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Hanga Roa. A chess variant inspired by the people of Easter Island. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on 2007-10-31 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Easter Island is proof that rapid deforestation is not monopoly of the 21st Century. How could a complex society descend into ecocide? Or become vanished civilisation in environmental ravaging causing eventual collapse (contributed to by invaders, called 'explorers')? Yet the carving and erection of Moai statues testify something peculiar having happened, and Chess being inherently optimistic facing adversity, 'Thus was born Hanga Roa', Easter Island's (and Chilean Juan Kirsinger's) game of chess. Hanga Roa has but three piece-types on yet another 9x9, together with Lavieri's Altair the best of the 20 or so extant on 81 squares. The initial position comes at the end, a nice touch. The winning conditions are either to get one's Moais (King) across the board (other side of Island) or capture the opponent's Moais by totally surrounding it with any combination of pieces of either side excluding same-colour Stones offering escape. Moais only moves over a string of own Stones, displacing and removing them one and all passed over by the very movement. Ariki moves like Queen, except for no capturing, and instead throws two Stones upon completion of move. 'Mato to'a' moves like King and captures normally by displacement, chiefly Stones. Critical Stones are not pieces as such in that they do not themselves move once placed. Tending to reappear once gobbled up by Mato to'a, there become a lot of Stones on squares even 50%, 75% or more, like encroaching so-called 'civilisation' itself. Great. [Larry Smith adds ''The fact that a computer program has difficulty playing this game increases its potential.''] Smith's quote is said about Go too, with Hanga Roa and Go itself having their similarities.