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Expanded Chinese Chess. Missing description (9x12, Cells: 108) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on Sun, Feb 27, 2011 07:16 AM UTC:
Travis, sorry again for the confusion, and I'm glad that you're open to advice. The first thing to remember is that there's a lot more to computer use than the internet. You needn't type directly into boxes on the 'post/edit your own variant' pages - or on any web page. It is far better to type it out offline - either as a text document or in a full word processor, depending on whether space on your computer is at a premium ore you feel the need for spell checking. You can then review it full-screen until you're satisfied with it and, when you are, paste it in section by section. The only things that need watching out for are array diagrams and links to existing pages, which are worth checking through once you've posted as it os very easy to make slight slips that break them. It is even worth keeping the offline document - as edited if necessary - so that you can revise/clarify rules and add new links at your leisure. Detailed comments can also be typed out offline, on a single 'comments' document. This one was, although my previous comment on Extended Chinese directly online as it was part of an emergency correction. Comments you can safely delete from the offline document after a week, or replaced with the next comment on the same page if applicable.

Charles Gilman wrote on Sat, Feb 26, 2011 07:18 AM UTC:
Firstly, thanks to Fergus for pointing out my error, and sorry to Travis for confusing you and Serge. I have amended the comment accordingly.
	While it is true that 'it is up to the players to
determine the strategies and uses', it is usually up to the inventor which ones cross the River, which ones are Leaping and which Stepping, et cetera - unless, as on a very few of my pages, it offers subvariants depending on whether a certain group of pieces are Leaping or Stepping. Even then, I tend to either recommend a preference or explicitly ask for feedback on which is better. More to follow.

💡📝Travis Z wrote on Sat, Feb 26, 2011 05:05 AM UTC:
Just to make a few things known:
1. I am not going to go into massive amounts of detail on the pieces because all one needs to know is how they move and capture.  Beyond that it is up to the players to determine the strategies and uses.  If I provide more info on the pieces, it takes away from the game.  Just take a look at Western Chess, and Chinese Chess.  All that is listed is the rules.  Sure people write and publish books on the game, but what is necessary for the game is the rules, anything above and beyond that is something in and of itself.  I am not writing a thesis on this thing, unless doing so gets me a degree or something.

2. This was my first published variant on this site.  I doubt anyone was perfect their first time.  Pratice makes perfect, and a lot of my time went into figuring out how to use HTML coding to make it look half way decent and presentable.  In the end, I only have so many hours in a day.  I am not an English major or expert.  

Comments are a good way of explaining stuff and showing stuff.  It lets one better formulate ideas and concepts into words.

On the submission thing, it would be nice if this site gave you the option on when you wanted to make the page live.  That way I could have waited a few days, came back and proof read what I put down.  That is what I do when I write academic papers.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 11:21 PM UTC:

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 02:52 PM UTC:
Charles, your comment starts out by addressing Serge's comment, but it ends by addressing the creator of this game, who is Travis Z. There is no reason to think they are the same person. Notably, your last sentence seems to address Travis Z as though he made Serge's comment.

Charles Gilman wrote on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 06:54 AM UTC:
Reworded to reflect third-party nature of comment below in light of the comment above: Not a lot of nerve, just a lot of experience. Yes, many of my early attempts at variants needed clarifying, but I was grateful for constructive criticism and knuckled down to clarifying, in the text of the page and not just in further comments. I have also tried to make variants which either develop existing ideas further - Liu Yang, for example, which extends the themes of Yang Qi to a hex board - or break new territory - AltOrth and its offshoots, which subdivide hex orthogonal directions into two groups. That is why rather than weighing in with a rating I have pointed out where this game's creator could improve presentation and given him a chance to explain what this game's unique selling point is.

Serge wrote on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 12:45 PM UTC:
Gilman, you have a lot of nerve, considering how poorly analyzed and flawed and in need of revision your own mass-produced variants are articles are.

Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 07:49 AM UTC:
I stop short of rating this variant as poor - or even below average, which is how I was inclined to when I first read it in any depth, but it is certainly not a well-presented one. When adding a new piece, let alone new cells to a variant with as featureful a board as Xiang Qi, it really pays to clarify how, if at all, the board features affect the extra pices and the extra cells affect the board features. It is striking how much you have had to keep explaining in comments that should have been stated on the page itself from the start.
	Regarding the variant itself my first instinct is that it is an attempt to achieve something that perhaps a dozen other variants such as Yang Qi and Xiang Courier achieve more effectively and elegantly. In case there is some intent that I have missed I reserve judgment until you explain it.

💡📝Travis Z wrote on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 02:34 AM UTC:
I will not be adding the chinese symbols for two reasons:
1. It adds nothing to the game in terms of game play value.  It only adds looks.
2. I am not going to spend lots of time figuring out the chinese symbols.  If you would like them, figure them out yourself.  I do not get paid for doing this and my life is busy as it is.

I can see that there are mixed reviews of the game, some good and some negative.  I cannot make everyone happy, so as I say good enough.  Time will tell how good it turns out.  With a couple thousand plays, I might be ready to make Version 2, but until then this is it.

Anonymous User wrote on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 01:10 AM UTC:
All your base are belong to us!

Greg Strong wrote on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 11:53 PM UTC:
Wow, attack of the anonymous users

Walter wrote on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 09:15 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Very well thought out game. I like it. It is the bomb. I cannot wait until your next new game.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 04:19 AM UTC:

I don't read or speak Chinese either, but when I wanted to make Chinese pieces for Yang Qi and Eurasian Chess, I could look up English words and find Chinese characters at

💡📝Travis Z wrote on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 03:15 AM UTC:
I do not know Chinese. I do not know how to read it or speak it. So I cannot create a diagram with it. If someone would like to help out and provide me with one, that would be great.

(zzo38) A. Black wrote on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 02:51 AM UTC:
Can you now make the Traditional Chinese for the new pieces?

Serge wrote on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 02:32 AM UTC:
'I have beaten computers before, not that hard really.  Just get some
pencil and paper, and plan out all the general possible moves you have in
mind.   That way you can calculate 64 different next moves or whatever and
see which one is best.'

You sound very young, so I might give you a break.  But I don't believe
that you have been beating a computer unless it's set on 'idiot' level. 
Even run-of-the-mill programs play at master and grandmaster strength.  And
using pencil and paper to see which of '64 different next moves' is best
is such a ridiculous idea that you come off sounding foolish.

💡📝Travis Z wrote on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 02:03 AM UTC:
First thanks for all the comments.

To clarify some more stuff since it comes up in the comments but seems like has already been answered.

Dragons can jump.  They cannot be blocked.  If they could not jump, then they would be limited too much.  Dragons can actually do a lot of stuff.  They can protect the center of the back row, plus the sides.  They can protect the pawns on the sides (Protecting the Flanks).  They can also protect a little bit in the center.  Combine them with the Elpehants and you can basically protect all of the pawns.

The Javelins or as some people like to say Bishops can cross the river.  There is no restriction mentioned.  Why I do not call them bishops is because of three reasons.  First there are no bishops in China, in the old days of Western chess, during the medievil period bishops only moved two spots diagonally and were basically the same as the elephants in Chinese Chess.  And two because in this version of chess, the pieces can only go to half of the board, and can actually protect one another.

The horse can actually escape from the Javelins since it can go to all of the spots on the board.  The horse really has no exact need to read the back rows.

As for the piece values.  I am not too concerned about what the new worths are.  Having played the regular game a lot (Regular Chinese Chess) I have seen a lot of victories in which a player has won with very little and the other player has taken a lot of pieces.  A lot has to do with position and timing.  Who cares if you lose a lot of pieces but win the game anyways.  It is still a win.

As for the computer, I am not a programmer and would never be able to program something to figure it out.  There are lots of different openings.  Besides in the Eastern tradition of thought, gaming playing is part of daily life and it does not matter who wins or loses, the point of playing a game is to exercise your mind and to try different things.  Sure there could be someone who always wins or wins most of the time, but never really learns something, while someone else tries new opening moves and different stratiges and actually learns something.

As for the rook being able to get in the back row.  Well that makes defending the back row now something to consider.  I have yet really come across an actual human game in which someone was able to get in the back row and actually do something with it.  Generally by the time a person was able to do this, the game was more or less over.  I would have to play it more and see if it comes up or not.  If it does there would be simple solutions to fix it.

Anthony wrote on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 11:45 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
This game is pretty good.  I do not know why people are putting it down. 
If I wanted to play regular Chinese Chess I would.  Who honestly cares if
the horses are worth the same, more, or less?  The game is different to
begin with and is in a class all on its own.

The bishops are okay to me, they seem to balance out with the rooks, and
the dragons which I must give credit to Travis can only go to 9 spaces. 
Advisors can only go to 5, elephants 7, and dragons 9, and each one has
more space in general that it can move around in.  So the dragon is great,
and fits right in line.  I am not sure about it jumping though, but I can
see why that ability was given.

For those that are complaining, it is a different game, and so the
strategies are going to be different.  But that is what makes it
interesting and fun.  It would boring if all the strategies were the exact

As for the whole computer issue, who cares.  Jerry might have a slight
point of them not being the best.  My computer crashes now and then or
sometimes will not just work.  Technology is not 100% foolproof.  And
sometimes you can easily fool the computer by making odd or weird moves.

I have beaten computers before, not that hard really.  Just get some pencil
and paper, and plan out all the general possible moves you have in mind. 
That way you can calculate 64 different next moves or whatever and see
which one is best.

M Winther wrote on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 05:19 PM UTC:
H.G., it is true that C+H generally is worse than R, but sometimes it works to exchange a R for C+H. In Expanded Chinese Chess, it's very unlikely to work. If the Javelins can cross the middle of the board, then the javelins of the parties can never meet, as they move on different colours. The dragons cannot meet either, so it will be a lot of moving around as pieces cannot be exchanged. The rook is exceedingly strong as it can invade on the last rank and move to the other flank behind the palace. The whole construction is very controversial. I don't believe in it. But perhaps it can be developed with the help of a computer. 

Serge wrote on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 05:13 PM UTC:
Jerry, you are ignorant. Computers suck at chess? That's why the best computers are now stronger than the human world champion. You have no idea what you're talking about.

H. G. Muller wrote on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 05:05 PM UTC:
Computers suck at Chess eh? So can you beat Houdini? Can you even beat Fairy-Max? And can you beat HaqiKi D in Xiangqi? Or even MaxQi? It sounds like you haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about...

MaxQi can be easily configured to play with Bishops (Javelins) in addition to other Xiangqi pieces. I am willing to bet that from 100 games where MaxQi gets two Bishops in stead of its two Horses in the Xiangqi standard opening position, (on the standard Xiangqi board), and you keep the two Horses, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO WIN A SINGLE ONE!

Jerry wrote on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 04:19 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
This game rocks.  I just tried playing it and it was a blast.  To all of
those saying and posting their comments.  Try actually playing it.  The
horse is actually more powerful as it can reach all the spots.  Whoever
said that that is nonsense obviously does not have any idea what being able
to control all of the spaces means.

I have to defend Travis because this game rocks.  For those saying that you
need a computer to test it like Zillions is just weird.  How does a
computer understand the complex nature of this game?  Computers might know
the rules and stuff, but they do not truly understand the complex nature of
the game.  Most computers suck anyways when it comes to playing chess,
because they do not understand that position means something, and position
is definitely a big factor in Chinese Chess.

Anyhow my hat is off to Travis.  I understand everything in his article. 
It is not hard to understand unless of course you do not read it.  Keep up
the good work.

H. G. Muller wrote on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 02:49 PM UTC:
I think 'half the points' just means it is color bound, not that it cannot cross the river. The argument that a Horse would be better because it can reach all ponts is complete nonsense, of course. In standard Chess a Bishop is already equivalen to a Knight, despite the fact that it can reach only half the squares and the Knight all, and on a 10x8 a Bishop is half a Pawn better than a Knight. There are color-bound pieces that are stronger than a Rook (e.g. B+D, the Bede of Chess with Different Armies). And a Xiangqi Horse is only worth half a Knight, because of its lameness. So the javelin is likely to be significantly stronger than two Horses.

Btw, it seems that R is already significantly stronger than C+H in standard Xiangqi. In comp-comp games, when I see such a trade made erly in the game, the Rook side almost always wins.

M Winther wrote on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 06:35 AM UTC:
Travis, I am trying to give you some input so you can create something that will survive in the future. If the Javelins/Bishops can not cross the river, then you should state this in the rules. If the Javelins cannot attack on the other side of the board, then they are very powerful defensive pieces, only. Yet another pair of pieces to defend the king means that it's much more difficult to achieve mate. The dragons will also serve as defensive pieces, making matters worse. But the dragons are practically useless. Xiangqi pieces can be blocked, so I assume that this is true also for the dragons. This means that they will be blocked most of the time, as orthogonal pieces that move to the fourth square are likely to be blocked most of the time.

When the board size is increased, sliding pieces increase their value, while the horse's value decreases. This is a well-known problem in many big-board variants, where the bishop cannot be exchanged for a knight anymore. The relative values of the pieces are changed. It's hardly possible anymore to exchange a rook for a cannon plus horse. If the palace is not increased then the rook can easily invade on the last rank, and move about inside the enemy position, between the flanks. The rook is already very active in Xiangqi, but here it can easily attack the enemy pieces from behind, moving behind the palace, and check the king from behind at the same time. This cannot possibly work.

You ought to create a Zillions program and test the variant. You could probably create a good game with an elongated Xiangqi board, but it takes a great deal of testing to make a variant of this type work. I also tried to create a new Xiangqi variant on a bigger board, but I failed, after having tested it in Zillions.

💡📝Travis Z wrote on Sun, Feb 20, 2011 11:04 PM UTC:
M Winther states, 'The expanded palace removes most of the traditional mating methods. The elbow horse check is rendered almost useless. The standard cannon mate on the last rank (when the king is surrounded by the mandarins) doesn't exist anymore.'

The palace is not bigger.  Where does it say that it is?  The palace is still the same size.  There is just extra row behind the palace.  So the horse checkmate can happen just as much.  All of the same checkmate possibilities still exist.

M Winther states, 'The added bishops can probably not compensate for this as both bishops move on the same diagonal colour, and the opponent's bishops move on the other diagonal colour. As a result the opponents control half of the squares each, a questionable circumstance. So there is no real bishop pair.'

Chinese Chess is supposed to be symmetrical, having pieces not symmetrical would destroy the balance of the board.  You still checkmate with a Javelin, and you can create a stalemate, which is the same as winning.  In addition, this is not western chess so I really have no concern to create bishops.  They are not bishops anyways, and are intended to be bishops in the exact same sense as that of western chess.

M Winther states, 'The horse is even weaker now on this longer board, and the dragon is almost useless.'

How is the horse weaker?  It still has the same powers it had before.  It does not take it any longer to reach the other side.  Saying that something is weaker and proving that it is are two different things.

The dragon is supposed to be weak.  Each defensive unit in Chinese Chess gets weaker as you move out from the palace.  They have a use, just like the elephants and other pieces.  It is how you use them that makes them effective or not.

M Winther states, 'A rook is even stronger, probably worth three horses. A
bishop is probably worth almost two horses.'

Proof please.  The 'bishop' you call cannot be worth more than a horse, it only controls half the points on the board while the horse can get to every point.

M Winther states, 'I suspect this game is much more drawish than Xaingqi as it is not easy to invade the squares controlled by the opponent's bishops (and which cannot be controlled with one's own bishops). I suspect mate is much more difficult to achieve.'

It is not any more chance of a draw than in the traditional.  Just because there are new pieces does not mean that there are not new ways to get the job done.  As with standard Chinese Chess, you really only need one piece plus your king to get at least a stalemate or checkmate depending on what piece you have left.  The same still applies.

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