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Game Reviews by Matthew La Vallee

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Wreckage!. A highly tactical game featuring the Dragon that captures by approach or retreat, the Detonator and the Flying Guillotine. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matthew La Vallee wrote on 2009-03-17 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Great game, Charles!

Herculean Chess. 12 x 12 version of chess featuring 4 Rooks, 4 Bishops, 4 Leapers and 22 pawns. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matthew La Vallee wrote on 2008-09-07 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Say, I'd be pleased if you would use my 'Dire Knight' icon as one of the knight, or zebra/-other- compounds... It's in the Alfaerie expansion pack #6. Here it is, Matt

Raumschach. The classical variant of three-dimensional chess: 5 by 5 by 5. (5x5x5, Cells: 125) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Matthew La Vallee wrote on 2008-04-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
David, Thank you very much for fixing what I could not in the preset for Raumschach. I looks terrific! It is now exactly as it should be. Say, how did you alternate the colors on the boards? Can we replace the original preset with your revised version? Again, Kudos!

Matthew La Vallee wrote on 2008-04-10 UTCPoor ★
Yes, poor, but not Raumschach, itself. It is the game's preset which is 'poor.'.'*** The preset given on this site for Raumschach is improperly set-up in several ways. ( Here is a link to my only partially fixed version. Still, several of it's major problems are fixed.).*** First of all, the boards themselves are aligned incorrectly. The preset on this site depicts them in an identical array, side-by-side. Really, the squares on the second and fourth boards should be mirror images of the boards above and below them. Thus, the squares Aa1, Ba1, Ca1, Da1, and Ea1 should alternate in color, as should, obviously, every other square on the board with regard to its vertical file, and should be the same color along 3D diagonals. One needs only to look in the rules section for Raumschach to note the discrepancy between the example board given there, and the boards present in the preset.*** The incorrect positions of the second and fourth boards (or, if you want, the first, third, and fifth boards- it makes no difference) have many potentially confusing consequences with regard to all of the 3D movement of the pieces. The Bishops, and the Queens, when executing 3D, board-to-board, diagonal movements, are NOT color bound. They are so when moving on a single board, but, should either move one board above, or below, diagonally, they swap colors, and continue to do so top to bottom. Conversely, when a Rook moves along a 3D file it IS a color bound piece, and the Unicorn, which may never move on one board, 2D, is ALWAYS color bound, though in the original game, it is not. Even a Knight, when moving two squares, say, up, then over one square, must first pass through two squares of the same color.***The CVP Game Courier's Raumschach preset has another problem; the placement of the Unicorns and the Bishops are, here, the opposite of the games original starting set-up, and is, again, demonstrated in the rules page. The white Bishop on the square which, in this preset, is named Db1 (yet another problem!) should really be positioned at Da1, and the Unicorn should be at Db1. All of the other Bishops and unicorns should similarly 'swap' positions, as well. I'm not certain if this inconsistency should have a substantial impact on the game's play. Still, unless one is attempting a variant, it would probably be best to depict the game as it was originally conceived. *** Alas, we come to yet another problem. All of the pieces are placed exactly opposite of how they should be arranged. Here, the white pieces start on the E ranks, and the dark pieces are placed on the A ranks. Though one might consider this a technicality, if one were to, say, want to transcribe a game of Raumschach played on this site, it would make no sense to someone accustomed to the game's proper configuration.*** I am well aware of the difficulty involved in creating these presets. I have just completed one myself- Rennchess II, Eric Greenwood's new sequel to his awe-inspiring game Rennchess I. I need only finish its rules, and y'all can try it. I am also struggling with another preset of my own design at the moment, as well. I even tried to edit the preset for Raumschach, but was only partially successful. There were certain changes which were beyond my current capacities. I'm new at this. Yet, I do think we owe it to the inventor of Raumschach, Herr Doktor Ferdinand Maack (yes, apparently, that was really his name!), to portray his game as he intended. This game was invented in 1907! Few other chess variants can claim such seniority, despite Raumshach's often discussed flaws. It's a pretty darn fun, very challenging game- flaws and all!*** Finally, I wanted to make it clear that I mean no disrespect towards the creator of this preset, and, if I come across as snide in any way, it was entirely unintended. I respect that the creator of this Raumschach preset took the time to make a preset (and a difficult one, at that!) for a chess variant which has been, for many, a source of contention for some time.*** Would anyone 'in the know' care to fix the remaining problems which I could not? The other changes it needs are as follows: the second and fourth boards need to be mirror images of the others; the light pieces need to be moved to the bottom of the first and second boards; the dark pieces need to go to the top of the fourth and fifth; I changed the labels, but they ought to be put back such that they are read from left to right, once each side's pieces are moved appropriately; and, I need to be told not to write such long comments! Say, is it even possible to alternate the square colors of these side-by-side boards? Me, I dunno!

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