[ 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 Joe JoyceLater ⇩Reverse Order⇧ Earlier Hannibal Chess. Chess with added Modern Elephants (ferz-alfil compound) on 10x8 board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2018-12-12 UTCGood ★★★★This is a very nice-playing modest variant. I've greatly enjoyed my games of it. I can absolutely recommend this game as an excellent variant tournament choice. It gets a lot of mileage out of a pair of fairly simple changes. The initial set-up is excellent; it gives good play. The weak piece is a very nice choice, and provides a nice companion/foil for the bishop and knight. Spartan Chess. A game with unequal armies. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2010-11-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★I'd say Steven hit a home run, even if he didn't hit this one clear out of the park. Let me quote the last 2 lines of the Betza article Jorg refers to, Different Pawns. 'If you can find alternate Pawns, I will be in awe, taking my hat off to you. And, to keep you from feeling complacent, I'll ask you to try chess with different Kings. I now fade away, leaving nothing behind but an evil grin.' Spartan chess, with its pair of kings, is halfway between FIDE and Gary Gifford's Three Elephant Chess. http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MSthreeelephantc You may argue the kings aren't quite different enough to fulfill Ralph's requirements. Still, Steven nailed the different pawns and also managed to put 3 kings on the board in the same 2-player game. That's a nice, high benchmark for the rest of us to go after. Near Chess. This is a variant of Skirmish Chess designed to be friendlier to newbies. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-04-24 UTCGood ★★★★I had an opportunity to play Near Chess this past weekend, and also 'Chess with Almost Different Armies': Near vs FIDE. They are both fine games. The rating of good is the highest I will give to a modest variant; this one deserves it. Joe ps: congrats, Rich, someone else posted here ;-) - it really is a very nice game, I recommend it. Dimension X. Chess on two planes - one with the usual chess pieces, the other with spooky trans-dimensional pieces with strange interactions. (8x8x2, Cells: 128) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-03-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Just finished getting thumped by Antoine in this delightful game. Congrats, Gary, you've created an 8x8x2 masterpiece here. Offbeat, intriguing, spare and elegant - all in all, a very nice piece of design work. Ha, you make it tough not to envy you. Keep up the good work. [Somebody told me that recently, and it needs to be passed on. You earned it ;-) ] Thanks for the game. Grand Chess. Christian Freeling's popular large chess variant on 10 by 10 board. Rules and links. (10x10, Cells: 100) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-07-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★The annoying promotion/pawn move rule is the only thing that prevents this game from being practically perfect. I'd suggest that pawns can move to the back rank even if they can't promote, and be allowed to move sideways along the back rank 1 square per move, capturing as they go. Reversals of direction would be allowed. I lean toward allowing a pawn to move, possibly capturing on the move, and then promote when the opportunity presents itself, as well as just promote in situ when a piece becomes available. In this scheme, promotion would not be required as soon as a piece became available. Blunderbuss Chess. Pieces are poorer shots than in Rifle Chess. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-07-04 UTCGood ★★★★Very nice modest variant, very clever name. And rather than pardon the pun, I salute it; we need more humor here [okay, puns may not be humor, but...]. Being an iconoclast and a grouchy old man, I don't believe in giving modest variants a rating higher than 'good', but this is such a fine, offbeat idea that I have to give it at least a 'good+'. And the rules are well-written. Congratulations, Charles, on an excellent little conceit. Kozune. Missing description (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-04-13 UTCGood ★★★★Joshua, sorry I didn't pay attention to this when it first came out. My only excuse, a poor one, is that I am still new enough to any chess variants that I avoid the non-Western ones, frankly because drops terrify me. But as far as pieces go, you posted a good chunk of the pieces I developed for 'Two Large Shatranj Variants' 2 months before I posted 2Large. So we're at least even, as I thought/hoped I had come up with 'my' Minister [Kone] and High Priestess [Zune] first, at least in print. Hope this makes up for me beating you to 'Hyperchess'. Eric Greenwood beat us both to the Squire -> Kozu/Jumping General. I will state that I was unaware of your pieces when I posted 2Large, and, if not for David Paulowich [who enjoys finding previous examples of my 'new' pieces - he mentioned the Squire to me] I would still be unaware that you do have precedence in those pieces. They *are* nice little pieces, aren't they? Very vicious; the kind that come right up to you and kick you in the shins while whacking you with a stick. Few people respect them until after they've been left battered and bleeding. CGNP chess. A game with Knightly Pawns. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-03-18 UTCGood ★★★★A very nice combination of ideas, this game appears to meet its stated goals quite well. It should be interesting to play. Will there be a preset? Scout Chess. Introducing the Scout, combining queen-captures with Camelrider moves (zrf exists).[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-03-01 UTCGood ★★★★Nice piece, very tricky. That it can change color is nice, because I've always found the camel to be a darn awkward piece to use. By the time I got this far in typing this, I found out you'd been anticipated, an all too common occurrence these days. [I saw Michael Howe's comment!] No matter, it's still a good idea, and I'll bet someone can anticipate Mr. Howe. There are a couple statements, one by each of you, that I'd like to discuss in a different spot. M. Howe: 'Leaping-riders can be awkward and unbalancing because of their ability to attack through pawn walls, but this is a good solution.' M. Winther: 'If anybody wants to study the characteristics of a certain type of new piece, how it affects the strategical situation, and what new tactical themes are introduced, then my conservative implementations are ideal.' Both these statements, I think, are worthy of further discussion, and I hope you gentlemen [and anyone else] will feel free to comment. Hoo Mitregi. Intermediate between Mitregi itself and Dai Mitregi. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-02-25 UTCGood ★★★★Hi, Andy. I, too, am skeptical that this game has ever been played; I seriously doubt it. That's why I didn't rate it in my first comment. Had I, I would have given it a 'good', because until it's played, a game cannot really be judged, and to me it looks like it would range from average to excellent. On play balance: I think Charles is paying great attention - he doesn't overcrowd the board with pieces like so many big games. That alone indicates a lot [or that, like me, he couldn't come up with any more pieces... :-) ] You say: 'Too many piece types and too many short range mean steep learning curve and long slow game with no sharp tactics.' I also agree there are a lot of piece-types, certainly more than I would normally tend to use. But many of the pieces are forward-only versions of the standard pieces. Even his odd pawn is a forward-only ferz. I don't see much learning curve here. Also, I am familiar with shortrange pieces, and I have to say I think you completely mischaracterize them when you say they give a 'long slow game with no sharp tactics.' To demonstrate my position, I would like to offer to play a number of my own games, all shortrange. Specifically, we could play 2 games each of Great Shatranj, Grand Shatranj, Lemurian Shatranj, Atlantean Barroom Shatranj, and Chieftain Chess. In Great Shatranj [8x10], no piece moves more than 2; in Lemurian [8x8] and Chieftain [12x16], no piece moves more than 3; in Grand [10x10] and Atlantean [10x10], none more than 4. Okay, I'm not completely serious and I'm not really trying to put you on the spot, I'm just trying to win a point in this discussion. But I do want to make 2 serious points: that Charles does have a good sense of design, he just needs to make his games available to be played to refine his designs and prove it; and that shortrange pieces can easily be as good as longrange ones. Heck, a CWDA game on a 10x10 with Grand Chess vs Atlantean Barroom pieces would be a slaughter! ;-) Enjoy. Joe ps: if you wanted to, we could play the games anyway... Madness of Kings Chess. The Kings are, simply put, insane!! (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-02-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Ah, of course! Pardon the brain-glitch. The more I think about it, the more I like this game. I think it's an excellent modest variant*: a single, really sneaky idea that should have more and more effect as the game goes on and piece density drops. But even in the beginning, a player has to be careful to not lose control of his or her king. Everything needs to be carefully choreographed to keep the king surrounded and under control at all times. Castling is apparently far more difficult, as once you clear the pieces between the K and R out, your opponent can just move the king 2, blocking the rook into the corner and requiring some serious maneuvering to free it without exposing the king to madness. Is this not true? I might like a few more pieces to keep the king calm; now I see some good use for all those pieces in some large variants... ;-) You might try this in Rennchess or some of the Great chesses. *That's why I've rated it again, this time as a modest variant. Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-01-31 UTCGood ★★★★A very interesting Modest Variant and comment on things in general. This game gives you a very good reason to castle and put the king into his padded cell fortress, for everyone's protection. Endgames in this could get a little bizarre - love to see some. I don't fully understand the 'move the enemy king into check but not checkmate' rule, though. All in all, a very nice idea. 3d Minishogi. A variant originally devised for a contest that never materialised. (3x5x3, Cells: 45) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-11-10 UTCGood ★★★★This is a very interesting-looking game. [You might want to clean up a couple typos, though.] I'd love to know how it plays. It looks like it begins almost in mid-game with the pieces so close; and with a starting piece density of 80%, it's a good thing pieces can only move 1. It's tight; of the 45 squares, only 3 allow a piece its full range of movement. A very tricky piece of design: something necessary if you want a good game with so few squares. You compensate for the limited number of squares by an almost outrageously high starting density, and by having all your pieces move only 1. Radical. You've certainly pushed the game to a limit. Any possible white first move and black reply puts both pieces en prise. Are there forcing moves available to either player that provide an advantage? What is the range of options in this game? I'd really enjoy trying a game of this. If it works, the game as well as the initial concept would be excellent. As someone interested in short-range pieces, I have to commend you on an excellent idea here. You have presented a pretty, almost puzzle-like game. I hope it plays like it looks. [And it's nice to know I'm not the only one with a 45-square chess variant languishing somewhere in a corner, waiting for Hans to get younger.] Fighting Kings. The King has switched places with the King Pawn - The King is now a fighting piece. And the pawn must be protected. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-10-21 UTCGood ★★★★This situation is certainly to be expected, and will happen more and more. The total number of chess variants is in the thousands now, and can only go up. In the short time I've been aware of and active in chess variants, I've seen my ideas pop up in other games, and others have seen my games reflect their ideas; all without any previous knowledge on the part of whomever was 2nd [or 3rd...], so we might as well get used to it. As for the royal pawn idea, Jeremy's game I found very interesting - I playtested it with him - but as he says a little gimmicky, as the RP stayed in the line of pawns, blocking a number of pieces. Gary's version is a better chess game; more traditional and a lot easier to figure out just what to do in, but not a better idea. The idea in both, a royal pawn, is an excellent one. The treatments are also good in both; Jeremy's being much quirkier. I don't know which might be considered a better game [not a better chess game, but a better game]; they are so different it is difficult to compare them. Since I'm playing a game now with Gary, I have the opportunity to see just what both are like; others should take the same opportunity. Enjoy. Fugue. Based on Ultima and Rococo this game has pieces that capture in unusual ways. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-09-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Just played [and lost] this delightful game. I found it fast-paced and exciting, with both sides having good opportunities throughout the game. Excellent piece mix, and unusual in that each piece is different. Before I played, I thought that might detract from the game, but I found the 8 different pieces enhanced the game, as did the cannon-pawns. This game is much more direct than Ultima, and less positional and more combinatorial than Maxima. It has very high play value. Capablanca Shatranj. Capablanca Chess with Chancellor and Archbishop replaced by Shatranj type pieces. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-09-18 UTCGood ★★★★This is an interesting idea. It certainly gives people the opportunity to find out how moderately strong very shortrange pieces do in amongst the standard FIDE mix. The minister and highpriestess would likely be slightly more valuable than rooks here. I believe they'll do quite well. This in some sense 'balances' Capa, giving it 5 longrange and 5 shortrange pieces per side. I expect this will lead to a game with a bit more maneuvering. I'd like to see a game of this between 2 expert players. Separate Realms. Pieces capture like normal FIDE pieces, but have limited moves that only take them to part of the board when not capturing. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-08-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★This is a very nicely twisted variant of chess. A few simple rules changes have produced what is definitely a tournament-quality game. There are only 2 things I could wish for: new graphics for the pieces, and a larger companion. I'd truly love to see seperate realms on a larger board. (Could I be greedy and ask for 12x12?) Congratulations to the designers; they deserve them. The Central Squares. 3d chess variant where all three levels share their central squares. (6x6x3, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-05-04 UTCExcellent ★★★★★The basic idea of this game is excellent. The geometry of the board is intriguing, and I'm impressed by the cleverness of fiting the board into 100 squares (for the 100 square contest). I, too, have a question on the knight's move, however, prompted by my attempt at an answer to Jeremy's question. I figured this way: - the central squares are not 'really' on board B, they are 'really' on boards A, B, and C, most likely simultaneously but apparently on any level at will. - for the 'dabbabah' move to happen, the knight must move 1 'up' from B to A on the central square on which it starts, then it 'turns 90' and moves 2 across board A to the side, ending between the 2 moves made as if the knight started on board A, move 2 to the side, then turned 90 and moved 1 along the side. Or start the other way and do the same thing on C. However, if that's correct, then the knight can be considered to be on board C to start, move C to B to A on that same central square for the 2 square leg of its move, then turn 90 and move 1 square off the original central square to end. And that would add 4 squares to the knight's move in the diagram, the 2 light squares next to the lower left-hand corner of the boards A and C central holes. So I may not understand this very well. PiRaTeKnIcS. Pirates on ships fight each other in 44-squares chess variant. (6x8, Cells: 44) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-03-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★A fine game, capable of being played on two levels, a simpler one of pushing whole ships around, and a more difficult one of getting the right pieces into the right ships. Beautifully overcoming the limitations of a small board, it is a big game in a small package. This game is well worth playing. I wish there were an easy way to play it face-to-face. The rules could probably be better written, but they are adequate for the game. I find the idea and the way it plays excellent. Maxima. Maxima is an interesting and exiting variant of Ultima, with new elements that make Maxima more clear and dynamic. (Cells: 76) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-03-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★A very nice balance between chess and Ultima, with a nice twist in goal squares. The capture-by-replacement pieces allow direct assaults on a position but are limited in number and movement capacities and are vulnerable to counter-attack by the Ultima pieces. This is a nice balance of direct and indirect actions, with a 'capture the flag' aspect; a successful fusion of two very unlike games, with style. Wormhole Chess. When a piece leaves a square, it `folds' together. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-03-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★Nice idea very nicely done. Fine piece choices. Have to rate it excellent. Shatranj of Troy. A Shatranj variant with Shogi-like drops, a Trojan Horse (with 6 pieces inside),. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2005-12-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★This game is a beautiful concept, from the spare beauty of the initial setup to the balancing of the weak piece set with a fairly free piece placement and drops. It is not a game for the faint-hearted. It is probably extremely sensitive to beginning play; certainly you can win or lose quickly in this game. Several layers of play with all their complex choices are built from a few simple ideas in an easy-to-understand game. You've made a maddeningly complex easy-to-understand game. Nice job, Gary. Mir Chess. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2005-12-22 UTCGood ★★★★This looks like a very interesting game. It should be much faster playing than shatranj, given the coupling of a great increase in the number of long-range pieces with the forward setup. Could get some fierce shoot-outs with this setup. Some basic numbers: Shatranj FIDE Mir # non-royal pieces 7 7 9 # short-range 5 2 4 # long-range 2 5 5 So, while shatranj and Fide are opposites, Mir matches FIDE for long-range pieces and all 4 short-range Mir pieces are jumpers. But, while the rooks cancel out, the cannons and superbishop don't quite seem the equal of bishops and queen. They're certainly not quite as easy to use. Still, all other things being equal, I wouldn't want FIDE in a FIDE-Mir 'Chess with Unequal Armies' game. I would love a copy of the zrf when it's done. Pocket Mutation Chess. Take one of your pieces off the board, maybe change it, keep it in reserve, and drop it on the board later. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2005-05-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★This is a truly twisted game, extremely well put together. The pieces and rules create a high tension and a fine, unique dynamic. I particularly enjoy the pawn play. A+; thanks for a great game. Experiments in Symmetry. Several experimental games to test whether perfect symmetry makes a game better.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]Joe Joyce wrote on 2005-02-16 UTCGood ★★★★Fergus; some thoughts on Bachelor Chess. I went to bed swearing I would not get involved in this, but I woke up thinking about geometry and Bachelor Chess. I believe the geometry of the board is a key factor in any game, the first factor to make or break a game. So, I set up and played your first variant a bit. First, I assumed the board is a checkerboard, with a white square on the white player's right corner, so I covered the original 'A' file and set the pieces up. Both white bishops are on white squares, both black bishops on black; an interesting asymmetry. The white king starts on a black square; and the black, on a white, as are their castling squares. Here are two openings I played: 1) d4 d5 2) f1-e3 e6 rather than c6, allowing check 3) e1-b4 f1-d2 white attempts trade of B for N, black declines, but N placement blocks Bs 4) b3 b7 5) c4 c5 6) Pxc5 Pxc5 7) b4-a5 check e7-b6 if 7) ... d8-e7, 8) PxP PxP 9) NxP check 8) BxN check PxB 9) PxP PxP 10) NxP a8-a6 white may continue by castling or by c1-g5 check, with much the better game The way this played out, I felt black should not directly contest the center of the board with 1) ... d5 The second opening: 1) d4 e3 2) c1-f4 b8-c6 3) c3 d5 4) b1-d2 b6 5) e4 c8-b7 6) PxP PxP 7) f1-e3 c6-e7 8) BxP check KxB probably a serious blunder on white's part 9) c3-c4 a8-d8 10) PxP NxP possibly better if ... BxP 11) NxN check BxN 12) O-O check e8-c6 white has a passed pawn that is going nowhere fast for a lost bishop As I am not the best of players, and cannot play chess against myself, these openings are not of the highest quality - the B sacrifice, in particular, was poor, as it could not be followed up. White may actually have an edge in this variant, but I am certainly not good enough to tell, only to suspect this is the case. However, I do get some clearer impressions of this variant. I think the geometry is important, as I feel these games are not as subtle as FIDE chess. Two of six non-royal pieces can never directly interact*, yet they attack the two most likely squares the opponent's king will occupy. Checks appear to be easier in the opening. I always had the urge to trade one of my bishops for the 'opponent's' knight, believing this is advantageous. I think the openings and patterns of threats are considerably reduced, and less subtle, because of the geometry. The game gives me more the feel of a bludgeon than a rapier. This could be because of my style of play, however. I do believe the knight is worth more than the bishop, and I'd definitely prefer to have 2 knights and 1 bishop against 2 bishops and 1 knight. I would also think this admittedly very preliminary analysis has some relevance for your other 7x8 variants and the 58 square variants, as the geometry is basically similar. I would suggest a variant of this game on a 7x9 board, but I wonder if the draw potential goes up. For what my opinion is worth, I think this is an interesting variant, but FIDE chess is better, and better because of its' geometry. The 8x8 board allows better pawn moves in the opening and balances the bishops. *This would seem to increase the subtlety on the surface, but that's not the impression I got moving pieces. I see Peter Aronson** and Doug Chatham anticipated a couple of my observations. To Doug, I believe the answer to your question is: 'yes'. To Peter, I'm real new at this, could you direct me to your sources? Thanks. **My error on confusing Spinster queens and Sinister queens - apparently Mr. Aronson does not confirm my suspicion that white has the advantage in the 7x8 variants, as Sinister Queens is 8x8. 25 comments displayedLater ⇩Reverse Order⇧ EarlierPermalink to the exact comments currently displayed.