I had no idea there were any other Dopers familiar with that game!
did you play Aeons, Mayfair, or the crippled Parker Brothers* version?
Amongst my friends in Sandy Eggo, the post-Halloween weekends were routinely our period to take a break from the (constant) D&D campaigns. . We’d still gather, but some people would be out of town visiting relatives or burning paid-time-off so those sessions would be just chatter and non-role-playing games.
Roughly around the winter solstice one year, two of my friends happened to find two games at different game shops:
One was a set of cards to add to a chess game. In a manner similar to Cosmic Encounter cards, these basically throw a wrench in the basic game-play to make things unpredictable. For instance, white would draw a card that said, “Slide your knight(s) one square to the right. Any on the edge must wrap around to the left edge. Any pieces occupying those squares are removed from the game.”
The other was a four-player chess board – distressingly huge until you understand there are four sets of sixteen pieces on the field. Needless to say, the configuration encourages alliances.
Before anyone had played either game, we all looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and combined both games into what we called Mayhem Chess: Four players plus the cards in an astoundingly unpredictable war.
It was invariably hilarious and frustrating at the same time.