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Game Reviews by Jared McComb

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Dragon. Missing description (9x15, Cells: 135) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2006-09-12 UTCPoor ★
Poor in part to counteract the excellent, but mostly because that is my

The game is needlessly complicated and too confusing to learn, and in
addition, the page and diagram are just plain ugly.  And I believe Andy is
correct in saying that Nicholls' arguments are both condescending and
outrageous, although I'm not sure that the LoTR series qualifies as
'second-rate.'  (I really need to go read 'em...)

At the community college that I graduated from, there was a student
association called 'Writers' Guild,' where students and faculty could
bring things that they had written and get opinions on them.  The one
major rule there was, after reading something you wrote, you couldn't
defend it while other people critiqued - and it WORKED.  I believe that
this community could almost definitely improve if people here acted by
this rule for a while after their articles are posted.

Falling Off. `Captured' pieces do not disappear, but get momentum, and can fall off the edge of the board. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2005-11-19 UTCGood ★★★★
Probably not too similarly, but it's certainly a good idea.

This reminds me, I've been meaning to make a SSBM-styled variant.

Xiangqi (象棋): Chinese Chess. Links and rules for Xiangqi (Chinese Chess). (9x10, Cells: 90) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2005-07-21 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Roberto, I'd like to point out that as of right now, when one 
Googles 'chessvariants,' the first related page that comes up under the 
main listing is this Xiang-Qi page.  If that isn't a good indicator of 
this game's popularity variant-wise, if not game-wise in general, I don't 
know what is.

(Incidentally, a search for 'xiangqi' gives this page second in the list, 
and a search for 'xiang-qi' or 'chinese chess' gives it first.)

Chess with Promoters. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2005-06-14 UTCGood ★★★★
Can Promoters capture?  And can Promoters promote?

If so, does a Promoter that promotes a Promoter which previously promoted
pieces prolifically pay a pretty penny?  Perhaps a pound?  Perhaps in
practice Promoter promotion proliferates profusely, as the Promoters
are positioned in proximity preceeding each play's premiere.

Échecs De L'Escalier. A double Capablanca-type variant with slightly enhanced Pawns. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2005-05-28 UTCGood ★★★★
I had an idea very similar to this one ages ago but completely forgot about it! Good to see it being fleshed out.

Mamra Chess. Adds the Mamra, a piece that only Pawns may capture. (8x8, Cells: 66) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2005-01-03 UTCGood ★★★★
Or perhaps have it replace a Knight on the board, and play from there as Pocket Knight.

Spherical chess. Sides of the board are considered to be connected to form a sphere. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2004-11-24 UTCPoor ★
The board is not actually spherical, but rather is a torus with a half-twist.

Mecklenbeck chess. Pawns can promote on the sixth row.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2004-10-04 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
It seems to me that this concept was taken by Christian Freeling and adapted to fit Grand Chess, where it works almost as well.

Abstract ChessA game information page
. Pieces are represented by stacks of different heights.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2004-07-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Why not have 7 be the limit, and make a stack of 7 be a King, instead of having a royal stone? (Then you only have one type of piece, making the game much, er, abstracter, as well as adding more strategies!)

Aviary. New pieces with shogi elements and a bird theme. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2004-05-19 UTCGood ★★★★
A quick observation: The contrasting black and white in those possible boards make my eyes hurt. Badly. A set of neutral colors would be much nicer looking.

Cardmate. Chess variant on board with 100 squares, inspired by card games. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2004-03-12 UTCGood ★★★★
The Ascii diagram of the moves for the One through Seven are messed up.

Cai QiA game information page
. Chesslike game on circular board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2004-03-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
New name and link!

Chess. The rules of chess. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2004-02-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Sigh... The Internet is a mixed blessing.

Tetrahedral Chess. Three dimensional variant with board in form of tetrahedron. (x7, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2004-01-08 UTCGood ★★★★
It seems to me that a true tetrahedral form of chess would have 'cells' which, in three dimensions, would take the form of rhombic dodecahedrons, which would allow the board to be pyramidial with 'hexagonal' tiled layers. (Rhombic dodecahedrons tesselate space quite nicely, you know, and naturally lend themselves to making tetrahedra with.) Does the current setup of this game allow for such an analogue? The board can be easily translated, complete with cell coloration and the same twelve directions, but can the rules be translated as easily? I'd love to see an attempt.

Ultima. Game where each type of piece has a different capturing ability. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2003-12-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Yes, that assumption would be correct. In fact, in the illustration, the white chameleon imitates four different types at once and puts the black King into check, since it could capture the King by replacement. This, however, brings another question to mind: Must a chameleon be adjacent to a King to capture it? Since there is an orthogonal restriction for them when capturing pawns, is there also a one-space restriction when checking the King? --Jared

Ryu Shogi. Large modern shogi variant. (7x12, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2003-12-03 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
It would be really nice if this game could be linked to on the Oriental
variants list.  Could someone with mysterious editing powers do that for
me, please?  Also, I've been focusing on school and other variants
lately, so Dai-Ryu is currently on the back burner.  (I'm currently
working on 44SC entries, a page for Yonin Shogi (which has precious few
English resources available for it and which really ought to be a
recognized variant), a page for a game which I compiled ages ago called
Grand Shakomega, and a variant using Icehouse pieces which is based
loosely on Yonin.)

Thanks all,


EDIT:  Whoops, I forgot to mention something!  I'm looking for someone who
can provide me with traditional-style Kanji for the pieces of Ryu Shogi 
(and some pieces which will debut in Dai-Ryu).  Anyone who can help, post 
here, please (don't email!).

Ultima. Game where each type of piece has a different capturing ability. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2003-09-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I have always been an Ultima fan. This game was the major inspiration for Rook Mania (which incidentally spent about three years in development, and which I am developing a more 'traditional' version of). It amy be true that this game favors defense over offense, and it may not be a perfect game, but the concept -- having all the pieces move similarly, but capture differently -- is a purely beautiful one. I also agree with Mr. Aronson that the imbalance of pieces is not necessarily bad, although I do not necessarily agree with his analogy -- the reason those games faded out of popularity was probably in favor of more balanced ones.

Ryu Shogi. Large modern shogi variant. (7x12, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2003-08-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I've submitted the modifications, but I haven't got a reply from Mr. Aronson yet. Hopefully they'll be up by next week or so.

Jared McComb wrote on 2003-08-05 UTCGood ★★★★
I know Rules 2 and 6 are going, and Rule 4 modified to match.  Rule 7 looks
like it will be edited to say that a player with a bare king has the
option of forfeit at any time.  The Pawn-drop restriction will also go,
except for the checkmate part (dropped pawns are much more powerful in
this game than in normal Shogi).  As for Rule 1, I like it because it
forces the players to come up with somewhat more strategic methods of
checkmate.  (However, your suggestions have not gone unnoticed!  How does
Michael Nelson no Ryu Shogi sound for a variant name?)

I will send an update in shortly.  (My computer crashed recently, so I no
longer have the original document.  I will not be sending in a new file
altogether, but rather some plain text.)

Jared McComb wrote on 2003-07-30 UTCGood ★★★★
I'm thinking about eliminating the entire double-move rule altogether.  I
do know that the demotion has got to go, though, and I like the 'no drops
in zone 4' rule -- if you could drop there, they could drop adjacent to
it and capture your piece with the just-dropped piece, assuming they have
something in hand (unless I illegalize that, too, which I'm also
considering).  I'll probably send Mr. Aronson a revision sometime next
week.  (And I'm totally clueless when it comes to advanced ZRF
programming techniques.)

And as for the large version, the main reason I would want to do that
would be to make more space (I'd like a piece density of about 40%).  So
I would probably be able to keep all the rules from the small version
intact, and add a minimal amount of pieces.

(And thanks, Mr. Lawson, for that name suggestion.  Dai Ryu (Dairyu? 
Dai-ryu?) sounds good to me, too.)


Jared McComb wrote on 2003-07-29 UTCGood ★★★★
The reasons I have a somewhat low opinion of this game are:

1.  I did not spend very much time (in fact, almost no time at all)
designing it.
2.  I did not (and still do not) have a competent opponent to play it
3.  I didn't win a prize with this game (admittedly, this is kind of
juvenile, but it had a small influence nonetheless).

I am honored, though, that so many people find this game attractive. 
However, I agree that the demotion rule is a very bad one (who was it who
said a beautiful rule may not be a good one?), and would like any editor
who happens to be passing by to remove the rule, and all references to

I am working on a larger version of this, but I do not know how to say
'great dragon' or 'expanded dragon' in Japanese.

In conclusion, if you would like to thank me for this game, email Steve
Evans and ask him to incorporate it into his SV program.


Passed Pawns, Scorpions and Dragon. More Falcon Chess Variants.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2003-07-19 UTCGood ★★★★
It seems to me that the Scorpion and Dragon are pretty clumsy, always
having a fixed large range.  Aren't they a little too difficult to use


Doublewide Chess. A discussion of the variant where two complete chess sets (including two Kings per side) are set up on a doublewide board. (16x8, Cells: 128) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2003-06-19 UTCGood ★★★★
Wow!  I've been called clever by the immortal variantist himself! 

But in this game, you win if you know the correct game, of course!  Just
like those stupid radio trivia thingies -- it's based on the honor
system, but you get brownie points for being the first to call in.

Also, in an attempt to be on-topic, how would you have doublewide games
that don't have a 'home-row' type setup?  Like Halma or Danadazo, for


Gufuu Shogi A game information page
. Tiny variant on a 2x3 board with four pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2003-06-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Wonderful game! Would someone please ZRFolize this?

Doublewide Chess. A discussion of the variant where two complete chess sets (including two Kings per side) are set up on a doublewide board. (16x8, Cells: 128) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jared McComb wrote on 2003-06-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
If it's impossible to do that, how did he do it in the first place?  It
must not be impossible, or at least not to Europeans.

Would someone please ZRFolize this?


(EDIT) This should be under the Gufuushogi link!  Oops!

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