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Existentialist Chess. 10x10 board with many different pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Capt. Kirk wrote on 2002-06-07 UTC
Child's play compared to Fizzbin Chess. Fizzbin Chess, now there's a *real* man's chess variant. :-)

gnohmon wrote on 2002-06-08 UTC
Holy cow! This is really really complicated!

I can't tell if it's good yet, but it sure as heck is complicated. I'll
have to read it three more times.

David Short wrote on 2002-06-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I think that EXISTENTIALIST CHESS is one of the most intriguing 
cv's I've ever come up with. Yes, it is complicated, but read 
through the rules a few times and eventually you'll get the hang
of it. One of the things that's fun about this game is all the
different combinations you can come up with from confabulating
the archer and zednick. Is the archer too powerful a piece?
Perhaps. One may be forced to give up one of their own powerful
pieces just to get rid of their opponent's archer. 

A few notes to add that I forgot to mention from the text:
A cannon's long jump move is done in a straight line either
horizontally or vertically but not diagonally. Though I didn't
intend it originally as such when I wrote it, so as to go along
with the literal description of the rule as stated, a dazzler
may not jump an enemy shield, either with the long cannon-like
jump (intended rule) or from 2 squares away (unintended rule).

There were a few typos in the text as originally posted, I've
sent in an email to the editors of this site pointing them out
asking them to correct them.

Captain Kirk, you're funny. I know what you mean, but I did not
set out to deliberately make a game that was overly complicated.
I just wanted to create a game with a lot of different pieces
and a lot of possibilities. I think that, by comparison, my game
is easier to follow than a game like THE GAME OF NEMOROTH 
which seems to me to be very hard to play and has pieces conflicting
each other all the time. 

Lastly I would like to add that I welcome anyone to email me
at [email protected] if you would like to play 
EXISTENTIALIST CHESS with me by email. We can submit an ASCII
diagram to each other with each move, though I would prefer to
play against people who have ZILLIONS OF GAMES and when a 
zrf file for this game is eventually posted to this page, use
it to record the positions of the game and only email each other
the moves, and not the diagram too.

Michael wrote on 2002-07-13 UTC
This seems like a very complicated game. I rated it as 'none' because I
have no practical experience in  this game. I have not even imagined the
possibilities. It would be unrealistic for me to give it a rating. But I do
have comments (of course) ....... You have a good imagination. It seems a
bit much, but some pieces seem to have potential. I particularly like the
idea of the Hyena. I'm not too sure about the Archer though? And I'm not
too sure about this Confabulation theme? However, it does accomplish what
you appearred to have set out to accomplish ........ A game that is rich in
multiple possibilities. Really seems like a 'hard-thinking' game.


Ben Good wrote on 2002-07-20 UTC
i can't judge a game this complicated w/o playing it first. i am looking forward to trying it tho. is anybody working on a zillions file for this game?

Richard Gresty wrote on 2002-07-30 UTC
This an intriguing chess variant... interesting. I can't rate it until I get experience in the variant, if I can find the time to try it out.

David Short wrote on 2002-08-03 UTC
Well, since I already posted one comment and rated my game as 
'excellent' I won't tip the scales any further with additional
comments so I will rate this comment as 'none'

I am glad that some typographical errors to the text have been
corrected. Also some additional material was added in a place or two.

I am surprised that this game has not drawn more attention among
the avid enthusiasts of this site since it has been published.
I think that this variant is extremely intriguing and exciting.
One of the things which makes it so interesting is that it is up
for discussion as to what the best strategy to use in this game is,
especially as regards the archer and zednick. Do you confabulate
them as early as possible and commit yourself to one course of 
action, or do you wait a while, develop your pieces a bit, let the
game get into some rhythmic flow, see which way the wind blows a bit
before deciding where to confabulate these pieces? What is the best
use for the archer? What is the best use for the zednick? What value
does one give the new pieces compared to the traditional ones?
How strong can the existentialist be? How can one defend against 
the archer? It would probably take quite a bit of play-testing,
not just one or two games but literally ten or twenty to really
begin to get a feel for the game and get an answer to these questions.
I do not think this game is overly complicated, it's just that there
are so many different possibilities that it may be hard to keep track
of all of them.

Jianying Ji wrote on 2002-08-04 UTC
I think part of the trouble with this variant, and the reason that people
hesitate to try it is the lack of a coherent theme, by theme I include 
abstract themes such as all pieces have abstract quality X. 

this game have various categories of pieces:

King : royal

Squire, Viceroy, Pawn, Crowned Knight, left/right schzzhi: normal, 
      i.e. no special powers but can be effected by others

Bobber: extending powers (to itself)

dazzler, hyenna : immobilizer

archer, zednick : confabulators

yanzee : invulnerable

extentialist : morph

teleporter: transports self.

I feel there's a excess of categories and overlap between the powers 
between the pieces. this game would be better I think if no two pieces
have the same higher power. for example having had the dazzler both 
hyenna and yanzee is somewhat superflous.

similarly archer is a more coherent piece than zednick which has 4 
unrelated powers, so it would be a better games without zednick.
A compromise would to give the power of the zednick to the bobber
which creates the stretegic tension of whether to keep the bobber 
around or to confabulate it with some other piece to increase that
piece's power.

I think the more constrained variant below might be easier to start 

all the normal pieces and the king.

King : royal

Squire, Viceroy, Pawn, Crowned Knight, left/right schzzhi: normal

Dazzler: as the immobilizer and giver of invulnerability

archer: as the confabulator

bobber/zednick: moves as bobber or can confabulate as a zednick

teleporter: transports itself

extentialist: cycles through all the non-royal pieces, on 11th move it 
              sleeps, than another cycle, then explode.

I think I have preserved all the ideas in your game and simplified it
a bit. hope you find it interesting.

M. Howe wrote on 2002-08-04 UTCGood ★★★★
Existentialist Chess certainly contains interesting ideas -- any one of which might be enough to be the basis for a good variant. The inventor certainly has a fertile mind. And I'm not at all averse to large and complex variants. But without having played E.C. yet, my impression is that the inventor might have tried to put too much into one game and the game therefore might suffer from lack of clarity -- meaning that it will be difficult for the player to see more than a couple of moves ahead given all of the interactions on the board. I think it might be worthwhile for the inventor to consider using the ideas in E.C. to make several variants, each simpler than E.C. but still complex enough to be interesting and with greater clarity. I might be mistaken, though, and if someone out there could come up with a ZRF for E.C., I'd certainly like to give it a try and be proven wrong.

LCC wrote on 2002-09-27 UTCGood ★★★★
This is a nice variant, with many good ideas. In fact, almost too many good ideas. The author got carried away. I wouldn't bet this variant is playable.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2002-09-28 UTC
I'll omit a rating.  There are too many interesting concepts to be Poor,
but probably not enough cohesion or playability to truly merit Good. 
Actually, the bits and pieces of this game might well make two or three
variants of reasonable merit with better focus.

(I started to write a ZRF, but set it aside.)

John Lawson wrote on 2002-09-28 UTC
I'm actually playing an email game of this with David Short, the inventor. 
We're only on move 8, too soon to have an opinion yet.  Mostly I'm trying
to figure out how to develop, and haven't really had to address most of
the special powers.
Note that a subset of this game was entered in the 84-Squares Contest as
Schizophrenic Chess.

David Short wrote on 2002-10-24 UTC
I know that there are quite a few people who regularly visit this
site who have written ZRF files for new variants which are posted on
this site, so my question is directed to them. Has anyone had any
luck yet creating a ZRF for Existentialist Chess?
Please update us on your progress!

Anonymous wrote on 2003-04-04 UTC
An unconfabulated archer can only move one square in a non-capturing 
manner, according to #12 in the FAQ -- does this mean it make a regular
move? The description of the archer seems to imply that it can't move at
all unless a friendly piece is next to it, and then it can only move to
confabulate with one of the friendly pieces next to it.

David Short wrote on 2003-04-04 UTC
No. An unconfabulated archer (as well as an unconfabulated zednick),
when making a move where it is not confabulating itself with a friendly
piece, may move one square in any direction (horizontally, vertically
or diagonally). It may not capture enemy pieces when unconfabulated.
When confabulating with a friendly piece (besides the ones it is
restricted from merging with), it does so by moving one square in any
direction (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) into the square
occupied by the friendly piece. This completes the player's turn and the
opponent moves.
When an archer is confabulated with a friendly piece, that piece has
the option on any turn of making its regular move or firing an arrow
two squares in any direction (horizontally, vertically or diagonally)
killing the first enemy piece in its line of sight. See the rules for
restrictions on the archer's firing ability.

David Short wrote on 2003-04-04 UTC
Keep in mind also that when an archer and zednick confabulate with
each other, its normal firing range is three squares. Keep the
following rules in mind: A hyena which is immobilizing a confabulated
archer piece may not make a regular move, and may only fire an arrow
at the hyena. This may seem pointless, to try to immobilize an archer
this way, unless the hyena can move with a discovered attack or
discovered check to give the opponent something to think about.
The exception to this is when a hyena is immobilizing the archer/zednick
piece, its range is cut back from three squares to two, although it
may freely shoot at any target it wishes to, not just the hyena. 

Sometimes it is necessary to read through the rules two or three
times until one has completely familiarized themself with them.

Incidentally, I was showing Existentialist Chess to a friend of mine
at my local chess club the other night, and he pointed out something
to me that I had not realized when I originally submitted the game.
It is impossible for a shield to come between a friendly and enemy
pawn in such a way that it could prevent en passant castling,
so the section I wrote about that can just be ignored. 

I welcome questions and comments about this game. I will always
be willing to answer them to the best of my ability.

Anonymous wrote on 2003-06-10 UTC
good or bad what does it have to do with existentialism?!?!

David Short wrote on 2003-10-04 UTC
After doing some more play-testing with John Lawson, we agreed that
another rule change is in order: The dazzler is the only piece that
is completely immune from the effects of a hyena. By making this
rule change, one can try to use their dazzler to get near a hyena,
and on a subsequent move, jump it and force it to move, force it
to release its spell on any and all pieces it was immobilizing.
This is an important counter-balance rule to prevent the hyena
from becoming overly powerful.

Incidentally I am accepting all challenges to play 
Existentialist Chess thru the following link:


This link will soon be added to the PBeM system of this web site.
My email for receiving challenges: [email protected]
my userid: davidnyjfan

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-10-05 UTC
The Game Courier Preset is posted.

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-10-07 UTC
Like Glenn, I cannot give your game a rating, but it is because I cannot
decide between Good or Excellent. The game looks very clever, and there is
a commendable attempt to bring in pieces of comparable value. I would like
to play it some later month/year, but I have a couple of criticisms, which
may or may not prove useful for future versions. (I take it for granted
that there will be future versions if there is playtesting enough.)
Two Zednicks would not be a luxury, at the expense of the Existentialist
or the Bobber. (Indeed, you have too many Queens. There are already two
Schizzies and promotable Yanzees (and Pawns). A third Queen type should be
a Cannon Queen or use baroque, non-rifle, capture.)
The Squire seems also a bit too strong, and I would prefer a simple Rook,
which would be a bit too weak. But too many pieces have a King's move. Or
did the Teleporters make it necessary?
However, the confabulations, the Dazzlers, the Hyena, the Schizzies and
the Teleporters make your game really interesting.

David Short wrote on 2003-10-08 UTC
addendum: Player #1 puts Player #2's king in check. Player #2's
existentialist has previously made 19 moves. It is legal for Player
#2 to ignore the check on his king and move the existentialist for
the 20th time, only if the resulting blast either:

a) kills Player #1's king, in which case Player #2 immediately
wins the game

b) kills both kings, in which case the game ends in a draw

This maneuver is not legal if the explosion only kills the opponent's
archer confabulated to the king, for the opponent would then be able
to capture his king and win the game. He could, however, use this 
manuever to win the game if the enemy king's archer is on its forced 
rest move.

David Short wrote on 2003-12-15 UTC
Is anyone watching my game with John Lawson in the Game Courier right now?

I urge you all to check it out, and see a practical application of it in
play. Once you get the hang of how the pieces move, you begin to see that
actually is some strategy to it and that it's really NOT that
or hard to learn or understand how to play it.

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-12-17 UTC
No, it is not that complicated, but I lost track after a few moves because I was playing and following several other interesting games. What I do find complicated is the set of gif images you're using in the preset. It would help if you brought in a set of images for Existentialist Chess which would be coherent with the zrf for Schizophrenic Chess. Casual viewers should be able to recognize a Teleporter or a Schizzy instantly.

David Short wrote on 2003-12-22 UTC
I didn't create the graphics for the Preset for Existentialist Chess,
Tony Quintanilla did. Perhaps Tony should talk to Peter Aronson
(who created the graphics for Schizophrenic Chess) and get the graphics
for the pieces which are common to both games from him and add them
to Existentialist Chess' preset. I don't know if he can change the
graphics to the preset without interfering with my existing game with
John Lawson. It may be necessary for him to create a second preset link
and later remove the first one (which is being used for my game with
after my game is over.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-12-22 UTC
David, I used a standard Game Courier image set that uses Alfaerie images, created by David Howe, for the preset. I agree that creating a special set more appropriate to this game would be beneficial. <p>If you suggest specific images for each piece from the Alfaerie set, or another image set, correlated with piece names, I can update the preset. If you can send me a zip file with the images and names, that would be best. <p> <p>A preset is used by the Game Courier script to create an initial log file for a new game. The image set and other settings used in the game are defined in the log file. Game Courier uses and updates the log file throughout the game without referring to the preset again. So a preset can be revised without affecting ongoing games.

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