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The Chess Variant Pages


Vote Feedback Page: Comments

This page contains comments from voters. The number and types of comments do not necessarily indicate how well a particular entry is doing in terms of voter ratings. These comments will be made public at some point -- probably after the voting ends.

Last updated on: 1 August 1999.

If you'd like to discuss the entries, comment on the comments, look for email or Zillions of Games partners, or just stop in to take a look, we have a club at:

Big Outer Chess | Bomberman Chess | Camblam | Centennial Chess | Chess99 | Chesseract | Conveyor Chess | Divergent Chess | Edge of the World Chess | Eight-Stone Chess | Fantasy Grand Chess | Flee! | Jester Chess | Keyles | Kings Court | Little Cheops | Maelstrom | Mammoth Chess | Mini Citadel Chess | Nahbi Chess | Napoleonic Chess | Omega Chess | Pick-the-team Chess | Quang Trung Chess | Quex | Round Table Chess | Round Table Chess II | Royal Court | Scheherazade | Scirocco | Shako | Spiderball | Spinach Chess | Tamerlane II | Typhoon | Ultra Chess | Vyrémorn Chess

Big Outer Chess

I haven't had a chance to play with the Zillions file for this as much as I'd like, but deemphasizing the importance of the center seems like a great way to give a game a distinctive character.

A better name might be Pit chess, since the center of the board is dangerous. A nice idea.

This looks like an intriguing concept which may actually turn out to be playable. I am willing to try it and see. Perhaps you could have named it Swamp Chess. To me the board seems like a piece of terrain with a swamp in the middle to bog you down.

It's going to take me a while to get used to the new pieces in Big Outer Chess; it's easy to forget that some of these pieces have different abilities in different zones. I give this game a thumbs up for its altered strategies (making the center less important) and a thumbs down for its complexity.

The concept is very interesting, but with several different pieces being affected by various limitations, while other powerful pieces remain unhindered seems awkward. I more general restriction on all pieces of a certain caliber (Rooks, Bishops, and Queens) cannot cross more than 2 or 3 zone boundaries would be nice. This would force the action to the outside rim, in accordance with the original concept, I think.

Not so interesting.

A unnatural way to redesign the definition of the board to affect the game.

Too complicated.

Bomberman Chess

-I loved it! The bomb is an old idea, but Bryan has tailored it to a create well-balanced game.
-Simply interesting!
-Chess/Stratego is new concepts.

Mostly, I deplore games with overwhelmingly powerful pieces, and I thought the Bomb might be one when I first read the description. However, in practice the Bomb threatens to take out one's own pieces often enough that one has to be quite judicious in using it. A fiendishly ingenious game, altogether.

I'm 14 moves deep in an email game of BOMBERMAN CHESS with the game's inventor, so while my experience with it is still limitted, I wanted to get my vote in before the deadline. It seems like a pretty good game. Again, I always feel that one of the strengths of a chess variant is how easy is it to learn and play? There aren't a lot of new pieces here. The set up almost reminds me of OMEGA CHESS (which I like a lot), in that you have the traditional army in the center with the new pieces (the bombs) out on the wings. The bombs move similar to champions from OMEGA CHESS except they can't leap over pieces. The defuser moves like a cursed queen from KNIGHTMARE CHESS, three squares in any direction. If one could trade a rook and bishop for a defuser they'd probably be getting the advantage. Once the new pieces are removed from the board it becomes a standard chess game on a 10 by 8 board, and promoted pawns move like queens. Essentially its just standard chess with a new twist. How one uses their bombs thus becomes very important. Thumbs up Bryan!

I put this game in the same category as "Eight-Stones Chess"; it's a variant whose rules are nearly identical to chess, but whose strategies are very different. It's pretty common to have your plans "blow up in your face" because of one of those bombs. Well done!

I might have rated this as a 1, but the problems and sample game and humor elevated the game to a 2 for me. The ideas are quite interesting, and I would very much like to see a Zillions version of this game.

Bryan: I loved it! Can't wait to try it. I am wondering, though, why you won't let pawns promote to defusers?

I like the 'bomberman'. Too bad he is just injected this way into regular chess. Should like to see him as a part of an entire Terrorist army.

It does not really capture my interest.


-A new clear and precise gameplay which is very stimulating and intresting.
-An excellent variant.
-Good game.

I like the new multiple captures (new element of strategy), but it is just a little confusing. The new movement capabilities make things interesting. However, there could be a little room for confusion, though not mear as much as Typhoon and Scirocco. However, I can see some work was done to get this game just right, and it is fairly well done.

I haven't playtested this, but this game appears to be saturated with overwhelmingly powerful pieces. I realize this is a matter of taste, but to me this violent game lacks subtlety.

-It doesn't really capture my interest.
-Does not impress me.
-Moves are too much complex to be enjoyable.
-The pieces are too strong; the game is too tactical. (And confusing!)

The Archer is a spoiler for the game, and the prince is another menace. To much range on all the pieces.

Take too long to finish and the pieces are too strong. The way the prince moves is too arbitrary--no respect for any natural law or order.

Centennial Chess

Very clear, concise instructions, with everything on the board before play begins. I don't have the playing board in front of me, but it seems that the game would look interesting. I just wonder how much longer the game would take than orthodox chess.

A large variant that is close in spirit to Orthochess, and with (in my view) some of the flaws of Orthochess -- but better than Orthochess overall. The Camel, Murray Lion, and Spearman are all nice, solid pieces -- not so weak as to be useless, nor so strong as to dominate the board.

A light-hearted theme,with a playably rememberable number of truly new and interesting pieces. Well done.

It's EXCELLENT! -- but it's my own game. Considering that I may be biased, I'm limiting my vote to 'Good'.

Surely a finalist, but at best a runner-up. I especially enjoy the small number of pieces which are both interesting & balanced. Pieces are not redundant, and there is a sense of harmony in this game (which can be found in only a few others!). Unfortunately, even with the smaller army, and extra moves, a complete game requires way too many moves (a sure sign that something is flawed!). I happen to disagree with the idea of having rotating pieces: doesn't work out well OTB (esp blitz!), and deprives many zugzwang possibilities from the game.

I have a question for John William Brown: In Centennial Chess, you are allowed to move 2 pieces per turn until you make a capture. Here's the question: is this second move required? There may be situations where a player would be better off moving only once.

Anyway, this is a good variant. Those Rotating Spearmen should make this game interesting!

The two move priviledge is interesting. I can imagine players trying to go the whole game without capturing, since mating would be much easier with two moves.

10 pieces on a 10x10 board. What a balance! Perhaps it is a little too much crowdy? I like the new pieces, they give a very cool game. One can feel that this chess has not been invented two hours ago.

All the new pieces have good moves. I like the double move until capture idea to move the game along faster in the early stages. The point values seem a bit awkward to tenths of point.

I like the Spearman piece in this game. But other than that I see little intriguing about this variant.

The rotating spearman is an intriguing idea, and the stewards are much more formidable than a traditional pawn, but aside from these, the other 2 new pieces and some extra board, there is nothing about this game that presents a significant improvement or change to traditional chess.

Interesting, but I do not like it (!)


Before I comment on the game itself, a word about the notation. When pawns promote, they must return to their first rank before promoting again. I suggest adding some mark to the symbol of a piece that needs to return to its first rank before promoting. (Ex. putting a P in front of the piece's symbol; then a P could become a PD+, then a D+, then a D*)

Having said that, how good is the game? It's an unusual game; there is no way to estimate the value of a piece, since its value is always changing. The rules are simple, the strategies are complex... oh, why am I beating around the bush? I'll just say it straight out: I LOVE this game!

Very interesting game!

Looks like an interesting game. It is unfortunately too complicated for such a contest. With so many entries, one is inclined to play the simplier games and save the more complex games for tomorrow -- which never comes.

Too much like Fairy Chess 101. NICE board though. Winners should consider further altering their game to 99 squares, in honor of this, the year of its creation. Also an idea for another contest!

Sorry, Mr. Pfeiffer, but it is a little confusing for me to grasp.

The progressive piece rule sounds to me as if it would require a lot of bookkeeping. I don't think you could convince me to try this.

The board size was a mild surprise, but the over analyzed movement theory (and the requirement that I concern myself with it) has brought down another contender.

-Too mechanical for my taste!
-It does not capture my interest is too complex.


Unplayable yes, but a very nice theoretical exercise

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I am actually weird enough to think this game looks like a lot of fun!

Don't jump so quickly to the conclusion that the game is unvisualizable. Using a 2x2 array of 2x2 boards, it works quite nicely -- this is no doubt because every piece but one makes 2-dimensional moves. The wizard was initially hard to visualize, but after staring at the board and seeing its moves for a while, everything comes clear. The right-angle moves (for the most part, controlling planes) are good complements to the line-control of runners in 2-d space. The sticky pawn rule and the minstrel are both excellent possibilities of 4-space that work much better there than in 2-space. It's always nice to see a game in a nonstandard geometry that makes pieces that work in that geometry rather than simply translating the standard chess pieces there. I like it.

Voting on Chesseract is very difficult. I think this entry deserves both an "Excellent!" (for imagination) and a "Flawed" (it is completely unplayable by human beings, due to the difficulty of visualizing the 4-dimensional moves).

44 pages of rules. Understandable. Still it would be a kick to be able to say, '3 dimensional chess? How fun. Still, I have played 4 dimensional chess. I think I like it better.' Whether or not one actually did like it better!

Impressive work, but extremely complicated!

Huh? A 4D board? I have a hard enough time with a 3D board. Personally, I prefer games easily playable via E-mail (that is, 2D games) or on a flat, sibgle surface. I admire the effort, but this isn't for me.

With this 4D board, it's hard to see what squares each piece can move to. This game is a little" too complicated for me! I'll stick to 2D variants."

A horribly complex game, this. The sticky pawn and turning rook rules add an extra degree of horror to the already difficult tracking of hyper-dimensional space relations. I have a good grasp of hyper-cubes and such, and it seems there is a discrepency either in the explanation or the move logic of some pieces as they intersect and travel between quadrants and what-not. A fantastic concept, but to unwieldly to make playable in the short term.

Far too complicated!

"it seems clear that Chesseract is virtually unplayable" (Jim Aikin own words)

Conveyor Chess

Another game I wish I'd had a chance to playtest. At first glance the list of pieces looks odd, but the conveyor belt is probably a great equalizer, in that it makes all pieces on it move the same way. This is something like a combination of a typical chess variant and Smess. I hope someone does a Zillions implementation of this soon; I'm very intrigued.

There is a lot of new ideas in this game. If only there was a sense of their hanging together. The conveyer might be useful as an area to move around. Perhaps better to call it a swamp, however, for it seems to bog the pieces down. Certainly 144 squares have room for an obstacle.

Why the complication of the Conveyor? Chess is sometimes spoiled, sometimes complimented by a middle-of-the-board obstruction, and the Conveyor rests on the spoiled. I understand 75% of the Conveyor rule; the rest is as clear as mud.

-How do you get off of the conveyor belt?
-Not my taste.

A huge bunch of different pieces that are hard to evaluate. Unreasonable restriction of movement allowing pieces to enter other side by only very narrow middle part of board. It can be defended easily leading to unpleasant number of draws and thus low attractivity.

I don't see any reason why someone would move a piece onto a conveyor belt; a piece on a conveyor belt is pretty much useless.

"I haven't played this before, so feel free to e-mail me comments, suggestions, and any games you have played." (quote from the game's author)

Divergent Chess

Like its cousin Mini-Citadel Chess, this game demonstrates a remarkable degree of symmetry in the initial layout and in the movements of the pieces. Such an obsession with symmetry usually ruins a game, but this game works to perfection. Perhaps the best feature of the game is the King's move; the King is both very powerful and very vulnerable. Altogether a marvelous invention.

Divergent Chess is beautiful. It is based on a simple idea (all pieces should capture different than they move), yet the consequent execution of this idea leads to a complex and intriguing game. I especially like the concept that each of the pieces has a counterpart which has inverted movement/capture abilities, and the strong royal piece which can be tempting to use more offensively than usual.


Huh? First, you take away a piece's ability to do certain things (capture), then you add something to the regular move of a promoted piece? I would likely forget things in midplay, and would likely lose many encounters. I can see the effort and strategy involved, though, so I am neutral on this game.

This game is very "iffy". Those Kings are pretty strong... and once a player promotes his King, he pretty much guarantees a draw. So the big question is, how easy is it to promote a King? I'll have to do some extensive playtesting to figure that out. For now, I'll just say that this game would be a winner if it had normal Kings. As it is now, who knows?

Complication for its own sake. The idea of all pieces being like pawns is interesting. Yet the idea of pawns moving forward and capturing diagonally has a logic to it. They have to move forward, they are peons who must follow orders and not retreat. They may capture diagonally so they can be a threat, and support one another, and so on.What is the logic of this?

It does not capture my interest.

Edge of the World Chess

The momentum concept is very intriguing. I would like to see a Zillions version of this game, so that i might see how it plays.

Although the idea is interesting, I feel that the momentum rule requires more bookkeeping than I'd be interested in. I haven't actually playtested this game, though.

I've myself thought of regular chess on a 10x10 board with the outside rows and columns (simply forget the 12x12 board), but I would not have added the momentum aspect, as it is simply too confusing. Speaking of that idea of mine.

What the BEEP! is momentum? This is too much!

It should be possible to program a computer to keep all these pieces moving at once. But not THIS brain.

Two problems with this one: first, this game requires some record keeping in order to keep track of the pieces' momentums. Second, pieces can fall off the board; I think it would be better if they stopped at the edge.

Finally, it is complicated. It was not fun for me.

Momentum is a hard thing to make work in chess, particularly in face to face games, just because of the huge amount of paperwork involved, and the ease in making a mistake. I commend you for trying, but it just didn't work. See Ralph Betza's momentum chess for an in my opinion better, but still very imperfect way of implementing momentum.

Interesting, but the concept of momentum is too exotic.

This exhibits only the 3 degrees of variation to avoid copyright infringement, or in this case, to meet contest rules.

Complicated. Not a pleasure for me.

What???! I just don't get Mr. Fryer's description of this game. Sorry.

Too confusing!

Eight Stone Chess

Very nice, but one idea: why not give each player his own stones (not neutral)? Hindering the opponent would then make more sense. I've seen a version of online chess where it was possible to trap a Rook before it even moved (my least favourite variant for that reason). However, it might add to the game. Nice work!

The stones both impede (by blocking) and increase (by swapping) the pieces' mobility -- cool idea.

It is very playable and a lot of fun. The best point is that value of pieces is not very different from normal chess!

Nice twist to the game. Why didn't anyone think of this before?

The rules are not much more complex than FIDE chess, but the strategies are. Sounds like a winner to me!

8-Stone Chess is a clever variation. I think its strongest quality is that it can be played on a standard chess board w/ standard pieces; all that needs to be added is the eight stones which can, of course, be any small object. I also like how Jim Aikin has added aspects of the graceful Japanese game, Go, to standard chess to create a truly exciting variant.

The stones are an interesting idea, and the Zillions implementation is quite good.

Alias "Amoeba", but I liked that variant too.

Interesting. But keeping up with who moved what stone where on their last move might result in some problems.

I really like the stone dynamics. The neutral pieces and their opening position in the center of the board, like the "drops" do in Shogi albeit in a completely different fashion, drastically increase the tactical depth of the game without overwhelming the player.

Clever and playable, but too FIDE-like for my own personal tastes.

Chess variants don't have to introduce new pieces to be interesting. There is a lot of strategy involved in moving the stones. The reason I am giving this variant two points is because its simplicity is its strength. The easier it is to learn how to play a variant, and to master it, the better it is.

+: Very nice concept of chess game.
-: Doesn't have a flavor of LARGE chess game.

The option to move a stone at the end of every turn adds just a bit to much. Like the author sited, Gambiting in the proximity of a stone is dangerous, and I suspect that play will eventually break down to who develops the best stone position.

Interesting, but far from chess game.

Two gripes, that are really more issues of taste than anything else. Between the longer board and the central location of the stones, the game seems deprived of an opening. The players are in a position to harass each other with stones from the get-go, moves before they can bring major pieces to bear on each other. Along the same lines, the power of pawn structures seems dimished by the center board being already taken up by stones, with no good defensive replacement that I've found. The stones do make decent blockers, but between the power of the other player to move them away and swap, the game seems to fall into the two players scrabbling for initiative rather than setting up elegant defenses.

Using the stones is an inefficient way to restrict the movement of the pieces. Besides, there is little effort shown to make the rules as simple as possible.

Fantasy Grand Chess

Another victim of Ralpha Betza's divine madness. The only reason I feel compelled to give this game (or set of closely related games) a 'Good' rating instead of 'Excellent!' is that I haven't been able to try it out.

On second thought, maybe it deserves an 'Excellent!' anyway.

A very good idea; one that will probably lead to the creation of other armies. But I wonder... how balanced are these armies? It's hard to tell- some of these pieces are pretty unusual. Until I can do some extensive playtesting, I'll just give this game a 'good' rating and leave it at that.

A wonderful idea, and an excellent presentation! I am inspired to build other armies to join the current list. In time, as the true strength of each army is realized, various pieces could be subtly enhanced or weakened until all the armies fought with equal strength. I would love to see pewter pieces for each army. I could see this game attracting a large following among fans of Fantasy, especially if even more armies were introduced.

I like the notion of variable armies, and so long as the armies are well matched, and perhaps designed to exploit complimentary weaknesses, the overall effect should be good. I am undicided about the overall balance between the armies in this case. This is one that bears playtesting just to reveal the interactions.

Just a minor bug I found, and easy to fix. In the druid army, Fox and Falcon both abbreviate as F. So I think Falcon should be Fa.

Greatest idea that I ever heard!!!!!!

Good, but does not capture my attention.

Too confusing. Since each army moves differently, it definitely makes for unique games, but it may be possible to forget what army moves which way, especially if the orthodox set represented each army.

This game reads more like a piececlopidea than a game. It requires that players learn a large number of pieces (many of which either overlap each other, or are simply ridiculous).

Too complicated.


If it is impossible to checkmate the enemy King, it is flawed. Checkmate is only possible behind a wall of friendly pieces, as a King out in the open almost always has an escape square across the board.

Big game. Immensely powerful pieces. I haven't tried this game, but imagine that it is so violent as to make strategic play rather difficult.

I do not understand why people insist on presenting equations and codes to represent how a piece moves instead of using a little text and/or graphics to demonstrate the movement of pieces.

As I thumb through my various Chess resources, formulas for movement are only presented as curiosities to accompany text and graphical data representing movement, attack, and special moves.

I did not want to use the "flawed" rating on any game, but here I had no choice. With these superstrong kings, it looks like every game of Flee! will end in a draw.

Everything must be in balance. Making the king too strong creates less tactic to be employed.

Too big!

Not explained well.

Jester Chess

A game with obvious kinship to the author's Centennial Chess. Clearly he gave quite a bit of thought to the balance of pieces in this game. I haven't playtested this, but it sounds very appealing.

It looks a major war-set. Yet significant effort seems to have been made to balance it. The jester is an interesting piece, rather like the chameleon in Ultima. Moreover I think it would be fun, in the same way that one's first games of chess were fun.

-The Jester is an old idea, but Havel's invention of the archer, plus his array, rates a top vote.
-I can't wait to play this game! The Jester piece is a an ingenious invention!
-The Jester is an interesting piece with it's mimicking move.

I think I should ask the same question I asked about Centennial Chess: before capturing, is the second move mandatory? If it is, then the Jesters can't be moved until a capture is made. Not good.

I don't really care for the Jester. The Archer may be better servered to be able to shoot the same number of squares in any direction. Values in tenths for players is a bit awkward.

This is another in a class of clone games (i.e centenial chess) that are all cut from the same cloth.

No bad at all, but it doesn't attract my attention.


I like these variants where the number one priority is defense; if any piece breaks through your lines, you have to take time to remove it BEFORE attacking the enemy king. I still think this game is confusing, having 5 types of pawns, but this new rule (getting your King to the last rank wins) makes up for it. Good work!

Too many new pieces (not enough orthodox ones), different notation. result: flawed game. Especially since this centers on Quex, which itself is unappealing because of the hype (and it's a poor work, anyway).

The rules require that when a player's King is captured, that player must replace a champion piece with the King. However, the rules don't say what happens when the player in question has no champion pieces -- I would think (without having tried it) that this situation would come up rather frequently in actual play, so I would have to say I consider the rules flawed.

This is a race game. Why not ?

I do not like the choice of pieces anyway. Sorry.

Ultimately this game is the same as Quex, only allowing the opportunity to win in a tedious end game by moving your King to the opposing back rank. But how often does a King enjoy this kind of freedom of movement? Only when a stalemate would otherwise threaten. If there are any rooks or a queen left on the board, it would be impossible to win. Although it isn't explicitely stated, if the king is Mated, he can't reach the opponents last rank, thus insuring that at least one can't lose.

Does not capture my interest.

King's Court

-A well-balanced game.
-This game has great potential to be a classic.
-I have played this game and I love it.
-This game is great.
-This particular chess game is realistic for a large chess variant.

I can't see anything wrong with this game. Because of the Chancellor's interesting move, I can understand the King's Flight move (else the Chancellor can checkmate by himself!). I might like a game of this if it reaches the finals.

This game looks like another modernized form of Courier Chess, although the author doesn't mention it as an inspiration. I guess I'd be more inclined to try a game that was a little more different from Orthochess, but this game doesn't have any obvious flaws.

More, in this case is better. The Chancellor is a powerful dude, and perhaps exactly enough to compensate for the increase in size. The Jester, too, is appropriately named.

I believe that this particular variant has all the elements of the classic game of Chess. I have played it and I find it to be even more fun than Chess due to the new peice additions. I am particularly impressed with the fact that their is not one overly powerful peice. The new peices mix with the old in a harmonious fashion. Good game!

It was hard to decide whether to vote "0" or "1" for this game; probably the best rating would be 0.5. LeVasseur chose two good pieces to add to the standard group of six... but the game seems too similar to FIDE chess. Conclusion: a split decision on this one.

It does not do anything for me. Multiple move pieces seem only to needlessly add complication to an elegant game. It does not seem to offer any advantages over standard chess or other variants.

Little Cheops

I would appreciate it if someone would put all the rules of Little Cheops into a single file... using terms that most chess variant players would understand. I am still trying to decipher some of the rules.

The game sounds very fascinating, but there seems to be a lot more emphasis on the language and 'culture' of the game than on the actual game itself. I was left with a vivid picture of what watching a match may be like, but still unable to actually play a match myself.

With more detail of the piece movement and placements, I would have eagerly givin this an excellent rating.

I didn't read the original Cheops, but I find the piece moves confusing. Also, the instructions make me believe the game is 3D (it may not be, but the instructions for piece moves mention 3D moves).

I had a little difficulty following the rules -- perhaps if there were an instructional video...

Any game where the rules are not in one place, and some of the others are on a seperate site that is underconstruction...seems loaded with problems. Especially since learning the rules seems dependent on learning another game's rules, then substracting.

I'm too lazy to follow the maze of links. Just put the instruction of the game where I could read it right away. This game is to Khufu for me.


-Interesting and original!
-A thoughtful variant.
-Wonderfully simple. I love.
-Phil Asher say's it's brill!!!!

Malestrom is well thought out, and a truly expectional achivement of high quality, well thought out and intresting varient of the old chess game. It is my guess that this person will go far.

Probably the simplest variant, yet great fun to play, especially the skirmish at the beginning. Standard chess rules reduces arguments.

OK, what's going on here? This is a bloodbath! It also seems that little strategy is called for (capture or bust). In addition, the board is normal size. Lastly, few of us may have the necessary pieces to fill up the board (one would require four sets of pieces just for the Knights). I'll try this someday (when I find some other chess player to try it), but I'm not sure of it. No opinion.

I like games that start out slowly, where opposing forces only gradually come into contact. This game certainly does not provide that! However, I have to admire the author's sense of humor. This game is the product of a twisted mind, and I say that with considerable admiration.

This idea will work at boards of any size (and/or dimensions) and also with any kind of pieces. Therefore only 'good' and not an 'excellent'.

Fun for a festive afternoon with friends, where the slug feast nature of Maelstrom can prove entertaining for all, but as a 'serious' chess variant, it is lacking, proving to be more like tic-tac-toe, checkers, or Pente: where the chain of events leads to canned results that can be safely predicted long before the conclusion of the match. This might be an exciting variant to play with dice, though....

This is perhaps the worst entry in the contest. The principle new idea (a board full of pieces) is simply a very bad idea. Opening theory is all too important here. Were there only 1 royal king, this game would quickly reduce to a puzzle (white to play and win).

It's a workable game -- it just isn't very "chesslike", to me. This is purely a matter of taste, but this game reminds me of alquerque or fanorona much more than chess. These are fine games, but they rely much more on initiative and tempo than chess, where materiel and position are the key concepts. It's playable, but to me, it doesn't "feel" right.

It appears that the game initially is reduced to just trading pieces and becomes a war of attrition. I would think that the lack of initial manuvering room would make the first part of the game more like a slug-fest.

-no, no, no, no, NO!
-Too chaotic for my taste! Sorry!
-This game is too tactical for me.

Mammoth Chess

Simple and fun!
-Interesting game!
-Like the mammoth. Well thought-out. Obviously play-tested.

One of the best of the bunch. Removing the corner squares was ingenious; this is one of the few chess variants where a king and a pawn always beats a lone king.

I like the Quick Pawn in this game. Several of the other games might be improved by changing their pawns to Quick pawns.

To my chagrin, I was prepared to hate this game. Foolish me!

This is a well thought game, that satisfies one of my biggest beefs with all of the Chess Variants, and that is the board.

The Board offers the greatest capacity for change: special regions like the Equator in Nahbi or the Field in Vyremorn; or just unusual shapes that cause 'shadows' combine to create profound new dynamics without the need for a hoard of new pieces.

This game also has a well balanced set of pieces, by adding a gentle mix of middle and end game pieces, and improving the pawn's status slightly, it has a slightly faster, albeit balanced feel.

Looks like a very well thought out variation. My first reaction is that there are just too many powerful pieces on the board, but then I have yet to try it.

Nightrider continous movement in the same direction needs more detailed explanation--in exactly the same manner in the same direction or just generally in the same direction. Can it move 2 up and one to the right then 1 up and 2 to the right, or must it be exactly the same movement--2 up and 1 to the right, 2 up and 1 to the right, etc.

It does seem like an interesting variant that would probably play well. The double move pieces and the continuous knight move may add more confussion than desired.

This game is a pretty interesting concept, but it is loaded with stronger pieces than I'd prefer -- curiously, the eponymous Mammoth is the weakest of the non-Orthochess pieces the author introduces. The initial setup allows almost every piece, including the Rooks, to emerge early in the game, so the opening is pretty violent.

It might be fun. Once. Seems like complication for complications sake. And why only eight pawns? The board seemed to 'want' more. Could it be… oh never mind.

Mr. Begley stole Freeling's Grand Chess pieces, threw them in a different arrangement with three other previously-used pieces, and thinks it's original. Sorry, it isn't. Other variants have some originality (Wizards and Champions in Omega Chess, and Bombs in Bomberman Chess), but this is Grand Chess on a different board. Last note: stalemate IS possible with orthodox pieces (only King left, cannot move because of check), and the 50-move rule still works, too.

Not well balanced: too many strong pieces, too many piece types (11) for such a "small" board. I don't like the strange shape of the board, but this is a personal opinion.

Too inclusive in taste. Need further refinement!

Mini Citadel Chess

This game is a true gem. It has a Shatranj-like pace and marvelously symmetrical rules. It is about as faithful to Shatranj as it can be and yet radically different. I'm having some trouble coming up with an adequate description of just how aesthetically pleasing this game is... Well, if the original inventor of Shatranj had been more alert, I think the game would have looked like this.

Rather than creating a bunch of excess space, the author adds four extra squares. Spaciousness is created by weakening most of the pieces. If what had been done to the Queen and King hadn't been so...regicidal, this would have gotten a 2. Still they complement each other, and the idea of the queen being one of the weakest pieces itself is an interesting novelty. Heck, it gets a 2.

I like these variants which focus on defense. It's more important to keep a strong "front line" in this variant than in chess (you don't want your opponent to promote his pieces or break into your citadel!) Thumbs up!

A very playable and interesting game because of the short-ranged pieces and the vulnerable king. But sometimes I wonder if it is a good idea to allow perfect defense of the citadels just by leaving the quite weak Guard in it. The balance between the two different goals is indeed delicate and perhaps not perfect, but this doesn't decrease the fun.

In my opinion, A.J. Winkelspecht is the clear winner of the contest, if not for CitChess, then for his second entry DivChess.

You should be able to use orthodox pieces, and promoting (which is a bad idea for pieces anyway) should give the piece the full move.

Not capturing in the citadel is a major flaw. I would leave a piece in each citadel, and since they cannot be captured, all I need to do is protect the king. Or to avoid taking two pieces out of the game, one could leave a piece in one citadel and keep the king near the other. Also with such weak pieces, it would be better to establish a promotion zone as in shogi, otherwise it is very difficult to get any pieces promoted until very late in the game.

It does not seem to make game more interesting than standard chess or other variants.

Nahbi Chess

-A good (complex) large variation.
-Good, although it has a lot of rules.
-Interesting ideas.

Creative, and fun. However, it was not stated how many archers are in hand. Also after the archer has moved, say 2 squares orthogonally, and turns, how many moves may it make-{1,2,or 3), or 2 only? Pawns getting a little power while still pawns also seems like a valuable and over due idea.

There is only one problem with this game, and it's a minor one: I would rather have the Alfils and Archers not be restricted to their own half of the board. Other than that, no complaints about this one.

The Equator acts much like the field in Vyremorn Chess, limiting the scope of major pieces to a less extensive area, thus restricting more powerful pieces from attacking from across the board. A very balanced set of pieces.

I like the board and pieces used. However, removal of the Equator is necessary before I'll be happy with this game. Also, the Archers on one side of the Equator only complicates matters.

The Nahbi and Archer are interesting new pieces. However, the restriction that the Archer and Alfil can't cross the equator seem to make the game rather drawish.

Almost good. I love the nhabi, but limiting drops to the first two ranks makes for a tedious end game. Fix this and you have a winner!

The new pieces do not have very attracting moves. I didn't like playing the game with Zillions.

This is one of those games that is almost one of the best, but winds up being flawed. The archers & alfils (in hand) are over the top. The rule-set is too large, and often contrived (often due to problems with the equator). My first impression was this game would be great, but then I read the rules! Get rid of the in-hand pieces, get rid of the restrictions about the equator, get rid of the extra methods of winning, and maybe this game would be as good as it initially appears to be.

Never before have I been so disappointed to find a game unplayable. Through the opening and midgame of my first game, I liked it, but then it came time to mate, and neither my opponent nor I had enough strength to overcome the archers on the other side of the board. Two more games reached the same conclusion -- because the archers cannot cross the centerline, each side has far more power to defend its king than attack the other, and the game ends in a draw between reasonably equal players.

Nahbi features some good ideas, e.g. the Nahbi piece itself and the defensive pieces-in-hand, but I really don't like the large number of threats available to the Camel at the beginning. Opening with Cc4 even threatens checkmate, and Queen and Rooks are vulnerable to Camel forks early on.

Possible solutions that came to my mind include:
- Let the Camel start in the corner or somewhere else where its early forks are less dangerous.
- Allow dropping of pieces in hand in whole homezone, making defense easier.
- Perhaps the best idea: Let Pawns start on 3rd rank.

Napoleonic Chess

I haven't tried any of these variants, and getting past the nomenclature is a little intimidating, but as a graduate of the Bigger Is Better school, I'd say these were worthy of an A+. If I ever have a week or so free, I'd love to try a game of Napoleonic Grande Chess -- but not by correspondence, please (I like to have at least a slight chance of living long enough to finish the games I start).

I can tell that Hartley put a lot of time and effort into creating his system of Napoleonic pieces. It looks pretty good! I would have given this an "excellent" rating if only the board was a little smaller; 14*14 is a little big for me.

With so many variants presented on one page, it made it difficult which was the contest entry. Assuming it was the first, (or any) it is very well thought out, and uses well tested movements for units with interesting names. The Marshall's movement with limited attack is a nice touch. This seems to be a very playable, albeit drawn out game.

The 8x8 version is regular chess with the King (Emperor) and Queen (Marshall) reserved. The 14x14 version has too many big piece names, and too many pieces.

Too big to be reasonably playable.
-Too complicated.

Omega Chess

I like this variant! I plan to buy a copy of it when I have more money! However, I agree with someone who pointed out the removal of the King + Rook mate: part of regular chess is forever gone in this variant. I like the game, but due to the partial demise of the original rules of chess, can only give a 1 (better than a 0, I guess).

I find large chess variants that have lots of new pieces to be confusing. I also don't like pieces which combine the powers of two pieces from FIDE chess. For that reason, my vote goes to OMEGA CHESS because it is easy to learn how to play. Anyone who is good at FIDE chess can adopt their skills to play OMEGA CHESS. I own an OMEGA CHESS set, and am the creator of DOUBLE CHESS, which Hans Bodlaender descibes at

You can also check out the web page for my variant, which describes the rules, set-up and tactical hints, at

I would have entered the large chess variants contest myself, but found out about it too late. Of all the large variants I've seen, my game DOUBLE CHESS to me seems simplest, since it has no new pieces, just twice as many FIDE pieces on twice as large a board.

I wish I have invented it myself ! The new pieces are very nice. I just regret the unusual board. An implementation on a decimal 10 x 10 would have been possible and would certainly have helped its diffusion since such a board are readily available in several countries (for playing international draughts).

The two new pieces complement the standard six well. This is a good game!

If any variation has a chance in taking over standard chess in popularity it is Omega Chess. Although many of the other Large Variants entrees are clever and innovative, Omega is the one which has the best balance of ancient and modern game design.

-Well thought-out; well tested.
-Not bad!

Most enlarged chess inventors introduce pieces that are too strong. Witness Capablanca's and Freeling's Chancellor (R+N) and Cardinal (B+N). Then trying to find a place to sandwich the new mega-pieces into the initial array without wreaking havoc with the array's symmetry proves a problem. Witness Capablanca, Bird, and Carrera all having difficulty finding a place to put their new pieces. Introducing limited-move leapers and placing them on the wings was inspired. Other inventors mistake complexity for ingenuity, and the resulting games are seldom good. Inventors should strive for simplicity and elegance, and depth should come from the interplay of the pieces on the board. Omega Chess seems to have done this. I bought a set, and found it well constructed with new pieces which don't look out of place on the board with the orthodox chess pieces. Some commercial variants are cheaply made, and others have downright ugly new pieces. All in all, Omega Chess is great. My only quibble is with the algebraic notation marked on the margin of the board. The first rank should be 1, not 0.

A perfectly fine game, really, but perhaps too close to Orthochess for my personal taste. In a large chess variant, I prefer a more exotic feel than Omega Chess provides.

A game so well play-tested and marketed has to be good. Yet personally I am not looking for the next step in the evolution of chess, in these variants. Call me a wild and crazy boy, but I want wierd and wacky more unlike than like actual chess.

Another well executed 10x10 chess clone, better balanced piece selection than many, the corner spaces seem obscure, and the dramatic space to piece ratio is space heavy, creating an early advantage for tradition 'end game' pieces, while making it difficult to develop reasonable pawn structures in the large arena and succesfully use them to control any large areas.

Played it at (email removed contact us for address) It's pretty fun, except that in the opening one has to spend a lot of time figuring out how to avoid Wizard forks.

If K+R cannot force mate against a lone K, the board is no doubt flawed, and so goes the game. Compare this board to that in my invention (Mammoth Chess), where the removal of corner squares proves superior to the addition of lone, corner squares.

-I don't see any real advantage over standard chess or other variants.
-Sounds good, but it does not fit my taste.

Pick-the-team Chess

Once the game actually began, it ought to be a lot of fun, especially if one played black in one and white in the other. However the choosing sides could take some time. Probably 'Variant two' - you pick one and I pick one is the most feasable. Especially if there are NO limits on the possible pieces. I am imagining the LRP roll two 10 sided die, these are the two coordinates of the square he moves to. Decision to move precedes rolling of dice....pardon, need to change my caffeine patch...

This is quite a good idea. I would add (first move) to one of the weaker pieces, whoever picks it gets the first move. As for the game, I think it might be entertaining to have the Picking and the Set-up be entire game ... and then the Zillions computer would slug it out for both sides. The selection of pieces is quite nice.

The (first move) incentive for a weaker piece might be expanded considerably. A list of one time specials might be attached to the weakest pieces. There are many interesting one time items in Knightmare chess that could be used.

Really a neutral opinion. Maybe it's a good game, but I don't have pleasure with such a large number of different pieces. It is too complicated to remember for me (I did try !), but I understand some people like that.

A good idea poorly implemented. The game is too confusing with those 40 types of pieces. It would be better if both players started with 10 FIDE pawns and picked 10 more pieces from a list of 20.

This variant is much like Maelstrom, in that it seems to be a wonderful 'light' game of chess suitable for a lazy afternoon with friends, but as a serious game it seems that the 'teams' will become a matter of who picked first, and who picked their favorite pieces over the best pieces for balanced strategy.

The game is playable as is, and a good time, but the sheer variety of pieces on the board at once is daunting. I feel the game could be improved and simplified by giving each player all one type of pawn, or perhaps mostly one type of pawn with a pair of matched "superpawns" as well. Likewise, I would have players pick _pairs_ of major pieces rather than individual ones. This reduces the sheer number of types of pieces, while hopefully at the same time allowing the pieces to work together more easily.

Hans, I personally believe that chess with different armies is not equal to real chess in many ways. Then, picking unique teams (same per player) is like creating your own chess variant, and one could use any piece; not just those listed.

Actually, I hate giving this game a vote of 'Flawed'. I really like the idea of giving the two players so much flexibility in the composition and layout of their forces. However, the set of pieces actually available seems to give the first player a frightfully strong advantage. Perhaps there is some way to constrain the players a little more, or eliminate a few of the long-range jumping pieces, so as to make the game more even.

Sorry Hans -- this game is a bad implementation of a good idea. Unfortunately, the only way to make this idea work involves a greatly reduced, and carefully chosen piece-set. Otherwise, it's just too involved.

Too many different pieces. People normally don't have the patience to learn the moves, advantages, disadvantages, and good strategies for so many pieces. They will tire of being beaten before having a chance to become a good player. This is true especially of today's children.

But I like the idea of being able to choose the pieces and place them in what ever order you want to within the starting rows. Perhaps having 10 pawns each to be placed on rows 2 and 9, and then being able to choose 6 different types of power pieces from a pool of maybe 20 for each player would be better. Only selecting a King would be mandatory. The other pieces could be selected from, for instance, 1 Queen, 4 Knights, 4 Bishops, 2 Rooks, 4 Knightriders, and 4 Camels. The players could then select their favorite pieces and place them on the back rows as desired. The players would not initially have to learn the rules, advantages, etc. for so many different pieces.

Too many pieces to learn from. The author should be more selective. The obvious flaw would be some piece would never be played since other are more valuable.

Quang Trung Chess

Two (diagonally) adjacent kings and nothing going on. On the QT, the QT king is the counterpart of the QT knight. Can there even BE insufficient force in this game? Sure would be an honor if this is the ground floor to Vietnamese Chess, per se.The pawn moving all the way north or south ...sounds like the war in Vietnam. So does the fighting King. Q Vo, be proud. You have every right - this is a good one. Still..I need to play it. :-D

-very ingenious! The man has a lot of promising talent
-This page rocks!
-u made this site good nhan
-This game is great!!!!
-The best game I ever played
-Very Interesting!! Very Original

Oh, good job, u work so hard to make it, rite!!! Everything is good, but I confuse something, ok i'll take time to find out more.

I like Vo's Back Dang chess better than QT Chess. The ship in BD chess slow the attack of the elephant in the opening game which let the game progress more orderly. Why didn't he submit BD chess instead? His 7-type restriction is hurting his style, obviously.

The pawn lethal promotion is odd and new to me. However, it has a good side: it ends the game quick and clean.

His checking king is so clever. I just love the king. I never seen or thought it's possible for a king to check a king until I read about QT chess.

This is a very excellent game because it gives you direction from step to step about how to play the game. I've never interest in playing chess, but after reading Vu's game, I start having a second thought. I think this game is very extraordinary.

If I understand a game (any game), it gets a positive vote, which may be deducted from by any bugs. This game gets the positive vote, but loses it for the non-symmetry (White King on d1?) and the unique capturing (which would get confusing in the heat of a game). The Elephant is a nice touch, though.

The setup and the moves of the pieces are close enough to that border between innovative and conservative to make an appealing game, yet there is something about the play that does not seem lively. Perhaps the pieces should have been made more powerful, or the Kings should have been more constrained (as in Xiangqi) to make the endings less drawish.

The biggest plus: this game has an interesting array of pieces, including Kings which can check each other.

The biggest minus: the strongest piece in the game is the Rook, which is weaker than its FIDE counterpart. It doesn't look like a King plus ANY piece (including a Rook) can force checkmate against a lone King in this game. (Still, I could be wrong about that.)

By the way, can someone please explain the joke in the description of the King's movement? I don't get it.

Interesting, but I do not like it (!)

One can win by getting a pawn to the end of the board. Yuck

The over-powered Pawn and King movement creates severe liabilities in end game scenario. While a King with expanded movement does make for a faster, more dynamic game, the imbalance of the super pawn makes for a generally unstable and cumbersome game of pawn patrolling.

The game falls victim to the Law of Unintended Consquences due to its pawns. From the web page, I guess that the pawn move was designed to produce a pawn that captures in the same way it moves (like in Xiang Qi) but using the capture from FIDE chess. The result is pawns even more nimble than those of Berolina chess (move diagonal, capture forward). Thus the game suffers from the major flaw of Berolina -- very easily promoted pawns. Unfortunately, under the promotion-is-victory rule, what is a minor nuissance in Berolina is fatal for Quang Trung. When the first player adopts a strategy of simplifying the game at every opportunity and preserving their one-tempo advantage at all costs, between reasonably equal players, the advantage of going first is enough to consistently produce victory.

There are good new ideas (pawn victory,..) but this does not make a good game alone. The combinations are not pleasant. Probably the whole stuff is too fresh and need further thinking.

Interesting, but a little too unusual for me. I like having powerful rooks.


"The greatest game in the galaxy, ever!" (author's quote). I like to think otherwise. This game sucks in every possible way, and the hype only makes it worse. And, if previous comments hold true, this game looks like it's a goner even without my negative vote.

Listen, I know we're supposed to vote on the game itself, and not on the game's description, but I just can't hold my tongue. The author's blurb is so far beyond irritating, I just don't know where to begin criticizing it. It's a wonder he doesn't claim that the game will cure cancer, bring world peace, and prevent dishpan hands (maybe he does -- I didn't read all of it). All this just because he added a Kirin and some different pawns to Orthochess!

That said, I have to admit the game is probably playable, although not innovative enough to be inviting.

A lot of new things which are not at all. The Prince seems to be Dabbaba + Ferz which is one Betza's favorite I think. Having different pawns is a good idea but these ones are too strong for a well balanced game

Too complex.
-I find egomanical ravings by games designers a big turn off.

Newsflash: the Prince is not a new piece, just an old one with a new name. Chu Shogi calls it a Kirin, Ralph Betza calls it an FD... and I call it weak. It would be a good choice to add to the standard set of pieces... if only it wasn't colorbound.

Newsflash: having 5 types of pawns is confusing. Also, I don't think it's a good idea to have a type of pawn (Grand) be stronger than a type of piece (Prince).

Newsflash: I don't like this game.

This is another tried and true of decimal chess, with an zealous ego insisting it is the best to boot. To its advantage, it does start pieces on the 2nd and 3rd ranks, (8th and 9th) but aside from that, There are no great advantages to it. It has failed to rise above its limitations.

Any game with that much hype probably sucks. At least you started the piece up a row; most 10x10 games which only fill the first two ranks turn out to be painfully slow and dull. There is nothing new about the prince's move except the way you describe it. It's a terribly weak piece, being colorbound on such a large board. I would value it the same as a grand pawn. Maybe less since it doesn't promote.

Round Table Chess

Chess seen through a fisheye lens. This game looks as if it might be quite playable, if you can get used to the busy board. The can-pass-only-one-tick rule is an interesting way to limit the power of Queens and Rooks on the circular board (and to keep them from going into an infinite loop).

The squared circle board is absolutely intriguing. However the fact that archer, catapult, and knight have such similar range is a little off-putting. Final judgement on that must await playing the game. The could be like silver and golden generals in Shogi, interesting and puzzle like working together.

This CirSquare gameboard is ingenious! Round Table Chess deserves to be in the finals!

The board is very clever. This game implements enough new ideas to earn an excellent rating.

Round Table Chess II


Same comment as for Round Table Chess: the gameboard is ingenious, and this game deserves to be in the finals. 'Nuff said.

Options! Too many options! Which of these games are we supposed to be voting on?

Who says that square/rectangular board can only be attacked from the front?

Royal Court

The Castling is indeed an improvement, for large boards. At least ONE new piece is called for. But something more than a bare minimum of changes is also called for.

Not quite Orthochess. The Knight + King is an interesting piece, but doesn't provide enough incentive by itself to make me want to try this game, when so many more innovative ideas are out there.

-Sorry, I do not like it.
-I don't see any advantage over standard chess or other variants.
-No real reason to play this game instead of chess; the two games are nearly identical.


I haven't had a chance to try this, but it's clear some thought went into it. Very intriguing.

Although I am a little confused about what happens when identical peices merge - (Does the survivor merely lose its Queen status, or does it lose actual power?)- I would love to play this game over and over and over again. This game gives the idea of kamikaze a whole new color! I wonder what Dr. Kevorkian would think of it!?

"To defend, or not to defend? That is the question!" It is this question that should make Scheherazade games interesting: "Should I leave my rook where it is, defending my knight, or should I take a risk and combine the two pieces?" Not a bad idea! Thumbs up!

I considered submitting a similar variant, but never had enough time to actually do it. The idea was to have rooks, bishops, knights, and single-space orthogonal and diagonal movers (instead of pawns) which could combine and/or split apart to form new pieces. I was also considering making the King an immobile piece; it had to be carried by other pieces.

-Interesting, especially the "errata" character.
-It is one of my favorite variants of chess.

Looks good, but my favourite chess is that where the original setup is complimented by maybe two pieces (like Grand Chess) that are easy to remember (mix of Bishop and Knight, for instance).

The heavy use of formula and notation has, no doubt, left a very well balanced game, save the 'queen' merging and related 'errata'; which strikes a sour note: Keeping track of what pieces have been combined to form a given 'queen' can become rather convoluted in a traditional match. What piece does one use to represent the 'queen's, and how does one keep track of which ones are combinations of which pieces?

I understand that Chess is at least as much a game of complex relations and spheres of influence, as it is a game of pieces on boards, and while this variant does an admirable job of addressing balanced mathematics, it seems to have neglected the more tangible aspects of Chess.

Too complicated.


-Looks like a lot of fun!
-I didn't have the patience to play the game, but the ingenious design of the pieces deserves a 'Good' vote.

I like how this game is similar to Shogi and uses lots of weak pieces. I also appreciate how the author has designed the pieces to make the game easier to learn. On the downside, there are many unfamiliar pieces in this game, which will make it harder to learn. I did win my first game, which I'm happy with, and I did enjoy playing the game. But it's a tougher game to familiarize myself with.

I like the asymmetry of this game and the fact that the pieces are of moderate strength. To me it has a Shatranjy feel, but considerably more exotic.

One minor flaw, I feel, is that in the rotationally symmetric setups, the Camels are so easily exchanged that they often play almost no role in the game.

The number of piece types in this game scared me at first (36). As it turns out, this game is not as complex as it looks; the Pawn is the only piece that isn't 8-way symmetrical, and there are patterns in the way pieces promote. I give this one a thumbs up.

This is a brilliant variant, and my favorite. There are loads of interesting ideas here, but I still see some room to tinker with it.

The asymmetrical holes at the start are a slight flaw. One extra piece should be added. Some of the Typhoon pieces I am fond of are the centaur, cicada, cuckoo, hummingbird, missionary, overtaker, parrot, raven, sorcerer, and typhoon. An extra piece I thought of is the Magic Horse. This is a neutral piece, and each side starts with one. The Magic Horse may not move. Any piece may move onto the Magic Horse and be promoted. A mounted horse may not move into the opponent's promotion zone. A piece may abandon the magic horse, and is automatically demoted, even if moving into the promotion zone. A magic horse may be stolen by an unpromoted piece, or permanently captured by a promoted piece.

The Wazir and Firzan are a bit too weak. This is unfortunate, since they promote in an interesting way. I might allow the Wazir and Firzan to swap places with the King at any time, as a move.

In my games against Zillions, I often encountered a situation where the endgame had several weak, protected pieces on each side, along with one powerful harassment piece on each side. Thus, I suggest a Three Check rule. If a person wants to make a third check in a row, it must choose and promote an enemy piece, if one exists.

My comments merely show how inspirational this game can be.

This is a game that defies the rules, and makes for an exciting game that disrupts the convention while maintaining a high degree of playability, largely due to the creation of a healthy middle class of pieces. Kudoos!

I admire the effort made to design this variant, but don't have the guts to try it. When a game is played, I like to see it as simple as possible. Sadly, with all the promotions and such, it is WAY too complicated. Typhoon and Jupiter only make it worse and worser (if such a word exists in the English language). Again, I admire the effort, and give those who like it their leeway; I don't like the complexity.

I admire the effort to make a western Chu Shogi but I'm not fan of this kind of game. It's just too difficult for me remember all the moves and promotions. The piece drawing is supposed to help. Unfortunately it increases the feeling of crowdiness and the result is worse: I can't plan at all, I'm blind. Maybe a stronger brain than mine will like. Nice effort again, anyway.

Definitely more complicated than chushogi goodness...!! This is complex!

Too complicated.


I appreciate how this game combines Chess with Xiang Qi pieces. I also like that it doesn't depart very much from regular Chess except by introducing the Xiang Qi pieces, which makes it easy for me to learn. However, Tamerlane II accomplishes the same things as Shako does and also adds some interesting new elements.

Another good design. I'd vote excellent, but I want Tamerlane II to win!

Simple, and good! Small set of pieces, greater number of possibilities, and based upon a good idea: to combine Chess w/ Chinese Chess.

Well, there is nothing really 'wrong' with this game, but it would be more interesting with a couple of other pieces starting on the back rank (such as the Ship and Camel from Tamerlane II).

...especially after several Zillions testing, [I found] it has the same flavor than others like OMEGA and MAMMOTH with, for me, the advantage of a simpler board.

Looks excellent. The moves of the additional two types of pieces are simple and complimentary to the other pieces. With the core of the standard chess game maintained, the game can be quickly mastered by current chess players.

OK, I like the game. However, I don't think capturing one's own pieces is very feasible in many cases (except where it could give checkmate). When I read 'Cannon', I imagined a stationary capture where a Cannonball flew across the board and flattened the opposing piece. Obviously, I'm not getting that.

Not as innovative as Cazaux's other submission, this game is a little too close to Orthochess to be really inviting, in my opinion. Still, it seems playable enough.

Another 'Decimal-Chess' Variant. It is a simple intigration of chinese chess for the most part. It lacks any significant degree of innovation.

The ratio of board to units is board heavy, also. Very Balanced aside from that.

Pay too much respect to (FIDE) chess to have any identity.


Uh, could someone explain the rules one more time? A little slower, and in English? I'm still trying to figure out what the Spiderball gameboard looks like!

It is a beautifully tempting prospect, but to maintain playability and avoid confusion, better thought must be applied to the concept. With further refinement, this may be a playable game.

-Maybe the game is better than its description.
-The board is too difficult to visualize for my taste. Has anyone actually managed to play this?

        - o -
         /|\     a stepped on spider.

...oh my God (!)
-Can't seem to understand the rules.
-Too strange for me.

Spinach Chess

I wish I'd had a chance to playtest this one. The rule that you must wait for your opponent to make a spinach move before making another spinach move of your own adds a new dimension along which the two players can interact. I am guessing that the game might be better if the set of pieces used were slightly less powerful (this might make spinach moves less dangerous, and therefore more common), but the basic concept is charming.

The spinach move has two fine concepts:
1) the right of a piece to make a series of moves;
2) this privilege alternates between the players.

The Spinach idea is one of the best ideas for a large chess game. I don't exactly agree with the pieces chosen (I think an added Cardinal would nicely complement the Chancellor), but still, this game plays quite nicely... The best thing about this game is that it can produce great miniatures -- unlike most of the other entries, which have excessive numbers in the armies (which can tend to be boring).

I think Popeye would enjoy this variant, and not just because of the name! I like these variants that focus on defense; you can't attack too quickly, or you'll leave your position wide open for your opponent.

The Spinach move is a very interesting concept. It is a nice idea that could be added to any game. I'd like to see how it would change orthochess.

I really like this game. Spinach moves are great for using as threats and bluffs, even when you don't have the right to make them. I learned this to devestating effect when my opponent had the right to spinach, but I had pieces a spinach away from a king, thereby effectively depriving him of the right to spinach. (These positions, I believe, are worth using the spinach move to create in certain circumstances.)

The extra strategy involved in anticipating spinich moves sounds great; I might recommend that either player can make the first spinich move though: by doing so, one loses the initiative if the move was poorly planned, but by waiting to long, one might lose a slight advantage for spiniching early, and aloowing an opponent to go on to make a better move anyway.

I think being able to capture a major piece on the very first move is a flaw. I like the concept; however, I suggest: how about limiting Spinach moves to two consecutive moves?

An very original idea. Unfortunately, the knight (ubi-ubi) destroys the game. Find a way to limit the knight's move, and you'll have a winner!

I appreciate logical reasoning of author coming from initial idea to design chess variant using ubi-ubi. I didn't try Spinach chess yet, but I am afraid it will not be too playable.

The spinach move concept is interesting, we could apply it to conventional Chess to have a refreshing change. But I disagree to the extra 4 squares and the two kings....!

Spinach moves are definitely flawed with only one king. It might work with two, but I'm doubtful.

It does not really capture my interest and seems not to have any advantage over standard chess or other variants.

Make chess more complicate than it already is.

Tamerlane II

I like how this game combines Chess and Xiang Qi pieces together and also adds other pieces without adding so many that it becomes hard for me to learn the game. It builds well on games I am already familiar with, adds just enough new elements to keep the game interesting, and it's an enjoyable game to play. I discovered the contest only a couple days ago and don't have time to playtest all the games, but among those which had the greatest surface appeal, and which were the ones I ended up trying out, Tamerlane II is my favorite.

Tamerlane's Chess, despite its flaws, has been one of the most consistent inspirations to chess inventors over the past century or two. This variant shows a wonderful respect for that history yet adds some twists (like the Queen promotion rule) that make the game more playable (and less drawish) than its predecessor. The Ship is a particularly interesting piece that is powerful and unusual enough to make for lively play yet not powerful enough to be overwhelming.

Not bad! The six FIDE pieces work well with the other pieces. Also, it was a good idea to have the Guards promote to Queens; there wouldn't be enough incentive to promote Guards if they promoted to captured pieces.

-Brilliant! A worthy tribute to Timmer the Lame.
-What I prefer in this: the King succession when it is lost; the sideway step of colorbound pieces.

Overall, I think the game looks very good. I think that the promotion of the Guards to Queens would be better as a promotion to any of your captured pieces. That way you would not need to have two queens of each color produced for the game that are virtually never going to be used. There other major pieces still have sufficient power to be worth gaining the promotion in the late stages of a game.

This game looks good and interesting. I would like to try it!

An 11x11 board, with too many unique pieces, is too big for me. Even the Omega Chess board can't handle it! I like the Ship's move, however.

Another Gross (12x12=144=1 gross) Variant, using a predictable spread of classic Asian inspired pieces. It is as well delivered as most, but lacks any outstanding charms.

"This game is the witness of a strong attachment to what others might consider as meaningless eccentricities" (from the author own words)


Despite its complexity, which borders on the ridiculous, this game is pretty good fun. It's exotic enough that it truly qualifies, in my mind, for the title Grand Chess.

This is insane -- I love it!

"'Honey, what's the strongest headache remedy we have in the house.'...
'What do you MEAN I CANT TAKE IT WITH COFFEE!!??'...
'Okay, aspirin then, but I gotta have more coffee. This game. WOW!'"

This is the second best game, slightly behind Scirocco. I would like to try a Zillions version.

First, I like all of the imports from Scirocco. I also like the many new pieces, especialy the Centaur, Cicada, Cuckoo, Hummingbird, Missionary, Overtaker, Parrot, Raven, Sorcerer, and Typhoon.

One thing I forgot to mention in my Scirocco commentary is that I think Quick Pawns would make the game more interesting (one or two spaces forward, always). The same comment applies here.

I like the idea in Scirocco that the pieces move symmetrically. Many pieces in Typhoon do not have this property, which I see as a minor flaw.

Both Scirocco and Typhoon are brilliant games. However, I feel there is a better game between them, played on an 11x11 board.

Sorry, Mr. King, but your expectations for us to remember so much information regarding pieces' moves is kind of too much for me and some others. I have to give this a negative rating.

For Chu Shogi fanatics. An impressive work again, but not a favorite for me.

Where Scirocco is a wonderfully warm fresh air, Typhoon is heavy and wet, and blows hard. The excesses have made the game very cumbersome. The only saving grace is that the pieces movement is depicted on the tiles.

Bigger is not always better, and in this case, it's worse. Too complex for me.

Further tests and modifications are needed. Too complicate to learn. The old chess is better.

Far too complicated. Complication raised to near infinity does not make a game popular with very many people.

Ultra Chess

The ability for pieces to move like a King is a nice touch. I can see why this is Ultra! Why didn't I think of this first?

All that extra power compensated by 36 extra squares? Not that the conflicts therein wouldnt be interesting. Certainly it seems to have accomplished Ruggero's goal of becoming more war like and less 'diplomatic.'


When I read through the rules for Ultra Chess, I almost missed the rule that added the ability to move like a King to all other pieces. That rule makes a big difference! It looks like King plus any piece forces mate against a lone King. This is a pretty interesting game! Well done!

Very good chess game both from the desing point of view and as far as playing ability is concerned.

This variant, with its many strong pieces, looks like Orthochess on steroids. Playable enough, I guess, but too heavy for my taste.

In one hand the game is very simple to learn. In the other hand it doesn't have a lot of originality: decimal chess with 2 Kings and 2 Queens have been proposed in the past. One by Trouillon. It's funny, Trouillon also proposed a game with 2 Kings called: Ultra Chess. The difference here is that ALL pieces may move like the King. I don't know if I like that or not yet. Having the Consort royal (ie 2 Kings) will be interesting anyway even though very similar to Trouillon's or Parton's inventions.

Another Decimal-chess game, featuring mildly revised pieces that ultimately make for a stepped up game, lacking like Camblam any limited, low-end pieces. Games with a vast array of over powered pieces remind me of the modern berth of Video Games that feature ever greater weapons and powers, failing to recognize the subtle harmony of a spectrum of pieces and the interplay of strong and weak forces.

-I would prefer a higher piece density.
-The knights seem too hard to deploy.

Contain the wrong idea about the Asian battle theme. Asian theme is to restrict the "royal" piece. Changing the names of the pieces will not change the theme of the game.

I don't see any advantage over standard chess or other variants.

Vyrémorn Chess

Whew! What an elaborate game! However, the rules seem kind of specialized. It may seem odd for me to suggest this, since I'm the guy who came up with Jupiter, but could the game possibly benefit from a little simplification?

Well, maybe not.

I'd be very curious to actually playtest this. One thing that struck me on reading the rules is, gee, I feel kind of sorry for those Disks and Pawns that get into the opposite corner and get stuck... Perhaps this is not a consideration in actual play.

Very well thought up, this game has been balanced and looks as if it would be a lot of fun.

-Lots of nice ideas. I especially like the citadel.
-I think I like this game!!
-Excelent Page, Well planned and laid out.
-LES GO NATE! ITS ME NATE , NATE! hehehe kikin page!

I really like the new pieces. The promotion of peices before they get more than 1/2 across the board is good, but with no backwards movement for some peices, what do they do once they cross the board. I guess they could be used to pin the citedel so they cant castle. I guess it makes these pieces more valuable early as skirmish pieces. The Disk is another cool piece, If they had a piece on them before taking there 2 move open, you could take more than one piece into the center of the board to control the middle. Why is it only a disk with another piece on it able to be turned?

Oh, how I wish there was a way to promote those pawns to other types of pieces! Oh well. I still give this game a thumbs up. A word of warning to those who play this game: keep an eye on those maguses and citadels!

I'm very intrigued by the overlapping board format.... it introduces an entirely new aspect on our game.

Lots of hard work and some interesting pieces!! I'm interested in getting my own board and learning the game

Many intriguing ideas here, I especially like the pieces and their artful descriptions. The disks and pawns are a weakness, though. Why would one mount a disk? What does turning a disk mean?

Without some sort of promotion, the value of entering the enemy court seems diminished. I imagine that this game is best played purely on defense.


The rule set is too complex, otherwise, this game wins hands down! A series of brilliant ideas can be found here -- I only wish the inventor did not make the mistake of burdening us with too many pieces (bard & grand bard, for example, are redundant, and this adds to an already excessively large set of pieces) & rules. I really hope he refines this game!

I need my headache remedy for this game. There are too many pieces, and the game would take WA-A-AY too long. Not for me.

Too complicated.

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WWW page created: April 31, 1999. Last modified: July 31, 1999.