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Comments by Larry Smith

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Ancient Game Pieces[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Larry Smith wrote on 2013-09-03 UTC
Kudos, Mats.

Sorry for the delay. I had to check out those games.

Being a fan of both abstract and ancient games, I found these board games
quite enjoyable. Simplicity should never be considered a negative.


I have been thinking that the 'bullet' pieces could act as blockers on
the field. Their introduction could be the result of a specific action
during the play, such as a capture. They also should be movable, or
re-movable, under certain conditons to prevent the play from reaching a
stale position.

Larry Smith wrote on 2013-08-25 UTC
I like the Pretwa playing field. Though I might opt for an eight spoke
wheel instead of six. And to further the multiple of four: eight rings.
With the center point making a final ninth on the spokes.

I also like the idea of playing on points instead of cells. This might
offer a better perspective, particularly if the pyramids are used as


Within each of us is a piece of the Great Truth hidden by Creation. It will
only be fully revealed when we truly know and understand one another.

--Anonymous Revelation

Larry Smith wrote on 2013-08-22 UTC
I have a theory (and it might not be original) that board games began as
tally fields for dice games. As the pieces began to interact, player
developed rules: such as captures, displacement, etc.

This might also account for the introduction of specific pieces to the
field to note a particular roll. A six or double could offer a multiplier.

And reaching the end of a track would result in promotion. Allowing for the
dice game to continue on a limited track.

I'm thinking of a circular field for this potential game. Each ring being
a seperate track. Shifting from such tracks according to conditions. The
goal being to place a specific piece on the center cell.

The outer ring could be the introduction point. Rolls could determine place
and piece. Modifier pieces would shift moving pieces in and out of the
concentric rings. Including off-board.

The number of cells for each ring might be baseed on the potential dice. I
thinking that those discs would serve for this purpose. Flat on one side
and curved on the other. A toss could be denoted as 1 for curved side up
and 2 for flat side up. With two discs, this offers a roll of 2, 3, or 4.
Doubles might allowed additional rolls. My concern would be the odds of
tossing these particular pieces. Would their dynamics result in common
orientation, such as flat side always being down?

Another idea for dice could be four-sided sticks.

Larry Smith wrote on 2013-08-21 UTC
According to the picture we have:

4 pyramids
4 light 'bullets'
8 dark 'bullets'
3 pigs or boars
4 dogs?
1 grey glob
1 black glob
3 striped spheres
2 black discs
3 white speres

Now, it would not be necessary to use all--or even the same quantity--of
any of these pieces.

But my first impression is a game similar to Hounds and Jackals. Boars and
Dogs. The other pieces being modifiers to the playing field or goal

The playing field could be Senet-like. A race track with multiple
branchings. This will allow the other pieces to be used as 'blockers' or

For example, the pyramids might simply deflect the approaching piece to
adjacent tracks. Or block, according to its facing.

The 'globs' might represent each players goal piece that would need

I'll stop my speculation here. And allow others to present a few ideas of
their own. Needless to say(but I will anyway), my suggestion should not be
considered dogma. Anyone should feel free to express alternative

One note: Ancient games often used dice. Would such be a part of this

Larry Smith wrote on 2013-08-20 UTC
Very interesting.

I've always loved the ancient games. Even wrote a Zillions file for
Latrunculi from rules interpretated by Dr. Ulrich Shaeder. Added a variant
of my own. ;-)

I noted that the site included thousands of beads and pieces of pottery.
Was there a board found with the pieces? Else I might jump to the
conclusion that these might simply be the products of manufacturer of
household odds and ends. And may not represent either a complete or
intended game set. Just think of all the little figurines that people still
collect for no reason except for display and accumulation.

But still, it could be very fun to work up some form of play with this set.
It notes that the field might be based on number four. I would stick to
movement and captures based on other ancient games. A few modern tweaks
might help to liven the game, so such potentials should not be totally

Is anyone interested in giving such a project a try?

The DIY: 3D Chess Set[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Larry Smith wrote on 2013-02-02 UTC
This is really cool.

If it is either inexpensive to purchase or easy to self-assemble, it will
go a long way in the real world application of a lot of 3D Chess variants.

I look forward to more detail about this product.

Ringworld Chess. Themed hex variant differentiating opposite directions along orthogonals. (Cells: 198) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2012-06-16 UTC
Must have missed the initial posting of this game, probably on holiday at the time. Being a Ringworld fan, I would have definitely checked it out earlier.

Looks interesting. I have to try out a few games before I rate it. But at first glance I am swayed toward Good or better.

If noone has yet made a Zillions implementation of this game, I would be happy to take a stab at it. Just give me a little time.

Second Best Chess[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Larry Smith wrote on 2012-06-07 UTC
Thanx for the info.

Couldn't recall the name. I knew that it had be more than forty years old,
since I played it in the 70s.

I definitely recommend this one. It really stimulates the gray cells. ;)

Larry Smith wrote on 2012-06-06 UTC
Don't know if this variant has been published here, or the name of the
original developer. But here's a nice little change in the standard rules
of the Mad Queen variant.

Each player, at their turn, writes down two distinct legal moves that they
could perform. The opposing player chooses one of these.

If there are no optional moves, such as might occur during a check, the
player may simply perform that one.

Have played this form many times and it can lead to some interesting
tactics. First, your opponent must recognize the potential of both offered
moves and select the one they would deem 'second best'. And though a
weaker move may appear such, they can often turn the game. Second, reducing
your opponents options and forcing a truly weak move as their 'second

Try it, you'll like it.

Report here any pages that are not showing up[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Larry Smith wrote on 2012-04-29 UTC
Don't know if this has been pointed out, or whether this is a good spot to
do so, but ...

I've noticed that the drop-down menu appears and stays on several pages,
without having run the mouse over the Chess Variants logo. In fact, it does
so at the Comments page.

This also blocks the view on many other pages, making it difficult to read

Probably just a simply initialization error in HTML. I could go look for
it, but I'm getting old and find I don't really have time for the small
stuff. ;)

Necromancer Chess. The Undead Walk. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2011-09-10 UTC
A piece converted by an 'undead' switches sides. So a Black 'undead' Bishop would convert a White 'live' Pawn to a Black 'undead' Pawn. 

And players are not permitted to convert their own. Their 'undead' fight for them.

Larry Smith wrote on 2011-09-04 UTC
If I can find the time, I might hack out a ZRF for this game. ;-)

It will not be that difficult to encode. I would like to have a wicked appearance for its graphics. If anyone has ideas in this direction, I am interested. The difference between the 'live' and 'undead' pieces should be quite significant so that the player can easily visualize their particulars.

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Larry Smith wrote on 2011-08-04 UTC
One of the tasks of Pawns is to offer an advantage in the potential
exchange. Being the lowest of rank, trading one(or more) of these for a
power piece can offer a significant advantage in the game.

Thus this is usually a weak and numerous piece. An army for the player.

Its promotion also can offer a significant material advantage, creating a
focus of contention while in play.

At what point can a Pawn no longer be considered such. Does freedom of
movement negate this title? Does movement beyond a single step?

I would advocate that the least powerful(and most numerous) piece of any
game might be designated a Pawn, regardless of its particular powers and

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Larry Smith wrote on 2011-06-26 UTC
I would suggest in a large game with this few pieces that the Pawns attack
both diagonal and triagonal. The White Pawns only changing levels upward,
and the Black Pawns downward. Though I might allow both to make these level
changes while attacking to any available cell. Technically this allows the
Pawns to retreat, but since they advance a level it all evens out. ;-)

Also the Knights might be best if allowed the moves of the Super Knight of
3D Chess. That is the (0,1,2), (1,1,2) or (1,2,2) moves.

The Rook might also be allowed the planar movement. This would greatly
speed up the game, and provided a piece which effectively mates the
'slippery' 3D King. I would not give this type of move to any other

The Bishop might also be allowed the triagonal slide. The sames goes for
the Queen. Though with their diagonal slide, they attack their opposites
from the start. So there might need to be some form of restriction for
sliders when changing levels. How about this: they may only perform level
changing slides if friendly pieces are present on levels which they pass
through. This could effectively restrict their level change to one. And at
the start, they could only change two levels. This rule could also be
applied to the planar Rook.

And the twin pennies have hit the table. ;)

Larry Smith wrote on 2011-06-24 UTC
Interesting 3D game.

I would like to see an in-depth explanation of the individual movement of
the pieces.

The restriction of the King goes a long way to catching that 'slippery'
3D king. This also might solve the length of game problem with the 8x8x8

With more info, I may work up a Zillions implementation for this game.

Kobayashi Maru. A variant set of rules for playing chess using the 3 dimensionsal set featured on the TV series Star Trek. (7x(), Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2011-04-07 UTC
There is a Zillions implementation of this game, for those who have the engine. This can demonstrate the game's playability.

If you find this variant difficult to comprehend, you might want to avoid the Curved Space variant. That one will make ya go 'sparrow'. As of this time, it has avoided coding for the Zillions engine. It has a large number of variables, and I've yet to figure how to get the platform to handle them.

BigBangChess. Pieces start off-board; the board expands and contracts during play. (11x11, Cells: 121) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2011-02-03 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I really like this one!

Tridimensional Chess (Star Trek). Three-dimensional chess from Star Trek. (7x(), Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2010-12-04 UTC
Check out:

Directed Alice IIIA game information page
. a 3-board Alice Chess variant.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2010-11-05 UTC
Another idea about the 3x8x8 3D field. Restricting the King from translating to a similar cell which is attacked on the middle level. So that a King could not move from the bottom level to the top d4 cell if the d4 cell of the middle level was attacked by the opponent.

And a player could trap an opposing King with their own. For example, a King on the top a1 cell could pin an opposing King on the bottom b2 cell by simply translating to the b2 cell of the middle level. Neither King would directly attack the other in this position, and the King on the middle level could still 'release' this trap by translating to the top level.

This might greatly aid in the endgame.

Larry Smith wrote on 2010-11-04 UTC
Good point, Charles.

Let's simply make the condition for moving from the top to bottom level(or vice versa) predicated on the similar destination cell of the middle level being vacant. So that a move from the bottom level to d4 on the top level is only possible if the d4 cell of the middle level is not occupied.

This will allow for blocking an opponent's move or capture, although this tactic might not be utilized that often.

Larry Smith wrote on 2010-10-31 UTC
Don't know if anyone has pointed this out but--

This game might play nice on the commercial 3x8x8 field. Allowing only transfers to the central level from the top and bottom, but to either top or bottom from the central level.

Just a thought.

Larry Smith wrote on 2010-10-03 UTC
A very interesting variant. Let me play around with it for a while before rating it properly. Though just for the concept I could rate it better than Good.

I wondering how the increase in potential cells will affect play. Particularly when trying to corner the opposing King. This is a common problem with most 3D games, that slippery King.

But I can see that the player could also have an increase potential of promotion, so that may solve the problem.

Once again, nice idea.

JetanBROKEN LINK!. Martian Chess.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2010-06-10 UTC
This is a broken link. Here's the new address:

HiveQueen. Missing description (Cells: 61) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2009-12-21 UTC
No prob, Joe, I fixed it.

About Game Courier. Web-based system for playing many different variants by email or in real-time.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2009-11-01 UTC
This site needs a 'simple' Jetan section. It does not have to enforce the rules, just allow players to interact by e-mail.

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