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Game Reviews (and other rated comments on Game pages)

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Chu Shogi. Historic Japanese favorite, featuring a multi-capturing Lion. (12x12, Cells: 144) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
A. M. DeWitt wrote on Sat, Apr 13 03:18 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

When I first saw this game, I didn't think much of it, since I was more focused on larger Shogi variants, especially Tenjiku Shogi. However, now I have a few games against Jocly under my belt, and wow, this game completely blew me away. It is an absolute joy to play, despite its size and complexity (which melts away after a couple games). However, it is not flawless.

The Lion-trading rules are a bit complex, and making the Lion contagious (Like Maka Dai Dai Shogi's Deva, Dark Spirit, and their promoted forms) would make the rule much simpler while also achieving the same effect. However, this isn't really much of a problem, and may in fact be the better choice.

The real problem that I have with this game is that modern "innovations" have made the game more complicated than it needs to be. The repetition rules are quite complex, so much so that most computer programs for Chu Shogi that I know don't implement them, which is a trait borrowed from Xiangqi. The King Baring rule is completely unnecessary, as it does not add anything to the game that the combined effects of the other rules do not achieve. There is no evidence that it existed in the Edo period, so I'm not sure why someone thought it would be a good idea to mention this.

However, despite these problems, Chu Shogi is still easily among the best games of its kind. If you like Chess variants, you should give it a try.

Chu Seireigi combines elements of Chu Shogi with the ruleset of modern Shogi. It also has the benefit of not needing any special rules to preserve its quality, fixing all the problems with the modern "innovations" for Chu Shogi that I mentioned above. Players are disincentivized from trading off the Lions in many cases because they would just go into the player's hands, making them even more dangerous. The repetition rule is simply that of Shogi (draw, except perpetual check loses), and the drops make King-baring extremely rare. However, this comes with the unfortunate downside of having to remove the multi-move and orthogonal step from the Lion's move, as otherwise, it would be too strong, even if only the multi-move was removed. To compensate for this, the Lion also moves as a Bishop (in effect making it a Bishop+Squirrel compound).

Camelopard Chess. (Updated!) Game with Camelopards. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Fri, Apr 12 01:15 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

Some interesting pieces in this game, I'm wondering if this is the first game with the 'Camelopard' in it.

It's first appearance is as you say from R.J.Darvall. You can see the chess problem here: 'Variant Chess' #2, April-June, 1990, page 20, 'Fairy Chess Review' 1949, R.J.Darvall, mate in 2. Amazing from the year 1949, so yes, this could be the first game ever it is in, if anyone knows another, please say.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the Tribune: (2,0)+(3,3) leaper and the Zerdinal: Slides diagonally, or makes a (3,2) leap are named by Charles Gilman with his thousands of piece creations lol. Is that where you got them from, and if so, are these the first games they also have ever been in. If anyone knows another game they are in, please say!!

Anyway, good work on the game.

Locusts. Simple chess variant with only two set of pieces on each army. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Fri, Apr 12 10:24 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

Nice to see a game with the Locust in it and it's a great idea too, well done.

R-Chess. Members-Only Chess as Rombus. (21x17, Cells: 213) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

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TCB. Members-Only Traffic Calmed Boders. (9x9, Cells: 65) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

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Hundred Acre Chess. Chess based on Winnie-the-Pooh. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on Wed, Apr 3 07:52 PM UTC:Good ★★★★

This is a very unusual variant. It appears to work despite the seemingly excessively jumpy Owl. The game is very sharp, which I like. The donkey's feel mostly useless, but that might fit the theme? I wanted to get it working with ChessV but couldn't.

I'm rating it Good (why is there no Average rating option, by the way?) because I like the creativity and emphasis on diagonals.

Life, the Universe and Everything. 42-square double-move variant with unusual pieces, inspired by Douglas Adams' fiction. (6x7, Cells: 42) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Florin Lupusoru wrote on Mon, Apr 1 02:25 PM UTC:Poor ★

Life, the Universe and Everything is a Chess variant inspired by the works of the late Douglas Adams. It is a double-move variant with unusual pieces on a board of (of course) 42-squares.

A game with a pretentious title that adds nothing to chess. I don't care how famous the author was. If "the answer to everything is 42", the author refuses to further explain his reason for choosing such a number. 

Of course, the elites know what 42 really means, and are terrified. 

Fearful fairies. An experimental army for CadA, featuring the Dullahan (Ferz-Knight compound) and the Banshee. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
HaruN Y wrote on Sun, Mar 31 12:49 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
files=8 ranks=8 promoZone=1 promoChoice=NBRQ graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/alfaeriePNG/ squareSize=50 graphicsType=png symmetry=none royal=K firstRank=1 borders=0 coordColor=#ac9aba lightShade=#7b3fa5 oddShade=#786498 darkShade=#65467a rimColor=#483e54 pawn:P:ifmnDfmWfceF:pawn:a2,b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2,h2,,a7,b7,c7,d7,e7,f7,g7,h7 knight:N:N:knight:b1,g1 bishop:B:B:bishop:c1,f1 rook:R:R:rook:a1,h1 queen:Q:Q:queen:d1 ferzknight:F:FN:knightferz:,,b8,g8 modern elephant:M:FA:elephantferz:,,c8,f8 phoenix:P:WA:elephantwazir:,,a8,h8 cardinalrider:C:NNB:cardinalrider:,,d8 king:K:KisO2:king:e1,,e8

The setup part says that Banshee is RNN.

Fairyranga. Game based on Chaturanga & Makruk with Southeastern, Mongolian and even Russian elements. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on Sun, Mar 24 05:15 PM UTC in reply to Daniel Zacharias from 03:24 PM:Good ★★★★

I like it too, very much. I agree with Florin that the text is not well promoting this variant. Maybe someone with better English than me could help Lev in re-phrasing his presentation. That game would deserve it.

Equalized Shatranj. (Updated!) Basic weak moves of ancient pieces are compensated by their numbers. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
💡📝Lev Grigoriev wrote on Wed, Mar 20 07:12 PM UTC in reply to David Paulowich from 06:47 PM:Good ★★★★

Круто, прикольно. Что-то в этом есть и от тайских шахмат. Мне нравится такое распределение фигур по цветовым комплексам.

Cool and cute. There’s even a breeze of Thai chess here. I like this management and distribution of pieces on color complexes.

Flying Chess. Some pieces can fly. (2x(8x8), Cells: 128) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Mike Town wrote on Wed, Mar 20 01:20 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

Are people still playing this game? Would love to hear if they are and if anyone would want to play with me? Post on this group and we can make a plan.

Clairvoyant Chess. Players predict what opponent will do to gain advantages.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on Tue, Mar 19 02:14 AM UTC in reply to Florin Lupusoru from Mon Mar 18 06:26 AM:Good ★★★★

I think you're reading a lot into this that isn't there. It just introduces an incentive to make non-obvious moves. Perhaps it could be cumbersome to play, but it's a clever idea.

Florin Lupusoru wrote on Mon, Mar 18 06:26 AM UTC:Poor ★

When chess meets witchcraft. I am against the idea of turning chess players into witches and wizards, but here we are. Sadly, there are lots of similar games that use spells, magic, and predictions. Why do we even call them chess variants? 

Zen Zebras. (Updated!) A team for Chess with Different Armies based around the moves of the Zebra. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
💡📝HaruN Y wrote on Sun, Mar 17 03:04 PM UTC in reply to H. G. Muller from 08:01 AM:Good ★★★★

Thanks for testing my army! Seems like Zen Zebras would be more balanced if they're against my Clumsy Camels.

Wouldn't people who don't know Shogi also wouldn't have no clue what a Shogi Lance is?

This army is ready for publication.

Bigorra. A 16x16 board chess with all pieces from my variants. (16x16, Cells: 256) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on Thu, Mar 14 04:04 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

This is very fun (but very long!) to play. I like it more than Terachess II because the extra pawn rank allows for more blocking and the very powerful pieces come singly instead of in pairs.

Fergana. (Updated!) The clash of empires on Fergana Valley. (Cells: 168) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Diceroller is Fire wrote on Mon, Mar 11 07:34 PM UTC:Good ★★★★

Looks pretty innovative.

10-directional Chess. 10-directional pieces: an augmented Knight and a restricted Chancellor. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
HaruN Y wrote on Mon, Mar 11 02:44 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

Fabulous FIDEs vs 10-directional Army

files=8 ranks=8 promoZone=1 promoChoice=NBRQ graphicsDir=/membergraphics/MSdealerschess/ squareSize=50 graphicsType=png symmetry=none royal=K lightShade=#9b8dae darkShade=#6c5776 borders=0 rimColor=#505365 coordColor=#8188a1 firstRank=1 pawn:P:ifmnDfmWfceF:pawn:a2,b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2,h2,,a7,b7,c7,d7,e7,f7,g7,h7 knight:N:N:knight:b1,g1 bishop:B:B:bishop:c1,f1,,c8,f8 rook:R:R:rook:a1,h1,,a8,h8 queen:Q:Q:queen:d1 eohippo:E:NvW:hippo2:,,b8,g8 fischer:F:NvR:unicorn:,,d8 king:K:KisO2:king:e1,,e8

I know Eohippos aren't Hippotamus.

Trafalgar Chess. (Updated!) 8 extra Pawns in two columns mimic the famous Battle of Trafalgar. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Piotr Smagacz wrote on Sun, Mar 10 10:39 AM UTC:Good ★★★★

I really like this variant. It's simple but adds something new to the game. I think it would also be interesting to add some optional rules:

  • A friendly pawn behind its friendly pawn can bypass it by moving diagonally.
  • The knight has an additional special move. Special move: The knight can move without capturing an enemy piece two squares horizontally or vertically, provided that there is a friendly pawn between the target square and the knight.

These are my thoughts on this variant. Overall, a very interesting idea.

Chess. The rules of chess. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Florin Lupusoru wrote on Sun, Mar 10 09:44 AM UTC in reply to Kevin Pacey from Tue Jan 18 2022 04:08 PM:Excellent ★★★★★

Is chess [still] important? An older member of my chess club once opined in the new millennium that chess is no longer as important as before. I didn't ask what he meant. To me, chess reached its high mark in the 1970's, mainly with the Geo-political stakes involved in the Fischer-Spassky match, and later the Karpov-Korchnoi one. Chess was also important back then since it was seen as a test for AI whether a machine can beat a highly skilled human player at the game. Chess suffered to some degree because of what followed historically, in both cases.

In the TikTok era Chess is more relevant than ever. In a world were people are increassingly lacking concentration, playing chess can not only help people maintain focus, but also evade the modern insanity. 

Patchanka. (Updated!) Decimal variant with several bi-compound pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Florin Lupusoru wrote on Tue, Mar 5 08:20 AM UTC:Good ★★★★

Two of the pieces used here (Phoenix and Medusa) I will be using in my Titanic Chess but I'll have to use different moving and capturing abilities for that purpose. Since these are mythological creatures I have to disagree with the way they are used to move and capture in this game. But appart from that, this looks like a great game. 

Torus Chess (The Shape of Space). (Updated!) Chess on a torus from the book "The Shape of Space". (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Cannon wrote on Tue, Mar 5 01:24 AM UTC:Good ★★★★

A good concept, but it needs improvement. I don't like having only one Bishop, as it can reach only half the cells. It's a colour-bound piece, so we really need two. To avoid attacking non-pawns on the other side, perhaps enlarge the board and put a "hedge" of pawns around each army — I don't see that there needs to be only two of them.

N-Relay Chess. Uncapturable Knights give other pieces the ability to move as Knights. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
HaruN Y wrote on Mon, Mar 4 06:30 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

Simplified form of Knight-Relay Chess

files=8 ranks=8 promoZone=1 promoChoice=BRQN graphicsDir=/membergraphics/MSdealerschess/ squareSize=43 graphicsType=png symmetry=none royal=K lightShade=#ffffff darkShade=#ed1c23 rimColor=#0d76bd firstRank=1 borders=0 coordColor=#ffffff pawn:P:iifmnDfmWfceF:pawn:a2,b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2,h2,,a7,b7,c7,d7,e7,f7,g7,h7 bishop:B:B:bishop:c1,f1,,c8,f8 rook:R:R:rook:a1,h1,,a8,h8 queen:Q:Q:queen:d1,,d8 relay knight:N:mNxaN:relayknight:b1,g1,,b8,g8 king:K:KisO2:king:e1,,e8

Symmetric Chess. (Updated!) Variant with two Queens flanking the King and Bishops Conversion Rule. (9x8, Cells: 72) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Florin Lupusoru wrote on Fri, Mar 1 03:05 AM UTC:Good ★★★★

Complicated problems most of the time have simple solutions. You could have put both Bishops on one side of the board, and both Knights on the other side. And the opponent will have them the other way around. Simple. 

Another solution would be to add an extra piece (A Shield Bearer/Scutier to protect the King) and make the board 10x8. 

Retreating Chess. Pieces must fall back one square after each move. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
HaruN Y wrote on Wed, Feb 28 05:50 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
files=8 ranks=8 promoZone=1 promoChoice=NBRQ graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/galactic/ squareSize=50 graphicsType=gif rimColor=#11457E lightShade=#FFFFFF darkShade=#D7141A borders=0 firstRank=1 coordColor=#FFFFFF whitePrefix=W blackPrefix=B Retreating pawn:P:fafmoabWfmpWfcabzmFfmpabaspaqcW:Pawn:a2,b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2,h2,,a7,b7,c7,d7,e7,f7,g7,h7 Retreating knight:N:fmopafsmocabqmWfmpababspafqWfmopafzcmaqmFfmpabasmpafpaqWbmpabasmpafqmcafqmWbmpafopabzFbmpafqmcafmFbmpafmpafsopabqW:Knight:b1,g1,,b8,g8 Retreating bishop:B:fyocabzmBfympabzpabBfyabzmBbyocafqmBbympafqopabBbyafqmB:Bishop:c1,f1,,c8,f8 Retreating rook:R:fyafomcabRbymcamfRfompabyasmycazmWfcabWbympafpoabRfompabyasmypazopabW:Rook:a1,h1,,a8,h8 Retreating queen:Q:fyocabzmBfympabzpabBfyabzmBbyocafqmBbympafqopabBbyafqmBfyafomcabQbymcamfQfompabyasmycazmKfcabKbympafpoabQfompabyasmypazopabK:Queen:d1,,d8 Retreating king:K:focabzmFfmpabzpabFfabzmFbocafqmFbmpafqopabFbafqmFbmcamfKfompabasmcazmKfcabKbmpafpoabKisO2bopabzF:King:e1,,e8

Russian fortress chess. An old Russian variant for four players. (Cells: 192) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Florin Lupusoru wrote on Tue, Feb 27 06:43 AM UTC:Good ★★★★

Four stars for the original chessboard.

This game was very popular almost two centuries ago and lots of famous people used to play it. 

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