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The Chess Variant Pages



This page is written by the game's inventor, Adrian King.

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Derek Nalls wrote on 2005-12-09 UTC
I think I can voice some encouragement for 'Anonymous' even though I classify my position as neutral and realistic, neither optomistic nor pessimistic.

Yes, 'there are plenty of good reasons for making chess variants besides trying to create the perfect one'. However, 'trying to create the perfect one' is the truly outstanding and inspiring reason. As to whether or not it is actually achievable, I maintain that creating a virtually perfect game is. Moreover, I can tentatively offer only ONE game I have ever created as a living proof ... to be lacerated at will by any or all naysayers who hang out here. It is named 'Hex Chess (square-spaced)'. Please check it out!

I prefer to venture that a more appropriate or correctly applicable parallel or analogy is a limit (in the sense of calculus) whereby perfection is not absolutely achievable but progressively approachable thru the correct solution of as many successive, problem terms or steps as possible. By no means do I regard this parallel or analogy as a perfect fit to our endeavor, though:

1. I strongly doubt that the number of game-design principles which must be adhered to in order to create the best chess variant possible is infinite (and thus, unachievable). I am aware of only appr. 25 essential and appr. 25 non-essential game-design principles which I consider important enough to comply with in every case. After six years of thought and work, I have become convinced that I have not overlooked or failed to consider any critically important topics within our craft.

2. The importance of the various problem terms or factors in game design varies greatly. One is most important (symmetry), several are vital, dozens are of minor-to-trivial benefit ... to comply with. Consequently, I have reasons to think that a board game exhibiting 75%-90% perfection (as if anyone has devised a proven, reliable mathematical method to measure such value-judgment laden qualities) can readily be implemented by anyone with sufficient expertise to follow several well-defined guidelines.

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'It may also hold for chess variants that all the ideal characteristics of a chess variant cannot compatibly coexist in the same game. If that is so, then the ideal chess variant is a pipedream.'

Your logic is impeccable but your premise, although very interesting, is dubious as it is drawn via precarious, interdisciplinary leaps from abstract findings in political philosophy and mathematical logic which may not be pertinent or unconditionally applicable to our specialized area. By the way, I address the issue of the apparent-yet-surpassable, incompatibility of ideal characteristics in chess variants within (and to some extent, throughout) my main descriptive essay and demonstrate the feasibility of these ideas via the implementation of one game.


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