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Joe Joyce wrote on Fri, Dec 23, 2005 06:51 AM UTC:
Um, let me try this again. This is a really great game. But when you're
trying to say that and the designer has to defend himself from your
excellent rating, you've probably done something wrong. My sincere
apologies. My only excuse is that it was late and I'd taken several cold
pills an hour before. Apparently for me, typing while sleeping is as
dangerous as driving while sleeping. I was far too forceful in expressing
some of my points. 'Maddening complexity' is one instance. I never
actually beat my head against the keyboard (although if you look at the
game, you'll see several spots where I wanted to) or even came close,
except over some of my own errors. Hard as it may be to believe, I was
trying to compliment the game, and encourage people to play it. I think it
would make an excellent tournament game next time around. So, let me try
this again.
I do believe it is opening-sensitive, and here's why: 99% of variants
have all their piece starting positions pre-determined, and the sides
almost always mirror one another. Almost never does a piece on its
starting square attack an opposing piece. SoT requires you to set up your
own pieces as moves in the game. Now you have to work to balance the other
guy's setup, and may wind up with a considerably different setup. This is
an 'extra area', where players can gain or lose during setup. This
can't happen in FIDE. But this is a bonus, making the game quite unique,
to the best of my knowledge. It appears that playing through a number of
openings would help you determine better piece placements. If one player
makes significantly better piece placements, that advantage may easily
carry through the game. 
I see this as a whole new area, you see it as 'much more opening
variety'. I obsess over placements, counting squares a jamal or dabbabah
can reach, trying to ensure that pieces can support each other; it's not
necessarily simple for everyone. I always had trouble with free set-ups in
wargames. It generally took me a few repeats of a game to have an idea of
how to do the initial piece placement. And, of course, an opponent,
knowing your preferences, can adjust his placement to disrupt yours. This
helps make the game excellent, regardless of how it's seen.
Finally, the 'Nice job'. That should have been 'Tremendous job'. I'm
looking forward to playing this again. I want (need) to learn how to use
the Trojan horse. It's an outstanding piece. 
As far as resigning too quickly, you had me good - you just got the 2nd
rook, and controlled my back rank. I was hoping to start again, and play a
much more even game, now that I have some idea of how placement and drops
work. This game deserves a better test than I gave it so far.

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