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Mortal Chessgi. A Chessgi game in which captures reduce material. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2009-12-13 UTC

To follow up on the comment Roberto Lavieri left 6 1/2 years ago, he and I did subsequently collaborate on Mortal Shogi, which was followed by Kamikaze Mortal Shogi, one of my favorite Chess variants ever. I never followed up on his comment here, because he also brought up the idea in this Mortal Chessgi game we played together on Game Courier, and we collaborated on it together in the comments of that game. While many people already know about these games, this comment is placed here for those who may come across this page first.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2009-12-13 UTC

I was just browsing through Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants and noticed a listing for Degraded Chess by V. R. Parton. This game is similar to Mortal Chessgi. Captured pieces degrade in the same way. The two differences are that captured pieces do not change sides, and the captured piece gets put back on the board right away. Pritchard's description did not make it clear which player puts the piece back on the board. This is not the first time I've made a game similar to one of Parton's without knowing of his game first. Wormhole Chess is based on the same idea as Parton's Cheshire Cat Chess. In this case, it may not have made a difference, since Degraded Chess is more like Hydra Chess, one of the inspirations for this game, and in fact Degraded Chess is even less like Mortal Chessgi than Hydra Chess is. In Hydra Chess, a captured piece is returned to its player, who holds it in hand and may drop it later as in Chessgi.


Charles Gilman wrote on 2009-04-01 UTC
One way to represent all possible pieces would be with 32 identical dice. They could be placed with faces parallel to the cell edges for one player and at 45° to them for the other. 1 would represent Pawn, 2 Knight, and so on upward.
	This could also be applied to Mortal Shogi, but with 40 dodecahedral dice. In that case the top face could be treated as the conventional (though irregular) pentagon that Shogi pieces are with a side facing its own player and a corner the enemy. Of course faces 11 and 12 would nveer be needed. Face 10 would be used only for array Kings, which would stay at that number - likewise face 6 in Mortal Chessgi.
	That gives me an idea for further variants. Start with either array, use dodecahedral dice for capturable pieces and something completely different for Kings, and have pieces return by the Mortal Shogi sequence but with the 'missing' Chessgi pieces inserted appropriately. Intuitive positions are Queen at the top, Knight just below Bishop, and Pawn second to bottom - numbers 12, 7, and 2 on the dice with other pieces upped by 1 or 2. Pawns would be promoted to Queen (possibly with the alternative of Knight as Knights are also unpromotable) and the rest as in standard Shogi. As Queens would have so far to fall before being lost, these variants might be called Vivat Regina Chessgi and Vivat Regina Shogi.

John Smith wrote on 2008-12-20 UTC
What if pieces could capture empty squares, and get Pawns to drop? Capturing a piece promotes it for dropping. But what to do with the Queen? Idea B: Same as the first, but no capturing empty squares and Queens promote to empty squares. This would make Queens very powerful.

Adrian Alvarez de la Campa wrote on 2006-08-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I'm only on my second game of this, but it is already my favorite Chessgi-type game; elegant, fun, and very playable.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2004-06-20 UTC
Flippable pieces won't be sufficient for playing Mortal Shogi, because
they won't be enough to cover all possible combinations of pieces that
could exist in the game. Except for some uninvented possibilities, any set
for Mortal Shogi would require multiple pieces. At best, using flippable
pieces would just reduce the total number of pieces that need to be on
hand. 

Not counting Pawns that promote and then demote, one may have up to 7
Knights. For example, (BQ -> WR -> BB -> WN) + 2 * (WR -> BB -> WN) + 2 *
(BB -> WN) + 2 * WN. The other pieces could eventually demote to Black
Knights but not White Knights. Four Chess sets would cover this. The
number needed of other pieces would be less and so would be covered by the
four sets. The number of possible Pawns would be 7+8=15, which would also
be covered. Since each side could have a different 7 Knights, flippable
pieces would not seem to reduce how many extra pieces are needed on hand.
Including the possiblity that all one's Pawns will promote into Knights,
a player could have up to 15 Knights, which can be covered by eight sets.
So, eight sets, not the mere three I said before, is what it takes to
cover all possibilities, and flippable pieces won't really help. Unless
you're rich, it is probably best to go buy eight small plastic sets from
a dollar store.

Okay, now for the uninvented possibilities. I look forward to pieces made
out of nanobots that will be able to take on any shape programmed into
them. A less technically advanced possibility would be disk or wedge
shaped pieces with LCD displays that change at the flick of a button and
can be programmed for different games. Something between these two
possibilities would be flat disks that project programmably changeable
holograms, assuming that it would be safe to touch the LASER light coming
out of them. If need be, they could have some kind of elongated glass dome
that contains the hologram and also makes the tactile sensation of picking
up the pieces more like picking up regular pieces.

P. Gelman wrote on 2004-06-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Thanks for your replies Fergus which I just noticed.

I have played Mortal Chessgi on zillions and do end up hoopin' and
hollarin' at the computer when it outsmarts me.  I have a better chance
of beating the computer than with straight Chessgi, another reason to
cheer for this variation.  Also I love dropping those pesky pawns.

Sadly I don't always have room for Zillions on my computer.

I enjoy Mortal Chessgi more than straight Chessgi, but Chessgi has the
aesthetic and palpable merit of being easer to physically exist as a
chess
set.  I know companies have sold versions of it and maybe still do
(flippable pieces of different color on each side).  As far as I can see
right now, Mortal Chessgi would take extra pieces.  Wait a minute,
potential solution: use the Shogi method, all pieces of the same color,
but use a directional orientation to determine the ownership of the
piece.
 Hmm... would that work?

Proposal for a variation: 'Boris Chessgi' (Mortal Chessgi + Moscow King
Chess + Boris Yeltsin).  Like Mortal Chessgi, but with the opening set up
and piece introduction method of Moscow King Chess.  (I like Moscow King
Chess rules better than the similar Parachute and Unachess versions.)

description-- http://www.chessvariants.com/diffsetup.dir/kingchess.html
java-- /play/erf/KingChss.html

So Boris Chessgi would start out like Moscow King Chess, but captured
pieces would join in the fashion you invented for Mortal Chessgi.

Thanks,
Peter

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2004-03-01 UTC
If you really want to play Mortal Chessgi by yourself in solitaire or
against a computer opponent, I can't recommend anything better than
Zillions of Games. I implemented Mortal Chessgi for Zillions of Games back
when I created the game. Here is a link to the page that Zillions of Games
keeps on this game:

http://zillions-of-games.com/games/mortalchessgi.html

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2004-02-28 UTC
I'm glad you like my game. I don't do Java programming, but maybe you could ask Ed Friedlander to do something. I program primarily in PHP, and I have written a preset for playing Mortal Chessgi online with Game Courier. Game Courier includes the ability to play any of its games in solitaire mode. The link is already on this page. If you enjoy Mortal Chessgi, you may also enjoy Mortal Shogi and Kamikaze Mortal Shogi.

P. Gelman wrote on 2004-02-27 UTCGood ★★★★
Mortal Chessgi is a lot of fun.  I like the combination of the shogi
drop-captured-pieces rule, with their demotion for two reasons: 

1) Here, powerful pieces decline in number over the course of the battle.
This retains their feeling of value. There is little 'inflation' that
weakens their feeling of value.

2) The course of Mortal Chessgi retains something of the decline of
number
of pieces as the game progresses.  This leads to endgames which can be
something like FIDE endgames, made weird by parachuting small-value
pieces.

3) I like the feeling of the game.

How about offering a Java version for web solitaire play?  Thanks!

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-06-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
What a nice idea for like-Shogi games!. I have play-tested Mortal Chessgi, playability is really good and decisions and the emerging situations are usually very interesting. Zillions plays Mortal Chessgi with a medium-good level. Why not MORTAL SHOGI?. I think that MORTAL SHOGI should be a great game...

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