How you can help!
Your help in making the Chess Variant Pages bigger and better is highly appreciated. Indeed, the Chess Variant Pages wouldn't be as they are today without the input of many, many people. You can help in any of the following ways:
- Linking to the site, sharing pages through social media, or telling friends about the site.
- Posting comments, which may include asking questions, answering questions, throwing ideas around, and reporting bugs.
- Submitting content, which may include descriptions of games, product reviews, Piececlopedia articles, links to relevant websites, or software to play games (such as computer programs, Java scripts, Zillions-of-Games files, and Game Courier presets).
- Volunteering time as an editor.
- Translating pages to languages other than English.
- Sending in commercial Chess variant products for review.
- Playing games with Game Courier and moving in a timely manner.
- Running contests or tournaments.
- Shopping through the Amazon, eBay, and House of Staunton affiliate links found in the Shop menu.
- Donating money.
Some of these require some further explanation.
Becoming an editor
This is not a wiki site, where every contributor is an editor, and anyone may change what anyone else has written. An editor is a volunteer who helps run the site. Editors have access to FTP, the MySQL database, and the email account, and their responsibilities include helping contributors meet the site's guidelines, responding to emails, and/or programming server-side scripts. At the bare minimum, an editor should be a Chess variant hobbyist who is versed in HTML and able to edit text for spelling, grammar, and clarity. Being able to program is also helpful, though not required. To become an editor, you should first establish yourself as a contributor whose own works do not require further editing.
Becoming a contributor
Although few will become editors, this site has many contributors. Recognized contributors may use scripts on this site to upload content directly to the site, which will normally show up after editorial approval. To become recognized as a contributor, you should first submit content by email. Becoming a member of the site, which will give you a userid and password, is not enough to get recognized as a contributor.
The following guidelines focus on game descriptions but also cover general content submissions. The main things to include in a description of a game are an introduction, the setup, a description of the pieces, a description of the rules, and, optionally, some further notes.
The introduction should include some historical background about the game, such as who invented it, where and how long it has been played, etc. Or, if it is a new invention of yours, an account of how you came to invent the game, what other games have inspired it, and what about the game would make it of interest to others.
The setup should include a graphic diagram of the game. You may provide your own graphic images (preferably in GIF or PNG format for diagrams) or use the Diagram Designer to create an image link to a script-generated diagram. This is capable of generating a variety of different boards, and it will let you choose from a variety of different designs for Chess variant pieces. So you won't have to draw everything from scratch to provide a diagram for your game. Generally, a diagram should be provided as a single graphic image, not as a collection of images. Also, ASCII diagrams are not encouraged. People rarely use Lynx anymore, and graphic images work much better.
It is particularly important to connect your piece descriptions with your diagram. You may do this by illustrating each piece with a graphic image matching the image you used for it in your diagram. You may provide your own pieces images, or you may find piece images in one of the subdirectories of the graphics directory. If you use the Diagram Designer to make your diagram, it will also provide you with individual links to the piece images used in the diagram image.
Pieces should be described completely enough for someone to know how they move just from reading your page, but you may also link the piece names to Piececlopedia pages on the pieces. In describing how pieces move, it may be helpful to stick to some standard fairy chess terminology:
- A piece that moves directly from one space to another without passing over intervening spaces on which it could be blocked. Examples in Chess include the Knight and King.
- A piece that may make a series of leaps in the same direction as far as the board will allow, each of which must be to an empty space, except for the last, making it blockable. Examples in Chess are the Bishop, Rook, and Queen.
- A piece that moves or captures only by hopping over an intervening piece. For example, the Cannon in Chinese Chess captures by hopping, and the Cannon in Korean Chess both moves and captures by hopping.
- divergent piece
- A piece that moves differently than it captures, such as the Pawn in Chess or the Cannon in Chinese Chess.
- royal piece
- The piece that must be checkmated to win the game. In most variants, this is the King, but it may be another piece in other games.
When describing the rules, you may assume familiarity with the rules of Chess. So, instead of describing the rules in complete detail, you may say that the game is played exactly like Chess except as follows, then describe the differences. Alternately, where appropriate, you may say that a game is played exactly like Shogi or Xiangqi except as follows. But it is best to not assume familiarity with any other games.
It is important to describe the rules in enough detail for someone to program a game. This includes covering how to handle any possible situation, no matter how rare.
Notes are not necessary for every game. They may be used to describe details concerning game notation, posting sample games, describing game strategy, making suggestions for equipment players may use to play the game, or providing historical details in greater depth than in the introduction.
If possible, documents should be spellchecked and proofread for any obvious typos, misspellings or grammatical errors.
Any images should be in GIF, PNG, or JPG formats. GIF and PNG are most suitable for diagrams and piece images, while JPG is most suitable for photographs. Please keep the file size as small as possible, which will reduce both bandwidth and download time.
Texts written relating to a particular variant should be restricted to discussion of the variant or how it relates to other variants. Unsupported claims, tactless comments, and incendiary language should be edited out.
Blatantly sexist or racist language should also be removed. Boastful language may be acceptable in some cases, but when overdone should be either removed or toned down. In addition, given that this website is for a general audience of all ages, language and topics unsuitable for such an audience should be avoided. This includes, but is not limited to, profanity and the promotion of violence, gambling, or drug and alcohol use.
Also, we may decline to link to or remove links to websites that deviate from these guidelines in a strong way. For example, we wouldn't want to link to pornographic sites, gambling sites, or hate speech sites. This does not apply as much to linking to a major website full of user-content, such as reddit or Wikipedia, so long as the inappropriate content is not on the pages linked to.
Text document formatPlease submit your documents in one of the following formats:
- HTML file. This is preferred. If you really want to help us (and speed up the publication of your file), follow the technical guidelines for the HTML code.
- Text file (with blank lines between paragraphs). We prefer to receive HTML files, but if your text has no graphics, this will do.
Please use zip-format
If more than one file is required for a submission, please combine them into one ZIP archive file. Utilities for creating ZIP files are available as freeware. Here are some links to such programs.
If you have problems following the guidelines, please email us (see the feedback page on how to contact us). As maintaining these webpages is a lot of work to us, we appreciate your help in preparing your materials.
How to contact us
Written by Fergus Duniho, including material originally written by Hans Bodlaender and/or David Howe.
WWW page created: September 16, 1996. Last modified: October 30, 2002.