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Sculptures by James Killian Spratt -- Three New Chess Variations A website
. Beautiful chess sets created by a sculptor of three of his own Chess variations plus Jetan.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2004-06-13 UTC
The editors received this reply from Mr. Spratt: <p>Hi Michael: Thanks for your comments regarding Imperial Chess rules; here I'll try to clarify some of the muddy areas you pointed out. Please understand, first, that as the inventor of this game, I consider myself responsible for clarifications of all points, although I freely admit that you and the other editors share vastly greater experience in rules than I, and might have superior ideas about some of them. Know that I am open to any of them that you feel firmly about; I'm flexible, I play for fun, and I grasp that a firm codification of rules must be thorough, comprehensive, and comprehensible. <p> On Capturing All the Imperials To Win: I feel that this game should adhere metaphorically to the way wars and life really work, or fail to work. It is in the nature of Empires to serve themselves and to perpetuate themselves. It has been known for a King to marry a commoner and call the offspring a King; therefore, to eliminate the royalty entire would require the elimination of all of them. Possibly the Win Condition could be simplified to just the Emperor, or just the Empress, or the pair of them. If anyone would like to play it that way, it's fine with me; just remember the Imperial Prince, when he gets the news from his messenger from home (special rules:Emperor killed.) <p> On Promoted Pawn Return: 'Pawn is returned to his original position.' I've never played a game wherein that spot was occupied by another piece, although I realize it could be; in that case, the pawn should be placed as near that space as possible, behind the occupying piece. The Pawn should be returned in the file in which his promotion took place. (Thus eliminating the need for numbering the pawns.) <p> On 'Moves Any Two Spaces, Square or Diagonal.....' I believe you are referring to the Knight's move, especially, and the Princes. I call this the Knight's Backjump, wherein he can move from a1 to a2 to b1 or b3; a literal interpretation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Jetan rules, regarding the Thoat's (Knight's) move permits this, and it does make the Knight much more dangerous. Some players dislike this option on the very face of it, but then many chess players dislike variations of any kind. I'd consider this optional, to be agreed between the two participants before play; I happen to like it. <p> On 'The Charge.....Within One Move of Direct Attack Position': This would be threat position, minus one move. Look at any given piece on any given board in any given game; you can tell how many moves it will take that piece to clobber another one. Back up one move, and you're in Threat Position; back up one more move, and THAT's the position you need six of your foremost men in. It takes a fairly sharp, predatory eye to perceive this. <p> More About 'The Charge': Charging is an advantage, but not an overwhelming one. Remember, if you're close to him, he's close to you, too. It's usually a matter of who throws the first punch. There is also the danger of overextending your troops by being TOO aggressive, say, two or three charges in a row. The Charge permits the smart to be really smart and the dumb to be really dumb. Any charge, or countercharge, immediately sets up at least six fights which must be dealt with NOW, and introduces an element of desperation which I consider very much like real combat; a truly anal and conservative player will almost never initiate a charge, but they need their butts kicked anyway. There is a little element of serendipity in the post-engagement moments--sorta like 'Wow! WHAT was THAT?!--but some sharp General once said that no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. ALSO, it's a big board, with a lot of pieces; without the Charge, it takes three hours; with the charge, half that time or less. <p> Michael, thanks again for your pertinent questions. I hope I've made it clearer, and let me know if there's anything else about the game that's doubtful. I'm open to your suggestions about how to improve it, but I really think you oughtta play it a few times first. Stay in touch! Yours, James