The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Joe Joyce. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

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Joe Joyce wrote on 2009-05-20 UTC
Hi, Claudio. If I'm understanding you properly, you are asking if a chief could move 1 piece at a range of 3 squares, or 3 pieces, each at a range of 1 square, or 2 pieces, one at a range of 1 square, and the other at a range of 2 squares. Actually, I'm still working up to that. In the chieftain series, I'm not [yet] using that rule, but I do with chesimals. In the chesimals series, a leader activates 6 to 8 other pieces and itself, as long as they are all touching. But they must be touching, there is no activation at a distance. 

The top activation range so far is 3 squares, which means 2 [empty or occupied] squares between the leader and the piece to be activated for it to be in range. If a piece is outside the range of any leader, and stays that way throughout the turn, it cannot move. It must wait for a 'rescue' then. I have considered pieces with longer ranges, but generally in the context of higher-level leaders. I'm currently experimenting with leaders that activate 4-10 units, at a range of 2, and this range is 'transmitted' by each unit, so you could have a line of units, with an empty space between each one, and they may all move. 

Your first question is something I've debated with myself [and a little with Carlos Cetina] for a while. I don't allow it so far because I'm trying to structure the game and it looks very chaotic, besides being rather hard to explain and really hard to figure out and play, I suspect. 

Okay, I haven't done it yet because I'm chicken. I've been trying to explore this territory slowly and systematically, and keep all the games that come out of it very playable [in a relative sense, of course. When only 10 people in the world play your games, it's tough to claim you're designing for the masses. Much as I would like to. ;-) ] The fear I have is that the game goes chaotic, gets completely out of control. 

So before I post it, I need to have the game playtested. But apparently it's time to offer Wild Chieftains. The activation rule is changed to read: 'A chief may activate any 1 piece at a range of 3; or 1 piece at a range of 2 and another at a range of 1; or 3 pieces it is adjacent to, in each turn. Thus a chief may activate 1, 2, or 3 pieces in a turn.'

This does leave some loose ends. A chief's activation of itself likely should be counted as an adjacent activation, although another interpretation would not count it at all, being at zero range, allowing a range 3, or a range 2 + range 1, or 1+1+1 also. How about the compromise position, of counting self-activation as an adjacent activation, except that a self-activating chief may also activate 1 piece at range 3 or range 2, or 2 adjacent pieces. 

And if this isn't complicated enough, just when do the chiefs activate the pieces to be moved? The original game allows activation to occur either before or after the specific chief has moved, but now the chief can conceivably be activated by another chief, then activate an adjacent piece, move itself 1 square to come adjacent to a second piece, activating it; then the chief completes its move, moving a second square to end up adjacent to a third piece, which it then activates. The other options are that the chief can activate pieces only at the beginning or at the end of its move, or that the chief can activate pieces at both the beginning and end of its move. I personally prefer the last option, but others may differ. 

To change topics a bit here at the end, I'll ask this innocent question: would this make the game any harder to program? ;-) As always, questions, comments, and criticisms are welcomed.

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