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The Chess Variant Pages



This page is written by the game's inventor, Charles Gilman.

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Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-03-18 UTC
I don't know about you, but I create Chess variants as solutions to engineering problems. For Hex Shogi, the engineering problem was how to play Shogi on a hexagonal board. It is natural that a solution to this problem would share features with solutions to the similar problem of how to play Chess on a hexagonal board. The pieces shared between Hex Shogi and Glinki's or McCooey's Hexagonal Chess move the same because the solution to how these pieces should be adapted to a hexagonal board is an obvious and natural one. Although I think I knew of these variants when I created Hex Shogi, the similarity is due only to my recognition that the definitions of diagonal and orthogonal used in these games are the appropriate ones to use on a hexagonal board. Even if these games hadn't been invented, I could have easily come to this solution on my own. As for any similarity with Wellisch's Hexagonal Chess, none of it is due to any knowledge of the game, as I was ignorant of the game at the time. I only now just looked it up, and while there is a Java applet for it, there is no page on it. There are in fact only two ways the board could have been oriented. So it's not surprising that past hexagonal variants have already covered both ways. For whatever reason -- I don't remember exactly why now -- I preferred the horizontal orientation to the vertical. Notably, the horizontal orientation makes more sense for a three-player game, which is what Wellisch's is, and the even greater similarity that Wellisch's game has to my Three-Player Hex Shogi is due only to this. They resemble each other due to being solutions to similar problems, not to inheritance or to any historical connection.

With Storm the Ivory Tower, there is a historical connection between it and its antecedents. The engineering problem I had in mind for this game was how to combine Xiangqi with Smess, and because of this, these two games are literally the parents of my game. The similarities between this game and its antecedents are due mainly to inheritance. The differences are due mainly to engineering problems that could not be solved with a more straightforward combination of the two games.

While Smess (not counting the slightly different All the King's Men) was the only example of its kind, Glinski's and McCooey's games were not. I already knew of other hexagonal variants when I created Hex Shogi. Nor were they even the first I knew of. Before I even became involved with this site, a friend of mine created a three-player hexagonal version of Chess, which I started to play asynchronously with him and someone else before he lost interest in it. At best, Hex Shogi is a half-sibling to other hexagonal variants, because it is based on an idea that has also inspired these games. But it was not inspired directly by any of these games, and it was not designed as a combination of Shogi with any particular version of hexagonal Chess. So I would not describe it as a combination game in the same way I would Storm the Ivory Tower.

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