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David Short wrote on 2003-01-29 UTC
The question about which criteria to use for judging the contest has been raised by myself in the past, with no response given to my queries. While I am not a judge in this contest, I would like to give my two cents worth about criteria. Everyone is welcome to agree or disagree with my suggestions as they see fit. <p>What I am not going to do is suggest which of the following criteria that I feel should be used to evaluate games in this contest should be more or less influencial than others. That is for each person to decide for themselves. Nor am I going to try to suggest that some kind of elaborate point scoring scale be devised that can create some kind of scientific ranking of games. That is not to say that such scales can't be helpful, but if such scales are going to be used, each judge should be free to decide for himself how much weight certain criteria be given and how to award points for games for themselves without outside influence. Come up with your own system that you think is fair and stick with it. <p>I hope that others will give their input about criteria they think should be used in judging this contest. <p> <p>Originality and creativity should of course be rewarded. But exactly what one means by that can be interpretted broadly. It can mean the inclusion of new board shapes and the use of new pieces, but this isn't meant to say that games with new boards and new pieces should always be weighed more favorably with traditional square and rectangular boards and conventional pieces. Interesting rules should also be a plus. New ways to win, new ways to capture, new ways to move should be viewed as positive. <p>Here's one that some of you may disagree with. I would tend to favor games which have the traditional 'feel' of chess. What exactly do I mean by this? If one is quite adept and familiar with playing good old fashioned orthodox chess, then one already has a good feel for positional play (controlling space, controlling files, creating good pawn formations, etc) and tactics. There are some chess variants which have the 'feel' of regular chess, where once you start playing you find yourself again thinking about positional play and tactics. Can this be said of any game? Not necessarily. Games which use pieces with traditional pieces (kings, queens, rooks, bishops, knights and pawns) or pieces which only slighly augment the powers of these pieces (look at the use of squires, viceroys, crowned knights and crabs in some of my variants) will usually have that immediate 'feel' of regular chess that games with mostly new pieces will not. This is going to be a matter of personal taste among judges. Some will prefer more traditional chess-like games and some will be inspired by brand new types of CVs. <p>Certainly one criteria which should be used is the ability to understand the rules and strategy of the game more easily. More complicated games which are confusing or hard to learn would in my opinion be downgraded. I just don't have the patience to sit down and try to understand complicated games, or at least not ones that don't use traditional chess pieces. <p>There are some other minor concerns to be addressed, such as piece imbalance. Are there pieces in the game which seem overly weak or overly strong compared to the dimensions of the board? And also as a matter of personal taste some judges may want to downgrade games which seem so complicated, or the spaces between the opposing armies at the start of the game so far apart that it takes longer to complete a single game than other CVs in the contest. However if one finds that they are enjoying the challenge of the game in a long middle-game sequence then such criticism can be overlooked. <p>Finally, while I don't mean to suggest that this should be a major factor in determining grades and scores for games, in the event that a judge feels that two or more games in his group are tied and he is finding it difficult deciding how to break the tie, I would suggest to reward games whose creators made themselves accessable to play-testing than those who did not, for these creators have the best interest of the contest at heart. <p>

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