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The Chess Variant Pages

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Game Reviews by Rich Hutnik

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Universal Chess. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2011-05-16 UTCGood ★★★★
I would propose adding the Eurasian Pawn in here two.  At least cover the full range of pawns, and note them, as a discussion point.  During play of this variant, ground rules can be added for what is in and out.  For example, I would say NO to a Eurasian pawn on an 8x8 board.  Ok, the Eurasian pawn:

One options for pawns is to have one (or a few base) picture of them, and then stick dots or Xs around it to signify how it moves and captures.  I know  a pawnrider would likely both be silly and hard to notate.

10 Minute Melee. Score as many points during 10 minutes of time with regular chessset. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-10-23 UTCGood ★★★★
Another, more mild, variant that comes to mind would be that the capture piece goes back to its start space (only one pawn per column) instead of anywhere.

Basic ChessA game information page
. Variable baseline chess without drawing lots. Restrict Rooks to a and h files, and King to d or e files.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-10-03 UTCGood ★★★★
With my suggestions of 'Multiple Formations' and 'IAGO Chess System' and also this and Universal Chess (, I believe we are having things advance into a way to integrate variants together for play (my hope is in tournament format).  I am in favor of having Multiple Formations adopt the rules to this for the formation where everything starts in the back row(s), while the pieces starting in the second row(s) would follow what is in Multiple Formations.

Keep up the good work everyone.  Hopefully we can get something going.

Universal Chess. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-10-03 UTCGood ★★★★
Looks like a good continuation of the study on how to integrate variants into a single system that can be played. I hope more work can be done. Thank you for the contribution.

Shuuro. Large variant where you build your own army. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-05-26 UTCGood ★★★★
The plinths look like a good balancing mechanism for Knights on a large board.

ArimaaA game information page
. Uses same equipment as Chess, but designed to be difficult for computers.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
richardhutnik wrote on 2009-05-07 UTCGood ★★★★
Z-Man Games will be publishing Arimaa:

Take note, Chess Variant community.  This is a chance for you to get new
variant pieces!

Shogi. Missing description (9x9, Cells: 81) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-09-10 UTCGood ★★★★
Shogi is on the XBox 360!

I just saw this on XBox Live Arcade. Shotest Shogi has been released for the XBox 360, and able to be obtained through XBox Live. It contains both traditional and symbolic notation.

You can learn more on it here:

I rate it good, because finally a console gets Shogi.

Dipole Chess. A cross between Chess and the game Dipole by Mark Steere. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-08-17 UTCGood ★★★★
I have run this multiple times in Zillions and got to play it with Joe Joyce today.  I have to give it a thumbs up.  The game has one on edge most of the time.  There is room for a single mess up multiple times in the game that can cost you.  This happened when I played Joe.  I actually had the game locked, then bungled with my King and he won.  It is amazing that by removing a few rules, you can end up with chess going in an entirely different direction.

Well, that is my brief review to explain my experience.  Beyond this, I want to get people to look at this game and argue for how much less depth it has then normal (FIDE) Chess.  My take here is that, while the game forces more restrictions, there are critical key points in the game, that force one to even have to evaluate deeper in the decision tree in order not to lose.  Joe described this as 'Chaotic'.  In a 'Butterfly effect' sort of way, I would agree here.

Anyhow, if anyone wants to argue that Dipole Chess is a lot more shallow than regular chess, due to the lack of moving backwards, I would like to hear the arguments.  I will say that Zillions is a bit prone to not playing it well, making stupid mistakes, and not reading context of pieces to one another.

Single Combat Chess. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-06-16 UTCGood ★★★★
Now that I saw King's Guard Chess:

I believe I have the answer to the concerns I have with Single Combat Chess. By adding in the attack values of all the friendly pieces that can attack a space, it does enable a wargame solution to the concerns I have had.  This is wargamish in nature, and a proper fit I feel for Single Combat Chess.

King's Guard Chess. Pawns move like kings and only Pawns may capture. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-06-13 UTCGood ★★★★
I have not had a chance to play this, but reading over the rules, I would give this a thumb's up. It does look interesting.

Single Combat Chess. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-05-25 UTCPoor ★
In wargames, you have combined units attacking a single unit that is more powerful to eliminate it.  You don't have that, as far as I can tell, with this game.  This makes, in my assessment, a game where pieces are exponentially more powerful than they would be normally. 

I don't see what issue is 'addressed' here at all.  Chess is an abstract strategy game, where combat/capture is deterministic in nature.  This proposal stops making it chess, or chess-like, in my assessment.  It becomes a simple wargame.

If you want to go this route then have it so that pieces move next to others and then can attack multiple against one.  You also need to allow multiple pieces to move.  In other words, make it more wargame-like.

Drawless Chess. Simple rules are added to make draws impossible. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-28 UTCGood ★★★★
With my Corner Chess game, I to propose a variant where the objective is to get a king across the board. That is similar to this. I am in favor of this as a mutator win conditions. I don't believe this is the end all and be all, as it changes the nature of chess, but is a useful addition to the chess variant community that works with most chess variants.

Skirmish Chess. Tony Paletta Modest proposal as separate link for discussion. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-09 UTCGood ★★★★
I have been playing around with this in Zillions, adding Capablanca pieces and found it is a very interesting design.  I am planning on having this game modified to the IAGO Chess System framework, complete with Capablanca pieces in it, in the next few weeks.

I am doing this entry separately to discuss it, as I happened to also stumble across it while working on an attempt to port Grand Chess to an 8x8 board.

IAGO Chess System. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-03-28 UTCGood ★★★★
My experiences running IAGO Chess (near B-Class, without the recycling pawn promotion) a bunch of times on Zillions, to give a general feel how play lines up:
1. The non-static opening makes the game feel like it starts out in mid-game providing players a lot of different ways the game can go.  It is real hard to say that there is opening lines.  The way IAGO Chess works, with both the gatings and drops, is you can have a game where one of the Capablanca pieces (Chancellor, Archbishop) can remain off board until even mid to late game.  Yes, it FEELS like regular chess when you start, but then the game can take a bunch of unexpected turns, which makes it good, in my opinion.
3. Yes, the board is a bit more congested, but you still can engage in positional play.  Some games have a much more open board, others tighter.  There is still a lot of tactical play.  Range of pieces drop a bit perhaps, but then this congestion balances the new power in the game. What I will say is that it is more like the midgame lasts longers because more pieces are on the board.  Because the power pieces gate into the back row, the back row will be a bit more full.  The power pieces don't come out until they are justified to do so.
3. I have seen times where the game is slow plotting, and then everything breaks loose as the pawn structures begin to get blown away.  The end game will often end up with very out of balance positions and one or more rook level or higher pieces floating around.  More of the pieces also mean your pawn structure will tend to be protected more, creating stronger lines.  I will say a byproduct is the end game usually has more pawns in it, with holes in the line.
4. My biased verdict on it is that I believe this works as a solid chess variant, and robust enough for people to make needed tweaks.  Of course, it  is my game, but it has held up.

I would suggest people get ahold of the Zillions adaptation once it is out, and try it themselves, and see what they think.  Even if you don't play the AI, do watch some games.  It should hopefully be out in a week or two.  All goes well that is.  If it goes real well, B, C and a version of M-Class (two variants of M-Class that is), should be available.  In this the Empress/Amazon will be added into the mix.

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