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Orwell Chess. Three player variant themed on George Orwell's 1984. (7x12, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on 2018-05-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

J. C. Hallman in 2004 'The Chess Artist' interviews Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at his multi-million Chess City, Kalmykia.  Then the f.i.d.e. President says to the effect:  whatever happens, or even thought of, in the mundane "real world," Chess has already been there, having visited every eventuality.   So this Orwell '1984'  by Overby.

As in '1984', three  players Eurasia, East Asia. and Oceania.  Everyone reviewing loved it except Charles Gilman.  Maybe he is right one or two of the 7 piece-types could be tweaked.  But this is perfectly symmetrical solution to three-player CV.  

Three teams ebb and flow constrained from unfair alliance by cylindrical downwards and up, and by Shifting Alliances rule, and by Perpetual Powers rule.  Variant pieces go back to year 1283 in Gryphon.  King may move into check because the dice may free him.  The '3x1's give where the Berolina pawns promote, and the seventh piece is promotee royal Maharajah.  

(zzo38) A. Black wrote on 2013-07-13 UTC

The Maharaja is really powerful because it can move twice as often as the other pieces! One possible subvariant to weaken a bit is if you roll a 1 then you can only move 1 space. (This is untested.)

Hugo wrote on 2004-04-16 UTCGood ★★★★
The Berlinpeono has, when he must move first, a disadvantage in:
-or being pinned at the side of the next army( the board is not
torus-shaped, I presume)
-or being captured by an opposing Berlinpeono
so the only wise move is moving 'em in front of the Dabbabah, which
him unmovable, but excellently capturable, which exposes the Raja.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2003-06-09 UTC
Thank you, gentlemen, both for the support and the critique.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-06-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I had the opportunity to play this game with the inventor. I must say that I really enjoyed it. I found that the selection of pieces and their capabilities was quite interesting and suited for the 3-player setting. A fun, interesting, 3-player game is special in-itself. The shifting alliances is a very good way of preventing a strategy of ganging-up. Something that should also be mentioned is the random element. While this is unusual in Chess, it is definitely an interesting, playable, and fun aspect of the game. Overall, this is an excellent game. The judges have to select their picks for finalists. Often specific choices are based on minor or even subjective preferences. The final choices do not reflect negatively on otherwise very good games.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-06-07 UTCPoor ★
My concurrence is with the judges' rejection of this game. It is too
crowded and too far from the mainstream.
	It is crowded as only one empty file separates the armies, although you
make good use of the Gryphon move to reduce army size from 21 to 17. A
better vertical wraparound would be 21 ranks by 4 files, with 16-piece
armies starting in square formations 3 ranks apart. This would also
eliminate colourbinding.
	The choice of pieces is bizarre. You label as Dabbaba a piece that turns
out to be a Bishop, when a quite different usage of Dabbaba is now
established. You use a piece from a Shogi variant, when standard Shogi has
plenty of distinct pieces, from a feeble but Honourable Horse to almost
queenly Dragon pieces. What would be wrong with a Dragonhorse for the
Bishop move (plus enough to not be colourbound!) and a standard Dabbaba or
even Dabbaba+Wazir combined piece for a reduced Rook move.

Joseph DiMuro wrote on 2003-05-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I concur with Michael. At the start of the judging, I had two games pegged
to be on top, and this was one of them. (Not to knock the judges, however;
I didn't take anywhere near as much time looking at the games as they
did.) The shifting alliances rule is one of those 'Duh, why didn't I
think of that?' ideas. :-) Good way to stop the two-gang-up-on-one

By the way, Michael, my other favorite from the group was Wizard's War. I
think it's safe to say so now, since both games are out of the running.

Michael Nelson wrote on 2003-05-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I am more than a little surprized that this game was not chosen as a finalist in the 84 spaces contest. This is an enjoyable, playable three-handed game and that is a very rare thing. I feel that the innovative shifting alliances rule will revitalize the three-handed genre.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2002-09-27 UTC
The idea of a circular board may yet be explored, if not here then for
another three-player game.  I had some of the pieces in mind first, and
their use made a board without squares more trouble than it was worth.

In face-to-face play, White and Black tend to sit at their respective ends
with Red along a long side.  It works.  Also, in face-to-face we always
structured the board with a thirteenth 'rank' just like the picture. 
Players freely swapped any piece on the 12th to either end as needed, to
help visualize the situation around the cylinder.

I'm glad you liked the game.  The Shifting Alliances rule is one design
feature I'm particularly happy about.

Anonymous wrote on 2002-09-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The orwellian change of alliances makes this variant
a really great game. Using a circular board (like
the one of circular byzantine chess) instead of a
cylindrical one makes it easier to play between humans.

--Jörg Knappen

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