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I fixed the Pawn move in the Diagram, and added Prince to the promoChoice. (Now indicated by the letter M to distinguish it from Pawn.)
I think promotion to Prince is an improvement, because 2M vs N or 2M vs M are general wins (when stalemate is a win), while any other combination of two pieces cannot beat a lone N or M. So the advantage of a single Pawn can now be enough to force a win. And a lone K is already enough to beat a lone desert piece. So this should remove most of the drawishness, if there ever was any.
Thank you for making the active board. I agree with you about the pawn promotion, i.e., promoting to Prince should be allowed. I will see if I can edit that. The only AI issue I noticed was pawns can move 2 initially in the AI, but in the rules they do not have an initial 2 move option.
If the Princes are not royal, then why should these not be available as promotion choice? It would certainly be helpful in reducing the alleged drawishness of this variant. Kings are very efficient in chasing Ferzes and Wazirs to their doom; I don't think Knights can do that as easily. The desert pieces have a weakness in attacking pieces at the edge or in a corner.
That total extermination is a win condition that is often difficult to achieve is mainly caused by the participation of powerful pieces. The pieces in Desert Pub Chess are all quite weak; the Prince is probably the strongest in the end-game, and we know from Chess that a bare King is easy to checkmate (and then will get captured, if the game would not end at checkmate).
The article doesn't specify what the game result is in case of stalemate; I configured the Diagram to make that a win. After all, losing all your pieces is just one way of being stalemated. The Diagram limits the number of captures in one move to four.
I wonder how hard this would be to implement in Zillions. ChessV...probably not (non-Checkmate objective)
Peter, yes, they are flying leapers and I was surprised to see how well they worked. Very attractive pieces. The Alquerque that Arie is investigating implies that the second party(!) has an advantage that is almost winning. Remarkably, an ancient authour in antiquity made the same remark. My Zillions implementation has been of good help to Arie. His homepage on the history of draughts: http://www.draughtshistory.nl/homepage.htm /Mats
Leap-capture is employed in Airplane Chess and Zeppelin Chess by the Airplane and Zeppelin, respectively, and it works remarkably well.The Airplane and the Zepplelin are not exactly normal leaping pieces, but rather flying leapers. The ability to pass over friendly and hostile pieces makes them much, much more powerful.
Moreover, Alquerque, as described by Murray, is probably incorrect. Arie van der Stoop has researched the game (Draughts in relation to chess and alquerque, 2005) and has come to the conclusion that it was not at all drawish: Medieval Alquerque.Leaving out the question of whether van der Stoop is any more authoritative than any of the other authors on the subject; while promotion would make Alquerque more interesting, it would still be pretty drawish without forced captures. Even with forced captures, high level Draughts/Checkers tends to be drawish, and endgame tactics make extensive use of that feature.
Moreover, Alquerque, as described by Murray, is probably incorrect.
When we see Checker-Kings, in a game of draughts, jumping two or three pieces at a time diagonally we can see one player quickly go downhill.In Checkers, the dynamics of the game are driven by the 'must capture' rule. Ancestors of Checkers without this rule, such as Alquerque, tend to be very drawish. Combined with the fact that, multiple captures aside, leap capture is generally weaker than replacement capture (because it can be blocked by pieces behind the piece to be captured or by the board's edge), this can make games dependent on such capture hard to force to a win, even when there is a royal piece. Jumping Chess which depends entirely on leap capture, even with the King and the ring board, is probably still too defensive. In the case of Interweave, another game that depends on non-replacement capture, I eventually added a 'forced capture' rule to prevent it from being too defensive, and it too, has Kings.
Sam Trenholme's suggestion to make DPC less drawish [if it turns out to be drawish] is to allow pawns to promote to Abdul-Rahman Sibahi's suggested [Desert] King which has the power of both the Desert Ferz and Desert Wazir. Thanks for the suggestion. It is an excellent idea! But will it be needed? I honestly don't know. When we see Checker-Kings, in a game of draughts, jumping two or three pieces at a time diagonally we can see one player quickly go downhill. In this game each player can capture with 2 diagonal repeater-jumpers and 2 orthogonal repeater-jumpers. These can wipe out a lot of material. My impression is that the game will not be drawish. But, I do like [very much] Abdul's Desert King and your promotion suggestion. Both are likely to make it into the larger variant along with the Oasis pieces. If needed to reduce the unknown draw factor, the Desert King could end up in this 8x8 version. Time will tell. Thanks very much for the comment. It is greatly appreciated.
But, I do like the vision of someone being in a hot, sandy desert in a small dark cafe, stuggling to cool down and playing this game to pass the time. Something very romantic about that vision.
That in mind, I now have an open invitation to play this game. We'll see how things work out.
Shortly after reading the below comment from Abdul-Rahman Sibahi, I had this idea: To create an Oasis Ferz, Oasis Wazir, and Oasis Prince. The Oasis pieces move by jumping over one or more friendly pieces [perhaps over enemy pieces too?]... The Oasis Prince would be a lot like a Chinese Checker when it came to moving. But he would capture as does a chess king. The Oasis Wazir and Oasis Ferz would use the same jumping idea, but with their diagonal and orthogonal limitations imposed. All 3 would capture by single-move displacement. When not able to jump (move) they would sort of be living up to their Oasis names. I will think about implementing these in a larger desert game... maybe 10 x 12, or 11x11 or even 12x12?
Abdul, thanks for the comment. Your idea of combining the Desert Wazir and Desert Ferz to make a Desert King is a good one. That piece would be very powerful .... too powerful on an 8x8 board.... but it might be good on an a 12x12 board (perhaps even a 10x10). The Desert King could make some pretty incredible jumps - switching between orthagonal and diagonal jumps on a single turn. It could wipe out a vast army. You added that 'Knights could also move like the Chinese Mao, but capturing an enemy piece if it happens to be orthogonally adjacent, and they can capture multiple piece at the same turn.' Yes, there are many possibilities with this jumping theme. And I imagine some onboard experiments should be conducted. I think that for the 8x8 board the 4 current desert jumpers [per side] will be sufficient. But perhaps we can have some of these knew ideas of yours implemented on a larger board? The 8x8 preset is now available. Thanks again and best regards. gkg
Sounds interesting. I wonder, what if one, or both, of the two princes is a Desert King, so to speak (A combination of the desert Wazir and the desert Ferz.) Knights could also move like the Chinese Mao, but capturing an enemy piece if it happens to be orthogonally adjacent, and they can capture multiple piece at the same turn. I would like to try the game as it is here. I'll wait for the preset.
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A most interesting game. It inspired me to come up with a game with a similar mechanic. It took a while, but I've finally managed to come up a worthy variant, called Shuka.