Comments/Ratings for a Single Item
thanks for your answers Fergus and Gary, it seems this dragon piece is pretty rare, i like it, stronger than bishop but not stronger than rook, though i feel it must be very close to being as strong as a rook, in crowded and close quarters it is powerful. it also seems the board is very unusual, yes? i like the way it 'cuts the corners' of the board, i think it makes for greater game play, and the adding of squares in the mid-central area, i think that is pretty interesting too.
Peter Aronson wrote:
Upon closer examination of their press releases, it looks like Dragon Chess was developed by four interior designers: Lex Parker, Susan Parker, Ed Thalmann and Tove Thalmann.
The patent names only Brian Grady as the inventor. He comes from Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The press release says, 'Created by Niagara locals including, Lex and Susan Parker, owners of Lex Parker Design Consultants Ltd., and Edwin and Tove Thalmann of Amber Forge Restoration Consultants.' As far as I can tell from the press releases, Lex Parker is responsible mainly for graphic design, Susan Parker for the business plan, and Edwin Thalman (not Jeff Easley) for the design of the Dragon pieces. Jeff Easley is responsible only for drawing the cover. I expect that Brian Grady is the original inventor of the game. The press release says that someone, left unnamed, proposed the game to Lex Parker. This was probably Brian Grady. It seems that he recruited the Parkers and Thalmans to turn his game into a marketable product.
Christine Bagley-Jones wrote:
are there any games with this 'dragon' piece that anyone knows of?
Knightmare Chess uses this piece. One card that lets you introduce a new piece to the board calls it a Princess. Another card that lets you curse your opponent's Queen calls it a Cursed Queen.
Gary Gifford wrote:
On a different note, regarding pieces. I own two of the old Renaisance (SP?) sets by Lowe. Are the pieces for Dragon Chess (excluding the Dragon), made from the same mold? That is what I gathered from Fergus's earlier comment about the pieces.
All I know comes from comparing photos of the Dragon Chess pieces with photos on ebay of Renaissance sets. They looked identical as far as I could tell.
Peter Aronson wrote:
Actually, Fergus, it was the artist Jeff Easley who is the ex-TSR employee.
I know that, Peter. That is why I said 'the designer of the Dragons' rather than 'the inventor of Dragon Chess.' I was referring to the artist who designed the pieces, not to the game's inventor.
Hi Christine, in regard to your second question '... and are there any games with this 'dragon' piece that anyone knows of?' My Medusa piece (from Pillars of Medusa and Mini-POM) moves 3 spaces any direction (as does the Dragon); However, the Medusa turns adjacent enemy pieces to stone (freezes them) and can still capture them by displacement on another turn. Also, I recall someone else had commented that the 'mini-Queen' was a fairly well known piece. But I do not know where it is used.
just a couple of questions, are there any games with a similar board set up as this game, and are there any games with this 'dragon' piece that anyone knows of? oh by board set up in mean the shape of the board
There is a patent in the US too. it is US Patent No. 6,799,763, granted in 2001. A close reading of the patent gives one the impression that in the path to trying to patenting the game in the broadest language possible, it made the board more central to the patent, then the pieces. I am not a patent attorney so I don't know how much weight each section gets. One more thing about the patent: chessvariants.com is in the prior art (reference) section of the patent. So PTO is aware of this page's existence and is viewed as an archive for prior art info. So as these pages grow, we will actually help improve the quality of patents going forward.
The Dragon piece is patented (in Canada), which is ... interesting. It is not like short Queens are anything particularly new. They also hold the trademark (at least in Canada), but that is often a matter of whoever asks for it first.
Peter, I'm not sure if you have control over the classification, but I hope you can help. This game is wrongly classified. it should be 16x10 Cells:124. Thank you very much.Fixed!
Um, I think that was Greg's question; since I get an Active-X Alert, to accommodate which I won't trouble myself one keystroke, I can't see their site, have never seen the game, and it doesn't look like I will unless they authorize a (maybe temporary?) preset here from which to derive some qualified suggestions for improvement, I'll never know enough to even ask any questions about it. Jianying, you might be right, about the inexperience part; we don't know how much we don't know, do we? But when you put dollars and deadlines into creativity equations, they don't balance any more. It might be a really good game; the box looks very nice.
In regard to Greg's excellent question: 'But why add the extra battlefields on the side? It is not as though the setup or rules encourages any pieces to move there' -- My response: I think if I were to play this game and I had a flank attack against the enemy King, then I could possibly have a Queen, Dragon, Bishop, and/or Knight on the side battle field to join in the forray. So it could end up adding another angle of attack. I'd need to look at the board again to see if this actually makes sense, but from what I recall it does. On a different note, regarding pieces. I own two of the old Renaisance (SP?) sets by Lowe. Are the pieces for Dragon Chess (excluding the Dragon), made from the same mold? That is what I gathered from Fergus's earlier comment about the pieces.
James, this game is put out by a very small family business in ontario, so I think it is more lack of experience rather than motivation that made the game subpar. I think with more insight they may put out more rule sets with more innovation. At least I hope so. Peter, I'm not sure if you have control over the classification, but I hope you can help. This game is wrongly classified. it should be 16x10 Cells:124. Thank you very much.
Nothing made for profit is made as well as it can be made--the profit could have been applied to making the product better. Employers (of creatives) in the US hold copyright by default, unless otherwise agreed in writing, which is rare, which further compromises product quality; the (hired) creative, not having a long-term interest in the product, need only please the boss between paychecks. 'Front-line' control is when the sales staff direct product development based on previously-observed market interest in similar products, i.e. 'copycatting' or 'knocking-off'; 'back-line' control is when the creative staff comes up with something really original, which is rarer. The boss is usually interested in sales, not originality or even, really, product quality. This may account for some of your complaints.
Curiously, the designer of the Dragons is a former TSR employee, and he probably knows that his former boss has a previous claim on the name Dragon Chess. I wonder if Lex Parker made any arrangement with Gary Gygax before trademarking the name of his well-known 3D Chess variant.Actually, Fergus, it was the artist Jeff Easley who is the ex-TSR employee. The site doesn't say anything really about Parker. I don't think it even states outright who invented Dragon Chess, although it sort of implies Parker did. And in any case, I think you're underestimating how obscure Gygax's Dragon Chess would be to someone not on this site, although a quick Google would have turned it up if anyone bothered to look.
Greg, a quick and dirty calculation of how much the Dragon is worth on an 8x8 board, counting it as W + F + nD + nA + nH + nG (really abusing Betza notation here) we end up with a value of roughly two Knights (2 half-Knights + four lame half-Knights (worth half for being lame)), which is interestingly the same ratio you got for the larger board.
Greg, I noticed that too. I certainly think the game needs to find a better use of its field. Gary, quite true about the Openning Book not being existent at the present time for Dragon Chess.
When I looked at this game, I was very pleased by the appearance of the pieces, and, although I, like Fergus, find Staunton pieces easier to use, on account of their familiarity, I think I will purchase a Dragon Chess set anyway, just to have the pieces at my disposal to facilitate making physical representations of other Chess variants that I do enjoy. I was not particularly impressed by the game itself, however. Unlike Jianying, however, I do not think it needs to be a radical deviation to be good or to be successful. Gothic Chess is no radical deviation and yet it seems plenty popular, as CVs go. And I'm not sure that throwing out the opening book, while that is of concern to more experienced players like us, even entered into their thinking. My criticism of the game is more related to the specific implementation. The main 10x10 board... ok, good, clearly that board has been tested in many successful games such as Grand Chess. But why add the extra battlefields on the side? It is not as though the setup or rules encourages any pieces to move there; I see them remaining largely unused. And a pawn would not want to go there (only possible by capture) as it would then have to capture again to get out of there, which it would have to do in order to promote. But, conversely, the fact that a pawn would not want to go there is not enough incentive for other pieces to go there. You would still move a pawn into such an area in order to capture a piece, even if it means giving up on promoting that pawn. The board doesn't seem to be well thought-out. It also looks like the text of the rules wasn't thought out at all. For example, they list material values for the pieces, but they left the values of the Chess pieces as-is, and added the Dragon in at a value of 4 pawns. For starters, on such a large board, the Bishop and Knight are obviously not of the same value any more. Beyond that, all the standard chess pieces are valued incorrectly. Should be more like: pawn=1, knight=2.5, bishop=4, dragon=5, rook=6, queen=10-12. But I'll probably still buy a set just for the pieces. I wish I had acquired an Omega Chess set before they all ran out. Anyone have an Omega set they want to sell?!?
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