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Chieftain Chess. Missing description (16x12, Cells: 192) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-08-03 UTC
wow, this looks very interesting, i wish i knew what it all meant though, 
what does 'activating' a piece mean, is it a move to activate, do you
see movement when you activate, i activate you, did you or i move?
If a chief activates a piece, can another chief then activate that same
piece, and then does that piece go really fast? :)
i will have to watch the game being played on game courier, there is a
game yes? (edit- yes your playing Gary, i just looked)

Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-08-03 UTC
I hope this will answer your specific questions:
    * No piece may ever move unless it is activated by a chieftain which
has to be within 3 squares of it at the start of the move.
    * Each chief may activate 1 piece per turn. An activated piece may
move outside the 3-square activation range of the chief which activated
it, or any other [friendly] chief.
    * No piece may move more than once per turn.
    * Once a piece has finished its move, it becomes inactive again. It
cannot move in a subsequent turn without being re-activated by a chief.

In general, activation is different from movement. Every piece may move.
Only chiefs may activate. Think of each piece as a warrior in a small
band. Now add bureaucracy and attitude. The chiefs [the leaders or bosses]
are the only ones who will do anything on their own. Each chief has time to
do one thing per turn. The chief can do it him or herself, or can yell at
somebody close enough and make them do it. The other piece types don't do
anything unless they are forced to. Once they are out of yelling distance
[3 squares], they don't hear any orders, and do nothing. They would
rather die than move without being yelled at. Okay?   ;-)

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-08-03 UTC
ok how does a knight move as a 'knight-fers' .. does it take 2 chiefs to do that?

Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-08-03 UTC
Knight-Wazir (NW) - This piece combines the moves of the knight and the
wazir. It moves one square orthogonally, then optionally, one square
diagonally outward. It jumps any piece in its way. 

Knight-Ferz (NF) - This piece combines the moves of the knight and the
ferz. It can be considered to move one square diagonally, then,
optionally, one square orthogonally outward. It jumps any piece in its

One piece, no matter how it may move in its turn, requires only 1
activation, and thus, 1 chief to activate. 

Jeremy Good and I are putting together a modified piece set for the
variants among the pieces. When it's ready, new piece icons and at least
one new preset will be added. The new icons will differentiate among the
piece-type variants as much as practical. Each icon will be paired with
its own movement instructions. My apologies for releasing what seems to be
an inadequate set of rules. I tried to compress them too much. And the
concept of command control, where a commander gives orders to troops, also
needed to be elaborated on. I'll try to not make the opposite mistake in
the re-write.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-08-05 UTC
Joe: I truly enjoy the Chieftain piece-control, 4 move per-player-per-turn 
aspects of this new big game of yours.  So far our game is enjoyable and is
about to become a super battle at the great divide.  This should be a
fantastic battle and I can hardly imagine what the board will look like
when the smoke clears.  However, I need help with the rules before we
reach the epic battle.  I am suffering from piece movement confusion after
reading the rules, your comment to Christine, and our having our Messenger

You write in the rules: H - the hero. This is a 2-step unequal rider. The
two parts of its move are a 1 square orthogonal slide and a 2 square
orthogonal leap. When activated, it may slide 1; or jump 2; or slide 1 and
jump 2; or jump 2 and slide 1.

Q: (a) You state: This piece {Hero} probably should be a linear rider;
turns would give it the knight move, making them redundant, or at least
requiring Ns to be augmented..... You say 'should be' but are they?  If
not, and they should be, why aren't they?  By 'rider,' do you mean
'leaper'?  I thought riders kept going...
(b) The rules say:  S - shaman - another unequal 2-step rider. This is the
diagonal analog of the Hero. It slides 1 and/or jumps 2 in a diagonal
The slightly improved model allows a 1 square move orthogonally backward.
The ultra model allows the shaman the 'Man' move also. This is likely
too powerful, but if used, allow the hero to move in an 'L', similar to
a knight. You might also want to let 2 N's gain the F move and the other
2 the W move.  

Q: Which version of Shanman piece are we using in our game? Regular,
Slightly Improved, or Ultra? I prefer Regular.

Q: You say we might want to let the 2 N's gain the F move and the other 2
the W move.  I would be happy with just standard Knights.  It would be less
confusing.  And your Hero can move linear in addition to an L shape. 
Simple.  Easy to remember.

(c) The rules say: N - the standard chess knight. At least so far. [?] It
may be augmented with either the ferz or wazir move as an alternative
move. It is not ever a rider. It moves either as a ferz or a wazir, then
may complete the knight move as an option to staying on its first square
moved to. 

Q: In the pre-set we have no Nw or Nf distinction in our game.  So are we
using Knights as fw/wf / wf/fw movers as discussed with Christine?  The
pre-set just shows a standard N image.  Can this Knight leap?  Can we just
use standard Knights to keep things simple?

Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-08-09 UTC
Gary, thanks for the comments. Jeremy Good has been kind enough to create some pieces for me. Using the new piece icons as the basis, I've re-written the rules. I hope you, Christine, and everyone else find these clear, concise and understandable. So much for attempting to write 'relaxed-fit' rules. Obviously, they were too loose. Too much of the underparts were showing. I'll try to avoid such an unseemly display in the future. [Or show off better underparts, at least.]

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-09-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
well this is a very interesting game, 16x12 wooah, big, and looks great. Command and control, Joe you big kid!! Love the idea of the 'chiefs' moving their armies, very cool, love it.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-09-22 UTC
Thanks for the comments, Christine. I guess the rules finally pass muster,
at least with you. :-) 
This is my second biggest game in board size, by about 3 squares. And
it's my biggest game in total number of pieces, by a lot, even though
it's got the least variety of pieces, at 5. 
As far as the big kid part, you're right; I would have loved this game
when I was 16. It has a little of a military wargame feel to it.
It's actually a large variant of Lemurian Shatranj, even though it came
out 2 weeks before LemS did. 
One possible variant of this game would be to: allow the hero and shaman
the bent moves, drop the command control distance rule and replace it with
a guards promote to chieftains rule.

George Duke wrote on 2007-11-16 UTC
Average 5 of 10. Despite prejudice against near-Extremely Large Category, Chieftain redeems itself with the activation principle (although we suspect some similarity to Gifford we have not reached yet). Jetan's Chieftain is up-to-three-square mover. Joyce erratically cites 'conversations' far and wide, 'Charles Gilman's new game'(Joyce names it not), and not one other CV by name as precedent for some pieces used here. 100-year-old Jetan specifically has one- or two-steppers Padwar, Warrior, and Thoat related to this one's Hero and Chieftain. He could start there or other better places, but Joyce is not alone nowadays in aversion to acknowledging others' prior work at all. Win requires all four(4) Chieftains captured. Four(4) pieces move per turn. (We have to assure ourselves this write-up is in the manner of serious Chess, not like Medieval Chess or Gridlock.) When losing one Chieftain, there are then on three(3) pieces moved, not four. Activation is by a Chieftain within 3 squares, otherwise the piece must just sit there. That novelty keeps us from rating this Below Average, the first inclination. However, article lacks clarity, organization, and non-repetition, not fun or easy to read. ''No piece may move unless activated'' and Hero ''...two square orthogonal leap. When activated it may slide 1; or jump 2...'' are three partial sentences. The latter do not make sense in sounding like the part of sentence before ''When activated'' means Hero has two modes of moving, non-activated and activated, but Joyce does not meant that. We need to study the multi-path moving aspect, if any, for later comparison-Comment.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-11-17 UTC
George, I will not dispute any of your opinions about Chieftain Chess, but I must correct an assumption of yours as to the provenance of the pieces used in this game. If you would read the 6 oldest comments on this page:
you will see the linear hero and shaman pieces actually used in the preset came from the bent hero and shaman pieces in Lemurian Shatranj, and they came from the zigzag pieces of Atlantean Barroom Shatranj. Those zigzag pieces are the bent version of the linear double-jumping pieces in Grand Shatranj, and those pieces are logical extensions of the modern elephant and warmachine I used in Great Shatranj. Great Shatranj is an outgrowth of Modern Shatranj, which grew from a conversation I had with Roberto Lavieri in Game Courier Tournament #2 during our game of historic Shatranj. As supporting evidence of the general thrust and timelines of my work on shatranj-style pieces and variants, I offer the ShortRange Project. I will also note that those same 6 bottom-most comments show the actual provenance of the 'sliding general', named the 'Hawklet' and used by Adrian King in a 16x16 [go Adrian!] called 'Jupiter'. The Padwar, chained or free, is the piece used by David Paulowich in Opulent Lemurian Shatranj, is a double-ferz piece, and is credited to Jetan by Mr. Paulowich. Mike Nelson compared Lemurian Shatranj to Jetan for feel, but said in a private communication they were not Jetan pieces. So I must thank you for the compliment, George; you are the second person to compare me to ERB. I am now doubly honored. But to the best of my knowledge, the dabbabah-wazir combinations I have used in Grand, Barroom, and Lemurian Shatranj are unique, and their step-by-step development can be clearly seen. Also, there are some speculative ideas/pieces in the wiki, for future projects. I am always happy to say that this person here or those people there came up with some piece or idea first, but here: first, I can establish a clear chain of pieces that includes and goes past the hero and shaman in my work, and second, the pieces are [probably] unique. At least, I don't think anyone has shown otherwise. When that changes, if it does, I'm sure the change will be noted here.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-11-20 UTC
George, I re-wrote the movement description of the Hero to clarify how it moves. I think this is clearer, but it does descend into CV jargon, with 'dabbabah' and 'wazir'. Thank you for drawing my attention to some clumsy phraseology. 
To further clarify activation. The ability of a piece to move and the nature of that move's geometry are 2 different things. Pieces always keep the structure of their moves. They get their ability to move in a turn from a nearby chief. This is a very old war-game concept called leadership; I got it from playing way too many board wargames in the '60s and '70s, long before I ran into CVs and the people on this site. I think it arose because of/from the German/Prussian staff system and training, but that's a guess, at this point. 
In reference to the multi-path aspects of these pieces: each piece [hero or shaman] is an inclusive compound piece, with one half of the piece being a leaper. Thus, it can be blocked from going to the 3rd square if both the first and second squares are occupied. In going 3 squares, the piece must touch down on the first or second square, and continue from there. These pieces are cut-down versions of the bent hero and shaman from Lemurian Shatranj, which has a movement diagram for them, courtesy of David Paulowich. Their offer here, along with the augmented knights, is probably a mistake, though it would play well with the variant I offered in the comments to this game. But it would probably give you a headache.

George Duke wrote on 2007-11-20 UTC
Thanks, Joe, why not bracket[] changes after the first week of an article? Original date '2006-07-30' retained still so far is misleading. For research or priority, the practice, to the extent widespread, makes write-ups nearly worthless (even if not actually changing Rules or games, as sometimes done). JJoyce's correction helpful enough, also sets off against not respecting even Edgar Rice Burroughs' 100-year-old two-square- and three-square-moving pieces, ever to include them or similar priorities, and yet his making issue of 'provenance' etc. What a burden left for anyone to sort out even when something is written let alone invented! By contrast, in stretched analogy, one misspoken word at, for example, USA Presidential debate, within their narrow doctrinal framework, can eliminate candidate. (anticipating attempt to place Joyce's multi-pathers as well as WD)

Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-11-21 UTC
George, I made no changes to the game whatsoever with this last minor correction, so I felt no need to make a date note. I did change the version number [top right corner of doc] from 3.03 to 3.04, though. And anybody that wants to can get a feel for what I did from the comments; I doubt anyone would be that interested. Good, crisp, simple, understandable rules are what count, in my opinion. The game itself, the intent of the rules, the moves of the pieces, they have not changed at all. 

I looked at LLSmith's Jetan rules, and checked all the piece diagrams. Actually, I am surprised that my pieces are not identical with some of ERB's, as interpreted [quite well, indeed!] by Larry. But I was lucky, and missed re-inventing Jetan, or at least some pieces from it. You seem to say I should say my game is 'like' Jetan in some manner, and acknowledge Jetan's priority. But these games I have made are outgrowths of shatranj, including chieftain chess. And I acknowledge that, usually starting in the title. That you see a similarity to Jetan I consider quite a compliment. Thank you. But I feel it would be vain to say 'this game is like Jetan' in the body of the rules, as it's a compliment, rather than a fact.

My pieces were built by combining dabbabah and wazir or alfil and ferz, in a number of different ways, systematically. ERB's pieces were not. He made 2 and 3 square pieces, like chieftain uses, but he built his pieces from a different starting point than I built mine, and that is why they are different. He built more from the top down, to get twisty, flexible 2 and 3 square pieces that were novel in that they were often constrained to move a specified number of squares in a turn rather than [or in addition to] a specified geometric path. FIDE pieces [with the exception of the knight], and mine, are path dependent pieces, having a pattern rather than a range they must adhere to. Finally, my pieces were built from the bottom up. The difference in styles is there to be seen. Hope I didn't get a misspoken word in here. But I think this analysis is fairly conclusive.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-03-08 UTC
Ran into a rules problem during playtesting. Nobody understands activation. The rules are technically correct, but by themselves are inadequate to give people a 'feel' for how leaders, command radius, and activation *really* work. A good analogy to something familiar is needed. I've actually managed a silly analogy that I hope and think works. Comments are solicited.

Q: I don't understand activation. How does it work?

A:Pretend all the pieces are robots, little gas-powered robots. They have their engines and little gas tanks in their bases, the bottom of each piece. Every piece, from chief to warrior, has its own engine and gas tank in the base of the piece. All of these gas tanks are empty at the start of the game.

There are some special robots that have storage tanks in their heads, and a grey band around their storage tank. At the beginning of each turn, this grey band sucks gas right out of the air, and fills the storage tank in the 'head' of the piece. [The 'storage tank' is the 8-pointed star shaped area inside the grey band on the chief icon.] 

Each storage tank holds enough gas to fill 1 piece's gas tank, then it is empty until the beginning of the next turn. 

The grey band unfolds into a hose that reaches 3 squares [or the gas tank in that chief's base, allowing it to move itself unassisted], allowing gas to be pumped to any one piece within that 3 square range.

Each gas tank holds enough gas for 1 turn, then it's empty again.

A chief's gas tank can be filled by another chief's storage tank, allowing that first chief to carry its own storage tank load of gas with it. So it can then fuel something else 3 squares away from where it has just stopped.* 

Remember: each piece must gas up just before it moves, and then it must move immediately, or the gas evaporates. Gas cannot be saved up for a later turn.

*No, a chief cannot fill another chief's storage tank. A chief may only fill another piece's gas tank.

Senorita Simpatica wrote on 2008-03-08 UTC
Lol - Joe, why you not rename game to 'Gas Tank Chess?' Or change last posted analogy because Chieftans and gas tanks not seem to go well together. Especially with the high cost of gas. P.S. Keep up the good work.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-03-08 UTC
Senorita Simpatica, you are quite right! While I've been known to do tricks with an elephant, it's unlikely that many would be convinced that prehistoric tribes were Gas Warriors. I should just re-cast it as a post-apocalyptic game and call it 'Gas Hogs: Warriors of the Silicon Plain'. That way, sucking gas fumes out of the air would be more believable, although for the half of us who now live in or near a big city, this could soon be an alternate energy source. 

I thank you [though not all will] for the encouragement. For any who are interested [all 7 of you], I've found this game is scalable. Five different sizes are currently playing or playtesting: 8x12, 10x10, 12x16, 12x24, 15x30.  The number of leaders per side ranges from 2 to 8, total pieces from 16 to 64 per side. However, even at larger sizes, the game plays quickly, finishing in roughly 35 turns, because the multi-move aspect speeds it up. Expect I will bore people with yet another [far too] large game write-up in the near future. Enjoy

Gary Gifford wrote on 2008-03-08 UTC
Joe, I read the last three Chieftain comments and I must admit, that whether you were joking or not, 'Gas Hogs: Warriors of the Silicon Plain' has a nice 'Mad Max' feel to it and does fit your analogy very well. It sounds like a more wild and more fun game, just by the name change. But, if it did have such a name change I think little vehicle figures should replace the current ones (an alternate piece set). This would be going thematic, of course. Yet the game of Camelot seems much nicer than Inside Moves... yet it is exactly the same game! I can picture ''Gas Hogs: Warriors of the Silicon Plain' ' on the toy store shelves... who knows? Take care.

George Duke wrote on 2008-06-27 UTCGood ★★★★
Joe Joyce writes: '' I would like to discuss design, even though I would expect you'd start by telling me my games are not worth the ether they're printed on. As my entire family rarely to never plays any of my games, having someone tell me they suck is not liable to rattle me too badly. Enjoy.'' --Rococo game Duke-Joyce ongoing. Appreciate Joyce's acknowledging that there is distinct possibility that some, or many, prolificists' CVs (having 15 or more separate) write-ups may be one and all Poor and not worth bothering with. However, not Joyce's: we recently courteously rated Joyce's Lemurian Shatranj 'Excellent'. And Chieftain Chess is highlighted by Joyce's creative comment's analogy to ''this grey band sucks gas right out of the air and fills the storage tank in the head of the piece...then it is empty until the beginning of the next turn.'' This is great writing and analogizing and so justifies our rerating here of another perfectly adequate made-up game for all ages. We do not diverge either from creative upgrading in context of accepted CVPage value-criteria.

Claudio Martins Jaguaribe wrote on 2009-05-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Joe, I have 3 questions:

I- Can a chief divide it's movents? I mean, instead of a 3-0, have a 2-1 or a 1-1-1 movements in his unit?

II- What happens to 'orphans'? (Pieces that lost theirs chiefs). Mus they await for rescue from another chief?

III- A piece 3 squares away still under the chief control or not?


Joe Joyce wrote on 2009-05-20 UTC
Hi, Claudio. If I'm understanding you properly, you are asking if a chief could move 1 piece at a range of 3 squares, or 3 pieces, each at a range of 1 square, or 2 pieces, one at a range of 1 square, and the other at a range of 2 squares. Actually, I'm still working up to that. In the chieftain series, I'm not [yet] using that rule, but I do with chesimals. In the chesimals series, a leader activates 6 to 8 other pieces and itself, as long as they are all touching. But they must be touching, there is no activation at a distance. 

The top activation range so far is 3 squares, which means 2 [empty or occupied] squares between the leader and the piece to be activated for it to be in range. If a piece is outside the range of any leader, and stays that way throughout the turn, it cannot move. It must wait for a 'rescue' then. I have considered pieces with longer ranges, but generally in the context of higher-level leaders. I'm currently experimenting with leaders that activate 4-10 units, at a range of 2, and this range is 'transmitted' by each unit, so you could have a line of units, with an empty space between each one, and they may all move. 

Your first question is something I've debated with myself [and a little with Carlos Cetina] for a while. I don't allow it so far because I'm trying to structure the game and it looks very chaotic, besides being rather hard to explain and really hard to figure out and play, I suspect. 

Okay, I haven't done it yet because I'm chicken. I've been trying to explore this territory slowly and systematically, and keep all the games that come out of it very playable [in a relative sense, of course. When only 10 people in the world play your games, it's tough to claim you're designing for the masses. Much as I would like to. ;-) ] The fear I have is that the game goes chaotic, gets completely out of control. 

So before I post it, I need to have the game playtested. But apparently it's time to offer Wild Chieftains. The activation rule is changed to read: 'A chief may activate any 1 piece at a range of 3; or 1 piece at a range of 2 and another at a range of 1; or 3 pieces it is adjacent to, in each turn. Thus a chief may activate 1, 2, or 3 pieces in a turn.'

This does leave some loose ends. A chief's activation of itself likely should be counted as an adjacent activation, although another interpretation would not count it at all, being at zero range, allowing a range 3, or a range 2 + range 1, or 1+1+1 also. How about the compromise position, of counting self-activation as an adjacent activation, except that a self-activating chief may also activate 1 piece at range 3 or range 2, or 2 adjacent pieces. 

And if this isn't complicated enough, just when do the chiefs activate the pieces to be moved? The original game allows activation to occur either before or after the specific chief has moved, but now the chief can conceivably be activated by another chief, then activate an adjacent piece, move itself 1 square to come adjacent to a second piece, activating it; then the chief completes its move, moving a second square to end up adjacent to a third piece, which it then activates. The other options are that the chief can activate pieces only at the beginning or at the end of its move, or that the chief can activate pieces at both the beginning and end of its move. I personally prefer the last option, but others may differ. 

To change topics a bit here at the end, I'll ask this innocent question: would this make the game any harder to program? ;-) As always, questions, comments, and criticisms are welcomed.

Claudio Martins Jaguaribe wrote on 2009-05-21 UTC

Thanks a lot!

I've been thinking about unit movement. I believe that there is a variant with this concept. You could move the whole block (chief and the adjacent pieces) until achieve a 'combat range', where formation is breaked and pieces start to move on their own, under the chief desire.


Larry Smith wrote on 2009-05-22 UTC
Here's an idea. How's bout applying Shogi drops?

Such would count as a move during the turn, and the introduced pieces would be placed in any vacant cell adjacent the activating Chief.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-01-19 UTC

Here's a preset I've begun working on:


So far it doesn't enforce the rules or prompt for extra moves, but I'll get that done eventually. For now, it recolors the board to show which spaces each side may move pieces from, using green hues for the playing side, red hues for the other side, and yellow hues for territory shared by both sides.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2011-01-19 UTC
Why, thank you, Fergus. I sincerely appreciate this. Just took a fast look and what you've done so far should help de-mystify the game. I've always thought in concept and design it is quite simple. Just gets complex in play. Might I ask your opinion on how easy or hard computers would find it to be?

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-01-19 UTC
It should be easy for a computer to play. The rule about pieces being near the Chieftains limits the number of possible moves, which makes things easier for the computer. The only thing that might make it harder for a computer is the size. But not having to deal with checkmate and stalemate also makes it easier for a computer.

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