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Comments by Joe Joyce

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Chess on a Tesseract. Chess played over the 24 two-dimensional sides of a tesseract. (24x(5x5), Cells: 504) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Fri, Jan 5 06:31 AM UTC in reply to Kevin Pacey from Wed Dec 13 2023 08:06 PM:

Hi, Kevin. Extreme concentration can be very useful in game design, but it's not so useful when running night operations, especially when you're running an entire shift. It's constant interruptions, which destroyed my ability to do serious, CYA paperwork... yeah, I worked in a bureaucracy. So now I can get interrupted, but have found another odd ability useful for game design. I do a lot of the design work subconsciously.

My 4D variant was something I worked on for years since school, and never managed a satisfactory result. I went through all sorts of pieces, used ridiculous numbers of pawns, once looking at 2 rows of 16 pawns. One day, after decades, I suddenly "saw" - like I was looking at it right there in front of me - the game pieces set up for a game. That told me what pieces were needed, and where they and the pawns were set up. The image was beautiful and perfect... just not quite complete. I got all this with no rules. They took me a fair amount of time and some help to get, but I got a good result in everything except the number of people who play it.

The next 2 games I saw set up and ready to play, right next to each other, were Great and Grand Shatranj. They came with rules, though, so my subconscious learned! However, what I consider clearly my best chess variant, the Battle of Macysburg, was the result of extreme concentration carried out over a few years of time. I could "feel" a good wargame in Chieftain Chess, but it was not close or obvious how to get there. I literally iterated my way through dozens of games to get from Chieftain to Macysburg, with the invaluable aid of my developer. Try to get a good playtest partner to work with. Mine helped me turn chess back into a wargame.

And finally, for a very odd "superpower", I could hear ultrasonic noises at about 40k Hz, which meant I could hear some ultrasonic traffic signal controls, and also some store security systems. There was 1 store I could not enter because the screeching was painfully loud to me. Another, not quite as bad, I followed along the sonic beam right to an emitter hidden behind a rack of clothes. I moved the clothes to make sure, and saw it actually sticking out from the wall. Thankfully I have either aged out of that ability or everyone is using infrared or something else instead of ultrasonics!

Joe Joyce wrote on Fri, Jan 5 04:37 AM UTC in reply to Bob Greenwade from Thu Jan 4 02:45 PM:

I wish you good luck, and great fortune in finding a suitable opponent. I found it quite difficult, and finding the minimum number of pieces to force mate was even more difficult. Ben Reiniger put up with my fumbling around pushing pieces until I realized it required the lone king vs king and 2 major pieces from the 1 queen and 2 bishops (bishops and rooks essentially exchanging roles when going from FIDE to my 4D game) and a specific alignment of the 4 pieces, which can also be forced. The advantage to my method is that it demonstrates a forced mate on any-sized 2D boards. Most 4D games cannot do that. Once you get past a 5x5 2D board, you can no longer use the trick of putting your king in the middle of the gameboard and then using a ridiculously powerful 4D queen placed between your king and the opponent's king to pin that king against the side of the board in mate. If the 2D boards are 6x6 or larger, that tactic does not work, because the opponent king has another row of squares to which it can retreat and get out of check.

Build the playspace. Make at least 1 physical board so you can push pieces. A physical game makes things more real. I believe using a physical board makes teaching and learning at least a little bit easier. And with 4D variants, the easier you can make it, the better, unless your goal is for no one to ever play the game. However, making a physical game for demo and experimenting with is worthwhile, I've found. Sometimes you can suck people into making a few moves in the game. And when you have physical components, you can use anything else you have handy to look at ideas far afield from chess.

I've found that the basic 4D board has uses in many games besides chess. I've designed a wargame, a trading game, and an empire-building game, a "3X" game, not quite a 4X game since all points on the board are already known at the beginning of the game so there is no eXploration, just eXpansion, eXploitation, and eXtermination. All of these games are played on a "simple 4D board". I don't necessarily tell people that when they first play. But they should notice that on a larger than normal board, it is rather easy to get from any one location on the board to any other. There are more ways to get from here to there than in 2D or 3D.

Happy designing!

Joe Joyce wrote on Thu, Jan 4 07:36 AM UTC in reply to Jean-Louis Cazaux from Fri Dec 8 2023 10:44 PM:

Thanks, Jean-Louis, I appreciate your assistance. I will have to dig up my version of Pritchard and look up Maack. Apologies for the slow reply; a combination of health issues slowed me down considerably last month.

I'm not surprised Maack's version "failed to recruit players". My version of 4x4x4x4 was deliberately designed to make it as easy to play as possible. I'm not seeing hordes of players clamoring to play it.

Joe Joyce wrote on Tue, Dec 12, 2023 09:29 PM UTC in reply to Bob Greenwade from Fri Dec 8 03:34 PM:

Actually, Hyperchess4D or whatever I'm calling it now to avoid duplicate names is essentially 2D translated to a 4D board. While most people do 4D chess as basically 2D x 2D = 4D, I went with 2D + 2D = 4D, figuring that by eliminating all the 3D and 4D diagonals, the game becomes humanly playable without computer assistance.

I've been called many things; neurotypical hasn't been one until now! :) Given the fact that roughly 1 person in 10,000,000 (a rough calculation I did a few years ago) is a prolific chess variantist, I would question the "normality" of most of the people who post here. All in all, we have to be a strange group when compared to the "average" person. Not better or worse, but significantly different. (And, fwiw, my "super power" was extreme concentration, to the extent that I did not hear people talking to me while literally standing right in front of me when I was concentrating. Age has slowed me down, but I can still do it for limited times.)

Finally, I suspect [W+F] would actually be a little easier - the 2+1/1+2 slide is always orthogonal, allowing 2 potential blocking squares, and the W+F starts orthogonally then cuts right to the chase, insteadof going that extra square. And if I weren't sitting in a hospital bed right now, I'd have more to say. Later.

Joe Joyce wrote on Fri, Dec 8, 2023 09:40 AM UTC in reply to Jean-Louis Cazaux from 06:57 AM:

Jean-Louis, is there an available copy of Maack's and/or Dawson's work? I didn't turn anything up from an online search.

Apologies, Bob, for dragging other designers' 4D games onto your page. But 4D variants are an interesting topic, with little available information, and both Ben R. and I are interested in 4D variants and we've each done at least one. Grin, I see that unlike me, you were not aiming for extreme playability.

The norm seems to be the 4x4x4x4 board. Dale Holmes did a 5x5x5x5 version and posted it in the wiki, but it no longer exists there. I found V.R. Parton's 4D Sphinx Chess to be surprisingly timid for him. The individual 2D 4x4 boards that make up most 4D boards are present, but in a 3x3 array, rather than 4x4. To me, individual 4x4 2D boards scream for a full 4x4 array, not Parton's setup. I originally felt that this was a lack of imagination, but lately I've been wondering if he did it deliberately for playability.

One problem I was concerned about was how chaotic a game could become in just a few moves. When a game has "infinite sliders" and short range leapers coupled with both a larger board and several additional ways to go when moving to an adjacent location, things can get quickly crazy, with pieces appearing almost randomly across the board. The knight has a move which translates perfectly to 4D. Allowing it to jump also makes it a killer piece, literally! Even forcing it to slide 2+1 or 1+2 without the leap still means the knight has 2 paths to its target square.

@ Bob Greenwade[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Tue, Nov 21, 2023 08:32 PM UTC:

Hi, Bob. To the best of my knowledge, the NDW was first used in the games Great and Grand Shatranj, and called the Minister. Its companion piece is the High Priestess, NAF. Both George Duke and I looked for previous usage or mention, and found nothing. They are great pieces, fun to play with, and in close quarters, devastating. Enjoy them. I have.

If anyone can find any earlier usage or mention of those pieces under whatever name, please let me know.

Short Sliders. Pieces are initially limited to 4 spaces (if that), and promote to longer moves. (12x16, Cells: 192) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Thu, Oct 5, 2023 02:41 AM UTC in reply to Bob Greenwade from Wed Oct 4 02:52 PM:

Hi, Bob. Thank you for mentioning the High Priestess, which apparently was the first use of the FAN on this site - I looked but could not find an earlier usage. I have an odd request. You prefer High Priest as the piece name, and I prefer High Priestess, because I feel women players and designers get short shrift in chess. The oval in an opened circle is a nice icon, but it can be used 2 ways, the orientation you show here, or upside down. Would you be willing to use the upside down version to specifically designate the high priestess, and the right-side up orientation be used to designate the high priest?

Granlem Shatranj. This is a mash-up of Grand Shatranj & Lemurian Shatranj with a 3 moves/player turn option.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
💡📝Joe Joyce wrote on Mon, Sep 25, 2023 12:37 AM UTC:

Thank you for adding the diagram that plays the 1 move version. I sincerely appreciate that! I think it's clear that adding an active diagram to the variants onsite does increase the number of plays the games get. You are giving the site more ways to be used and enjoyed. Excellent!

I'm trying to figure out how to ask if there is any way the diagrams can be adapted to multi-move variants without seeming ungrateful. I'm fairly confident it can be done, because Fergus did an excellent job automating Chieftain Chess! The point may well be moot. How many people actually make and/or play multi-move variants? Let's see, there's me ... is there anyone else who does multi-movers?

One original purpose of this series of variants was to make blatantly obvious the differences between single move/player-turn and true (ie: playable and non-gimmicky) multi-move/player-turn chesses. One quickly sees the flow of play is totally different because the flow of pieces changes. Yes, the rules set it up that way, but it is expected that players will funnel pieces from the edges to the center anyway, because the king is there, and it may get 2 moves/turn. So the king would generally be the only or primary target anyway.

If that's too over the top for some, ignore the 2 wings and just do 2 moves in the center, either any 2 pieces, or 1 piece and 1 pawn move. The 2 guard/mann units per side may count as either or both. Even that will show divergence from 1 piece/turn moves. This is a stable 3 moves/player-turn variant, and I believe it should be a stable 4-move variant.

Finally, thanks to Kevin Pacey for playtesting.

Diamond Morph Board Mutator[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Joe Joyce wrote on Mon, Jul 10, 2023 04:23 PM UTC:
Diamond Morph Board Mutator

Take a 10x10 chessboard, and allow movement both on the 100 squares/cells of the board and on the corners of the squares, that is, on all the intersections of vertical and horizontal lines making up the 11x11 grid that defines the 10x10 board. This gives 221 board positions, and the unit cell is a centered square lattice. The board can be considered to be 2 interlocking 2D square patterns with the corners of the squares of 1 pattern marking the center of the squares of the other pattern. This board has some unusual properties. 

If you try to maintain the standard moves of the chesspieces on this board, the first thing you notice is that it's the rooks that are bound to roughly half the board. A rook that starts the game in a cell can only move from cell to cell, and never on the lattice, and the rook that starts on a lattice intersection can never move into a cell, because only diagonal moves allow you to go between cells and lattice intersections. And that means the bishops are not bound to only part of the playing surface. It's a rook - bishop reversal of roles. 

The wazir’s orthogonal moves on this board are simple and obvious: you step from 1 cell to an adjacent cell through the common side of the 2 cells, or you step from 1 intersection to an orthogonally adjacent intersection, moving along the grid line. But the diagonal moves are not quite so simple. One diagonal step takes you from cell to intersection or intersection to cell. It takes a diagonal move of 2 steps to bring a piece from cell to cell or intersection to intersection. So how does a ferz move? Does it always step 1 and so change between cells and intersections with each move? Or does it always step 2, thus re-binding itself to either cells or intersections? I will argue that the player should have the choice for a ferz of taking 1 or 2 steps for each move, and the same for any piece that has a diagonal move, like the knight.  It’s certainly not necessary, but I feel that if you use this board you should consider using the expanded diagonal move: 2 diagonal steps to bring the piece back to the same subset of locations, cells or intersections, *and* the 1 step which changes the subset of locations the piece ends on. The board is more than double the size of a “standard” 10x10 board (221 playable locations vs. 100) so allow the extra moves a ferz would get with 1 and 2 step options. 

This applies to the knight, which can be considered to move either 1 step orthogonally and then 1 or 2 steps diagonally, doubling its movement power, or diagonally then orthogonally, although you might make it a slider then, rather than a leaper. I lean against allowing the knight to move 1 step diagonally, 1 step orthogonally, and then a second step diagonally, as this can be considered violating the spirit of the knight’s move. (Or not!)

One feature of this board is that it takes exactly the same number of steps to go from 1 location to another either orthogonally or diagonally or any combination of the two. On a standard 2D checkered board, that is very much not true. What it all means is that I’m playing with the underlying geometry of the board. The board locations are all “actually” diamonds, and the “rooks” actually go through the corners of those diamonds, thus becoming ‘bishops.’ And on that underlying diamond board, the “bishops” go through the sides of the diamonds, thus becoming ‘rooks’ despite the way it looks like they move on the game board. To visualize the ‘actual’ board, take a unit cell, mark the midpoints of each side, then draw straight lines from the top and bottom points to the 2 side points. Do that for every cell, and you get a diamond pattern. Each unit cell of the game board contains 2 diamonds, a complete 1 in the center of the cell, and the other is quartered and stuck in the corners. 

If I knew how to actually make this board in Game Courier I would, but – for those who have seen any of the Jumanji movies, my weakness is modern tech :\ - I do have an experimental game for the board I’ve described. There are 21 pawns and 21 pieces per side in the game. They are set up in 4 rows (“ranks”) along opposite edges of the board, which I do not think should be checkered in the standard way, but rather the way Fergus made the newish Shatranj board, a basic marbled white board with 2x2 squares of light green laid over the center 4 squares of the board, with the pattern shifted 4 squares orthogonally and repeated, in every direction. For a 10x10 board, this would give 9 2x2 green squares, 4 in the corners and the remaining 5 in a “+” shape spaced evenly between the corners. Anyway, here’s the setup, legend at bottom:

  P	P     P	    P	  P	P     P	    P	  P     P
P    P	   P	 P     P     P	   P	 P     P     P     P	      
  R	H     N     B	  G	G     B     N	  H	R 
R    H	  HP	 S   DWAF    K	 DWAF    S     HP    H	   R

P = pawn	G = guard(mann)
R = rook	HP = high priestess
H = hero	S = shaman
N = knight	DWAF = pasha
B = bishop

Blender Chess. Bishops, Knights and Rooks can merge and separate. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Tue, Jun 27, 2023 12:50 AM UTC:

Bob, since you asked, here are a few more games, most mine, but starting with David Jagger's excellent PiRaTeKnIcS:

Huge variants[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Joe Joyce wrote on Sat, Jun 24, 2023 07:56 PM UTC in reply to H. G. Muller from 07:12 AM:

My argument isn't about shortening the total number of individual unit moves, but rather about giving all the pieces more opportunities for movement and involvement in the game. Just for starters, every opening pawn move is matched with a piece move. Right there, you get all the turns that are just opening pawn moves to move a piece, also. That gives you a few extra moves right in the beginning of the game. I believe that will force both players to use more of their pieces in a game. And that is doubly true if you allow any 2 pieces to move per player-turn. I do agree that each turn will be longer, and the game overall might go on longer, but that was not part of my considerations. And for what it's worth, it's a lot better than the only other option for "forcing" more use of all the pieces that comes to mind now, which is to just remove the pawns and play without them, which is in some ways very instructive, but does not give you anything close to a game of skill.

Joe Joyce wrote on Sat, Jun 24, 2023 06:37 AM UTC in reply to H. G. Muller from Fri Jun 23 06:04 PM:

Hi, HG.

I've been following this thread off and on, as I have a fondness for what others see as huge variants. I would argue that when you come to something like this: "A fundamental issue is that it takes at least as many moves as you have pieces to move all your pieces" you are seeing a restriction that may not need to be there.

Chessplayers as a group seem to be inherently conservative, and highly resistant to significant changes to any version of chess, and even minor changes. So something as radical as suggesting a multi-move approach to speeding the game up, which it will, leaps past heresy directly into the depths of anathema. So be it. Use 2 moves per player-turn to speed up the game. If that is too radical, allow an optional pawn move each turn. Move a piece and a pawn each turn, with no requirement to make the pawn move.

Blender Chess. Bishops, Knights and Rooks can merge and separate. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Sat, Jun 24, 2023 04:03 AM UTC:

Hi, Bob. I've got 1 more entry into this concept of chess pieces as parts, I'd leave your Blender version in place. It's actually fairly common for chess variants to more-or-less duplicate other and earlier versions. If someone offers a variant with a significant difference, I see no reason to reject it.

Short Leaper Chess. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Tue, Jun 6, 2023 09:31 PM UTC:

It's nice to see that short range pieces are still capable of interesting designers. Welcome to the ShortRange Project, Petar!

The general tendency for chess variantists (and wargamers) is to make games with pieces that are as powerful or more powerful than the games they are playing. Few of us start out thinking "Gee, wouldn't it be a great idea to make weaker pieces!" And I didn't. I was making stronger pieces, but starting from shatranj. Amping up the ferz and alfil isn't very hard, especially considering the ferz is sitting between the king and the alfil at the start of a shatranj game. The game is telling you what to do to fix it, or at least giving very strong hints.

What pushed me to actually write up Modern Shatranj was a kibbitzer's comment on a shatranj game I was playing. I was complaining about how useless so many shatranj pieces are, and how easy it would be to fix them, and got a kibbitz comment that if I had promotion rules and wrote it up, I'd have a publishable variant. So I did...

Might I ask what led you to create short leaper chess?

Ultima. Game where each type of piece has a different capturing ability. Also called Baroque. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Sun, May 7, 2023 04:21 PM UTC:

I received the following email:

"I just wanted to bring to your attention an error on the Ultima variant page: Ultima (

In the "Object of the game" section, the word "checkmating" should be changed to "capturing" (so the line says "capturing or stalemating"). This variant is intended to be played without checkmating; you are meant to capture the enemy king. This is an important aspect of the game, because a common strategy is to misdirect the opponent into opening their king up to an attack in order to capture their king on the next move. The threat of losing to a "sneak attack" was specifically mentioned by Robert Abbott when he published the rules.

For citations: Ultima was first published in Robert Abbott's book "Abbott's New Card Games" in 1963. On page 125, when detailing the rules of Ultima, Abbott wrote "The object of the game is to capture the enemy king."

This webpage was written by Robert Abbott 41 years later, in 2004: He writes: "In Ultima the object is to capture the king, not achieve check mate." This is what the page said when it was published by Abbott in 2004, and it has remained unchanged since.

I hope this information helps. Thank you for your time."

A quick check of the references shows the above is correct. I started a more extensive search, but haven't found anything else yet, except the discrepancy noted below. Currently I've started looking through the 150 comments on the game's onsite page. If I find anything other in the search, I'll post it here.

Abbott himself recommended the chessvariants page for the best explanation of the game. From Abbott's page:

"After my card game book was published, I began seeing problems with Ultima and tried to fix one of them by making a change in the rules. These revised rules appeared in the 1968 paperback edition of the book. The change turned out to be a pretty bad idea, and everyone uses the 1963 rules instead.

For the best explanation of the rules (the 1963 version) see this page of the web site Not only is their explanation well-written, but if you click on “Animated Illustration” you’ll see a series of moving diagrams that help explain the pieces (a sample is at the right). These are animated GIFs created by David Howe. They are a fantastic innovation for presenting game rules and could be used in other forms of technical writing. The Chess Variants site also has an interview with me."

Featured Chess Variants. Chess Variants Featured in our Page Headers.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Wed, May 3, 2023 05:35 AM UTC:

I would like to ask one or more of the editors to look over David Paulowich's Opulent Lemurian Shatranj for consideration as a featured variant. For obvious reasons, I cannot suggest it, but the way the game is constructed with pairs of opposing pieces of different values gives this game a quality that most games don't have, including at least most of mine. I can be accused of being prejudiced, so if no one likes this game of David's, then please consider other of his games.

Huge variants[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Joe Joyce wrote on Thu, Apr 13, 2023 07:43 PM UTC:

Would it break the game to allow 2 moves/player after white's initial turn 1 single move?

A Farewell[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Joe Joyce wrote on Thu, Mar 16, 2023 06:51 AM UTC:

This past weekend I was up in Boston with the family to celebrate 2 birthdays. Saturday our grandson was 1 year old, and Monday I was 75. And while I don't want my name removed from the editors' list, it's more than time to put "retired" next to it. I haven't been an active editor for some time now. And I don't program. All the other editors do. I originally volunteered not because I thought I was qualified but because no one else had volunteered and somebody had to do it or watch the site fade. I'm very happy to see it hasn't faded.

Being a member of this site has been a lot of fun, and while being an editor has been a lot of work, I learned a lot about game design during the time. I continue to design, but have expanded my areas of interest. Still, every time I think I'm done with chess variants, something drags me back. Maybe one of these times, I'll get chesimals right.

I've met a lot of good designers, made a fair number of friends and acquaintances, and stepped on a few toes. For the damaged digits, I apologize. For all the others, thank you. I cannot begin to mention names, because there are so many people it would be daylight in New York before I finished. And no matter how hard I tried, I'd leave out a few. It's been a fascinating time. I've met an amazing range of interesting people, in all senses of the word. I feel quite fortunate.

ChessVA computer program
. Program for playing numerous Chess variants against your PC.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Thu, Mar 16, 2023 03:31 AM UTC:

Hi, Greg! Thanks again for putting some of my games in ChessV. I deeply appreciate it. Gilded Grand Shatranj was a spur of the moment design, over the course of some minutes, quite literally exactly as it appears on the Grand Shatranj rules page, and almost that fast. That's the only write-up of it that I recall. If I actually wrote up all the games I've done while here as separate game pages, I'd show twice as many as appear here, or more. Many of the games are part of a series or variants of a particular game and/or style. Truthfully, many of my games are designed to illustrate the ideas as simply and easily and most familiarly as possible.

Paulowich's Chancellor Chess. A proposal to play chancellor chess with chancellors and queens in the corner on 8 by 8 board. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Tue, Feb 7, 2023 07:01 PM UTC in reply to David Paulowich from Mon Feb 6 07:51 PM:Good ★★★★

Hi, David! Glad to see you back! This is a nice helpmate and looks like an interesting 'little' game to play - all that power in the corners and a weak center, on a small board! The central rook is a rare feature, or was, a decade or two ago. Who's used it besides Ralph, you, and me, any idea? I don't remember it in even any semi-popular game onsite aside from what you and Ralph have done.

Home page of The Chess Variant Pages. Homepage of The Chess Variant Pages.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Wed, Oct 5, 2022 08:52 PM UTC:

I'm playing 2 games with Kevin Pacey, and I accessed one of them, but I have the same problem with the other Kevin did in his games with Carlos, I only see a little box in the upper left of the screen that says Black and underneath that, Kevin Pacey. Hope this game can be retrieved as it's the one I'm not losing in!

Very Heavy Chess. A lot of firepower with all compounds of classical chess pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Thu, May 5, 2022 05:23 PM UTC:

While I'm pretty inactive these days, I do play the occasional game, and when I check for moves, I check what's new. First, thank you Kevin for pointing out names I've already used for pieces.

For your tentative 'high priestess', I think "grande prêtresse" is possibly a good choice.

Similarly, for 'hero' I think "héros" with both the accent and ending "s" is a decent choice.

The accents in the names mark them as non-English, and the spellings maintain the separation of your and my pieces without really changing the names you wished. I admit that I am naming deficient and no one except me may actually like the alternates, so feel free to ignore or delete this post.

Betza notation (extended). The powerful XBetza extension to Betza's funny notation.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on Sun, Oct 31, 2021 07:11 AM UTC:

Are any of the ideas here: of any value to extended Betza notation or piece icon design, or are they too divergent? My iconology attempt was to define the move of the piece with the icon without using actual footprints or numbers, and I haven't seen any other attempts to do so, although I haven't been very active recently.

Lemurian Shatranj. 8x8 variant that features short-range pieces. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
💡📝Joe Joyce wrote on Sun, Oct 31, 2021 06:49 AM UTC:

Belated thanks, HG, for the playable interactive diagram. I appreciate it and it may actually get a few more games of Lemurian played. I still greatly prefer David Paulowich's Opulent Lemurian. When I started designing new shatranj pieces I decided to stick very closely to standard chess formats because the pieces were so very different I felt I couldn't get fancy with the set-ups or the games would never get played. That the FIDE (Modern Shatranj) and Carrera/Capablanca (Great Shatranj) variants actually do get played seems to indicate I was at least partially right. And I would be remiss if I did not thank Christine Bagley-Jones here, because she designed several games right along with me, did her own designs, and put them in Zillions of Games, which got more played. And it was a blast collaborating with her! Collaborations are rare in any sort of artistic design and that collaboration was seamless!

semi-simultaneous step chess[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Joe Joyce wrote on Tue, Aug 31, 2021 08:02 AM UTC:

Semi-Simultaneous Step Chess

This is a mutator. It should work across a broad range of variants.


Players make 1 standard move per turn. However, the pieces only make the smallest step possible each turn but turn after turn, each piece continues making the smallest step possible until it reaches its destination, where it stops and is once again available for movement. Sliders move 1 square/turn. Leapers make 1 leap/turn, so a knight gets to its destination in 1 turn, but a knight rider will advance only 1 knight’s leap/turn until it gets to its destination.

Who Moves First?

At the end of each player turn, each currently-stepping piece is moved in the same time order in which the moves were originally made. An alternate possibility is at the end of each player-turn, only that player’s pieces move, in time order. This change affects captures, see below.


During the stepping of the pieces, when a piece lands on another piece, the piece landed on is considered stepped on – it is captured and removed from the game immediately. Clearly the question of whether white and black interleave all their current steps, or if each side does all its own steps only, after its current move, has a huge effect on the game.


Yes, the rules allow for players to capture their own pieces. And the rules allow players to see things coming and move out of the way just before the attacks will strike their pieces. And they can schedule an attack on the square just after the opponent piece gets there.

So why do any distance moves? Well, the more distance moves you do, the more pieces you can have moving at the same time. So the more attacks you can make in any given turn. You can try “time on target” attacks where you launch attacks over the course of several turns that all land in the same area at or near the same turn.

And that brings up another point. Why not have indeterminate moves? A slider may keep going in the same direction turn after turn until it captures a piece, hits the edge of the board, or is ordered to stop. It is given only a direction in which to move, not a destination.

Comments welcome.

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