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Comments by Matt Arnold

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Navia Dratp. An upcoming commercial chess variant with collectible, tradable pieces. (7x7, Cells: 49) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matt Arnold wrote on 2006-01-25 UTC
What Tim says is true. Since the time that I wrote the article for this web page, Navia Dratp continues to be one of my favorite board games ever, which I play all the time. The Resurgence expansion really rounded out what it needed. I had no problem getting all the pieces by buying them ala carte from internet sellers, so I didn't waste money waiting for the luck of the draw to give me everything from booster packs. It's true that it's pricy, but I happen to like the miniatures as pieces of art. I recommend that you try the virtual online Navia Dratp which is available on the mailing list.

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-27 UTC
I usually leave my login going in the Tori Shogi room on the Vassalengine server, but sometimes I forget to turn it off when I sleep or leave home. Sorry for any confusion that might have caused. Let's face it, we are never going to find each other by accident. We need to either schedule a time or exchange instant message handles. My handle on all the main IM services is nemorathwald. Feel free to message me to set up a game!

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-18 UTC
I bought both starter sets, and you're right about one thing, all the
pieces in both of them are labeled 52604. It will be interesting to see
what these numbers can tell us.

What do you mean about officially painted pieces? Are you saying your
starter set came with painted pieces? The only painted ones I got were the
Navias. What about the booster packs? They don't come painted, or do they?

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-18 UTC
The cards are strictly for reference, and are not a play element. Personally, I came up with the idea of using them for a play element in my 4-player Navia Dratp variant (available on this website, But that is certainly not official and hasn't even been playtested yet.

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-17 UTC
yes, he can take the Navia and win the game.

ND is based not on Chess, but on Shogi. Chess has a rule against any move
that moves or exposes one's King check, but Shogi explicitly does not!
Therefore, the form of draw in which the King has no legal move, does not
take place in Shogi, because it's a game in which you kill the Jewelled
General, not just checkmate him. As I read the rules of Navia Dratp I
looked for rules about moving into check, and since there weren't any, I
believe ND has this in common with Shogi.

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-16 UTC
Thanks. Who are you, if you don't mind?
I agree on #1, that's how I've been playing it, otherwise it would be
Regarding #6, any dratp effect such as Gundrill or Olip that carries other
pieces is a move done BY the dratping piece, ON the carried piece(s). I
believe the carried piece is passively having something done to it, so it
definitely may not dratp in my opinion.

I almost hate to admit this, but sometimes fairy princesses kick monster
butt. Yesterday, my brother had my back to the wall playing ND, all I had
left was Navia + Pawn. He had several impressive warriors and I almost
conceded.	But he didn't notice I collected all the currency in the game.
He was going to checkmate me on the next move, when I paid everything to
invoke Navia Dratp and that was that. Hell hath no fury like a woman
scorned, I guess. These four huge juggernauts surrounded a fairy princess
and she blew them away in a single stroke... it was rich, I tell you. I
love a game that's full of surprises without resorting to dice.

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-15 UTC
I wish there were some place to ask these questions. I already have
several. Please post your questions to this page so that we can collect
them all in one place.
1. When a Dratp effect or line-over returns a promoted Maseitai from the
graveyard, does it un-Dratp?
2. On the movement compass, if the adjacent square is white but the second
square out is colored yellow (like promoted Troll), does that mean that it
is a leaping move to the second square? Or does the adjacent square have
to be free of obstruction in order for Troll to get to the second square?
3. If a Maseitai movement compass had the Knight move square colored
yellow, would that be a leap over any obstruction? Or would an adjacent
square have to be unobstructed between the start and the destination-- the
way it is in Chinese Chess?
4. Can a Maseitai ever un-Dratp?
5. Can a Maseitai perform a line-over?

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-14 UTC
I didn't know ND had one main creator. His name should be listed on this
website where it says 'inventor: Bandai'! What's his name? Please ask
him on behalf of, if it's true that ND was inspired by
Tori (Bird) Shogi!

I played this game twice yesterday at the meeting of SEMI-Abstract Gamers.
(South East MIchigan) Most of them basically agree with my position, that
this will increase interest in chess variants. There are young people such
as my brother who never bothered with chess until ND. He loves it.

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-13 UTC
from having played this one time, I can already tell you that my negative
evaluation of Garrison is slightly revised. He promotes from Shogi's
'Gold General' to Shogi's 'Lance,' but I now see that the ranged
movement is printed as a dashed line. According to the rule book this
means a ranged move that can leap over its first obstruction if desired.
That partially makes up for the fact that the closer promoted-Garrison
gets to the opponent's side, the fewer squares he is attacking, until
finally he will sit on the end rank completely immobile. The book seems to
confirm this, because it only refers to going off the end of the board with
gulled (pawns) and Navias. The Maseitai are not even mentioned in that
section. I still think Garrison is only worth using in Tandem with the
Gundrill's 'Voice to Call' or Olip's 'Reflection in the Water.'

You might like my games page with Maseitai pictures and comments:

I'm also pleased to report that one of the booster-pack Maseitai (I'm
not sure of the name) is what we like to refer to as a Reflecting Bishop
(see the Piececlopedia). He may bounce off the edge of the board. How

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-13 UTC
my brother has Pirates otSM. I've played it and it's fun. The best thing
about it is that they actually printed it all correctly; no errata sheet!

The guy I'm corresponding with who is with Bandai organized play says to
wait two or three weeks and they will have their company's organized play
system complete.

In the meantime my local chess variants group is getting together to play
Navia Dratp tonight.

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-12 UTC
Danny Satyapan of Bandai was interviewed and said 'Unlike with any product Bandai America's ever released, Navia Dratp, due to the nature of the property and the game, will see the overwhelming majority of presence in the hobby market.  Our strategy is to have this product circulate in hobby for at least six months before and if it does eventually reach the mass retailers.   Even if it does reach mass retailers, the hobby market will always be ahead of the game with new expansions in stores months before the mass market gets them.  In addition, promotional figures for organized play support will only be available through hobby channels.'

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-12 UTC
Yesterday I called up a local games store to see if they could confirm that ND would be on their shelves in time for the official street date this Saturday, and they told me it had already arrived that very day! So I went down there and plunked down $60 for Starter Sets 1 and 2. I played this game yesterday, and I can tell you it's fun and beautiful. I'd like to start a fan site and call it 'Variant Pad.'

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-08-10 UTC
PL, I'm definitely up for that. Just let me know when it's ready.

Navia Dratp Photos. Actual photos of this soon-to-be released game![All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-25 UTC
James, thank you for your comments. I did not invent the game or have anything to do with Bandai Inc. The editors have wrongly attributed it to me because of the idea I had for a multi-player variant of ND. I've notified the editors about it repeatedly and asked that this be corrected.

Navia Dratp. An upcoming commercial chess variant with collectible, tradable pieces. (7x7, Cells: 49) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-22 UTC
Thanks to Michele from Conclave Games in Louisiana for sending me info
about the Maseitai that come with the first starter sets. In the following
descriptions, keep in mind that each piece may only Dratp one time (I
     Here is the team that comes in the set of the Navia named Estelle.
     #1. 'Troll' looks like an elf with long ears, bug eyes and bug
wings. It moves as a Ferz (one diagonal step). For 4 gyullas, Troll
promotes to a Dabbabah Ferz (leaps to the second-out orthogonal space, or
one diagonal step.) 'Navia Guard:' Can be summoned not just to a
Summoning Square, but also to any square adjacent to the Navia. 'Energy
Drop:' Earn 10 gyullas when Troll is sent to the Graveyard by your
     #2. 'Agunilyos' is an anthropomorphic tiger wearing armor and a
cape with a sword. It moves as a King, but for 16 gyullas promotes to a
     #3. 'Hamulus Garuda' is an anthropomorphic pterodactyl carrying a
six-barreled crossbow. It moves as a Ferz combined with non-leaping Alfil.
(In other words, up to two steps in any diagonal direction.) For 9 gyullas
it promotes to King + Bishop.
     #4. 'Garrison' is an anthropomorphic panther wearing armor and a
cape with a sword. It starts as a Gold General (like a King missing the
backward diagonal directions) and promotes for 5 gyullas to a Lance (a
Rook that can only move forward). I sure wouldn't Dratp this piece,
unless you have another one with the magic power to bring him back when
he's stuck helpless on the farthest rank.
     #5. 'Netol' is a woman with rabbit ears, a huge collar-frill like a
lizard, and skin as ebony as night. She can take one step straight forward
or backward, or the forward diagonals, but not straight to the side, or
back diagonals. For 5 gyullas she invokes the 'Spider's Thread:'
Resurrect any Maseitai of your choice from your Graveyard to any open
Summoning Squares, and send Netol to take its place in the Graveyard.
     #6. 'Gundrill' is a wrinkly Mandrill ape with screaming jaws full
of fangs and a gigantic exposed brain. It moves as a Ferz combined with
non-leaping Alfil. (In other words, up to two steps in any diagonal
direction.) For 6 gyullas, decrease its range of movement so that it can
only move side-to-side up to two spaces, and it gains 'Voice to Call:'
Once per turn, you may move one of your battle pieces of your choice (such
as the promoted Garrison, I hope) from anywhere on the battlefield to any
open space adjacent to Gundrill, except for the ones straight left and
     The following is the team that comes in the set of the Navia named
     #7. 'Tiny Kiggoshi' looks like a green Martian with a big spherical
braincase, a conical hat with streamers, slouching posture and a vapid
expression. It takes one step right, left or forward. For 14 Gyullas
invoke 'Shared Destruction:' Send Tiny Kiggoshi plus any Battle Piece of
your choice (even your own) from the Battlefield to the Graveyard.
     #8. 'Olip' is a little floating, puffy, multi-colored glowing jelly
with flaps like a flying squirrel and tiny fangs under his cute beady eyes.
He takes one orthogonal step. For 4 gyullas, invoke 'Reflection in the
Water:' On the turn that you Dratp, switch the position of two of your
pieces on the Battlefield.
     #9. 'Gilgame II' appears to be a giant bio-mecha like I used to see
Voltron fighting. It moves as a Silver General (one step diagonally or
straight forward). For 11 gyullas it promotes to King + Dabbabah +
non-leaping Alfil. (1 or 2 steps in any direction.)
     #10. 'Moses' is an anthropomorphic dinosaur with a pteranodon
crest, wearing armor and a cape and weilding a battleaxe. It moves up to 2
steps orthogonally. For 10 gyullas, promote to King + Rook.
     #11. 'Nebguard' is an anthropomorphic ram with giant spiral horns,
wearing armor and weilding what appears to be a polearm. It moves up to
two steps, diagonally forward or straight backward. For 3 gyullas, he
promotes to go as far as desired in those three directions, like a
'forward Bishop' combined with 'backward Rook.'
     #12. 'Gyullas Turtle' is a flying robot turtle who moves one step
in the three forward directions. For 5 gyullas, invoke 'Gyullas
Glutton:' Earn 6 gyullas per turn when Gyullas Turtle moves from now on.
     #13. 'Kapinah' is an anthropomorphic bird of prey wearing armor and
weilding a sword. It moves one step straight forward. For 8 gyullas,
promote to move one step forward, left, right, or diagonally forward, and
invoke 'Dive Bomb:' On the turn that you Dratp, immediately fly to any
open space on the Battlefield.

Navia Dratp Photos. Actual photos of this soon-to-be released game![All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-22 UTC
Bob, I agree on how beautiful it is. For those who want more detail on what Bob has reported here, click the link above these comments to go to the complete rules description.

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-22 UTC
James, I've submitted more detailed photos to the editors. I would like to have a ND Piececlopedia, but if it is on this website I would need to be given editing privileges for those pages for my frequent changes. Look for the ND Piececlopedia when this game is released to retailers on August 14! Until then I will post a comment to the rules page (link above) with the movements and powers of the pieces that I do already know.

Homemade Tori Shogi Set. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Ed, I think you're right. I would be surprised if the designers of Navia Dratp are not Tori Shogi players. It remains to be seen what the ND piece movements are, and yet the diagrams ND uses would be perfect for TS.

Navia Dratp. An upcoming commercial chess variant with collectible, tradable pieces. (7x7, Cells: 49) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-15 UTC
Thank you very much, James! Can you give us the names, movements and powers of the pieces you've seen? That's what I'm dying to know!

Prince. 8x8x8 3-D variant with new pieces. (8x8x8, Cells: 512) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Visualize for a moment that we have software that displays the game of
Prince on binocular-vision LCD glasses. The glasses superimpose images
onto a transparent view of the wearer's real environment-- not virtual
reality, but augmented reality. Imagine also that we have two telemetry
gloves. The index finger and thumb are tracked in 3D and 'mouse click'
when they touch-- the two fingertips are displayed as two cursors floating
in the image. I would want to play this game.

Since a computer simulation has no gravity, we do not need surfaces on
which to rest pieces. Each piece sits on an intersection of three
translucent lines, one for each dimension, in an eight-by-eight cube.
Grasping and pulling any edge of the cube allows free rotation. The cube
should fill half the visual field, since the user's reach can be
transposed on a huge scale, or the user can also change to the size of the
pieces and stand inside the cube when desired. Ideally though, the glasses
would be tracked with telemetry so that the cube would always float in the
same space in the user's real environment while the user moved around it.
In this mode the whole cube should fit within easy reach, perhaps three
feet to a side.

Without gravity there is no reason for pieces to be stable pedestals with
radial symmetry along only one axis as they are in 2-D chess. The shapes
that represent one-dimensional ranged movers could be 3-D stars. The piece
is formed of arms extending from the intersection it occupies, and
dwindling to tips before reaching adjacent intersections. Each arm points
out toward an intersection to which the piece could move if it weren't
obstructed. So, a rook looks like a thickening of bright, bold opacity
along the three translucent board-lines of its intersection. Arms of
bishops and merchants do not lie along the board lines; they reach across
the gap toward adjacent line segments and intersections respectively.
Leaper pieces have thinner, threadlike arms, that fork into Y's tipped
with spheres. Two-dimensional movers are formed of a set of intersecting
surfaces. Pawns are half-spheres. Kings are large spheres.

For a game this complex, no one should complain if there is as much
graphical computer assistance as possible. All pieces glow when under
threat. A large crown symbol appears outside the cube when check is given.
When a piece is grasped and dragged, the intersections to which it can
legally move light up. Moving an index finger onto a piece, without
touching the fingers together on it, causes its name and animated graphic
description to display in the space above the cube. The piece on the board
grows without thickening its arms: the arms stretch as far as they can
without being blocked, to show all the intersections to which it can
legally move. At the option of the user, all pieces on the board
simultaneously extend their arms/spheres/surfaces as ghostly fogs of
color. Since the sides are red and blue, they blend into purple where they
cross. This represents threat from the red and blue sides, and varies with
intensity based on how many pieces have a line of sight to the

Navia Dratp. An upcoming commercial chess variant with collectible, tradable pieces. (7x7, Cells: 49) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-07 UTC
this is exciting news! Where was this tournament? How was it possible to
conduct a whole tournament before the public release? Do you mean a demo?
Can you describe some of the pieces?

Matt Arnold wrote on 2004-07-04 UTC
It's been confirmed by distributors that ND booster packs will be mystery
grab bags of 3 minis for $9. The same with the 8 minis in the starter set,
except you can see the Navia through the packaging. Wizkids already uses 
this marketing tactic, and me and my brother probably have 200 click-dial 
miniatures between us. I stopped buying them cold turkey last year after I 
saw Navia Dratp, and started selling them off, because I am strictly a
'one-expensive-miniatures-game-at-a-time' kind of guy. I feel your pain.

true or false: game companies should not sell a sealed box of random game
components in which the purchaser does not know what he is paying for. Is
such a company exploiting its customers? Or as I would say, hey, I can't
blame them for milking a cash cow for all it's worth. The answer could be
interpreted as a statement about morality. Stay on this channel after the
movie for a shocking expose on the 11:00 news. I was being deliberately
hyperbolic, sorry-- but that's because controversy is so much more
interesting. ;^)

Any relation to David Howe?

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