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There's a lot of obvious stuff (turn-based, variety of piece types with different movements etc) but something I really like is just how old the game is; it's literally ancient and every age we carry bits of it forward and in the end not everybody knows how or why things are the way they are, what different pieces represent or where they came from. It's basically some system of ancient magic we dig up and start screwing around with, hoping to master it (even tho realistically, it's probably beyond any of us as individuals).

I get the same feeling from a lot of other ancient games too tbh, we have rules and boards and pieces but who made them - witches? Probably.