Put them on opposing sides.
Have the PCs assume the roles of a certain piece with two of them as kings who order the NPC pieces to move. As in Ghost Tower of Inverness, any deviation from a legal move (either by the squares they move to or moving out of turn) by the PCs results in an electric shock. You can also add the feature that they are teleported back ...
There isn't "combat". There's just "monsters trying to hurt PCs."
I mean, there is combat-the-fictional-thing, if you want to define that as, for example, "a fight to the death between PCs and monsters, with neither side holding an overwhelming advantage". Some playbooks care about going into combat or limiting use of features ...
Begin and End With The Fiction
No-one on either side of the table really "makes moves". The moves come from what happens in the fiction, more specifically, from what the players have their characters do in response to that fiction.
From the SRD Gamemastering chapter, Principles section (emphasis mine):
Make a move that follows.
When you make a ...
The PC's don't have to engage in combat. They will respond to whatever is happening and sooner or later, something will trigger the moves snowball.
They just stand there? That's a golden opportunity with a GM move as a follow up. Make it as hard as you like.
They run away? That's Defy danger. If they miss, then it's your move.
The bard tries to talk them ...
Monsters (or NPCs in general) don't make specific moves.
Instead, the GM will make moves whenever the players present a golden opportunity (amongst other things)
So if the PCs don't engage in combat, but keep looking at the GM, there'll be a progression of moves, probably something like this:
Show signs of an approaching threat
The hobgoblins you've ...
A nice way of factoring in variable modifiers into a probability calculation is modeling them as dice. The more probable a modifier is, the more frequent it appears on the model die's faces.
With Dungeon World, the most consistent modifier is the stat modifier arising from the character's stats. In a bird's eye view of the system, we can assume that one of ...