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Game Reviews (and other rated comments on Game pages)

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Tiraspol chess. Variant in which pieces capture as the piece whose starting file they're in.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jörg Knappen wrote on 2021-03-07 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

An interesting and very playable game. The figures are divergent pieces moving as the nominal piece and capturing as Querquisites.

Darkness Chess. You have only limited information on where your opponents pieces are. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
William Kiely wrote on 2021-02-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Here's an animation of the game:

First game of dark chess ever played

I like black's idea on the final move (Rh2! hoping to provoke Kg1), however white called the bluff.

CHESSAGON. CHESSAGON® is like traditional Chess, but with Triangles, with one new additional piece named the Duke.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Cannon wrote on 2021-02-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I'm pleased to see this game! One correction : it is a trigonal, not hexaxonal, chess variant. The cells are triangles, not hexagons.

That said, I think this is an excellent contribution to the much under-explored trigonal tiling. Apart from a couple of games contributed by Graeme Neatham and Christian Freeling, along with a couple of my own, I think this is a little-used tiling which has lots of interesting possibilities for play.

Masonic Chess. Game played on a Masonic tile board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Spencer Reed wrote on 2021-02-01 UTCGood ★★★★
I dig this board. I tried writing a Zillions of Games .zrt for Masonic Chess last night.  I think it's about finished, but I can't seem to get through debugging to try it out.  Anyone here still messing with Zillions .zrt files?

Thinktank Chess. Frank Maus' game where most pieces move differently when capturing from how they move without capturing.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-01-24 UTCPoor ★

The table in the center of this page has several mistakes in the description column

Apothecary Chess-Classic. Large board variant obtained through tinkering with known games.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2021-01-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This is a very good game. Everything fits together well. The random setup provides variety without being completely chaotic. The brouhaha squares are a great way to add more pieces without making the board so big it feels empty. The promotion rule encourages more variety in promotion, which is something I look for particularly; and I like the auxiliary pieces used here. The Mameluk especially is fun.

I think I might slightly prefer the Modern Apothecary game, for it's Dragon and Griffin, which to me are more interesting than the Chancellor and Archbishop, but I like the Siege Elephant and Mameluk as auxiliaries, so it's hard to choose one game over the other. I don't know if I'd agree with the statement that the Joker can't defend well. It seems to me that it's ability to mimic an attacker's move makes it particularly good at defending and more difficult to use aggressively. I'm not great at chess (in any form), though, so I could be wrong about that.

I'm interested to see what the next games in this series will be like!

Horseman's Chess. Game where pieces mount and dismount.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2021-01-06 UTCGood ★★★★

This looks fun

Showdown Chess. No draws permitted. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Benjamin Silversten wrote on 2021-01-02 UTCPoor ★

Really? Insufficient material? What if the opponent has insufficient material?

Metamachy. Large game with a variety of regular fairy pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2020-12-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Metamachy is fun. The historical pieces are all interesting to play with, and the fast pawns keep the game from slowing down too much.

Shatranj of Troy. A Shatranj variant with Shogi-like drops, a Trojan Horse (with 6 pieces inside),. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2020-12-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This looks like an amazing game! It combines shogi drops with a beautifully simple setup and set of pieces.

Reading the rules makes me want to play it; and also to design something similar, but it seems impossible to make anything quite as elegant as this.

4 Kings Quasi-Shatranj. Each side has 4 Kings, all pieces are short range. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Erik Lerouge wrote on 2020-12-13 UTCGood ★★★★

I like very much short-ranges games, even with not very strong pieces, and this game falls into this category. Here the piece set (only of max 2-square range) is logical and works well, and the presence of 4 Kings, of which one must be checkmated (with the consequence of a unstoppable fork on several Kings being a checkmate), is here to help the outcome of the game. However, even with the 4 Kings, the game seems to take a very long time to finish; the two games in this website that had been led to a conclusion took 85 and (for the game that ended with checkmate) more than 110 turns, which seems too much for a game of that type. And I am a little bit sceptical concerning the mating potential: when most pieces have been exchanged, the four Kings can more easily prevent the Pawns to promote.

One solution would have been stronger 2-square range pieces, in a game closer to a short-range version of Sac Chess, with a KNAD being the strongest piece (or at least Centaurs, or KADs). The presence of the KNAD, able to force checkmate without assistance, would obviously make the game faster and more decisive, but in the same time maybe less balanced and tactically interesting. (In Metamachy, the power of the KNAD/Lion is well balanced by powerful long-range pieces.) And I wouldn’t suggest a change in the piece set of this game; it works well as it is, and a like it.

Another idea is making a game with 2 moves per turn. With the same pieces and victory condition, not only this would make the game shorter, but also the attacks more dangerous and less easy to counter (and the possibility of double check with two pieces). This solution seems to me more interesting, while keeping the character and the concept of the game, than to have stronger pieces.

Renaissance chess. a game played with the same board and set but with different rules. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
chessboards wrote on 2020-11-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

very interesting have noticed this when i was collating material on renaissance chess some time ago , didn't realise there's an actual different version of chess, thank you for the page Renaissance Chess

Flying Chess. Some pieces can fly. (8x8x2, Cells: 128) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matthew Mowbray wrote on 2020-11-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This is a fantastic game and one that I regularly enjoy playing both with friends or on my own. When playing on my own I change clothes after each move, speak in a different accent and have a different personality/backstory to give the appearance of separate players. Anyway I digress, a fantastic game, enjoy.

Royal Court. On 8 by 10 board with crowned knights: can move like king or knight. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2020-10-11 UTCGood ★★★★

I once had a CV of my invention (Wide Chess) gently criticized for my adding to the standard chess army of each side (on a 12x8 board) 4 pawns, plus two pairs of leapers that were somewhat similar to each other, in that they both had an alfil movement as part of their powers. Namely, it was thought said leapers weren't divergent enough from each other.

In the case of (10x8) Royal Court, a pair of leapers plus 2 pawns is added to the army of each side. The leapers have the same movement powers as knights, plus they can also move like a man (often called the Centaur compound). So, I can see how this addition of leapers to the standard chess army might be gently criticized, too (at least they are very powerful leapers, which might relieve any perception of slight redundancy).

Recently I had a couple of ideas of my own about adding pair(s) of fairly knight-like minor pieces to the FIDE army, although I may have rejected these ideas too quickly, partly due to the previous critique (of my Wide Chess). Namely the ideas involved adding either a pair of fibnifs and/or a pair of horse(mao)-wazir compound pieces (depending on the board size I would use). Besides Wide Chess not yet proving popular on Game Courier, I'd add another inhibition I have is that I've seen very few examples on this website of the FIDE army plus pair(s) of pieces added to them, where the pair(s) were not strikingly divergent in some way from other piece type(s) used in the chosen armies. Indeed, Wide Chess and Royal Court are more or less the only counter-examples I've noticed.

Haynie's high power fairy chess 64. With orthodox chess set but different stronger movements for most pieces. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2020-10-09 UTCPoor ★

The design of this game makes no sense to me. The Rook is upgraded to a Dragon King. The Knight is upgraded all the way to an Amazon. The Queen is upgraded to the most powerful piece I have ever heard of. But the poor Bishop is downgraded to a Wazir - a piece that moves only one step horizontally or vertically. One problem is that the board has so much power that it will be a tactical smash-fest. Another problem is that the Wazirs will never move. I cannot imagine any circumstance in which a player would waste a move on them, except possibly to get them out of the way to allow castling, and probably not even then. With all the nightriders, castling will likely be impossible anyway.

Shako_Balbo. Game with Diamond Shape Board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2020-09-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This is an excellent chess variant, and is one of my favorites. I think it plays better than either of the games from which it is derived. The starting position is carefully considered, allowing a wide variety of different openings.

The rook should still be worth slightly more than the bishop on this board but it is very close. I performed the mobility calculation. With a 30% board occcupancy, the rook's average mobility is 9.8 whereas the bishop's is 9.2. And the mobility of the rook increases faster than that of the bishop as the board clears out.

Diagonal Chess. Board turned 45 degrees. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Brian Wagner wrote on 2020-09-23 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Very similar to Wagner Chess:

Victorian Chess. Capablanca variant with the most powerful pieces starting on the outside. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2020-07-13 UTCGood ★★★★

I updated this page heavily...

  • Added graphic of setup (was just ASCII)
  • Updated intro to provide detail about chronology of invention
  • Changed format to be more consistent with other game description pages
  • Added information about Game Courier play/computer play
  • Added interactive diagram

Shatranj Kamil (64). Modern Shatranj based variant on 8 by 8 board with new pieces. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2020-07-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I've made several updates to this page. The HTML had a number of issues, (unclosed tags and the like), although they mostly weren't obvious to readers. I also reformatted it to better resemble our typical game descriptions and edited the text to be clearer. The Computer Play and Equipment sections have also been updated to reflect what is (and is not) currently available.

I will try to post a more in-depth review when I have some time to write one, but for now, suffice it to say this game plays very well and I do not hesitate to rate it Excellent.

Brouhaha. Like Chess, but it really brings the ruckus! (8x8, Cells: 72) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2020-07-01 UTCGood ★★★★

I have 2 questions about the brouhaha squares:

1) What is the advantage of allowing a capture on a brouhaha square? Spontaneously, I find this strange: I understood that such a square hosts a piece until it is activated and enter into play, then the square disapears. Then, this square is not part of the play area really. So, I wouldn't have allowed a capture on it at all. Maybe there is something I don't see.

2) Why this name of "brouhaha" square? At least in French a brouhaha is a surrounding noise. Those squares are more like a fog, brouillard in French. Brouhaha/brouillard, is there a linguistic confusion there? 

Chess+. Players choose when and where to place their pieces behind the pawns.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Cannon wrote on 2020-05-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Great idea. I have always loved Fischerrandom Chess, but I really don't like the way it gives players no control over where their pieces start. I also consider Fischer's castling rule to be cludgy and it's hard to believe that a man of his genius came up with that. Your project fixes those shortcomings. 

One tweak I'd make if it were up to me is to require both players to enter ALL their pieces before making any other moves. White would enter a piece, followed by black, and they'd take it in turns to enter pieces, one at a time, until the first and eighth ranks were full. Of course, Bishops must be required to be on different coloured squares. 

Zanzibar-XL. Further step after Metamachy. 80 pieces of 19 different pieces, with historical lineage.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2020-05-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Thank you very much. I have been able to upload all diagrams and the process was very lean. 

Yesterday, it was my mistake for the size limit. Instead of uploading the jpg diagrams I have made for my own website, I uploaded instead the source images coming from the board painting tool, which are much heavier. Thank you for your help.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2020-04-25 UTCGood ★★★★

Pieces are never attacking friendly pieces or I miss something

That is the answer to my question. So if a virgin King is on h1, a black Bishop on h2, and a black Knight on g4, the King can move to h3. If his own Bishop was on h2 instead, he could not.

Some people would say pieces can attack the square a friendly piece is on. They obviously cannot capture it, but that doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as being attacked. E.g. when my King stands next to an enemy Pawn that is protected, does he attack that Pawn?

Personally this rule strikes me as quite illogical; to pass through a square it should be empty, and if you don't pass through it but jump over it, you shouldn't have to worry if you are attacked there. And I wonder how much this rule actually affects the game; it seems very hard to attack any squares next to the enemy King before he moves away to safety, as he starts buried behind 2 or 3 ranks of pieces. Especially if he can jump.

In general I like your variants a lot, because you do not only feature super-strong pieces (much stronger that Rook), but also Knight-class pieces. Most variants suffer from an over-abudance of Queen-class pieces. The middle of the strength spectrum is still a bit under-populated, though: almost none of the pieces is close to a Rook in value.

Bishops Chess. Chess with two light-squared and two dark-squared Bishops on each side.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2020-04-23 UTCAverage ★★★

I think this game is OK, but I do not care for the promotion rules.  The game does not have a queen, so promotion to queen would already be the strongest piece.  The amazon seems excessive and most games that feature that piece are not very good IMO.  The amazon attacks in 16 directions while the next strongest piece - the rook - only attacks four.

Metamachy. Large game with a variety of regular fairy pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2020-04-15 UTCGood ★★★★

Thanks a lot. I didn't know about Lioness, very good.

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