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Game Reviews by Antoine Fourrière

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Centennial Chess. 10x10 Variant that adds Camels, Stewards, Rotating Spearmen and Murray Lions to the standard mix. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2005-12-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I have just added the GC code for the above game between the inventor and
Ben Good. There seems to be a contradiction between this game and the zrf
and GC Preset. Do the Queens face each other?
(I have also changed the illegal 18... Le5 to 18... Le6; there may be
other errors in the transcription, since some moves look a bit strange.)

Extinction chess. Win by making your opponents pieces of one type extinct. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2004-04-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Can one castle under or through check, now there is no check?
(Zillions' own zrf keeps castling as usual, but it's no proof,
since their zrf for Berolina Chess has no en passant.)

Rococo. A clear, aggressive Ultima variant on a 10x10 ring board. (10x10, Cells: 100) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2004-01-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Yes, Rococo and Ultima should both thrive, somewhat as the open standard
and as the closed standard of the same kind of game. That open or closed -
strategic - character derives from the Pincer Pawns in Ultima and from the
edge squares and Cannon Pawns in Rococo.
Where I disagree is about tactics, that is, the officers. I would enrol
one Coordinator, one Swapper, one Withdrawer, one Advancer, one Long
Leaper, one Immobilizer and one Chameleon in both games. I don't see what
makes the Advancer, the Coordinator or the Long Leaper worthwhile only in
Ultima or only in Rococo. Indeed, I find the lack of either frustrating.
(Should one or two new pieces - not pieces capturing by replacement -
prove valuable in a future Ultima-Rococo spin-off, I would also call for
adding them.)
As for evaluation, well, I would reverse George's values for the Advancer
and the Long-Leaper and also for the Swapper and the Chameleon.

Viking Chess. Armies start side-by-side on a 12 x 7 board. (12x7, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-11-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
It isn't easy to come up with an interesting variant when you limit yourself to the usual pieces, and Viking Chess passes that test with flying colors. I was surprised it didn't make it to the final in the 84-square Contest, although it was certainly in the strongest bracket. Would you mind if I made a preset for it on the Game Courier?

Invasion. A military inspired Chess variant played on an 84-squares board. (10x10, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-11-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I find this game really enticing, and was surprised it didn't get a prize in the recent 84-square contest. The Flag-ignited Bomb is a great idea (although I have chosen another mechanism to launch the Bomb in my own Chess on a Larger Board with not-so-few Pieces Dropped) and the Tank is also a very good piece. As is usually the case with baroque capture, Zillions is a weak opponent, and I would like to try Invasion on the Game Courier. Would you mind if I made a preset for it?

Anti-King Chess. Each player has both a King and an Anti-King to protect; Anti-Kings are in check when not attacked. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-11-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The problem, if any, would be that it is always the Anti-King which gets
checkmated, and that the King is here only to prevent the players from
discarding all their pieces or to lose by double check. So, if you want to
checkmate the King nearly as often as the Anti-King, it's no use
weakening the Anti-King by allowing the enemy pieces to jump it.
Stronger armies, say with a Cardinal and a Marshal on a 10x8 board - not
10x10 which also weakens the Anti-King, unless you post the Pawns on the
third line as in Grand Chess -, make the King more vulnerable, but the
setups of Capablanca Chess or Gothic Chess make it also more difficult for
the Anti-King to avoid mate, because the Cardinal and Marshal have less
difficulty in escaping the zone of the Anti-King than Rooks, Bishops or
Knights, and it might be better to report them on the outer files.

Magna Carta Chess. Black has the FIDE array, White has a Marshal and an Archbishop instead of a Queen and King. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-10-04 UTCGood ★★★★
Well, King John was himself replaced by his infant son in 1216. Doesn't it
open the way to a calibrated number of (King-moving? Wazir-moving? Firz-
moving?) Princes, which could act as substitutes, instead of a Queen?
Maybe the French provinces call also for a second 4x4 (5x5?, 3x3x3?)
board, with a crossing of the Channel which would take a delay of two or
three turns...
(3x3x3 is of course debatable, even if it allows your Duke, but shouldn't
there be different laws regarding succession in England and in France?)

Pocket Mutation Chess. Take one of your pieces off the board, maybe change it, keep it in reserve, and drop it on the board later. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-09-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I'm presently losing my game of Pocket Mutation Chess against Peter
Aronson in Invent-and-Play Section 2, and it is obviously a very enjoyable game.
I blew up my position at move 5:

1. Rook h1 - WP = Nightrider
1. Pawn d7 - d5
2. Nightrider WP - f4
2. Queen d8 - BP = CardinalRider
3. Rook a1 - WP = SuperBishop
3. Pawn g7 - g6
4. SuperBishop WP - e5
4. Knight g8 - f6
5. SuperBishop e5 x c7 ??
5. CardinalRider BP - g5
6. Knight g1 - f3
6. CardinalRider g5 x c7...

Despite this outcome, I am afraid that the sole advantage of being White
was bound to give me a quick win. (Peter is not so sure.) The Nightrider
can be dropped on c4, threatening King and Rook, or f4, threatening Queen
and Rook. It is forking a fork, so to say.
So, I think that White should be barred from using the Pocket at his
first move. (Peter agrees with me on this.)

Take Over Chess. Jump across pieces to take them over from your opponent. (7x7, Cells: 41) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-07-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I haven't tested the game, and am a bit afraid that the two-way capture
makes the pieces too powerful. But the game looks promising, to say the
least. So I give it a rating of Excellent as it is, or, if need be, with
some twisted rule which decides at any time whether the piece captures by
replacement or by jumping, or with your suggested rule that capture by
jumping is possible on an adjacent piece.
(I believe you're right to pit the 64-square version for PBEM.)

Maxima. Maxima is an interesting and exiting variant of Ultima, with new elements that make Maxima more clear and dynamic. (Cells: 76) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-07-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
LOTS of excellent ideas, the equine King, its cylindric ability, fewer
Pincer Pawns, the second way to win, and a piece which is immune to
But why should that piece be the Mage, and not the less powerful Guard?

PromoChess. Everything but the king can power up. Mix of Japanese/Western/fairy pieces. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-07-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
9x9 fits both Knight and Camel, and the promotion rule is a nice
way to allow Marshals and Januses (Jani?) without having to start with
blockbuster armies.
(I like the Janus more than the Marshal, so if that idea had occured to
me, I would have decided
promoted Rook = Rook + Bishop = Queen
promoted Bishop = Bishop + Knight = Janus
promoted Knight = Knight + Camel = Wildebeest
promoted Camel = Camel + Silver = augmented Omega Wizard
well... promoted Pawn = Gold, and promoted Silver = Silver + promoted Pawn
= Commoner)

It seems this game will find a bracket before I enter the PBEM design and

Chessopoly. Board with a hole in the middle where pawns move clockwise. (12x12, Cells: 128) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-05-31 UTCGood ★★★★
If the setup were symmetrical, Black would have a sure draw available.
But logically, Black should choose who gets the outer royalty. It seems
better to have one's Knights closer to the enemy King, and one's Bishops
not hampered by the inner frontier. (Upgrade my rating to Excellent if it

Rook Mania. Game where all pieces have different sorts of Rook-like moves. (7x7, Cells: 43) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-04-10 UTCGood ★★★★
The game is certainly interesting - I welcome in particular the Basilisk
and the Coordinator -, but it may need refinement with the help of
Zillions, which is not good at evaluating capture modes, however.
(Zillions also believes a Pao to be worth a Rook, when XiangQi masters
think it is worth only half a Rook, though on a less crowded board.)
I believe you're right to limit the custodian capture to a pair of Pawns.
Robert Abbott has long complained that the Pincer Pawns are too strong in
Ultima, whose armies are certainly stronger than they are in Orthochess or
in your game. Still, if the capturing force of one Pincer Pawn amounts to
nothing, the capturing force of two Pincer Pawns is also less than
threatening, and the players would decline to capture the last pair of
Pincer Pawns. Robert Abbott also wanted to use a pair of rookwise-moving
Coordinators, which would capture by coordination with each other. Why not
decide that the Pawns are Pincer Pawns until they are reduced to three
units, Coordinators - working with each other - when they are reduced to
exactly two units, and something else, maybe uncapturable and uncapturing
- but probably not unimmobilizable - Rook, or Withdrawing Rook, when there
is only one left?

Polypiece Chess. Each time a piece moves, all pieces of that type on both sides change their move. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-02-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I believe it would be very useful for Immobilizers when they are mixed with Orthochess pieces. A Queen/Immobilizer or an ImmobilizerW/ImmobilizerF (with ImmobilizerW paralyzing enemy pieces which are adjacent by a side and ImmobilizerF paralyzing enemy pieces which are adjacent by a corner) should lead to a more balanced game. If each side had two such pieces, it would bring an exit for frozen immobilizers. (If each side had only one of them, it would be much easier to free frozen pieces, but that would already be true if only the moving piece changed its path.)

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