The Chess Variant Pages



This page is written by the game's inventor, Fergus Duniho.

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Fergus Duniho wrote on 2004-06-20 UTC
Flippable pieces won't be sufficient for playing Mortal Shogi, because
they won't be enough to cover all possible combinations of pieces that
could exist in the game. Except for some uninvented possibilities, any set
for Mortal Shogi would require multiple pieces. At best, using flippable
pieces would just reduce the total number of pieces that need to be on
hand. 

Not counting Pawns that promote and then demote, one may have up to 7
Knights. For example, (BQ -> WR -> BB -> WN) + 2 * (WR -> BB -> WN) + 2 *
(BB -> WN) + 2 * WN. The other pieces could eventually demote to Black
Knights but not White Knights. Four Chess sets would cover this. The
number needed of other pieces would be less and so would be covered by the
four sets. The number of possible Pawns would be 7+8=15, which would also
be covered. Since each side could have a different 7 Knights, flippable
pieces would not seem to reduce how many extra pieces are needed on hand.
Including the possiblity that all one's Pawns will promote into Knights,
a player could have up to 15 Knights, which can be covered by eight sets.
So, eight sets, not the mere three I said before, is what it takes to
cover all possibilities, and flippable pieces won't really help. Unless
you're rich, it is probably best to go buy eight small plastic sets from
a dollar store.

Okay, now for the uninvented possibilities. I look forward to pieces made
out of nanobots that will be able to take on any shape programmed into
them. A less technically advanced possibility would be disk or wedge
shaped pieces with LCD displays that change at the flick of a button and
can be programmed for different games. Something between these two
possibilities would be flat disks that project programmably changeable
holograms, assuming that it would be safe to touch the LASER light coming
out of them. If need be, they could have some kind of elongated glass dome
that contains the hologram and also makes the tactile sensation of picking
up the pieces more like picking up regular pieces.

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