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Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-04-23 UTC
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Thank you for the comment. The goal was to design a game that clearly played like chess, that had an essential 'feel' of chess, but was clearly different from FIDE. The king/'general' pieces, attacking all 8 squares around, complement the minor pieces nicely, with all attacking 8 squares unblockably. The 2 major pieces are obviously 'shatranjized' versions of the A and C. As they each attack 16 squares, double the others, but still have the same range of 2, they've made a nice fit with the basic concept. 

But this game is part of a shatranj series; thus the names. They are consistent across the series. [Heh, maybe not good names, but consistent. I admit to a naming disability. I've always thought Minister and High Priestess were good names, clearly analogous to Chancellor and Archbishop, and among my personal best efforts. Others may differ.] 

Why the bare king rule? Hubris and laziness, mostly. When the final design for this game and its sister game, Grand Shatranj, gelled, I felt it was so obvious that both games were clearly easily and readily playable as is that I posted them without first playtesting them. The bare king rule serves 2 purposes: it gives an air of shatranjness to the games, which I wanted whether or not the games deserve it; it gives me a bail-out against draws in case the games turn out to be very drawish. So far, except for Modern Shatranj, I don't think the series has had a draw, in the admittedly few games of each completed. I guess it serves mostly as window-dressing. But at high-level play, it may well diminish the number of draws. How much is another matter.

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