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Unicorn Great Chess. Lions have been added to Unicorn Chess! (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2021-05-08 UTC

Seems to me that the Queen on j1/j8 is a major design flaw of this variant, btw: you cannot K-side castle without trapping the Queen. You would have to compromise the Pawn shield to develop it. The Queen and Unicorn should have been swapped. (Even through the Unicorn probably is the stronger of the two.)

I think you are right.  I've played this game a lot and developing the Queen is always an issue.  It's not fatal -- this is still one of my favorite variants -- but I generally castle to the other side or often not at all.  And, yes, I'm confident the Unicorn is at least a little stronger than the Queen, although they become almost equal by the endgame.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-05-08 UTC

Seems to me that the Queen on j1/j8 is a major design flaw of this variant, btw: you cannot K-side castle without trapping the Queen. You would have to compromise the Pawn shield to develop it. The Queen and Unicorn should have been swapped. (Even through the Unicorn probably is the stronger of the two.)

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-05-08 UTC

This diagram has one minor flaw: the Pawns on the e- and f-file only have a double-push when they are the original ones. Since the diagram doesn't enforce rules, this doesn't have to stop you playing these moves, in the unlikely case that the situation ever occurs. The AI would just never play them itself.

files=10 ranks=10 satellite=unicorn graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/alfaeriePNG/ promoZone=1 maxPromote=1 squareSize=50 graphicsType=png lightShade=#FFFFD0 startShade=#4F705F rimColor=#7F3700 coordColor=#FFDEAD borders=0 firstRank=1 useMarkers=1 promoChoice=UQC symmetry=mirror pawn::::a2-d2,e3,f3,g2-j2 knight:N:::c1,h1 bishop::::d1,g1 rook::::b1,i1 lion::HFD:greatwarmachineferz:e2,f2 chancellor::::a1 queen::::j1 unicorn::BNN::e1 king::KisjO2::f1

Unicorn Great Chess

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-03-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Nice powerful pieces added, on a large board. What's not to love?

TH6 wrote on 2017-03-26 UTCGood ★★★★

I really like the mix of pieces added to the game.  The setup positioning of the Lions brings them right into the game early and the Unicorn is a very instrumental piece to the game.  It is very challenging to use and to guard against.

Neither my opponent nor myself made any moves with the Queen nor the Chancellor, which seem like very important pieces to use.  I am not sure if that is a regular occurance or not.  

The board is large, but not too large - big enough to encourage use of the Unicorn.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2016-07-29 UTC

Oh, right. If he no longer has his old email address, then he will need assistance.

Greg Strong wrote on 2016-07-29 UTC

I understand that, but the password recovery uses the email on file.  If his email address has changed, that won't work will it?  Which is why I said "if your email has changed."

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2016-07-29 UTC

There is a script in place for retrieving lost passwords. A link to it will appear on his profile page when he is not signed in. This is not normally handled manually by an editor.

Greg Strong wrote on 2016-07-29 UTC

Hi, David.  Good to see you're still lurking, at least on occasion :)

Did you lose your password?  If you can't recover it because your email has changed, if you email [email deleted], maybe someone can help.



David Paulowich wrote on 2016-07-25 UTC

My ears were burning, so I decided to check for comments.  Wow!  Over the years, some very nice things have been said about my work here.  I really should give credit to some of the original workers in this field.  Ralph Betza - goes without saying.  George Jellis might be the first to mention a Unicorn piece - his website appears functional, but the link I found here goes to a defunct webpage.

David Paulowich - thinking about a new password.

Greg Strong wrote on 2016-07-24 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This is an excellent game. It is, in my opinion, possibly the best of what I would consider the “standard” genre of decimal chess variants (i.e., orthodox chess expanded to a 10x10 board with extra pieces and nothing too unorthodox added.) I consider it superior even to Grand Chess, which although a great game, suffers from slightly low piece density.

The Lion piece (Betza HFD) is always a good choice for a non-colorbound leaper more powerful than the Knight. A close comparison would be the Champion from Omega Chess. The Lion has a different flavor though. It may feel a little less intuitive, at least at first, but the long (0, 3) leap helps to break through tightly closed positions that can be common in variants of this sort where extra short-range leapers are added. I also use this piece, following Paulowich's choice of piece naming, in Opulent Chess (my own attempt to create a standard decimal chess variant improving upon Grand Chess.)

The Unicorn is also a fun piece, with a value almost identical to the Queen on a 10x10 board. It is slightly stronger than the Queen at the beginning of the game, but the Queen slowly becomes more mobile, (and thus more powerful), as the board clears out. Nightrider pieces are not to everyone's liking, though, being difficult to visualize. The fact that the Queen, Unicorn, and Chancellor are all of very similar value, however, is definitely a plus. I consider that a desirable feature in a game, leading to natural development of different-army situations, increasing the strategy and flavor of the game without starting with different armies (which always raises difficult questions of balance.)

I've always considered David Paulowich one of the most talented creators of chess variants - always carefully analyzing his inventions before releasing them - and this one doesn't disappoint.

As far as piece values go, the table that follows shows some statistics as well as my estimation of the values. The average mobility is a Betza Mobility Calculation assuming a board occupancy of 30%.

PieceAve. Dir. AttackedAve. Safe ChecksAve. MobilityMidgame ValueEndgame Value

George Duke wrote on 2010-01-26 UTC
For genuine participants, there is no reason not to have each ranked CV fully imprinted in mind with all the gory detail. Then to compare perfectly right down the line: [Bifurcators(#1) > Great Shatranj(#2) > Mastodon(#3) > Three-Player(#4)...]  Unicorn Great(#5), in explanation of its rules-set, may have had early short shrift. U.G. is resonant with Schoolbook(#10) in having the Carrera compounds. Centaur(BN) is strengthened to Unicorn(B,NN). Additionally, Betza's Half-Duck used here, and not used here Mastodon, and Murray Lion modified for upcoming Bilateral are three leaders among the different promising short-range-piece solutions -- solutions insofar as a problem exists that historic Knight has been the only standard short- or medium-range chess piece, with all Knight's defensive limitations,
mounted on 10x10. No Centaur and stronger Unicorn instead set that pairing with Champion(RN) off better on 10x10. Low-piece-density Grand Chess, for all the sickening past hype, is non-starter compared to these two Carreras, regular-density Schoolbook and Unicorn Great, enhancing 400-year-old Carrera. By U.G.'s conception, Half-Duck's reach up to three would optimize range necessary to prevent diminishment of Pawn effectiveness; so ''(#5)'' here is non-frivolous indicator.

George Duke wrote on 2008-10-03 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Unicorn Great chess adds to Unicorn Chess Lions, Betza's Half-Duck, a short-range piece.

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