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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2001-03-01
 Author: Hans L. Bodlaender. Inventor: Bruce  Harper. Bombalot. Bombs can wipe out most pieces on the board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-09-19 UTC

I've edited (added to) my previous comment, for any who missed it.


Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-09-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This submission may have more clearly spelled out some of the rules for Bombalot than I recall a Chess Federation of Canada magazine article did in the late 1970s. In spite of what to me seemed to be certain ambiguities in the rules back then, my non-chess playing brother loved playing Bombalot with me. One thing that the magazine article made clear was that if an Immobilizer is directly or indirectly pushed along by a tank, the immobilized pieces around it are pushed in the same direction, possibly resulting in a chain reaction of pieces on the same line(s), in the direction of the push (something similar goes if an immobilized piece is directly or indirectly pushed along by a tank). Another thing I recall about the magazine article was that the board was checkered as for chess, i.e. with a1 (with the White Imitator on it in the setup position) being a dark square, as in the Sir Bombalot link.

Note that some ambiguitie(s) to the rules may still remain, and should really be resolved before playing a game. E.g., if an opponent's Imitator moved last, what properties does your own Imitator now have? My best guess in this case would be it has the properties of the last non-Imitator piece of your own that you moved, assuming you didn't move your own Imitator last, too - in that case, the properties of one's Imitator may or may not be that of the opponent's last moved non-Imitator piece, depending on how far back one has to remember to recall the last non-Imitator move by either side(!).

However, this all goes against the part of the description of an Imitator, in this submission's version of the rules, that says: "...if the last move of the opponent was with an immobiliser, the player can move the imitator and freeze pieces of the opponent, which are frozen until the imitator moves again.". So, if we accept this submission's version of the rules as per the quotation, it seems to me to follow that an Imitator always has the properties of the last enemy non-Imitator piece that moved, until the Imitator is moved like (& then takes on properties of) another enemy non-Imitator piece that has subsequently moved, as odd an interpretation as that may seem.

Whether this version of the rules & my subsequent interpretation are correct or not, my next question regardless would be, if White is to move his Imitator at move one, how can it move & what properties does it have? One suggestion I can make is that White should not be allowed to move his Imitator at move one (except if removing it, through the allowed suicide-of-a-piece move rule), and it as yet has no properties. Another suggestion would be that at move one the White Imitator can move like any piece in Black's army (note that any such move would presumably be not so harmful for Black), but this idea somehow seems less natural; for one thing, White may need to declare what type of piece the Imitator is acting like, if Black wishes to move his Imitator at move one also.

Personally, I think that the part of the rules that states "The Imitator moves and takes in the same way as the last enemy piece that has moved." pretty much stands by itself (though note the 2nd paragraph of this Comment). I also think that the subsequent part of this submission's rules about the Imitator that I quoted earlier, re: the explanation of how the Imitator may act like an Immobilizer, seems wrong, in part. That is, the last 5 words at the very end of my earlier quote apparently ought to read '...until the Imitator is no longer adjacent or the opponent moves a piece other than his own Immobilizer (or possibly his own Imitator as well, depending on the situation).' instead, in my opinion.

For piece values I'd tentatively rate the Twekes = 1, Super-Twekes = 2, Detonators (aka Detonator Coordinators) = 1.5, Tank = 1, Immobilizer = 5, Bomb = 10 and Imitator = 5.


Kathleen Moore wrote on 2015-08-11 UTC
On spread of play, and variation: Bombalot showed up at the Edmonton SF fan club about 1983-84, probably brought from TRIUMF by a physics student, and was all the rage for a few years. Variances implemented as of that outbreak: twekes only jump once in their turn; co-ordinators move strictly as per knights (easy to accidentally destroy your own pieces at their first move!); "dirty win" -- be the first to make it impossible for your opponent to achieve a "clean" win, by eliminating at least 15 of their pieces A couple of the local players worked out a sequence of moves that would end in 30 of the 32 pieces being eliminated all at once. -- Kathleen Moore ([email protected])

Daniil Frolov wrote on 2010-06-25 UTC
I don't think bomb in Semedo is something like this, but everything is possible... Most probably that scientist in Semedo is ferz: 1 square diagonally.

George Duke wrote on 2010-06-24 UTC
Frolov finds first use of a Bomb in 17th-century Semedo, http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MSsemedo. [Find another Scientist; see below.] Bombalot from the 1960s may be the next example, but bombs, exploding, with or without self-immolation are fairly common now by second decade 21st century under cvs proliferated as contemporary artwork. Bombs of Bombalot complement the Twekes and super-Twekes. Others: http://www.chessvariants.org/difftaking.dir/bomberchess.html; Gridlock has Bombs renamed as eliminations pieces, http://www.chessvariants.org/large.dir/gridlock/gridlockch4.html. Now Bombs move or act in expected ways as a class. How about the Scientist of Semedo? Can you find another more contemporary Scientist. Do not expect her to move the same as Semedo's.

Paul Ruane wrote on 2003-11-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Fast paced, rarely boring and fantastically amusing fun with a chess clock. I'd suggest you download Sir Bombalot for a computer assisted game (and this is coming from the author of the Bombalot rules for Zillions of Games).

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-07-26 UTC
I am not clear about original rules for detonators movement. I have seen (a little and selective set of) players playing this game, and detonators are moved as FIDE Knights, but the rules I have read are not uniform, the official Detonator movement description is still a question to me...

Anonymous wrote on 2003-07-25 UTC
Note: Further clarification it is available as an addon to Zillons.: http://www.zillions-of-games.com/cgi-bin/zilligames/submissions.cgi/99997?do=show;id=124

Paul wrote on 2003-02-07 UTC
Bombalot is available as a Zillions of Games game.

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