The Chess Variant Pages




Dino-Czars

By

Clark Rodeffer

A two-player chess variant on exactly 42 spaces by Clark D. Rodeffer, January 2002. Submitted as an entry in the www.chessvariants.com 42-Squares Chess Variant Design Contest, 2002. Inspirations included other animal-based chess variants such as Jungle and Demian Freeling's Congo. The idea for both position and direction to be important was inspired by Georg Dunkel's Gufuushogi and Randy Cox' Robo Battle Pigs.
Dino-Czars Setup

Introduction

Back in the days when the great plains were ruled by dinosaurs, the local Tyrannosaurus came to you and your dinosaur friends with a proposition you couldn't refuse: help eliminate the neighboring Tyrannosaurus to open up a new food supply, and you and your friends won't get eaten. Your brain is the size of a walnut, so this 'not getting eaten' bit sounded like a pretty good idea. Little did you realize that the neighboring Tyrannosaurus had the same idea. Who will be the next Dino-Czar?

Object

Capture your opponent's Tyrannosaurus.

Set-Up & Play

The Dino-Czars game board has 42 equilateral triangles with dinosaurs arranged as in Figure 1, moving in the directions indicated by Figure 2.

Figure 1: Setup


           ____  ____
         /\    /\    /\
      6 /vr\  /tr\  /vr\
       /____\/____\/____\
      /\    /\    /\    /\
   5 /ss\  /tc\  /tc\  /pt\
    /____\/____\/____\/____\
   /\    /\    /\    /\    /\
4 /  \  /  \  /  \  /br\  /  \ e,e
 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
3 \  /  \BR/  \  /  \  /  \  / E,E
   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
    \    /\    /\    /\    /
   2 \PT/  \TC/  \TC/  \SS/
      \/____\/____\/____\/
       \    /\    /\    /
      1 \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
         \/____\/____\/
   A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J

Figure 2: Directions of Movement


	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /  \  /  \
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\NNWW/\ NN /\NNEE/\
	5    /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \
	    /____\/NNW_\/_NNE\/____\
	   /\    /\ NW /\ NE /\    /\
	4 /  \  /  \  /N \  /  \  /  \
	 /____\/NWW_\/____\/_NEE\/____\
	 \WWWW/\    /\****/\    /\EEEE/
	3 \  /  \WW/W \**/ E\EE/  \  /
	   \/WWW_\/____\/____\/_EEE\/
	    \    /\ SW /\ SE /\    /
	2    \  /  \  / S\  /  \  /
	      \/SWW_\/____\/_SEE\/
	       \SSWW/\    /\SSEE/
	1       \  /  \SS/  \  /
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J
Each player has an army of dinosaurs that move from space to space as shown in Table 1 and Figure 2. On the board, a dinosaur always faces one of the flat sides of the space where they are; they never face the points of the triangles. So if a diagram shows that a certain dinosaur can move or capture to a space oriented differently from the space of origin, the player must also rotate the dinosaur ±60° to face either side as necessary, but (with the exception of the Pterosaur) may not rotate the dinosaur to face straight back in the direction from which it came. All dinosaurs begin the game facing "forward" (i.e., away from the player who controls them), but their facings will likely change during the course of a game.

Table 1


	Type            Number & Notation    Move    Capture
	----------------------------------------------------

        Tyrannosaurus     1 TR / tr           \|/      \ /
	 (Dynamosaurus)                        *        *
	 Rotates ±120°; or moves N; or moves  / \      / \
	 or captures NW, NE, SW, SE


	Velociraptor      2 VR / vr          \| |/    \| |/
	 Rotates ±120°; or moves S; or moves  \|/      \|/
	 or captures N, NW, NE, NNW, NNE,      *        *
	 NNWW, NNEE (An egg or dinosaur at NW  |
	 or NE blocks the Velociraptor's path
	 to the NNW, NNE, NNWW, NNEE)


	Pterosaur         1 PT / pt         Fly to     None
	 (Pterodactyl)                      any open
	 Rotates ±120°, or flies to any     space
	 open space on the board, landing
	 facing any legal direction


	Stegosaurus       1 SS / ss            |        |
	 (Diracodon)                           *        *
	 Rotates ±120°, or moves or captures           /|\
	 N, or moves AND captures S, SW, SE
	 (Stegosaurus cannot move to the rear
	 without capturing.)


	Triceratops       2 TC / tc           \|/      \|/
	 (Sterrholophus)                       *        *
	 Rotates ±120°; or moves or captures
	 N, NW, NE


	Brontosaurus      1 BR / br            |        |
	 (Apatosaurus,                        -*-       *
	 Elosaurus)                           / \      / \
	 Rotates ±120°; or moves E, W; or
	 moves or captures N, SW, SE


	Egg               2 E# / e#        4>3>2>1>0   None
	 Gestates from 4 to 1, then
	 hatches into any previously
	 captured dinosaur facing any
	 legal direction.
	----------------------------------------------------

All of the movements in Table 1 are described as if the dinosaur is facing north, but they are relative to the direction the dinosaur is actually facing. So, for example, a Triceratops facing the NE can move or capture E, NE and EE. A player, if able, may make one of four different types of moves during a turn:

  1. Rotate one dinosaur ±120° to face a different direction;
  2. Move one dinosaur as described in Table 1 and Figure 2, possibly capturing another dinosaur in the process
  3. Lay an egg (it's convenient to use a four-sided die, starting with 4 showing) onto an empty space adjacent to one of your own dinosaurs, or;
  4. Gestate an egg to the next lower number. If the egg reaches zero, replace it with any of your own previously captured dinosaurs facing any legal direction for that space. Eggs that hatch or that are captured cannot be used again.

FAQ

Q1. Where can I get parts to make a set?
A1. Small dinosaur models can be purchased at many toy or dollar stores. These can be spray painted to distinguish sides. A board suitable for the size of the models can then be drawn on paper, cardboard, cloth or vinyl.

Q2. Can an egg hatch into a new Tyrannosaurs?
A2. No. Capturing the Tyrannosaurus wins the game immediately.

Q3. What happens if I hatch an egg but none of my dinosaurs have yet been captured?
A3. Nothing. The egg stays in place and may not hatch until there is a captured dinosaur with which to replace it.

Q4. Can the Pterosaur be rotated to pass the turn?
A4. Yes, but it would seldom be advantageous to do so.

Q5. What good is the Pterosaur if it can't capture?
A5. Some pieces, including the Tyrannosaurus, can only move to certain spaces without capture. The Pterosaur is an excellent piece for blocking movement in these directions.

Q6. How do I annotate my games?
A6. Abbreviated or co-ordinate notation both work. To indicate rotation, append an L or R to the move. To indicate advancing an egg, just state the co-ordinates of the egg. Use * for drops, both for eggs and replacement dinosaurs when they hatch.

Computer Play

I have written an implementation of Dino-Czars for Zillions of Games. You can download it here:

Sample Game

      	Here is a sample game between two Dino-Czars
	beginners.


	1. SS3HL ... tcF5E4
	   Player 1 opens by advancing the slow Stegosaurus
	   toward Player 2's Brontosaurus. Player 2 opens
	   with a strong Triceratops advance to the center.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /vr\  /tr\  /vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\    /\
	5    /ss\  /tc\  /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /  \  /tc\  /br\  /  \    e,e
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /  \BR/  \  /  \  / S\  /    E,E
	   \/____\/____\/____\/_S__\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \PT/  \TC/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	2. BRC4R ... e*G5
	   Player 1 advances his Brontosaurus, and Player 2
	   lays an egg for the future.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /vr\  /tr\  /vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e4 /\
	5    /ss\  /tc\  /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /B \  /tc\  /br\  /  \    e
	 /____\/__R_\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /  \  /  \  /  \  / S\  /    E,E
	   \/____\/____\/____\/_S__\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \PT/  \TC/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	3. SSG3R ... tcxBR
	   Player 1 advances the Stegosaurus to attack the
	   Brontosaurus at G4, while Player 2's Triceratops
	   punctures the belly of Player 1's undefended
	   Brontosaurus at C4, opening a path for Player 2's
	   Velociraptor at C6!
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /vr\  /tr\  /vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e4 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \  /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /tc\  /tc\  /br\  /  \    e
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /  \  /  \  /  \SS/  \  /    E,E,BR
	   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \PT/  \TC/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	4. SSxbrR ... G5
	   Player 1's Stegosaurus upsets the Brontosaurus at
	   G4 and threatens to tail swipe the Triceratops at
	   E4. Not knowing what to do, Player 2 advances the
	   egg.
	   
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /vr\  /tr\  /vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \  /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /tc\  /tc\  /S \  /  \    e,br
	 /____\/____\/____\/__S_\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /    E,E,BR
	   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \PT/  \TC/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	5. SSxtc ... vrD4R
	   Player 1 uses the vicious Stegosaurus tail attack
	   to capture one Triceratops and threaten the
	   other. Needless to say, Player 2 is getting
	   rather tired of that Stegosaurus, and advances
	   the Velociraptor to apply some carnivorous
	   pressure.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /tr\  /vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \  /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\ v  /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /tc\ r/S \  /  \  /  \    e,br,tc
	 /____\/____\/__S_\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /    E,E,BR
	   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \PT/  \TC/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	6. SSF4L ... trE5L
	   Player 1's Stegosaurus tries to escape the
	   Velociraptor's jaws, but Player 2 brings in more
	   help, in the form of a Tyrannosaurus!
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /  \  /vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\  r /\ e3 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \t /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\ v  /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /tc\ r/  \SS/  \  /  \    e,br,tc
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /    E,E,BR
	   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \PT/  \TC/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	7. PTF6 ... trxSS
	   Player 1 knows that the Stegosaurus cannot run,
	   so a new tactic, flying the Pterosaur behind
	   enemy lines, is tried. Player 2 isn't worried,
	   and the Tyrannosaurus has fresh Stegosaurus for
	   lunch.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /  \PT/vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \  /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\ v  /\  r /\    /\
	4 /  \  /tc\ r/  \t /  \  /  \    e,br,tc
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /    E,E,BR,SS
	   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \TC/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	8. E*E6 ... tcB3
	   Player 1 lays an egg in dangerous territory!
	   Player 2 is looking for a way to get a protected
	   Triceratops deep into enemy territory.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /E4\PT/vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \  /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\ v  /\  r /\    /\
	4 /  \  /  \ r/  \t /  \  /  \    e,br,tc
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /tc\  /  \  /  \  /  \  /    E,BR,SS
	   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \TC/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	9. TCD3E3+ ... trE5
	   Player 1 moves a Triceratops forward, forcing
	   Player 2's Tyrannosaurus to retreat.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /E4\PT/vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\  r /\ e3 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \t /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\ v  /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /  \ r/  \  /  \  /  \    e,br,tc
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /tc\  /  \TC/  \  /  \  /    E,BR,SS
	   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \  /  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	10. TCxvr+ ... trF5R
	    Player 1's Triceratops fatally horns the
	    unsuspecting Velociraptor, forcing Player 2's
	    Tyrannosaurus to retreat in a direction the
	    Triceratops will have difficulty pursuing.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /E4\PT/vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \  /tr\  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /  \TC/  \  /  \  /  \    e,br,tc,vr
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /tc\  /  \  /  \  /  \  /    E,BR,SS
	   \/____\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \  /  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	11. TCE5 ... tcL
	    Noticing the precious egg was in danger, Player
	    1's Triceratops moves in to guard it from the
	    Tyrannosaurus' jaws. Player 2 rotates the
	    Triceratops to try to get it out of the way of
	    the Velociraptor at C1.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /E4\PT/vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /ss\  /  \TC/tr\  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\    /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \    e,br,tc,vr
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /t \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /    E,BR,SS
	   \/__c_\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \  /  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \VR/  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	12. VRD2 ... ssB4L
	    Player 1 tiptoes forward with a Velociraptor,
	    while Player 2 stomps in with the Stegosaurus.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /E4\PT/vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /  \  /  \TC/tr\  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\  s /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \s /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \    e,br,tc,vr
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /t \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /    E,BR,SS
	   \/__c_\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \VR/  \TC/  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \  /  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	13. TCG3 ... trR
	    Player 1 charges ahead with another Triceratops,
	    double pinning Player 2's Tyrannasaurus, which
	    looks around, trying to find an escape!
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /E4\PT/vr\
	       /____\/____\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /  \  /  \TC/ r\  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/_t__\/____\
	   /\  s /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \s /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \    e,br,tc,vr
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /t \  /  \  /  \TC/  \  /    E,BR,SS
	   \/__c_\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \VR/  \  /  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \  /  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	14. VRE3++ ... trxE
	    Player 1 races in with the Velociraptor!
	    Resigned to defeat, Player 2's Tyrannosaurus has
	    an omlet for its last meal.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  / r\PT/vr\
	       /____\/_t__\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /  \  /  \TC/  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\  s /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \s /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \    e,br,tc,vr,E
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /t \  /  \VR/  \TC/  \  /    E,BR,SS
	   \/__c_\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \  /  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J


	15. TCxtrR++
	    In a textbook maneuver, Player 1's Triceratops
	    fatally skewers Player 2's Tyrannasaurus.
	           ____  ____
	         /\    /\    /\
	6       /  \  /T \PT/vr\
	       /____\/__C_\/____\
	      /\    /\    /\ e3 /\
	5    /  \  /  \  /  \  /pt\
	    /____\/____\/____\/____\
	   /\  s /\    /\    /\    /\
	4 /  \s /  \  /  \  /  \  /  \    e,br,tc,vr,E,tr
	 /____\/____\/____\/____\/____\
	 \    /\    /\    /\    /\    /
	3 \  /t \  /  \VR/  \TC/  \  /    E,BR,SS
	   \/__c_\/____\/____\/____\/
	    \    /\    /\    /\    /
	2    \  /  \  /  \  /  \  /
	      \/____\/____\/____\/
	       \    /\    /\    /
	1       \  /  \TR/  \VR/
	         \/____\/____\/
	    A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J



Written by Clark Rodeffer. HTML Conversion by Peter Aronson.
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WWW page created: January 22nd, 2002.