[ Help | Earliest Comments | Latest Comments ][ List All Subjects of Discussion | Create New Subject of Discussion ][ List Latest Comments Only For Pages | Games | Rated Pages | Rated Games | Subjects of Discussion ]Game Reviews by Mark ThompsonLater ⇩Reverse Order⇧ Earlier Whale Shogi. Shogi variant. (6x6, Cells: 36) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2007-11-15 UTCExcellent ★★★★★I've played Whale Shogi. It's fun. For someone to rate it 'poor' in protest against Japanese whaling practices is really, really weird. The Game of Jetan. Extensive discussion of various versions of the rules of Jetan. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2005-02-27 UTCGood ★★★★One possible drawback to playing any CV with a wagering system based on putting a price on each piece is that it seems it would make the game more materialistic. One of the endearing features of Chess is that its focus on the Kings makes spectacular sacrifices for the sake of achieving checkmate worthwhile. But if the point of the game is to end with the greatest value of pieces still on the board, I think this aspect will be lost. A player who hopes to win would play conservatively, trying to keep his own pieces on the board rather than let their value fall into the hands of his opponent, while a player who fears losing would try to make exchanges, thereby reducing the value of the ultimate prize for the winner. For whatever it's worth, I proposed a variant called 'Contract Jetan' in a letter to a 2001 issue of Abstract Games magazine, which went about like this: In Contract Jetan, a player could propose in mid-game some rule change that would make it more difficult for his opponent to win, accompanied by a 'proffer' of some tokens that would be added to the ante if the opponent accepts the dare. Such a proposal would probably be made by the player in a weaker position. For example, 'You must win in the next 15 moves or forfeit,' or 'My Thoat can only be captured by your Warrior', etc. If the opponent accepts the rule change, the proffer is added to the ante and the rule change is in effect. If the opponent refuses, then the player who offered it has the option of 'buying out the contract' as follows: from the proffer he removes a number of tokens equal to the excess of value of the other player's army over his own, plus his own Chief's value, and gives that to his opponent; then he adds the rest of the proffer to the ante, and rotates the board half a turn. Then they play on, but having reversed their roles, and with the proposed rule change in effect. This variant is played in an unpublished work that ERB left unfinished, 'Corporate Lawyers of Mars.' Ultima. Game where each type of piece has a different capturing ability. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-12-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Robert Abbott now has a set of Ultima puzzles on his website! http://www.logicmazes.com/games/puz1to4.html Wildebeest Chess. Variant on an 10 by 11 board with extra jumping pieces. (11x10, Cells: 110) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-10-25 UTCGood ★★★★The basic idea of the game is that, as there are two simple sliders (B, R) and one combination slider (B+R=Q), so in Wildebeest Chess there are also two simple jumpers (Knight = (1,2) jumper and Camel = (1,3) jumper), and one combined jumper (Wildebeest = N+C). I wonder how well the idea would work instead with Knights and Zebras ((2,3) jumpers), and a combination N+Z piece? There is the idea that, as one of the sliders is color-bound, so perhaps one of the jumpers ought to be also, hence the Camel. But it's not obvious to me that rule makes for the best game. I'd be interesting in knowing whether Wayne Schmittberger or anyone else has tried it. Actually, since the preset to enforce the rules has not been written for this game yet, it would be possible to try playing this way, simply entering Zebra moves for Camels and Knight/Zebra moves for the Wildebeest. Caïssa Britannia. British themed variant with Lions, Unicorns, Dragons, Anglican Bishops, and a royal Queen. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-09-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★I like the way this game addresses the problem of the too-powerful royal piece (which can make it hard to win the game) by the rule that the queen cannot slide through check. That seems original and yet chesslike, and sounds likely to do the trick. The explanation on this page was a little hard for me to decipher, however: I'd suggest rephrasing somehow to remove the reference to queens capturing other queens. Is 'cover' as you use it here a standard chess term? I hadn't run across it yet. I wish the board had a fourth color, so that each dragon would be restricted to squares of one color. Shouldn't there be a piece for Ireland? A Harp, perhaps? No idea what it would do, though. 'There must be dozens of possible names that would suit it better and have the advantage of being offensive.' Surely Charles simply forgot to type the word 'not' in this sentence. 'the three heraldic-based pieces could be considered 'brutish'.' I imagine Charles G's use of 'brutish' harks back to the use of 'brute' to mean 'beast,' which is comprehensible enough. The idea that a CV inventor's choice of a name should be second-guessed at length is certainly odd, though. Knight Chase. Game played on with two Knights on a Chessboard with differing goals. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-06-26 UTCGood ★★★★'The two players have different goals, so Knight Moves is probably an unbalanced game,' said Ned. 'And Black, who plays defense, moves first: that must mean that the offense has the natural advantage in this game.' Ted said, 'Well, since you're a beginner, I'll let you play White, and I'll even give you the advantage of the first move.' 'Don't be too cocky, I'm pretty good at games like this,' said Ned. But Ted proceeded to beat him three games in a row. Catching the Black Knight was infernally difficult, even with the advantage of the first move. Then, as they were about to begin the fourth game, Ned suddenly said, 'Hey -- WAIT a minute!' And Ted broke out laughing. What had Ned realized? Eurasian Chess. Synthesis of European and Asian forms of Chess. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-06-23 UTCGood ★★★★Fergus, a Pawn cannot move to the last rank if there is not a captured piece to which it can promote. In that situation, can a Pawn on the second-to-last rank give check? Sankaku Shogi. Small Shogi variant played on a board of 44 triangles with no drops and a teleporting Emperor. (7x8, Cells: 44) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-04-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★I haven't played it yet, but the game looks good to me also. There's one thing I think should be added to the rules to clarify the Chariot's power of 'running down' soldiers: it wasn't clear to me whether they could run down any number of soldiers in a line, or only one. From the ZRF it seems to be only one. Millennium Chess . Commercial variant on 15 by 8 board with almost twice the normal set of pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-03-30 UTCGood ★★★★People like chess variants for lots of reasons, and some prefer the more exotic variants that depart from usual chess with unusual pieces or rules: you don't find that in Millennium Chess. But, without diminishing the exotics, I like the more modest variants also. I've played this one and found it to be pretty good. And yes, it did seem to improve my skills at usual chess, at least temporarily -- or at least my confidence level. When you come back to 8x8 after a few games you have this strange feeling: 'Why, this game will be SIMPLE!' I haven't tried the other variants that are approximately double width and so I can't opine on how this one compares with them. I once communicated briefly with the inventor, who said that while developing M.C. he tried other versions (among them, 8x16) and rejected them. He says having two rooks in the center of the board is too much power there. I expect the choice among wide chesses will also come down to personal tastes. Nova Chess. Played on an 8x8 or 10x10 board with a wide range of pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-02-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★It looks like this system would work for 'Mercenary Chess,' which is my name for a CV in which the players start the game with a certain number of points (maybe 1000) which they can use to 'hire' the pieces of their armies, each possible piece in the catalog having a previously agreed-upon price. Making the cost of an entire army something large like 1000 would allow for fine distinctions in the prices of the pieces. I like the whole idea because it would have a natural, easy-to-adjust handicapping principle: the weaker player starts with more points. Also, of course, it blasts opening theory away, which I see as a good thing. Memorizing openings just doesn't seem to me like what chess is 'supposed' to be about. 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]Mark Thompson wrote on 2003-06-08 UTCGood ★★★★This is very similar to Milennium Chess, a commercial variant played on a 15x8 board with only one Rook in the middle of the lineup. I've played it and found it good, and have communicated with the author (whose name I've forgotten). He said he had tried 16x8 with two Rooks in the middle but felt that the two Rooks in the center of the board were too powerful. Re: Nightriders, it occurs to me you could also create a piece that you might call an Asterisk, which can move as a Nightrider left and right (that is, 2 steps along the rank and 1 step along the file, but not vice versa), or a Rook along the files: so it would have six lines of motion. 11 comments displayedLater ⇩Reverse Order⇧ EarlierPermalink to the exact comments currently displayed.