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Gary Gifford wrote on 2005-12-22 UTC
I greatly appreciate Joe Joyce's recent comments, But I would like to
expand upon them:
JJ-Point A: 'It is probably extremely sensitive to beginning play' 
GG-I think Chess is much less forgiving and much more sensitive.  With SOT
you can create your own setup; and unless you make a real blunder, you can
likely play just about any opening and make it into the middle-game... to
about the same degree that you can in Shogi.
JJ-Point B: '...certainly you can win or lose quickly in this game.'
GG: While one can plant the seeds of defeat, this game is much safer for
the second player (black) than many other games, including Chess. 
White's initiative here is essentially non-existent.  Shogi is similar,
in that respect.  However, I do suspect that a much stronger player will
defeat a much weaker player without too much difficulty, but this seems to
be the case with most games involving logical deployment of pieces.
JJ-Point C: 'Several layers of play with all their complex choices are
built from a few simple ideas in an easy-to-understand game. You've made
a maddeningly complex easy-to-understand game.'
GG: The Opening phase is simple: Move a Trojan Horse around and drop off
pieces to create your intitial setup.  If desired, keep a piece or two in
the Horse for an attack.  Other than that, it is very much like Shogi with
Shatranj pieces (and a few closely related orthoganal counter-parts.)  Is
it 'Maddeningly Complex?' I don't think so.  I think it is at the level
of Shogi with much more opening variety.  But players of Chess and or Shogi
should be able to jump right in with no headaches.
JJ-Point D: 'Nice job.'
GG: Thanks.  JJ and I played a test game of this and it played quite well.
 There is lots of room for experimentation as to what opening lines are
best.  Should anyone review the 'test game' please note that I think JJ
threw in the towel too quick.  In games inwhich you can drop pieces it is
usually good to play on until the inevitable.  For example, I was once
getting crushed in a face-to-face Shogi game.  Resignation looked logical.
 But I mated the guy with a Knight and a Gold-General drop... (of course,
that is much more likely in over-the-board play, or in real-time internet
play... without days of delay).

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