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Amalgamated Chess. Incorporates some aspects of historical variants, but uses only usual equipment. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Cameron Miles wrote on 2014-08-16 UTC
Wow... sorry about this. I really should have mentioned (the last time I moved) that I was leaving for a much-anticipated 3-week vacation the very next day. While away, I did log in to G.C. every once in a while, but only for a few minutes at a time, to just move quickly in my current games so that they would all remain active. The problem was, the A.C. game never appeared on my list of current games, so I wound up not seeing what you'd written at the end of it until now (just got home earlier today, and was sifting through the "Finished Games" list when I finally found it).

Guess I ought to get back on topic now...

The vulnerability of the Wazir-Prince was something that I immediately expressed some concern over, but what worried me wasn't that it would make him too easy to attack; the issue was that he could be targetted right from move 1, leading to forced opening moves and tactics (rarely a good thing).

The new opening layout seems to have solved this problem**, however (and very nicely, I might add), which is why I'm going to have to disagree with your assessment that giving the Prince the Wazir move was seemingly a mistake. According to the introduction at the very top of the rules page, Amalgamated Chess is meant to be "a fast-paced, aggressive game". As it is now, the game accomplishes this about as well as any chess variant could ever hope to; it's about as close to pure attacking chess as you can get. Is this really "the opposite" of what you had hoped for?

Personally, the extremely sharp, dynamic, and non-materialistic nature of the gameplay is one of my favorite things about the version of A.C. we've been playing. Moreover, I think it is something that a lot, if not most, of chess variant players like to see - variants that are faster and more aggressive than FIDE chess. For this reason, I think the idea of weakening the royal pieces in this game was actually a brilliant one.

If A.C. has any shortcomings, it may be the lack of defensive resources available to its armies. Because of the way promotion works, every single piece on the board is 10 times more effective on the opponent's side of the river than on its own side. I did have an idea that may help to balance attack and defense in this game. It involves replacing the Elephants (which can be dangerous offensive pieces) with a useful defensive piece, that cannot cross the river. Because the invading pieces are so powerful (due to promotion), I would suggest making these defenders reasonably strong - perhaps the move of the "War Elephant" is a good fit.

The above proposal would give the game an additional similarity with the popular Xiangqi from the East, as well as preserve the game's ability to be played with a standard chess set. Most importantly, it would give both sides at least a sporting chance to fend off attacks, so that victory is not always guaranteed as soon as 1 or 2 pieces break through into enemy territory.

One last note: the rules page still gives the following description under "Setup": "Position the ... armies as in regular Chess." This should probably be edited, in light of the recent changes made to the initial setup.

** Admittedly, the playtesting we've done for the game's latest version has been very limited, with only one game so far from the correct starting position.