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Gothic Isles Chess. Fictional historic variant, with Dragons, Wizards and Champions. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-01-28 UTC

Respect the power of three Wazirs - they can checkmate a lone King in 47 moves.

True. But not very relevant. Three Ferzes do it faster when not all on the same color. (Addmitted, this rules out 1/4 of the cases.) But in Shatranj stalemate is a win, and even two Ferzes or Wazirs can force that on a bare King. And the worst case for the Ferzes is two moves faster than for the Wazirs, even when they are on the same color.

David Paulowich wrote on 2023-01-28 UTC

Respect the power of three Wazirs - they can checkmate a lone King in 47 moves. Also, I think the position in the diagram can be reached, leaving the Black Alfil limited to two squares: (e2) and (g4). Surely White can eventually force a trade of one Wazir for the Alfil. Question: would replacing the Alfil with an Alibaba (A+D) save the draw for Black?

H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-01-27 UTC

Positions like this suggest that promotion to colorbound pieces is a poor design choice.

One could also argue that promoting to the weak, color-bound Ferz enriches Shatranj with an interesting strategic theme: one has to plan Pawn manoeuvres such that you won't promote all your Pawns on the same shade. And definitely do not leave the opponent a defender on the other shade when you are playing for a win. This is already true in orthodox Chess, where unlike Bishops can draw even against a majority of 2 Pawns, despite the fact that these would promote to Queen.

It is true that Shatranj is quite drawish, but I think this is more a consequence of the Ferz being such a weak piece than of its color-binding. I doubt that promoting to Wazir would be much of an improvement.

David Paulowich wrote on 2023-01-27 UTC

This diagram shows a boring draw from Shatranj. If the White King moves towards (f3), then the Alfil can simply go back to its home square (c8). Positions like this suggest that promotion to colorbound pieces is a poor design choice. Try substituting three Champions (Silver Generals) and one Dragon (Ferz+Alfil). Now White can play

1. Champion a7-b6 check, King b7-a6

2. King d6-c5, Dragon g4-e6

3. Champion b8-a7, Dragon e6-c8

4. Champion a7-a8, ignoring the Bare King/stalemate victory and intending checkmate after moving to (b7). An FIDE Bishop (replacing the Dragon in the initial position) might be able to trade itself for a Champion and make White settle for a "mere" Bare King or stalemate victory. Some thoughts on piece values:

Rook=15, Bishop=9.5, Knight=9, Silver General=8.5, Ferz=5, Alfil=4, Pawn=3

John Lawson wrote on 2010-11-29 UTC
I found the Fairy Tale Draughts link:;id=406

John Ayer wrote on 2010-11-28 UTC
This looks like quite a good game. The page for Fairy Tale Draughts is gone. While looking for it I discovered a table of checkers variants at BoardGameGeek (and elsewhere) that contains several men's names that I recognize from Chess Variants. The move of the dragon is also the move of the bishop in Courier Spiel, devised in the early nineteenth century.

Calvin Daniels wrote on 2010-11-28 UTC
I like the idea here, but would go further in the piece creation

I might suggest the Wizrad having a cannon move (more the sense of
magically popping up to capture.

And the knight, I'd go with a Paladin (Knight/king move)

I might also suggest an alternate pawn move be implemented, just to broaden
the fantasy 'feel'

Gary Gifford wrote on 2005-06-05 UTC
Love the board/piece images and the pseudo-history gives the game a nice touch. A comment regarding the quickest mate of 3 moves must be in error as the rules state: 'White moves first, and makes eight moves, none of which may cross the center-line of the board (marked by a heavier line), then Black makes eight moves with the same restriction, and then play alternates without the restriction.' I will hold off on rating the game at this time as I've not played it yet. But it looks promising.

David Paulowich wrote on 2005-03-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
1.Dragon c1-a3, c7-c6 2.Dragon a3-c5, a7-a6 3. Dragon c5-b6 (MATE) is the shortest possible game. This variant successfully combines Elephant pieces from Shatranj and Makruk. [EDIT 2023] Actually they are from Courier-Spiel and Makruk.

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