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Chess with Different Armies. Betza's classic variant where white and black play with different sets of pieces. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2019-04-10 UTC

The Daring Dragons

I designed a new army, which in tests with Pair-o-Max scores about equal against FIDE. I named it the Daring Dragons.

promoChoice=WHLD graphicsDir=../membergraphics/MSelven-chess/ whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=png symmetry=none lightShade=#BBBBBB startShade=#5555AA useMarkers=1 pawn::::a2,b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2,h2,,a7,b7,c7,d7,e7,f7,g7,h7 Dragon Fly:F:sNvR:chancellor:b1,g1,,b8,g8 Dragoon:D:KivmN:man:c1,f1,,c8,f8 Dragon Horse:H:BW:crownedbishop:a1,h1,,a8,h8 Wyvern:W:vNsjRB:dragon:d1,,d8 king::::e1,,e8

Interesting feature that sets it apart from other armies is a piece with an unusual (meta-)color binding, the Dragon Fly: this is bound to even or odd board files, along which it moves like a Rook. It can switch between files through a sideway Knight jump. (It is in fact half a Chancellor.) It is worth slightly less than a Bishop, and can often force checkmate on a bare King. The other light pieces is the Man / Commoner, but to facilitate its development (which would otherwise heavily compete with that of the Dragon Fly), it has some additional initial non-capture Knight jumps. It is called a Dragoon. (Dragoons are mounted infantry, using horses for mobility, but fighting on foot.) The Rook replacement is the Dragon Horse known from Shogi (moves as Bishop or one step orthogonally), worth slightly more than a Rook.

The super-piece (called Wyvern) is a somewhat weird construct; first I wanted it to be a Centaur (Knight-Man compound), but then the army proved too weak. Then I replaced the wide Knight moves of the Centaur by a sideway Rook slide, to also have the latter in the game. This makes it a compound of a Man and a 90-degree rotated Dragon Fly. But this was not really stronger than a Centaur; with either the army scored only 40% with black. A sideway Rook slide should be worth more than four Knight moves, but the Centaur already covered the first step of it, so it did not add enough. I also did not like its low speed in the vertical directions, which was unworthy of a super-piece. After some experimenting, a compound of a rotated Dragon Fly and a Bishop proved a little too strong (60% against FIDE), although not out of line with what the other CwDA armies do. A suitable way to weaken it to exactly match FIDE was to replace the sR slide by a ski-slide, skipping the first square on the ray (jumping any occupant if needed).

Ski-sliders are interesting anyway: on a near-empty board they are obviously inferior to the corresponding ordinary slider, as they lack the moves to the adjacent square. That the more distant moves cannot be blocked on that square is of no import if there is nothing around to block them. But on a crowded board, where slides almost always are blocked before they hit the board edge, the ski-slider will have the same number of moves as the normal slider, each target just being moved outward one step. Which should make them nearly equivalent. So ski-slider strength will depend in a different way on game phase as the other pieces, relatively decreasing towards the end-game.