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Having analysed this arrangement of cells I have worked out the distances
between cells. Below is a sample of square roots of distances from the
cell marked 0 on alternate layers of 6x5 and 5x6, shown as digits in base
36 (A=10, B=11,... Z=35). Thus moves can be traced for Rook (0149G...
same
or successive levels), Bishop (028I... same or alternate levels), Unicorn
(03C... successive or alternate levels), and Nightrider (05K... same or
successive levels). Note however that the 9 on the level adjoining the
starting one is NOT part of a Rook move, but a coprime move like 2:2:1 on
a cubic-cell board. Note also that the number 7 represents exactly the
commonest oblique piece of hexagonal-cell variants.
2125AH 3359F
10149G 1137D 4347CJ 779DJ
2125AH 1137D 3236BI 557BH A9ADIO
5458DK 3359F 4347CJ 557BH 989CHN
A9ADIP 779DJ 747AFM 779DJ A9ADIO
DDFJP CBCFKR BBDHN DCDGLR
HHJNT IHILQW

The problem with your idea of reducing the colours to two is that four colours really do reflect best the real relationship between the squares, as the rotations in my previous comment illustrate. In a game that does not use the diagonal move it makes sense for two of the Pawn's orthogonal moves to be capturing and two non-capturing, but which are which is entirely arbitrary. Associating one pair of these moves with the orthogonal same-level move and the other pair with the diagonal same-level move seems oddly asymmetric. Introduces Shogi generals is a great idea but you do need to use the true inter-level diagonal - which on closer examination I notice is the vertical move up or down two levels!

I've been thinking lately that the 84-cell tetrahedral board might adapt
better to a 3D Shogi. My reasoning is that Shogi pieces are less powerful
than Chess pieces, getting much of their value from being parachutable
once captured, and the difficulty of visualizing moves on this board might
be lessened for less powerful pieces. I'm considering replacing the Rooks
with Lances that can only move orthogonally 'forward', the Dabbabantes
with some kind of Silvers and Golds that can only move to a subset of the
adjacent cells, and having a Horse (a Knight, but only with its
forwardmost moves) that automatically drops into the King's starting
square whenever the King first vacates it. I don't think I'd include any
pieces like the Shogi Bishop or Rook. The board's colors could be reduced
to two. Pawns might move to the forward cells of the same color, or of
opposite color, or there might be two kinds of Pawn. A Silver and Gold
would move to any of the four forward cells, or to the adjacent lateral or
rear cells that are the opposite color (Silver) or the same color (Gold,
considering the same-levels cells 'diagonally' adjacent as adjacent for
this purpose).
It appeals to me that the board is also nearly the same size as a
conventional Shogi board. These armies would be a bit smaller, but I think
they're also a bit stronger.

There is a sensible diagonal move on your board, although I can see why you
did you not use it as it is complex. On one level (literally rather than
the usual metaphorically!) the diagonal move is self-evident, along path
constant in colour and also in either letter or number. What a diagonal
move between levels means is determined by observing that the board can be
rotated into five other positions in the same frame (and reflected into
another six), which your noation recognises as they split evenly into your
levels I-VII, red-blue and green-yellow levels 1-7, and red-yellow and
blue-green levels a-g, revealing such diagonals as all the c4 squares.
Temperature goes out of the window (metaphorically rather than the usual
literally!), but is hardly needed once a diagonal capture has been found
for the Pawn.
As well as this lot the board can be viewed with any corner as a
hexagonal cell at the top and the rest of it as six progressively larger
triangles of such cells down to 28 at the bottom. Each hex level has all
four colours and the diagonal move described in my first paragraph
requires a change of hex level.

As of November 30, 2002, there is a new and corrected version of the ZRF
available for download. If you downloaded the ZRF before that date, the
version you have has a bug (sorry!), which causes it to allow the
Dababante to move past an enemy piece on a square that it could have
captured. As described above, every line of squares on this board
alternates between two colors, and the normal move for the Dababante is to
those squares that share the color of its starting square; and it can
reach those squares even if a piece (other than a Pawn) intervenes on one
of the squares of the other color. BUT, it CANNOT continue past a piece
occupying a square of the same color as its starting square -- a piece on
a square where its own motion would 'touch down' (possibly to capture the
piece). This is what the earlier, incorrect version of the ZRF allowed.
My thanks to Dan Troyka for figuring out how to fix this error in the
ZRF.
By the way, the new version also has a modified board image, making it
look more like the 3-D levels are separated by struts instead of attached
to upright wooden planks. Dan and I both prefer the new image.

Have you actually built a board? I haven't done that yet myself, so yours would probably be the first one in existence. I'm inclining toward plexiglas levels, held up by threaded metal rods (with nuts to hold the boards in place), and a wooden base, probably made from a round cutting-board. I might want to make a set of squat chessmen somehow too, since standard chessmen seem too tall for a convenient 3-D game. They force the levels too far apart.

This has perhaps the most interesting geometry in a chess variant ever.
And if you take the time to actually make a board of the thing (paper,
tape and barbecue sticks spring to mind), the gameplay isn't even as hard
as in a geometrically coherent cubic chess.

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