page. Or you can contact Julian directly at, he’s more than happy to answer any questions.

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