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Pocket Polypiece Chess 43. Game with off-board pocket where all pieces of a type change when one piece of a type is moved normally. (7x6, Cells: 43) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-03-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

A really cool looking variant. I'm rather surprised it's been so little played on Game Courier thus far.

George Duke wrote on 2009-06-02 UTC
One remarked lately of pieces changing power when they move, and all them of the type change here when any one of them moves. I wouldn't worry about computers for a while if Antoine just put this on 8x8 or more as I suggested, and 8x10 P.P. Chess 80 would be deadly. Of course Citadel Polypiece of any size as the name would cut into over-all effectiveness. Betza had the idea first Fourriere starts to implement in at least this one version.

George Duke wrote on 2004-02-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Excellent for Jacks & Witches, having played one of the Courier J&W games by the same inventor. I tried Polypiece 43 too, and I think lack of clarity, the lately popular criterion for CVP's ratings, applies. However, Mark Thompson suggests in 'Defining the Abstract' that Clarity trades off with Depth, and PP43 is deep for under 64 squares, I would say; and its originality is high. The other tension Thompson sees is between Drama and Decisiveness, exchanging or played off one against the other to great extent; these third and fourth criteria for a well-designed game would come into play at the 73(72+Pocket) squares, well worth trying. Of course, Polypiece inventions go back to Ralph Betza (as all wisdom does), and Betza says in Polyp. article that there are 'hundreds of thousands of variants,' yet all Polypiece at root, meaning not just pieces but games. So, it can help to have standards besides popularity and polls. I prefer Cannon/Canon's flip at option in Jacks & Witches (and Ch. Larger Bd.), because clarity is not a problem where other pieces are not flipping, and J&W shows drama, decisiveness, and depth too.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-02-12 UTC
The 73 Sq´s version looks fine!. I agree with the leaper/withdrawer, but I´m not sure the value is almost the same if the withdrawer captures with one square movement. Usual Withdrawers are not very strong pieces, prhaps similar in value to the proposed leaper

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2004-02-12 UTC
Two remarks.
1. It seems White can swallow a Pawn by opening 1.d3 and following with a
Bishop attack on a5 or g5. To prevent that outcome, I wish to give Black
the choice of the initial -- common -- state of the polypieces. (Falcons
or Windmills, Knights or Alibabas, and Bishops or Rooks.) Thus Black can
protect his outer Pawns by choosing Rooks. 
2. George Duke suggested that the game was worth at least 64 squares. I
agree. (Takeover Chess is clearly more enjoyable on 64 squares than it is
on 41.) Hence the idea of a fourth polypiece on a 73-square board (a 9x8
rectangle, which would be a 72-zone or Arena, and the Pocket).
Since it may be a bit too easy to guard polypieces with Pawns, I am
thinking of a baroque polypiece capturing with a strictly limited move, a
Leaper/Withdrawer. The Leaper would move neutrally as a Queen, but would
capture as the Overcaller in Achernar. The Withdrawer would also move
neutrally as a Queen, but would capture by withdrawing only one square
from its victim. (Of course, their Arena moves would turn non-Pocket
Leapers into Withdrawers and non-Pocket Withdrawers into Leapers.)

Michael Nelson wrote on 2003-04-10 UTC

I agree that that such endgames are just fine -- many alternatives are
equally playable but the key thing is choosing which set of playable
alternatives suits your conception of what you want the game to be. I
might have chosen differently, but I believe your are designing an
excellent game.

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-04-10 UTC

Your set of rules provides a nice variant, say three-strike pocket
polypiece chess, but I don't find anything wrong with a win for King + 3
Officers vs. King + 2 ill-placed Windmills, or even King + Rook + Pocket
Knight vs. King + 2 ill-placed Windmills. When they were Falcons, I should
have catered for that problem.

Michael Nelson wrote on 2003-04-10 UTC

Your'e welcome.  I find your proposed flipping rule quite interesting,
though the one you had is also playable.

I don't know if the modified cube rule is really needed in the opening
and middlegame. In general, hogging the pocket by putting a piece there
and leaving it for 20 turns is self-defeating, anyway.

But there is one type of endgame I would urge you to consider:

You have King and two Windmills vs. my King, two Bishops, and Knight. At
the moment, your Windmills are not adjacent to anything. If the pocket is
empty and there is no cube rule or you have the cube, you can use the
pocket to move your Windmills.  If there is a cube rule and I have the
cube, your Windmills are immobile if I can keep your King away from them.

If there is no cube rule and it's my move I can immobilize your
by putting the Knight in the pocket and leaving it there.

Do you want this type of endgame?

I have a set of rules about the pocket you might want to consider:

1.  If the pocket is empty either player may move a piece into it except
as provided by rule 5.
2. When a piece has been in the pocket for three turns, its owner must
move the piece out of the pocket on the next turn. 
3. If the player is in check when rule 2 applies and he can relieve the
check by moving the piece out of the pocket, he must do so.  
4. If the player is in check when rule 2 applies and he can't relieve
check by moving the piece out of the pocket, the player makes any move
that relieves the check and must move the piece out of the pocket on his
next turn.
5. When a player moves a piece out of the pocket, he may not move this or
another piece into the pocket until the pocket has been empty for three
turns or the opponent has moved a piece into and out of the pocket.

Three turns is a guess, you will want to experiment.

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-04-10 UTC
To Michael Nelson:
Thanks for your comments.
1)I agree that the Pawn pocketing variant is poor, not only in regard to
the Pocket hogging issue, which I feel is a double-edged sword when the
hog is a Bishop/Rook, Knight/Alibaba or Falcon/Windmill, but because Pawn
promotion becomes too easy.
2)Indeed, I may be wrong, and Nicholas seems to concur with you, but I
feel that keeping the Pocket for twenty turns forces you to play with an
inferior army for an awful lot of time. (When I used 'grounded' in my
reply to his comment, I only meant 'inactive'.)
3)The time-limit variant looks nevertheless interesting, but I prefer my
modified Cube version.
4)As for 'A piece in the Pocket is affected by flipping, but a move to or
from the Pocket doesn't cause flipping', this leads to synchronicity
when the pocketed piece is back, which I don't like too much.
5)But maybe 'A piece in the Pocket is affected by flipping, a move to the
Pocket flips only the other pieces and a move from the Pocket doesn't
flip anything' would be best of all, because it would give asynchronicity
to the pocketed piece, and in the same time would give a fighting chance
to fend off the threat of a pocketed piece and to recapture the Pocket by
sending there a piece of the same family (although you can already send a
threatened officer into the Pocket).

Nicholas Kuschinski wrote on 2003-04-10 UTC
Seing how your comment on my variant was pure gold, and pointed out a fatal flaw (shockingly similar to the problems I thought I found in yours), I think I owe you another visit. After reading your response, I think I might be reading the rules wrong. How could a piece in the pocket be grounded? don't the rules say you can put it on any square in the 42 zone so long as its empty? The 'cube' variant as you suggest looks good, but I think Michael's solution might also be worth a look. I'm highly suspicious of it, because it looks so much like the rule that flipped my variant on its head, but I don't see anything imeediately wrong with it. The 'cube' variation looks like it would make the pocket a much more important part of the game than it is as it stands, but unless you have something against that, it looks like the way to go. <br> <br> I might suggest taking another look at the windmills. They look an awful lot like what the planets did originally in my game, 'orbiting' another piece, and I remember I found something disastrously wrong with it. I can't remember what it was (unfortunately) and I've been looking at the windmills trying to figure out if there is something wrong and being unable to find anything. The pieces may have only had some sort of problem in the original version of my game, instead of being a bad idea in general. I wouldn't worry about it too much, I am comparing what seems to be a well-tested game with a highly excentric system that had much more personality than playability [Black holes inside galaxies that had to be gone through by spaceships with hyperdrives (as opposed to spaceships without them) in order to reach hyperspace. Star clusters being generated by galaxies, and then splitting up into many weaker pieces called 'stars'. pieces often turning into meteorites when coming within the gravitational field of a planet, etc.]

Michael Nelson wrote on 2003-04-09 UTCGood ★★★★
This game deserves an Excellent for the concept, but a small reworking
might be nessessary.

Some limitation on hogging the pocket seems needed--perhaps the cube
variant is some help, but I would suggest that the pocketed piece be
immune from capture for only a limited time (2 or 3 turns perhaps,
playtesting would be required to determine the limit).  After the limit is
up, opponent can move to an occupied pocket and capture. 

I don't think that pawn pocketing variant is a good idea in view of the
pocket hogging issue.   

I would also suggest this variant about flipping.  A piece in the pocket
is affected by flipping, but a move to or from the pocket doesn't cause

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-04-09 UTC
To Nicholas Kuschinski:
Thanks for your comment.
1)I agree that checkmate seldom happens early.
2)A piece on the Pocket is somewhat grounded, and I do not feel that it is
such good tactics to hog the Pocket. Indeed, when I tried to give Black
first use of the Pocket in exchange for White's opening move, it didn't
seem to help.
However, if you should prove right, I would switch to Cube Pocket
Polypiece Chess, which gives a player the right to re-enter the Pocket
only when his opponent has done so, but with the extra rule that a player
may also enter the Pocket indefinitely once his opponent has no polypiece
left (or perhaps once he has managed to send his King on the last rank,
which is a useful trick to remove whatever bothers the endgame). The
Pocket is certainly necessary to give mate with several combinations.

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-04-09 UTC
I wrote that the Windmill 'revolves around one of its eight neighbors'.
I meant that the Windmill revolves around one piece of either color on one
of the eight neighbor squares, not that the Windmill revolves around a
neighbor square even when that square is empty.

Nicholas Kuschinski wrote on 2003-04-09 UTC
It seems extremely difficult to checkmate in the midgame! The pieces changing identities provides a relatively simple way to escape check, that is not embedded into the rules of ordinary chess: just move a piece of the type that is giving the check. The piece that was giving check can no longer attack the king, and that's the end of that. The only ways to get around this are to give check twice, with two different types of pieces, to capture all opposing pieces of the same type as the piece that is giving check, and to set up a situation such that even if the one piece changes, another piece of your army of the same kind will change in such a way so as to give check. All of these situations are extremely unlikely to come up at any time other than the late endgame, and makes most of the beginning and middle of the game more of a struggle over pieces, than a strategic game of chess. Also, it seems that you really need one pocket per side. Here's why: its an extremely powerful move to put a strong piece in the pocket early, and just keep it there until late in the game, blocking off the pocket for your opponent (so that all of his pieces are succeptible to flipping, and keeping him from using it for the fast deployment of pieces), and assuring that you will be able to strike back at your opponent near the end. Other possibilities for a player who has a piece in the pocket are using it temporarily to force moves from your opponent (by placing him in check, etc., which you have permitted) and gain a tactical advantage, only to send it back into the pocket as soon as your opponents moves are no longer forced. All this would be well and good, if it was harder to get into the pocket, but as the rules stand, white can get an immediate advantage by throwing his rook/bishop into the pocket on the first move. The best ways I can see of leveling things off a bit are to either add more pockets in general, establish a move limit, for how long a piece may remain in the pocket, making it harder to move pieces to and from the pocket, giving each player a pocket of his own, or removing the pocket and just playing wihtout it. Keeping things on exactly 43 squares is harder, and I'm really not sure how you would do that. This game is a nice try. As you read through the rules the first time around, it sounds like the greatest thing ever, but closer inspection reveals that it is (sadly) defective. Work on it: Someone clever enough to come up with a game like this should be able to think of some way to fix these problems.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-04-08 UTC
The ZRF will be posted later today.

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