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Game Reviews by Ben Good

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Cincinnati 4-way Chess. Four player chess variant from Cincinnati. (Cells: 101) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Ben Good wrote on Wed, Jan 15, 2003 08:07 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
this game looks fun. i requested email opponents on the yahoo board last year, but i had no takers. moeser declined saying 4-player chess is more of an otb social thing, which is true, but right now i'm not in a place where i can come up with 3 otb opponents, and i'd like to try this game (also, i've played a variety of multiplayer email games on richard's server, and it works ok). i've played zillions a couple times, but zillions plays this one very poorly. i'm guessing it's because zillions doesn't understand the team concept, so the two armies don't cooperate, and since when zillions thinks for each army, it sees one against three, thinks it's losing, and therefore plays weird. <P> so if anybody wants to play, email me at [email protected]. i'm only looking to start one game, and it will be the squirrel version. i'd like to use moeser's checkmate rules too, even tho they are changed in the zrf - presumably because moeser's rules were too difficult or impossible to implement in zillions (i'll be using zillions to keep track of the game position, but i should be able to work around it once one player is checkmated, since i won't actually be playing against the computer).

Tandem-84. Variant on two boards of 7 by 6 rows with pieces moving between boards. (2x(6x7), Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Ben Good wrote on Sat, Dec 7, 2002 08:47 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
another impressive game. as i've mentioned previously elsewhere, games that use standard chess pawns and boards with an odd number of rows tend to be unbalanced, but this problem is eliminated by the double-board aspect of the game. in most of my games, one player was able to get a slight upperhand on one board while the other player gained control of the other board, altho this is somewhat of a generalization. <P> the tactics in this game quickly become complex and intense, and therefore zillions plays the game well. pawn endgames are particularly interesting because pawns can dodge threats by jumping from board to board. the ghost works well and is easy to visualize and remember (i know aikin discarded several other versions of the ghost before picking the final ghost).

Schizophrenic Chess. Game on 12x7 board with Left and Right Schizzys, Bobbers, Teleporters and other exotic pieces. (12x7, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Ben Good wrote on Sat, Dec 7, 2002 08:40 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
well, i had been holding off on making comments about contest entries until the judging was done, but since everybody else has started it's obviously not a big deal... <P> this game is a lot of fun and the pieces are neat. i eventually plan to put the teleporter and the bobber in the piececlopedia. i've found that the 12x7 board weakens the B and N about equally, altho of course there is no N in this game, the royal knight is a different piece altogether and on a smaller board is worth much more than a rook. (as a side note, i've found that the 16x8 board in short's doublechess weakens the N and B about equally). <P> i was initially skeptical of the 12x7 board because i've found that boards with odd numbers of rows in games not using shogi pawns are unbalanced because whoever moves first usually has an easier time taking control of the center row and thus gaining an advantage. had short used standard chess pawns this would've been a problem, but i've found that the crab effectively eliminates this problem. <P> one curious aspect of this game is that it is the first (and only) game i've seen where castling is usually a liability rather than a help. this is because castling puts the king in the middle of a stretch of empty squares which are then vulnerable to teleporters (altho the special teleporter rule helps against this, i'm not sure if this rule is implemented in the zrf or not). when i played zillions i lost every game by teleporter attack until the game in which i didn't castle.

Tournoy. Pieces have orientation that can be rotated. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Ben Good wrote on Wed, Aug 21, 2002 08:51 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
this is a very interesting game, and i'd suggest adding it the list of possibilities for the pbem tourney. it is quite clearly superior to ploy, and it is probably more interesting than rotary as well. <P> for the record, i can't agree with the author's comment that the standard pawns in rotary are poorly inspired - i originally thought so too, until i actually played the game, they work quite well. my problem with rotary is that all the pieces are approximately the same value, a problem only somewhat resolved in tournoy. <P> in tournoy tho, the probes make an interesting pawn front, and one that is more appropriate to the nature of the game. the hammer is a very neat piece, much easier to visualize than i had anticipated. i suspect it will work very well with more conventional chess pieces as well. <P> the suggestion that comes to mind for this game is that it will probably make for a livlier game if pieces can rotate at the end of a move, rather than just rotating in place. i'm not worried that this will create pieces that are too powerful, it should balance out nicely i think.

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