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Game Reviews by Charles Gilman

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Gast's Chess. Large 1969 variant using the Cardinal (Guard) and the Chancellor (Archer). (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 07:01 AM UTC:Average ★★★
Sorry, meant to add a re-rating - and it's not one that's available on editing existing comments!

Knavish Shatranj. Shatranj with Knaves and Debtors. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 06:01 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I hope that the rating isn't over the top for something that, after all, was inspired by a variant of mine and uses its distinctive pieces.
	Inotice that the piece with the most forward Knight moves remains in the Knight position, and iomagine that this is deliberate.
	It is an interesting observation that although you replace the Knight as well as the Elephant with bound pieces (albeit less bound than Elephants) you still think that the army is about the same strength. Is it because the Knave and Debtor triangulate? Would a Shatranj army with the Elephant strengthened to an Alibaba (which again can triangulate) and Knight weakened to, say, a Crab also be about the same strength? There could be a whole series of armies here to fight each other.
	Christine, as I understand it they are the same pieces as in my variant - that is, none of them have the full Knight move. In my variant only the compound of the two ha that (as well as the full Dabbaba move).

MiniXiangqiA game information page
. S. Kusumoto's MiniXiangqi - Chinese Chess on a 7x7 board (with zrf).[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Sat, Apr 16, 2011 06:54 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
I've heard of 'Hamlet without the prince', but this seems to be the equivalent for Babar. In the absence of some kind of Elephant piece it would seem more logical to have a name without 'Xiang' in it. That issue apart - with such a name it would warrant an 'excellent' - it looks an interesting game. The Leopard as a thrice-Pawned Wazir in the subvariant looks an interesting piece, being to the Waffle what the Steward is to the Prince - and those are all interesting pieces. Indeed the name is very suggestive of 'leaping-capture Steward'. Expect to see the Leopard in Man and Beast 16 soon as it complements Steward/Stevedore/Steamer just as Waffle does Prince/Fezbaba/Alibaba.

Panchimera. all the king's horses - a variant that doubles the number of each FIDE piece and then adds the knight augmented pieces. (11x12, Cells: 132) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Sun, Mar 6, 2011 07:40 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
I assume that Castling is possible only with the Rooks on the same rank as the King. This variant contrasts interestingly with two of mine.

Nearlydouble Chess doubles the number of all pieces except the King, and likewise doubles the size of the board and rounds down to an 11x11 board. As both pieces and squares are rounded down and Pawns are included in the doubling I find no need for extra piece types - although I do enhance the Knights for the larger board. I didn't go for a triple-step Pawn move either - but I did go for a much-enhanced double one. Castling with the outer Rook is the same as in this game, but there is also Castling with inner Rooks, as all Rooks start on the same rank as the King. Piece density is 51.24%.

Échecs De L'Escalier has twice the symmetric pieces of the Carrera/Bird/Capablanca family, with a Queen+Knight compound substituted for the second King aside, but no increase in those variants' Pawns, and the increase in army size by a half relative to those armies is accompanied by enlarging the board only to 10x10 - not much over half as much again as the FIDE board. Pawns I judged close enough to each other to need only the standard double-step initial Pawn move. To cope with Rooks on two ranks, Castling is of the Ecumenical variety, allowing King and Rook alike to move within a 2x2 area beforehand. Piece density is 60%.

Builder chess. Introducing the Builder. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Thu, Jan 6, 2011 06:44 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
What happens when a promoted Pawn is captured? Does it revert to being a Pawn or is it treated as whatever it was promoted to?

Steward Chess. Kings are able to "crown" pieces, giving them extra moves. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Nov 1, 2010 07:10 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Just such a shame that I took so long to spot this game.

Mini four player chess. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 48) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Sep 6, 2010 05:53 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
The option of promotion to Queen opens up the further option of win by marriage, as per Bachelor Chess.

Battle of titans. Missing description (3x(9x5), Cells: 135) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Sat, Aug 21, 2010 06:07 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Am I right in thinking that 'forward' means out of one's own part of the board and further into either of the others, so that when any Shogi general crosses between the FIDE and XQ areas that move is considered a 'backward' one and the 'forward' direction(s) switch from further into one to further into the other? If so, it would be helpful to clarify that in the rules.

King Arthur's Chess 72. Chess on a round board,. The odd number of files allows the Bishops to access every cell on the board - not colour-bound. (9x8, Cells: 72) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 06:43 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Not only does the extra file unbind the Bishop, it also allows the Knight to lose the move in 5 moves e.g. a1-c2-e1-g2-i3-a1.

Chess vs checkers. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 05:46 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Orthogonal Draughts has always struck me as a variant best played on a corner orientation, in order to have two diferent 'forward' directions rather than introduce a reversible pair of 'sideways' ones. This is illustrated on my Cornucopia of 9x9 Corner Variants page. Another approach is a Wellisch-orientated hex board, as illustrated on my Compact Hex Chess page.

Shogi with Cannons. Missing description (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 06:31 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
I've just realised, I didn't rate this page in my last comment. Either I forgot or it's grown on me since.

King's Reincarnation. Captured Kings return to the board, but at a price. 2 versions of play. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 06:01 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
I agree with idea of playing with En Passant capture. By the way, a quick search reveals no mention in the pages or existing comments to promotion. Presumably once a Pawn has been promoted the King can replace the promotee, but it would be best to make that explicit.

Knightless symmetric chess. Missing description (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Sun, May 16, 2010 06:26 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
This variant is suggestive of an enlarged Alapo, but with a King and win by Checkmate thrown in as well. One point: you don't say whether there is any promotion. Can the short-range pieces be promoted, or does the absence of Pawns imply the absence of promotion? Alapo has no promotion, but that is because of how it is won.

Ajax Xiangqi. The Ajax 'effect' meets Chinese Chess. (9x10, Cells: 90) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Apr 19, 2010 06:51 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Following a comment on my Dual Directional Variants, and Alibaba Qi in particular, it occurs to me that that variant too was one adding restricted extra moves to Xiang Qi pieces, explaining the attraction for me of applying the Ajax rule to Xiang Qi.

Ajax Chess. All pieces have can play one square in any direction, the Mastodon leaper complements the Knight. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 07:44 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
The rating is really for the whole family of variants, which has inspired to scrap Bolyar extrapolations and go for Ajax extrapolations instead. I just wanted to thank you for pushing me that extra distance, and hope that the choice of heroes named for other directions is to your liking. For now I've put such pieces using the hybrid diagonal aside.

Spherical Chinese Chess. XiangQi with a spherical board. (9x10, Cells: 92) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 07:17 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
This looks a promising variant. If I understand it correctly the move from either pole to any adjacent cell is both an orthogonal step and a diagonal one. The position of the Elephants looks a bit awkward, but given that it gives them access to the pole it's not as bad as it first appears. Since other pieces are where they need to be (to preserve patterns such as Knights threatened by Cannons but covered by Rooks) It seems that the Elephants have to go on the rank where you've put them. One small quibble: it would be better if you didn't set the links to automatically open a new window, as those who want a new window can always click with Shift held down. Some of us don't like to clutter our task bars up, and would rather go foreward and back within a single window.

Trampoline Chess. Each player has a Trampoline that allows friendly pieces to make a second move. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 08:12 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
I agree with Garth Wallace's view on the Queen. The Trampoline adds to an increasing number of 'non-pieces' that should perhaps warrant their own article. So far I can list the Ferry from Ferry Xiang Qi, Fortress/Palace of standard Xiang Qi, Halter of VeCoTha, Pole or Pole Chess, River of standard Xiang Qi, Tardis of Tardis Taijitu, and Trampoline of this variant. There are certainly others that have slipped my mind. Can anyone think of them off hand?

Teutonic Knight's Chess. Played on an oblong board with rarely used pieces: The teutonic knight, the archchancellor and the crown princess. (8x10, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 07:10 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
So many of your variants are an education far beyond the realm of board games, and this page is no exception. Before reading this page I was unaware that the title of Archchancellor had existed in real life, although I knew about, and have mentioned elsewhere on the site, its use in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. What exactly was the rôle of archchancellors among Teutonic Knights, and did they have ordinary chancellors under them? Interesting that you interpret the name for a piece in the same way that I would have done. Did you notice my view on the intuitive piece for the name and take inspiration, or is it coincidence?

Tiger Lily Chess. hexagonal chess on a board inspired by a flower. (6x12, Cells: 72) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Sat, Sep 19, 2009 05:59 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Is mine really the first comment and rating? This variant adds originality to a well-established extrapolation of moves. The routes of the orthogonals are a little unintuitive (as those in my own Xiangcata are) but they are well explained. One question: are the routes a1-d1, b1-e1, and c1-f1 also barred?

Xiang Hex. Missing description (9x7, Cells: 79) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 05:50 AM UTC:BelowAverage ★★
Fergus Duniho's comments have emboldened me to say that I share his reservations but more forcefully. It is well worth taking heed of his expertise on both East Asian and hex variants, as you will see I have done. Had this been the first attempt by anyone at a hex analogue to Xiang Qi I would look more kindly on it, but there is already a history of variants combining these two elements and this one really adds nothing constructive to these earlier variants. The hex diagonal really is too different from the square-board one to suit pieces further restricted by Xiang Qi's internal boundaries. This is why Roberto Lavieri's Toccata dispenses with diagonal pieces altogether and my own progression of Xiang-Qi-influenced hex variants relegate diagonals to their Wellisch usage. The orientation is also Wellisch, following the lead of hex Shogi. Indeed my one variant that does adopt the Glinsky/McCooey orientation and use of diagonals also adopts Yang Qi's radical changes in diagonal pieces to match orthogonal ones, as its name of Liu Yang suggests.

LiQi. Very Strong Chess. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Sun, Aug 30, 2009 06:27 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Interesting to see Gutenschach's Foundation1, Theorist2, and Study3 on a 2d board. The next thing, I suppose, would be to have planar pieces on a hex board, for which I have just suggested piece names right at the end of Man and Beast 15.

1same as Base in Prince, but name changed to avoid confusion with suffix -base meaning Man and Beast 12 downward-orientated piece.
2differs from Scientist in Prince in lacking 3d-specific Technician move.
3differs from University in Prince in lacking 3d-specific Technician move

Chess Variants of Sándor NagyA game information page
. Link to Hungarian web page.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 06:35 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Clever use of Bishops on centre file - reminiscent of hex variants. This variant influenced my Unhexed Chess and I have now acknowledged that.

Xiangqi: Chinese Chess. Links and rules for Xiangqi (Chinese Chess). (9x10, Cells: 90) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Feb 4, 2009 09:25 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
The illustrations of sets do a lot to put this game into its historic and geographic context.

Has anyone else noticed that the Bare Facing rule is an example, many centuries before the rise of music downloads, of a restriction on file sharing?

Shogi 59. Shogi on half of a 9x12 board. (9x13, Cells: 59) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Jan 26, 2009 07:34 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
An editor has changed the 12 to a 13 in the 'number of ranks' box but not in the 'page description' one. One thing that you should be able to do yourself is strip out the stray '' from rank 4. That's not meant as a ceiticism, I wish more people would point out my own typos!

Grand Jang Gi. A large variant of Jang Gi. (13x12, Cells: 156) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Jan 7, 2009 08:21 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Most of the pieces moving ' the Jang Gi...' piece are fairly obvious from either the image - although it would be nice to reiterate each image just before the piece name - or analogue pieces in other directions. My first reaction, on seeing that pieces couldn't hop their own kind, was '...but Arrows can still capture first move.' They can indeed, but will they be able to escape the enemy camp before something captures them?

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