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Flight and Ferry. The gold dragon of Wessex fights the red one of Wales across the Bristol Channel. (8x10, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on 2012-02-22 UTC
Since I first put this variant in the list of ones that I might overwrite, I've been wondering how I might salvage it. It is my only variant with a specifically Welsh element, in contrast to many variants of mine featuring the Unicorn associated with Scotland, in either its cubic or its hex form. I feel that I have still not fixed the imbalance of different number of pieces able to make trhe crossing without a Ferry and would do better to have the same number of such pieces on each side. Five aside seems better than three aside, so I wondered about having Rooks on both sides and adding Queenfilers (Queens restricted to moves that change file) to the Welsh side. This would give both players the same number of linemoves spread between their pieces, though leaving the remaining advantage for the Welsh side (the second player, after all) as regards short-range moves and not having any of their pieces colourbound. It would also mean that I could lift the restriction on non-dragons crossing and capturing in one move. I was already thinking along these lines, but the recent debate on what constitutes Chess made me realise what a constant the Rook has been.
	However, what board would suit these extra pieces? I can see that things will get a bit cramped on an 8x8 board, and I do not particularly want to get rid of any pieces. The Knight is not quite as much of a constant worldwide but it does go well with dragons thematically. A larger army would mean abandoning the 'standard equipment' tag anyway. My instinct is to add two ranks, to have a squarer block in each half of the board than addig two files would offer and lengthen possible Bishop moves from three steps to four. Two lots of five ranks would also echo Xiang Qi. Does this sound a good way of proceeding?

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-08-01 UTC
Charles, after all, you are the game designer and it is your decision (after, I hope, some playtesting) what design you want to implement.

With the King being able to cross the channel, additional rules may be not necessary, but it is worth to think about game endings and how to judge them in any game design.

Adding new methods of capture (like overtaking [2/3] and approach capture [4/5]) to the dragons is certainly a good idea, you may also consider igui capture (killing a piece on a adjacent square without moving).

This will correct the balance of pieces protecting another piece over the channel on the ferry from 1:3 (Queen vs. Queen and 2 Rooks) to 3:5 (Queen and 2 Dragons vs. Queen, 2 Dragons, and 2 Rooks)---a balance I'd consider still very unbalanced, since Wales can try to sharpen it by exchanging Queens and Dragons.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-08-01 UTC
First question, given that Kings can cross over if they can get to a Ferry need I still consider the options of Bare King, Bare Facing. and Win by Stalemate or should I dismiss them?
	I can see the problem of a King in particular being safe from so many pieces while on a Ferry, and the imbalance in pieces that can cross without a Ferry being too strong to counter even the first move and the imbalance in dragons combined. Incidentally I now notice that a Silvergeneral would be as unsuited to this game's rules as to its theme - once having crossed, it could not cross back.
	Here are 9 alternatives for strengthening the Golddragon and Copperdragon, in the order that I thought of them. All are intended in addition to the ability to make a normal capturing move - but never capture two pieces in the same move.
1 They can share a cell with a Ferry but not take one with them.
2 They alone can capture/check any one piece en route to an empty square.
3 They alone can capture/check one piece on a Ferry en route to an empty square.
4 They alone can capture/check any one piece beyond the end of a move to an empty square.
5 They alone can capture/check one piece on a Ferry beyond the end of a move to an empty square.
6 They alone can move to a square with a Ferry on (but not of course an ally) and immediately move the Ferry away.
7 All pieces can move to a square with a Ferry on (but not of course an ally) and immediately move the Ferry away.
8 Both 2 and 4.
9 Both 3 and 5.
	Each would apply to equal numbers of both players' pieces. 1 Would play havoc with the notation, as I was trying to make a virtue out of reprsenting them with GD and CD when G and C usually mean other things, including the much weaker Goldgeneral and Coppergeneral respectively. 2 and 3 would fit with the names (picking something off with their huge talons) but they could still not capture or check an enemy on a Ferry on an end file from another file. This would reduce the Gold v Copper advantage. 4 and 5 could also be seen to fit the names (breathing fire on the piece) but are a little far-fetched, and they couldn't capture or check an adjacent enemy. 6 would not be such a good match for their names. 7 would address that oddity and speed things up but be a big departure from previous Ferry use. 8 and 9 would address the shortcomings of their respective components. My instinct is to go with 9 as the minimum added power to allow them to capture pieces on Ferries anywhere.
	I've spotted another gap in my rules. Can a piece on a Ferry capture a Golddragon or Copperdragon? I can see an argument both ways. Certainly barring it would be in accord with the current rules, but I think that it should be allowed once I have settled on a change. Dragons should after all be vulnerable to someone on a Ferry drawing up alongside them.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-07-31 UTC
Ben asked: >Where does it say the king cannot move to the other side of the board?

I infer this particular rule from the table entry King/on a ferry: It only mentions the default action of sending the ferry to another shore square (not occupied by the second ferry); but does not mention the ability of the King to move with the ferry.

A king on a ferry is a strange beast: He cannot be checked by a dragon. Thus sending a ferry to the King can remove check given by a dragon. The Endgame King on a ferry vs. King and any number of dragons becomes a draw this way.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-07-31 UTC
The raft is somewhat different from this variant's (and Ferry XQ's) Ferry, but I have now added it to my Man and Beast series and added a link to the relevant page to the notes of this page.
	Regarding the ambiguities, I have clarified the text accordingly. In particular I have dropped the use of the word 'confined' for something applying only while the King is not on a ferry. I will have to look at the implications of not all pieces being able to Check a King on a Ferry.
	As always, thanks for pointing out shortcomings in the page and, potentially, in the game. The 'below average' was certainly justified for the page as it was originally written, and I hope that I have begun to address this lapse.

Ben Reiniger wrote on 2011-07-31 UTC
Where does it say the king cannot move to the other side of the board?

I would assume that rook moves and dragons can indeed fly over ferries. This and the other rules might be made clearer (though I think the first two Jörg lists are obvious without) by refraining from calling the ferry a piece, but instead a landmark or special square (or something more well thought out).

I agree that crossing the river is probably too hard, especially when dragons cannot guard a newly crossed piece. The latter could be easily fixed by allowing dragons to use ferries or even just capture onto a ferry; however this still leaves protecting ferried pieces rather difficult.

Farley wrote on 2011-07-30 UTC
A poorly designed game with incomplete and vague rules from Charles Gilman? Am I surprised?

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-07-30 UTCBelowAverage ★★
Analysing the game deeper, it appears to me that it is too drawish to be worth playing.

The issues are mating material and crossing the channel.

Because the King is confined to his own half of the board, he cannot assist his pieces in giving checkmate. Therefore, at least two pieces (one major and one minor one) are needed for checkmate.

There are at least three rule changes lifting this severe condition: a) [most elegant] import the rule from chinese chess, that the Kings may not face each other. With this rule, King+Rook win against a lone King b) Declare bare King a win as in Shatranj c) Declare Stalemate a win (and not a draw).

The rules with the ferries are incomplete; I interpolate the following additional rules:

* Pieces on the ferry are vulnerable to capture

* The ferry loaded with a piece can capture another piece

* An empty ferry sent to an occupied square does not capture, instead it is mounted by the piece there

* An empty ferry cannot be sent to a square occupied by a dragon

I cannot interpolate whether a rook or dragon may 'fly' over an empty ferry or not.

The major issue is, that after crossing the channel, the piece on the ferry is essentially unprotected. It can be protected only by a rook or queen - it does not help against double attack. Therefore crossing the channel is hard. Wessex has a severe handicap here, because it lacks  rooks and owns only one queen.

Wales can try to monopolise the control of the ferries by bringing them both to its side: Only the Wessex' queen can than occupy the ferry and send it back. But, I'm afraid, this is also only a drawing strategy.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-07-29 UTC
I just want to mention, that kind of a ferry also occurs in Floßschach (Raft Chess). Charles even commented on this item 8 years ago. The raft of raft chess differs in its size from Flight and Ferry's ferry, leading to more raft moves.

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