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Game Reviews by Peter Aronson

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Jumping Knights Chess. Nightriders replace Knights and War Machines have also been added to Jumping Chess. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2007-05-23 UTCGood ★★★★
Very interesting game, David. I particularly like how the War Machines guard the Pawns in the starting array against being picked off by the Nightriders. I have not yet fully absorbed the effect of your more severe rules for pieces on the edge -- having to capture to escape makes the edge makes the edge risky in another way than it is in Jumping Chess. I assume that is part of preserving checkmate as part of the game?

Three Elephant Chess. War Towers destroy 3 spaces at a time - protect your elephants while capturing your opponent's. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2006-06-02 UTCGood ★★★★
Looks amusing, although I have some minor doubts about the Stones -- in my experiance, these sorts of pieces can make endgames less fun by making them slower. But actual play should show if this is the case or not.

The War Tower has a slight resemblence to the Mad Elephent in Mad Elephant Chess.

Pretentious Chess. All Pieces can move as and demote to a Knight. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2006-03-06 UTCGood ★★★★
Interesting. Aside from the King, this resembles a more restrained version of my Potential/Demotion Chess.

Angels and Devils. Chess game where white has two Angels and black has two Devils. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2005-07-04 UTCGood ★★★★
For an extra piece, why not continue the theme of capturing on the opposing color? An orthogonal Withdrawer would have that characteristic, but without being colorbound, as does orthogonal custodian capture (like Ultima Pawns). <p> While it would dilute the theme, giving White on Devil and Black one Angel would mix things up a bit and help balance matters some if it turned out that the Devil and Angel had significantly different values. <p> Another game with the theme of capture on the other color is <a href='/other.dir/interweave.html'>Interweave</a>.

More10. Chessvariant on a board with 10 squares. (2x5, Cells: 10) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2005-02-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I'm not entirely sure this is a successful game, but I'm not sure anything much better could be done on such a small board, and this is a very creditable attempt. I like the extra branching added by the piece changing on movement.

Experiments in Symmetry. Several experimental games to test whether perfect symmetry makes a game better.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2005-02-16 UTCGood ★★★★
Assorted comments: <ul><p><li> Symposium Chess looks a bit like a more restrained version of <a href=''>Identific Chess</a> or <a href='../other.dir/potential.html'>Potential Chess</a>, with the ambiguity restricted to the King and Queen pair. I'm wondering if the Potential Chess rule that a piece left in check becomes known not to be a King would make sense in this game. <p><li> The setup for Sinister Queens Chess is found in a number of historical variants. Curiously, I seem to recall that several commentators felt this setup <em>increased</em> White's advantage. Certainly it has been universally abandoned for the current setup. <p><li> A leaperless combination of Bigamous Chess and Episcopal Chess with RBBQKQBBR would probably be closer to Derek's ideal, I would think, and avoid the 'all Bishops on one color' problem of Bigamous Chess. <p><li> You have a missing /DL tag at the end of the 7x8 section. </ul>

Bastille Chess. Win by clearing your opponent's fortress. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2005-02-05 UTCGood ★★★★
This looks amusing. One question -- can Pawns promote to Kings, since Kings are non-royal? Mind you, I can't see why you'd ever <em>want</em> to do so, but could you?

Falcon Chess 100. Falcon Chess played on an expanded board of a 100 squares with special Pawn rules. (12x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2005-01-15 UTCGood ★★★★
When fiddling around with another design, I came up with an alternate Falcon Chess on a 100 squares idea. <p> <hr> <p> <h3 align=center>Decimal Falcon Chess</h3> Chess with three-fold Falcons played on a 10x10 board. <h4>Setup</h4> Take the standard FIDE setup, and add a Falcon with a Pawn in front of it on each end, and place the white pieces on the 2nd and 3rd ranks, and the black pieces on the 8th and 9th ranks. The first and last ranks are empty. <h4>Piece Movement</h4> All pieces move as in regular Falcon Chess except as noted below. <p> Kings may either not castle, or castle as in FIDE Chess or use free castling at the choice of the players. The empty row behind the King seems to make castling less necessary. <p> Pawns may optionally promote to any previously captured piece or a Falcon on 8th or 9th rank, and <strong>must</strong> so promote if they reach the 10th rank. <h4>Comments</h4> You might think that the Falcon would be somewhat constrained in its development in the corners, but the extra option of sliding behind a Bishop and thus guarding the center once some holes open up seems to make up for it.

Triumvirate Chess. Uses three Knights. The last remaining opposing Knight must be checkmated as the King. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2004-10-29 UTCGood ★★★★
This looks pretty interesting, but there are a couple of points: <ol><p><li> May a Centurion making its initial double-move capture a Caesar? <p><li> Is there castling? <p><li> Having played Knightmate (which replaces the King with a royal Knight and the Knights with non-royal Kings), I must disagree with the statement -- 'because the third (remaining) Caesar loses most of his powers upon the capture of the second Caesar, facilitating a quick end' -- as it is usually <em>easier</em> in my experiance to mate a royal Knight than a King (a Queen can mate a royal Knight unaided). </ol>

Switching Chess. In addition to normal moves, switch with an adjacent friendly piece. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2004-07-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Are swap moves that don't change the board position legal -- such as any swap of a piece with the same type of piece? <i>(If not, you could remove the swap code from the Pawns in the ZRF, which would probably result in better piece values.)</i>

Hero and Superhero Chess. The King's Pawn is replaced by a Hero (moves like any other piece on your side on the board) or a Superhero (improved Hero). (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2004-03-16 UTCGood ★★★★
And it says right on the page that a Hero's first move must be non-capturing.

Fugue. Based on Ultima and Rococo this game has pieces that capture in unusual ways. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2004-03-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This looks really neat, and if I ever have any free time again, I'm going to play around with it some. <p> I do wonder why you eliminated the suicide rule, though. <p> Apparently, while in music Rococo was followed by Classical, in art and architecture it was followed by Neo-Classical. Confusing. <p><hr><p> I can see why you replaced the Withdrawer, it being so comparitively weak (and even weaker without the ring board). I wonder if making the Withdrawer immune to the Immobilizer would increase its value significantly? It'd be horribly irregular, though.

Forward Chess. Variant where backward movement is limited. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2004-01-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Looks to be an excellent combination of elements. But why no draws by agreement? <p> BTW, it's <u>Feebback Chess</u>, not <u>Feedback Chess</u>. Now I'm wondering what Feedback Chess would be like.

Supremo Superchess. Decimal variant with extra powerful pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-12-16 UTCGood ★★★★
The published Rococo ZRF does not contain Supremo, but the development version did (see the header of the Rococo.zrf for details). At the time ZRF was ready, Supremo was still in flux (different setups and possible removal of the Cannon Pawn's ability to jump friendly pieces were still under consideration), so I took it out. I e-mailed Fergus about this at the time, but I believe this was during a time when his life was very busy, so I'm not surprised he didn't remember. <p> <hr> <p> While games with enormous power on the board aren't everyone's cup of tea, they can be fun. And the orthodox pieces can be a great deal of fun in such a game, since they can happily threaten the super pieces, since they are still quite capable, even if worth less. Consider a fork of two super pieces by a Bishop defended by a Pawn. This is what Ralph Betza refered to as the 'leveling effect'.

Treeleaders Chess. Large variant with non-similar armies. (9x10, Cells: 90) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-09-25 UTCGood ★★★★
<u>The Gnu Song</u> is by Flanders & Swann, and can be found here: <p><ul> <li><a href=''></a> </ul>

Storm the Ivory Tower. A Smess adaptation of Chinese Chess. (9x10, Cells: 90) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-09-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This looks really good, Fergus. You've blended these two games such that they look as if they were meant to be blended!

One question: is a Yahoo allowed to move back to its starting square when the arrows allow for it, making a null move?

A comment about the 'Korean' Clodhopper -- following the analogy with the Korean Cannon, they should not be allowed to capture other Clodhoppers.

About the exit moves. I can see very easily how you ended up with them, and I for one like the forced exit rule, since it should make the game more decisive. An alternate approach if you did want to forbid them the tower in the first place would be to shade the arrows pointing into the tower, and add a rule that Ninnys and Yahoos may not follow a shaded arrow on their side of the board.

Tiled Squares Chess. Drop tiles to create the board as you play. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-07-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This looks really neat! The only thing that worries me about it is that a player can just sit there picking up and dropping tiles. Maybe every 2nd or 3rd move ought should be required to be the move of a piece?

Glenn's Decimal Chess. A 10x10 blend of FIDE, Shogi, and Xiangqi influences. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-07-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This looks like fun, Glenn, I'll have to try it.

The only thing I have reservations about is the sidewise move of the Pawns. Generally, the forward-only move of Pawns encourages attack and provides some of a Chess-like game's dynamics. I wonder if adding a river line past which Pawns move sideways might not be a bad idea after all.

As for a name, if you were to run CHess, shOgi and xiangQI together, you'd get . . .Choqi . . . (I wonder of Cho means anything in any dialect of Chinese?)

Abstract ChessA game information page
. Pieces are represented by stacks of different heights.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-05-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This is a real neat idea, which is why I'm giving it an excellent rating. However, I find myself wondering how it would play in practice. There seems to me that there would be a certain tendency for the Pawn line to get sucked into the back line at the start, producing a mess of attack routes.

Ready Chess. Pieces cannot capture right after capturing, they have to be restored first. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-05-19 UTCGood ★★★★
Neat idea -- I can see where the need to flip a piece before capturing again could really break up an attack. One interesting effect of this change would be, I think, to make pieces closer together in value, since often a Queen's value lies in its ability to capture a piece and simultaneously offer check. Tactics ought to be fairly different. <p> One could extend this to not allowing pieces to even <em>move</em> after capturing until they are flipped. Or allow ready pieces to capture, but at the cost of being removed themselves too.

PromoChess. Everything but the king can power up. Mix of Japanese/Western/fairy pieces. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-05-19 UTCGood ★★★★
This is a nice idea, and like Tony, I'll have more to say once I've played with it a person. But why no King promotion? It would continue the theme, and a mild promotion, to say R2F wouldn't be so bad.

Dueling Archbishops. Chess variant on 2 by 3 board. (2x3, Cells: 6) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-05-19 UTCGood ★★★★
This is a cute miniature game, but it's a bit like playing Picaria, or other three-in-a-row games -- you don't so much win, as your opponent loses.

Chestria. Each player has 11 randomly selected pieces in this game of placement and flipping. (5x5x3, Cells: 43) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-04-17 UTCGood ★★★★
It's been a wonderful string of off-topic comments, but I'm afraid I'm actually going to comment on the game, or at least ask a question. <p> <ul> <li>OK, Jared, is flipping recursive? </ul> <p> What I mean by that, does a flipped piece, once flipped, cause other pieces to immediately flip? <p> For example: <b><pre> +---+---+---+ 5 | | | | +---+---+---+---+---+ 4 | | R | | | B | +---+---+---+---+---+ 3 | f | | | | | +---+---+---+---+---+ 2 | | | | | | +---+---+---+---+---+ 1 | | | | +---+---+---+ a b c d e</pre></b> If I were to drop a White Ferz on <b>a3</b> (as shown above), it would flip the Black Rook on <b>b4</b>. Would the Rook, now White, then also flip the Black Bishop on <b>e4</b>?

Ataturk Chess. One of your pieces in addition to your King is royal (your vice-president), and it can be changed. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-04-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
A lazy editor has added a related variant by Ralph Betza, Warm Spit Chess, to this page.

Pied Color Chess. Oh no! All the colors on the board have been scrambled -- however will the pieces move? (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-02-28 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Or a version of the pie rule (rather appropriate, don't you think?): the first player lays out the board, then the second player choses what color they will play. <hr> It might be nice to have a description of a Bishop's move on the example board -- I'd be perfectly willing to add a diagram for it to match the Rook and Knight examples.

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