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Shatranj of Troy. A Shatranj variant with Shogi-like drops, a Trojan Horse (with 6 pieces inside),. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on Tue, Dec 22, 2020 02:30 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

This looks like an amazing game! It combines shogi drops with a beautifully simple setup and set of pieces.

Reading the rules makes me want to play it; and also to design something similar, but it seems impossible to make anything quite as elegant as this.

Anthony Viens wrote on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 08:54 PM UTC:Good ★★★★

Another clean design by Gary Gifford.  Nothing here but the pawns, king, and fully-loaded trojan horse.  Set-up-your-pieces opening, essentially.  Interesting, but personally I prefer a bigger variety of pieces.

I can still admire the clean design!

Joe Joyce wrote on Fri, Dec 23, 2005 06:51 AM UTC:
Um, let me try this again. This is a really great game. But when you're
trying to say that and the designer has to defend himself from your
excellent rating, you've probably done something wrong. My sincere
apologies. My only excuse is that it was late and I'd taken several cold
pills an hour before. Apparently for me, typing while sleeping is as
dangerous as driving while sleeping. I was far too forceful in expressing
some of my points. 'Maddening complexity' is one instance. I never
actually beat my head against the keyboard (although if you look at the
game, you'll see several spots where I wanted to) or even came close,
except over some of my own errors. Hard as it may be to believe, I was
trying to compliment the game, and encourage people to play it. I think it
would make an excellent tournament game next time around. So, let me try
this again.
I do believe it is opening-sensitive, and here's why: 99% of variants
have all their piece starting positions pre-determined, and the sides
almost always mirror one another. Almost never does a piece on its
starting square attack an opposing piece. SoT requires you to set up your
own pieces as moves in the game. Now you have to work to balance the other
guy's setup, and may wind up with a considerably different setup. This is
an 'extra area', where players can gain or lose during setup. This
can't happen in FIDE. But this is a bonus, making the game quite unique,
to the best of my knowledge. It appears that playing through a number of
openings would help you determine better piece placements. If one player
makes significantly better piece placements, that advantage may easily
carry through the game. 
I see this as a whole new area, you see it as 'much more opening
variety'. I obsess over placements, counting squares a jamal or dabbabah
can reach, trying to ensure that pieces can support each other; it's not
necessarily simple for everyone. I always had trouble with free set-ups in
wargames. It generally took me a few repeats of a game to have an idea of
how to do the initial piece placement. And, of course, an opponent,
knowing your preferences, can adjust his placement to disrupt yours. This
helps make the game excellent, regardless of how it's seen.
Finally, the 'Nice job'. That should have been 'Tremendous job'. I'm
looking forward to playing this again. I want (need) to learn how to use
the Trojan horse. It's an outstanding piece. 
As far as resigning too quickly, you had me good - you just got the 2nd
rook, and controlled my back rank. I was hoping to start again, and play a
much more even game, now that I have some idea of how placement and drops
work. This game deserves a better test than I gave it so far.

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Thu, Dec 22, 2005 05:36 PM UTC:
I greatly appreciate Joe Joyce's recent comments, But I would like to
expand upon them:
JJ-Point A: 'It is probably extremely sensitive to beginning play' 
GG-I think Chess is much less forgiving and much more sensitive.  With SOT
you can create your own setup; and unless you make a real blunder, you can
likely play just about any opening and make it into the middle-game... to
about the same degree that you can in Shogi.
JJ-Point B: '...certainly you can win or lose quickly in this game.'
GG: While one can plant the seeds of defeat, this game is much safer for
the second player (black) than many other games, including Chess. 
White's initiative here is essentially non-existent.  Shogi is similar,
in that respect.  However, I do suspect that a much stronger player will
defeat a much weaker player without too much difficulty, but this seems to
be the case with most games involving logical deployment of pieces.
JJ-Point C: 'Several layers of play with all their complex choices are
built from a few simple ideas in an easy-to-understand game. You've made
a maddeningly complex easy-to-understand game.'
GG: The Opening phase is simple: Move a Trojan Horse around and drop off
pieces to create your intitial setup.  If desired, keep a piece or two in
the Horse for an attack.  Other than that, it is very much like Shogi with
Shatranj pieces (and a few closely related orthoganal counter-parts.)  Is
it 'Maddeningly Complex?' I don't think so.  I think it is at the level
of Shogi with much more opening variety.  But players of Chess and or Shogi
should be able to jump right in with no headaches.
JJ-Point D: 'Nice job.'
GG: Thanks.  JJ and I played a test game of this and it played quite well.
 There is lots of room for experimentation as to what opening lines are
best.  Should anyone review the 'test game' please note that I think JJ
threw in the towel too quick.  In games inwhich you can drop pieces it is
usually good to play on until the inevitable.  For example, I was once
getting crushed in a face-to-face Shogi game.  Resignation looked logical.
 But I mated the guy with a Knight and a Gold-General drop... (of course,
that is much more likely in over-the-board play, or in real-time internet
play... without days of delay).

Joe Joyce wrote on Thu, Dec 22, 2005 03:37 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
This game is a beautiful concept, from the spare beauty of the initial setup to the balancing of the weak piece set with a fairly free piece placement and drops. It is not a game for the faint-hearted. It is probably extremely sensitive to beginning play; certainly you can win or lose quickly in this game. Several layers of play with all their complex choices are built from a few simple ideas in an easy-to-understand game. You've made a maddeningly complex easy-to-understand game. Nice job, Gary.

David Paulowich wrote on Tue, Dec 6, 2005 11:48 PM UTC:

links to Malcolm Maynard's implementation of five historic variants from the Case Western Reserve Historical Chess site. Graphics by L. Lynn Smith.

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Sat, Dec 3, 2005 05:50 PM UTC:
In regard to the Shatranj of Troy Camel: From the Case Western Reserve Historical Chess link I found that the 'Jamal' (not a typo) was first introduced with the first variation of Shatranj Kamil (this is supposedly a variant about 1000 years old). The old Jamal (Camel) moves exactly as I happened to depict it in Shatranj of Troy. So, it seems that by coincidence the Camel image I chose is quite appropriate.

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Sat, Nov 26, 2005 12:38 AM UTC:
Thank you very much Antoine, for fixing the bug(s) in the pre-set. I just tested the 'move feature' and it is indeed working. I realize that it does not enforce rules; but I am happy and thankful that moves can be made and that the positions and captured pieces can be kept track of. Once again, thank you very much for fixing the problem. Best regards, Gary

Antoine Fourrière wrote on Sat, Nov 26, 2005 12:28 AM UTC:
It seems to be working now (as a non move-enforcing preset).

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Thu, Nov 24, 2005 10:18 PM UTC:
I have created a game courier for Shatranj of Troy by editing a Shogi pre-set. It seems that the pre-existing Shogi 'move enforcing code' has remained in tact and thus messes up this game courier; Any one know what I need to do to fix this? I tried deleting the Shogi code and re-saving... but the code seems to remain. If you click on 'Move Pieces Yourself' you can't, and instead see code and a syntax error.

The link to the new malfunctioning game courier is as follows: Thanks in advance for your help in getting this to work. Sincerely, Gary

Link to preset

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Tue, Nov 22, 2005 05:56 PM UTC:
Charles Gilman wrote that he had an idea for a 'Byzantine array' but with the Knights as Trojan Horses containing pieces NOT in the array. He then wrote, 'Would you be happy with me posting such a variant as long as I credit you for the Trojan Horse?' Answer: I have no problem with others using the Trojan Horse. And if the use of it was inspired by 'Shatranj of Troy,' then a reference to that game and me as author would be much appreciated. Also, note that it was my simpler Trojan Horse (Troy Horse) of 'Catapults of Troy' that led to this more heavy duty horse with a cargo of 6 pieces, instead of 1. I look forward to seeing the Byzantine variant.

Charles Gilman wrote on Tue, Nov 22, 2005 08:31 AM UTC:
This has given me an idea for a variant starting with the Byzantine array, but with the Knights as Trojan Horses containing pieces NOT in the array. Would you be happy with me posting such a variant as long as I credit you for the Trojan Horse?

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Thu, Nov 17, 2005 05:44 PM UTC:
I have read several comments about Shatranj of Troy and also few e-mails that are not posted as comments. Thank you to all who have commented and e-mailed. I will try to briefly address two issues here. (1)Regarding no Bishops - I wanted to keep original Shatranj pieces - thus the Elephant stayed, as did the Ferz, Knight, Rook, and same pawns (with a promotion difference). Aside from the Trojan Horse, the 2 pieces added seemed logical orthoganal counterparts to the Ferz and Elephant. (2) Trojan Horse, captured with cargo - I think the 'Captured with Cargo' concept is logical and a bit exciting. Somewhat double-edged. I like this as it motivates a player to develop logically and not charge hog wild towards the opponent without paying consequences [should his Trojan Horse be captured]. A player can use the Trojan Horse to place pieces behind his pawns, in front of them, a bit of both. This would constitute a logical opening phase, i.e., initial setup. It would also make a captured Trojan Horse much less valuable to the opponent, i.e., by quickly emptying the cargo. However, a player can neglect piece placement to a desired degree and boldly venture towards the opponent with one, two, (or more)pieces inside the Trojan Horse for a deadly attack. Personally, I think I'd position all of my pieces except 1, and then use the Trojan Horse and that housed-piece as a dangerous attacking weapon. Best regards to all. And thanks again for your feedback. - Gary

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Thu, Nov 17, 2005 02:11 PM UTC:
wouldn't you drop the pieces pretty quickly?
it is a pretty interesting idea that if the trojan horse is captured,
whatever inside is given to the opposition, makes life dangerous if you
try to advance the t-horse inside enemy lines .. i know when i first read
that rule i thought .. 'oh that is heavy, lose the t-horse and what is
inside enemy gets', but, i think i like it now , it would make you be careful, 
you just couldn't afford to lose t-horse with pieces inside anyway, 
so i couldn't see it happening that often  .. 
once again, terrific looking game.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on Thu, Nov 17, 2005 12:36 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Nice idea, Shogi is great by many reasons, but the relatively low power of many pieces is a special element of interest when there are drops, and Shatranj looks excellent for this purpose too. I have to play it to see how it works. My only observation: I prefer that after a Horse of Troy capture, it changes sides, but its contents are lost, i.e., it transforms to a single Knight.

Charles Gilman wrote on Thu, Nov 17, 2005 08:52 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
Containnig a Bishop to go with the Rook, rather than a Knight, would make further sense as the empty Trojan Horse will be identical to a Knight anyway. 1 Rook + 1 Bishop would also strengthen the link to Shogi. It might be less confusing to call the orthogonal leaper a Dabbaba(h), as the name Camel has become so strongly associated with an oblique leaper that relates to the Knight as the Ferz does to the Wazir (and mioght appear should there ever be a version where the Trojan Horse contains 8 other pieces). I remember my confusion in my first comment on Shatranj Kamil.

Thomas McElmurry wrote on Thu, Nov 17, 2005 06:56 AM UTC:
Shatranj and Shogi are consecutive entries in the alphabetized listing of recognized variants, but to combine them like this is a very original idea. Like those two games, this one has a variety of short-range pieces with only a few powerful long-range ones. The Trojan Horse will add another layer of strategy to the game: with most of the pieces beginning off the board, should one deploy them early in order to control territory and build a solid defense, or keep them inside the Horse in order to strike a crushing blow from behind the enemy's walls?

I like the inclusion of the Wazir, Ferz, Camel, and Elephant. These pieces form a natural sequence: two Wazir's moves at right angles make a Ferz's move, two Ferz's moves at right angles make a Camel's move, and two Camel's moves at right angles make an Elephant's move. That makes me wonder, though, whether the Trojan Horse should contain a Bishop instead of a Knight. Or maybe I just think that because I missed the Bishops while playing Shatranj recently.

Speaking of which, the inclusion of drops will of course prevent the game from ending in a long slow war of attrition.

I would probably play quite badly at first, but I'd love to try this game.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Thu, Nov 17, 2005 05:36 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
looks brilliant!!
where is the zrf!!!
lol :)

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