[ Help | Earliest Comments | Latest Comments ][ List All Subjects of Discussion | Create New Subject of Discussion ][ List Latest Comments Only For Pages | Games | Rated Pages | Rated Games | Subjects of Discussion ]Game Reviews by Greg StrongLater ⇩Reverse Order⇧ Earlier⇩ Earliest⇧ Victorian Chess. Capablanca variant with the most powerful pieces starting on the outside. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2020-07-13 UTCGood ★★★★I updated this page heavily... Added graphic of setup (was just ASCII) Updated intro to provide detail about chronology of invention Changed format to be more consistent with other game description pages Added information about Game Courier play/computer play Added interactive diagram Shatranj Kamil (64). Modern Shatranj based variant on 8 by 8 board with new pieces. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2020-07-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★I've made several updates to this page. The HTML had a number of issues, (unclosed tags and the like), although they mostly weren't obvious to readers. I also reformatted it to better resemble our typical game descriptions and edited the text to be clearer. The Computer Play and Equipment sections have also been updated to reflect what is (and is not) currently available. I will try to post a more in-depth review when I have some time to write one, but for now, suffice it to say this game plays very well and I do not hesitate to rate it Excellent. Bishops Chess. Chess with two light-squared and two dark-squared Bishops on each side.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2020-04-23 UTCAverage ★★★I think this game is OK, but I do not care for the promotion rules. The game does not have a queen, so promotion to queen would already be the strongest piece. The amazon seems excessive and most games that feature that piece are not very good IMO. The amazon attacks in 16 directions while the next strongest piece - the rook - only attacks four. Veteran Chess. Most pieces can or must irreversibly promote when they capture.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2019-10-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★A very interesting game. And you have the interactive diagram using our signature Alfaerie pieces and colors! I love it :) Cylindrical Chess. Sides of the board are supposed to be connected. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2019-05-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★The page for this game was very old and the content wasn't really appropriate as a formal description of this historic game, so I have completely rewritten it. The original version can still be found here. Gross Chess. A big variant with a small learning curve. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2018-09-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★This is an excellent game. I avoided it for a long time because I thought the large amount of power on the board would make it too difficult for me to deal with. It turns out I find it very playable, although it does require me to spend more time thinking before making a move for most of the game. Midgame positions can be exceptionally complex. The opening starts out feeling nice and slow, as though the first 10 or so moves don’t matter too much. While I think it’s true that there is a very large amount of flexibility to how you can play the opening, those moves are still very important. At some point, typically around move 20, the game breaks open and becomes tactical and violent quickly. You want your pieces well-positioned when that happens. There is some contention for the e4/e9 and h4/h9 squares. All three of the light leapers – Champion, Wizard, and Knight – are good to develop early and all three are natural to develop to those squares, so you must choose which to develop there. I find that typically one of these three piece types doesn’t get developed in the opening before the game gets wild. I think it’s important to get the Vaos developed early. By the endgame, they are the weakest piece, but their low material value and ability to make long-range jumps gives them significant power to harass the heavier pieces as the game progresses. Developing the Vaos generally requires developing the Knights. I like the promotion rules overall but the 14 extra pieces each player starts with in reserve seem unnecessary. There is tremendous carnage before any pawns are in a position to promote so lack of replacements is not an issue. The extra Queens are the only pieces that have any realistic possibility of being used. Well-played games are typically nail-biters and the dynamic between the two players can reverse several times before it’s over. Having the momentum is very important – you want to be the one forcing the opponent to react, and the longer you can keep it that way, the more advantage you will accumulate. My estimage of the piece values: Piece Ave. Dir. Attacked Ave. Safe Checks Ave. Mobility Midgame Value Endgame Value Queen 7.03 29.03 17.33 12.5 13.5 Marshall 9.78 24.44 15.79 10 11 Archbishop 9.47 16.81 13.76 8.5 9 Rook 3.67 18.33 9.68 6.5 7.5 Champion 9.78 6.11 9.78 6 6 Wizard 8.86 5.50 8.86 6 5.5 Bishop 3.36 10.69 7.65 5 5.5 Cannon 5 2.5 Vao 3.5 1.5 Knight 6.11 6.11 6.11 2.5 2.5 Pawn 1.68 0.00 1.68 1 1.25 Pocket Shogi Copper. A Variant of Shogi with Copper General and Pocket.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2018-06-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★I've played a few games of this and I think you've hit on a winner. It's a very exciting game. Congratulations! There were two different pages for this, so I've moved the comments over from the other page and deleted it. We should get a Game Courier Preset page for it published also. Modern Shatranj. A bridge between modern chess and the historic game of Shatranj. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2016-09-05 UTCGood ★★★★A promising game that might be worthy of upgrade to Excellent pending play-testing, which I will now try with Jose's new preset. Reading through the comments, the promotion rules seem to provoke the most disagreement. I must admit that I don't like the promotion rules as written. I can see both promotion only to general, or promotion to general or to any lost piece as reasonable options, both leading to good although different games. For myself, the part I find troubling is this: At most, only 3 lost pieces may be regained: 1 rook, 1 knight, and 1 elephant, even if the player has lost both of any type. The problem with this is that it is no longer possible to look at a board and know what moves are legal. You'd have to also know about all past promotions. This makes the game much more difficult to program. Chess has this issue too with castling - you have to know which rooks/kings have moved, although when the game has progressed enough that these pieces are no longer on their original squares it becomes a non-issue. Also, Chess has established standards for how the castling information is preserved in the FEN game notation. If we wanted to notate positions of Modern Shatranj with FEN notation, (certainly a worthy goal), new notation standards would need to be invented. I would question whether the value of this particular rule justifies the significant added complexity. Unicorn Great Chess. Lions have been added to Unicorn Chess! (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2016-07-24 UTCExcellent ★★★★★This is an excellent game. It is, in my opinion, possibly the best of what I would consider the “standard” genre of decimal chess variants (i.e., orthodox chess expanded to a 10x10 board with extra pieces and nothing too unorthodox added.) I consider it superior even to Grand Chess, which although a great game, suffers from slightly low piece density. The Lion piece (Betza HFD) is always a good choice for a non-colorbound leaper more powerful than the Knight. A close comparison would be the Champion from Omega Chess. The Lion has a different flavor though. It may feel a little less intuitive, at least at first, but the long (0, 3) leap helps to break through tightly closed positions that can be common in variants of this sort where extra short-range leapers are added. I also use this piece, following Paulowich's choice of piece naming, in Opulent Chess (my own attempt to create a standard decimal chess variant improving upon Grand Chess.) The Unicorn is also a fun piece, with a value almost identical to the Queen on a 10x10 board. It is slightly stronger than the Queen at the beginning of the game, but the Queen slowly becomes more mobile, (and thus more powerful), as the board clears out. Nightrider pieces are not to everyone's liking, though, being difficult to visualize. The fact that the Queen, Unicorn, and Chancellor are all of very similar value, however, is definitely a plus. I consider that a desirable feature in a game, leading to natural development of different-army situations, increasing the strategy and flavor of the game without starting with different armies (which always raises difficult questions of balance.) I've always considered David Paulowich one of the most talented creators of chess variants - always carefully analyzing his inventions before releasing them - and this one doesn't disappoint. As far as piece values go, the table that follows shows some statistics as well as my estimation of the values. The average mobility is a Betza Mobility Calculation assuming a board occupancy of 30%. PieceAve. Dir. AttackedAve. Safe ChecksAve. MobilityMidgame ValueEndgame Value Unicorn9.0020.9616.7710.511.5 Queen6.8422.5615.911012.5 Chancellor9.3620.1614.779.510.5 Rook3.6014.409.015.56.5 Lion9.246.009.2455 Bishop188.8.131.523.54.25 Knight5.765.765.7633 Pawn---11.25 Olden-RoyalChess. A 12x12 variant with classic occidental and oriental pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2013-11-03 UTCPoor ★This page looks absolutely terrible! All caps ... Super-large font, with stray codes that mess up the rest of the page ... And a link to an external drop box URL zip (44 MB!!!) which could contain anything. And it reuses the name of an existing name (which I consider a definite no-no.) It looks so bad I'm not even going to read it. There has been recent conversation about why this site it dying. This is why - the signal-to-noise ratio is falling asymptotically to zero. Kamikaze Mortal Shogi. Send your Kamikazes on suicide missions in this Shogi variant. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2011-03-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★This is fantastic game; one of my favorites of all time. I love shogi, but this game even improves on the classic. The biggest difference is not the fact that the pieces get weaker with each capture, nor is it the addition of the kamikaze. I find the biggest difference to be the change in the promotion rules, which has profound implications... In shogi, when you promote a pawn, you get a piece that has the fighting power of a gold general. But, when the opponent captures it, all he gets is a pawn. This makes promotion a terrific thing. In this game, though, if you choose to promote it to a gold, it fights as a gold, but when the opponent captures it, he gets a silver (i.e., the gold general demoted one step.) So promotion is double-edged. If it's going to get captured, (and, in combat areas, pieces are captured and re-dropped a lot,) you're really just giving your opponent a more powerful piece by promoting. For this reason, holes in the promotion zone aren't nearly as deadly as in regular shogi. In shogi, a gold general is slightly stronger than a silver, but only slightly, and, in some situations, the silver is actually better because it's diagonal move helps it to slip through the pawns. In this variant, I feel that unless the current situation specifically needs a gold, the silver is actually much better. The fighting power is very similar, but when your gold gets captured, you give the opponent a silver; when your silver gets captured, he only gets a lance. That's a pretty big difference. Also, promoting a bishop or rook is very dangerous. If you promote your bishop to a dragon horse, for example, you better not let it get captured, or you've handed your opponent a rook! (which can probably be promoted to a dragon king!) When it's still a bishop, though, if it gets captured, you're only giving your opponent a gold (which can't even be promoted.) I find that with the introduction of the kamikaze, the opening becomes intense very quickly, much more quickly than shogi. Later in the game, though, because of the promotion change resulting in promotion being risky and holes in the promotion zone being much less significant, I find the game stays even much longer. When a player starts losing (measured in conventional terms - he has less material) he starts to gain a strange advantage. The opponent's 'stronger' pieces can't engage because they can't risk getting taken by a 'weaker' piece, because if that trade takes place, the player who had the weaker piece now gets a stronger piece in hand, and, even if the other player can recapture, he only gets a piece even weaker than the weaker piece already was... This is like the 'leveling effect' described by Ralph Betza, but to a much greater extreme, leading to very intense games that are in doubt right up until the end. Armies of Faith 1: The Dawn of Civilisation. The first in of a series of 3d variants themed on various religions of history. (9x9x3, Cells: 243) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2007-06-06 UTCBelowAverage ★★I rate this below average, not because of any reference to the Falcon, but because it is just another random, untested game. Charles Gilman posts games more than some people change their underwear. And many of his 'games' have dozens of built-in variants. He may well have the title of most prolific inventor at this point, but it doesn't mean anything when most of the games have never been played even once. He doesn't even bother to make a Game Courier preset or Zillions-Of-Games ZRF. It is not difficult to spew out random crap. And this game is proved to be even more of a spur-of-the-moment invention by the fact that Charles Gilman, who prides himself on clever English usage in the naming of his games and pieces, can't even spell 'Civilization' correctly in the title. Charles, please stop spaming this site with your random ideas. This should be a forum for ideas that have some thought and playtesting behind them. If you are determined to post hundreds and hundreds of variants, may I suggest that you buy your own web space in which to do it. Dragon Chess (tm). Commercial board game played on a large board with a new piece -- the Dragon.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2006-06-13 UTCBelowAverage ★★When I looked at this game, I was very pleased by the appearance of the pieces, and, although I, like Fergus, find Staunton pieces easier to use, on account of their familiarity, I think I will purchase a Dragon Chess set anyway, just to have the pieces at my disposal to facilitate making physical representations of other Chess variants that I do enjoy. I was not particularly impressed by the game itself, however. Unlike Jianying, however, I do not think it needs to be a radical deviation to be good or to be successful. Gothic Chess is no radical deviation and yet it seems plenty popular, as CVs go. And I'm not sure that throwing out the opening book, while that is of concern to more experienced players like us, even entered into their thinking. My criticism of the game is more related to the specific implementation. The main 10x10 board... ok, good, clearly that board has been tested in many successful games such as Grand Chess. But why add the extra battlefields on the side? It is not as though the setup or rules encourages any pieces to move there; I see them remaining largely unused. And a pawn would not want to go there (only possible by capture) as it would then have to capture again to get out of there, which it would have to do in order to promote. But, conversely, the fact that a pawn would not want to go there is not enough incentive for other pieces to go there. You would still move a pawn into such an area in order to capture a piece, even if it means giving up on promoting that pawn. The board doesn't seem to be well thought-out. It also looks like the text of the rules wasn't thought out at all. For example, they list material values for the pieces, but they left the values of the Chess pieces as-is, and added the Dragon in at a value of 4 pawns. For starters, on such a large board, the Bishop and Knight are obviously not of the same value any more. Beyond that, all the standard chess pieces are valued incorrectly. Should be more like: pawn=1, knight=2.5, bishop=4, dragon=5, rook=6, queen=10-12. But I'll probably still buy a set just for the pieces. I wish I had acquired an Omega Chess set before they all ran out. Anyone have an Omega set they want to sell?!? Stanley Random Chess . Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-09-26 UTCPoor ★Many people have denied that this is a joke. Several people have claimed to be active players, and have further claimed that games and tournaments of it have been played on various forums (such as Brainking.) So I'm not convinced that it is purely a joke (although much of the text is obviously intended to be fictional and funny.) But, despite the fact that we have pages and pages of text describing this game, no rule set is actually given. So, I think one of two things needs to happen. If it is, in fact, a real game, then the actual rules need to be posted here, in addition to all the nonsense. Or, these pages should be removed, as they have no place here. If it is a joke that the authors deliberately deny is a joke, for the purpose of laughing at anyone who is fooled, than that is cruel and a clear abuse of the webspace that the editors of this site generously provide largely at their own expense. Or, if it is not a joke, but the rules are 'top secret' then it should also be removed. The message 'I know something that you don't know, and I'm not going to tell you' is also not an appropriate use of the bandwith that is being paid for by others. Extra Move Chess. Double-move variant based on limitations of Zillions of Games. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-08-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Yes, this game definitely deserves the rating of 'excellent.' I am in the middle of my second game against Fergus, and I've seen enough to be confident in my assessment. I love Marseillais Chess, but I think that this game is a significant improvement. Although many of the restrictions added in this game are related to facilitating computer play, I think the rules added are an improvement even for human play. Marseillais Chess has a couple of problems, in my opinion. For one thing, I think the game suffers from the fact that although the double-move aspect makes the game sharp and violent, you still have to cower well behind the enemies' pawn line... Because the same pawn can move twice, including a double-move on the first move, you have to hide all your pieces on your first three ranks; otherwise you sacrifice them to enemy pawns which are extremely viscious, especially if they have not moved and thus are elegible for an initial double-step move. Also, the double-move aspect makes riffle capture possible, and thus makes the game very aggressive and unstable... which I like, in general, but you still have to run and hide so a mere pawn doesn't run you down. Also, when the pawns start advancing across the board, and the game begins in earnest, the ability of any piece to move twice, and thus to conduct a riffle-capture, leads to a highly tactical game wherein the material drops like crazy, minimizing the strategy ... Extra-Move Chess prevents the same piece from moving twice, and eliminates the possibility for two captures on the same turn. I believe that these restrictions make for a more strategical game, while maintaining the speed and excitement of other double-move variants. I highly recommend this game! d10 Chess. Roll a ten sided die (d10) every turn to determine which pieces may be moved. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-06-30 UTCGood ★★★★This is an interesting way to add some element of chance to the game of Chess, as well as some additional strategy; you have to not only figure out possible continuations, but also what the chances are at each stage. But, your rules are simple enough that it is not hard at all to determine the probability of being able to move any given piece. It also has the nice side-effect of leveling piece values. Manchala Chess. On 10 by 10 board with new pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-06-30 UTCPoor ★This game has a line of pawns on the third rank, and super-pawns on the second rank (pawn+knight). These pieces can defend each other like crazy, and you would have to sacrafice your pawns like crazy to smash through so formidable a defense. And the remaining pieces aren't very powerful at all. It seems to me that defense is clearly superior to offense in this game. Odin's Rune Chess. A game inspired by Carl Jung's concept of synchronicity, runes, and Nordic Mythology. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-06-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★An excellent and very enjoyable game! A couple of questions, though. Addendum item #2; I thought I understood what was being said here, until the sentence 'Because of this rule, of course, a King cannot do a 'move/relocate' function with the other King.' Why is this? If King #1 is adjacent to a Valkyrie, can it not make a move/relocate move like a Valkyrie? And if the other King is in-line, why can it not move/relocate that King? Also, I assume that the Forest Ox cannot use it's optional riffle capture to capture a friendly piece. Correct? Thanks! Mitosis Chess. Each captured major piece in this game returns to the board as the two or three pieces it originally consisted of. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-05-18 UTCGood ★★★★Ok, this is definitely interesting... I really cannot picture how it would play, but would be interested to try. This game surely has a bizarre kind of leveling effect. The combination pieces, normally worth more, are worth less in the sense that they can be captured and the player gets pieces of equal mobility in compensation. Of course, a seperate rook and bishop is worth less than a Queen, etc., but in this game it might actually be preferable to lose a Queen rather than losing a Knight. I will probably whip up a Game Courier preset so I can try this one ... Salmon P. Chess. Huge three-dimensional game celebrating 10 years chess variant pages. (x10, Cells: 7500) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-05-07 UTCGood ★★★★Wow! It's hard to say anything about this game but 'Wow!' The sheer scale of it has an audacity and boldness that must be respected. This game will not be playable by computers until quantum computers become a reality, and probably not by humans until we've had a few thousand more years of evolution. Still, this page made me laugh a great deal, and the extensive use of the number ten cannot be denied! Decima. Variant on 10 by 10 board where you win when you have 10 points on the 10th row. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-05-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Very nice! You were able to submit an update with the user-submission system, and the editors had no problem moving the existing comments to the new page. It is indeed a new age at the CVP! The idea of Decima is very nice. The number 10 is included in an interesting way, via the point values, and these values also have a very nice way of helping to level the value of the pieces. What the material value of the pieces should be relative to the pawn would be very difficult to determine. But, this helps to add interest to the game ... Dave's Silly Example Game. This is Dave Howe's example of a user-posted game. (2x2, Cells: 4) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-05-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Yes, the page-submission system is definitely excellent! I was able to get Opulent Chess up in a matter of minutes. I suspect a LOT of games will be posted in the future ... The Bermuda Chess Angle. Pieces can vanish in a central grid (The Bermuda Chess Angle) depending on dice-determined coordinates. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-04-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★I really like this. It adds an element of chance that so many other board games have, but the probability of disappearance is low enough that you can still play a game without worrying about it too much... It's Chess with a little extra element of risk. Also, having the Bermuda Chess Angle in the center of the board is nice, because it helps to equalize the value of the squares. The squares around the perimeter, which are normally weaker, now have the added advantage of safety. The number 10 is not all that prominent, and as a contest entry, that is a slight weakness, but as a game overall I still rate it 'excellent.' P.S. I am taking Statistics for Engineers this semester, so that may be coloring my view of the game a little. Capablanca Random Chess. Randomized setup for Capablanca chess. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-04-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★The Beta of SMIRF is quite nice! Good user interface, nice set of features, and intelligent play. It would be nice if you would consider making it open-source. Golem Chess. Variant where the Queen is replaced by the Golem, a piece that must be captured twice to remove it from play. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Greg Strong wrote on 2005-04-24 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Very interesting! Half-golem capturing adjacent half-golem: It says 'If a piece other than a Golem captures a Golem, the capturing piece is removed from play, and the Golem is replaced by a Half-Golem of the same ownership as the Golem.' But it also says 'A Golem or Half-Golem may always capture an adjacent Golem or Half-Golem.' What happens here? And likewise, if a half-golem captures an adjacent full-golem, is the capturing piece also removed? 25 comments displayedLater ⇩Reverse Order⇧ Earlier⇩ Earliest⇧Permalink to the exact comments currently displayed.