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Battle Chieftain Chess. Warriors and a king fight on a board with walls and holes. (10x11, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on 2008-11-08 UTC
One President at a time, says North American Barack Obama. One King at a time in not-so-bad Battle Chieftain Chess.

Craig Daniel wrote on 2007-09-26 UTC

No, I'm not related to Charles Daniel (at least as far as I know).

I have to confess I had completely forgotten about this game for a couple years; thank you for reminding me of it. I recall games lasting a while; I'm probably going to have to take a look at it now with fresh eyes to try to improve that. Got any thoughts on how?

George Duke wrote on 2007-09-23 UTC
Here is a CV with but one piece-type like Checkers or Go. There are other CVs with only 2 or only 3 piece-type you could easily name. Commented for its first 2 years, BC has been left alone for 3 1/2 years til now. The immediately-preceding Comment made a Design Analysis of BC, as other DAs were done for about 50 CVs. Full Design Analyses take much longer than a plain Comment, and that experiment suffers anyway with usually only rough estimates for piece values to determine other criteria, including Power Density, Exchange Gradient, Game Length(expected average), the latter by mathematical formula. We assume Craig Daniel is no relation to Charles Daniel, who this week published 'Flying Bombers'. Battle Chieftain has interesting variant boards by way of the obligatory multiplying of its possibilities.

George Duke wrote on 2004-04-02 UTC
Battle Chieftain design analysis:
# squares: 84
# piece types: 1, differentiated into one K makes 1.5
Piece-type density: 1.8%
Est. piece values: B5
Initial piece density: 24%
Power density: 1.19
Long diagonal: a1-i9
Exchange gradient: 0.98 (assuming minimal differentiation Berserker
         to King-equivalent: 5.0/5.1);(1-G)=0.02
Ave. game length: M = 3.5Z(T)/P(1-G)=(3.5*84*(0.018))/(1.19)(0.02)=
                           222 Moves
Features: These are all Rooks (interest only as extreme case)
Comment: Values reasonable except G;(1-G) is just some low value
       and M is >100

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-11-07 UTC
I've updated the rules text for the change.

Craig Daniel wrote on 2002-11-07 UTC
In creating the Zillions file, Peter tells me he found a forced win
strategy for white that I had missed in playtesting.

To fix it: Swapping a king for a berserker must ALWAYS take a turn, under
any circumstances, not just when the king is captured.

Good catch, Peter.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-11-03 UTC
I observed the following behavior from Zillions: <p> White would place its King in a square under attack.<br> Since Kings in check can demote to a Berserker and promote another Berserker without counting as a move, it would promote the Berserker in line with the Black King.<br> The White King would then capture the Black King -- there is no place safe for a King from another King, as Kings can move through missing squares.<br> Black would then miss a turn promoting a new King, thus White's King is safe.<br> <p> And White can do it again next turn . . . <p> Is this legal? Is there anyway to prevent this?

Craig Daniel wrote on 2002-11-03 UTC
Both players place their kings before anyone makes their first move.

Kings may be positioned already under attack, I suppose. It didn't come up
in playtesting since it's not really a good idea.

When a berserker is promoted, it may be under attack. There is no
guarantee that there is any berserker not under attack.
Although as a variant, you could say that if all berserkers are attacked
and the king needs to change, that player has lost. This would bring back
the elegant feel of the chess 'checkmate rather than capture' rule.

Kings should probably be allowed to move into check. Again, this isn't
particularly desirable - the only time it came up in playesting, the
player only had one other berserker. This meant instant defeat once the
king was captured, since then they only had a (new) king.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-11-03 UTC
A more general question: can Kings move to attacked squares? Chess Kings can not, of course, but these are hardly Chess Kings here.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-11-03 UTC
A few more questions (if you're wondering why so many questions, I'm writing a Zillions Rule File for this game, and details have to be nailed down when you do that): <p> <ul> <li>When does a player place their King? Is it a separate move, so that White places their King, then Black? Or does each King place their King, and then make their first move?</li> <p> <li>May the King be placed in a square that is under attack?</li> <p> <li>When a King under attack chooses to become a Berserker, and another Berserker becomes King, may that 2nd Berserker be under attack at the time? </li> </ul>

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-11-03 UTC
No problem -- I've updated that sentence on the page.

Craig Daniel wrote on 2002-11-03 UTC
I guess I messed up in witing that. The rule should have read, 'No piece may end its move on an opponent's wall, except to capture'. Good catch.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-11-02 UTC
Looking at the rules, it seems to me that the sentence: <blockquote><i> No player may end a move on their opponents wall. </i></blockquote> Indicates that a piece sitting on a friendly wall is immune to capture. If that's the case, wouldn't a losing player just move their few remaining pieces onto their wall, and just shuffle between wall squares?

Mike Nelson wrote on 2002-11-01 UTC
I stand corrected. Peter's rule has one difference form Craig's: a player whose King is checkmated may choose not to swap and leave the King checkmated. This is an improvement on the original.

Mike Nelson wrote on 2002-11-01 UTC

You are quite correct, this is both the best way to phrase the rule and to
implement it in software.  It has eactly the same effect as Craig's rule
and my rephrasing of it. We are, however, not in disagreement about the
originality of the concept--in my original comment, I stipulated 'with one
royal piece'.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-10-31 UTC
Actually, I have to disagree about the combination of King capture and checkmate. <p> <ul> <li>First, it occurs in a lot of double King variants where the first King is captured and the 2nd King must be checkmated.</li> <p> <li>Second, I think it confusing in <u>Battle Chieftain Chess</u>. At one point you use one mechanism for a situation, and later you use another. It seems gratitiously complicated to me.</li> <p> </ul> Let me explain something about the second point. As well as being a variant designer, I'm a software designer/programmer. I have a real liking for simplicity and consistency. The mottos of a software designer trying for elegant code (as we all should be) are 'when in doubt, leave it out' and Law of the Least Suprise (software should always do what is least surprising to the user). Looking at it that way, the following rule would make more sense to me: <blockquote> When the King occupies an enemy attacked square, it may switch places with any Berzerker before the player's move. If a King is captured, the owning player's next turn consists of converting a Berzerker into the new King. </blockquote> (<i>Note: in the above rule I wrote a Berzerker switches places with the King -- this is equivalent to making the King a Berzerker and the Berzerker a King.)

Mike Nelson wrote on 2002-10-30 UTCGood ★★★★

The rule is actully well thought-out and quite original. This is the only
game I'm aware of (with one royal piece) that provides for both checkmate
and King capture. The one-turn penalty for allowing the King to be
captured is exactly right--by making the opponent actually capture your
King, you have required him/her to use an extra move vs. checkmate, so the
rules require you to give that move back. Well done!

Craig Daniel wrote on 2002-10-30 UTC
That's it. Unfortunately, I stink at explaining these things. Thank you for putting it so clearly.

Mike Nelson wrote on 2002-10-30 UTC
Is this the correct understanding of the rules?

When a player's King is checkmated, the King becomes a Berzerker and one
of the player's Berzerkers becomes a new King. This does not count as a
move, so the player has the next move.

If a player's King is checked but not checkmated, the player chooses one
of these options:

1. Escape from check.
2. Treat the check as if it were checkmate.
3. Make a move which does not escape from check. If the opponent then
captures the King, one of the player's Berzerkers becomes a new King, but
this does count as a move and the opponent has the next move.

Craig Daniel wrote on 2002-10-29 UTC
The king can be captured when it had not previously been checkmated. If this happens, the player having failed to move it, the one-turn penaly is incurred. Otherwise, when the king is in a checkmate situation but not yet captured - and this is rare, of course - the transformation to a berserker is instantaneous. Thus, both are meant in different spots, but I wrote it unclearly.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-10-29 UTCGood ★★★★
This looks interesting, but there's one point of the rules I find confusing: you talk both about the King being checkmated -- which is generally used to mean an inescapable threat to capture but not actual capture -- and being captured. Which is it?

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