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Dragon Chess (tm)A game information page
. Commercial board game played on a large board with a new piece -- the Dragon.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jose Carrillo wrote on 2010-11-27 UTC
Just got in the mail today a set of Dragon Chess I purchased on ebay.

Not too impressed with the 3-squares movement of the Dragon...

But a nice looking set to have for playing variants (I'll most likely redefine the movement of the Dragon).

My 9 year old son loved the look of the set, specially the Dragons.

I saw these Renaissance pieces years ago (never owned this type of set) when I was in university.

What I paid for the Dragon Chess set was money well spent, and it is in brand new condition.

George Duke wrote on 2007-11-14 UTCPoor ★
Well, let us start calling poor 'poor'. Even though taking exception to 'Kasparov-Fisher's, or 'Fisher-Kasparov's, indelicacy at times, as a game to play Dragon Chess(tm) adds nothing to the art, zilch. That is because restricted Queen is bad Chess piece. That goes for all CVs too that use one- or two-step, or one- or two- or three-step, movers in radial lines. The reason they are all poor pieces, whether Rook-like, Bishop-like, or Queen-like, is that there is no rationale not to go to one-, two- three- and four-stepping. As a pretext for making 10x10 board, however, this Dragon Chess(tm) makes sense for them and their own interest.

Kasparov Fisher wrote on 2007-11-14 UTCPoor ★
This is unbelievable! This is completely uncreative! The guy or guys who invented this not only don't care about chess, they surely don't know the least about chess (if you don't believe me, read what they've put on their website)! The bigger board is a blant copy of dozens of other variants: because there are two added pieces, we need two more files and since we want a squared board, we need also two more ranks! Boring and done thousands of times before!!! Another novelty: we need a pawn in front of the new pieces!!! Wow, that's new!!! And the two 3x4 squares at the sides: what the hell are they good for? There is no justification for them! They are just there because! There is not a real need for them to be there!!! The pawn can't go there and the board is already 100 squares big! Who needs the extra 24 squares that don't have a real purpose!!! It's obvious that they wanted to create a patented chess set that they could commercialize! And they wanted to add a dragon! The pieces look really cool and so do the graphics also. But beside that, there is nothing. They just took chess and added a piece that moves like a weak queen. A piece they really wanted to have the form of a dragon so they could use cool graphics and could commercialize! Really sad. I know much better and creative variants.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-06-16 UTC
thanks for your answers Fergus and Gary, it seems this dragon piece is
pretty rare, i like it, stronger than bishop but not stronger than rook,
though i feel it must be very close to being as strong as a rook, in
crowded and close quarters it is powerful.

it also seems the board is very unusual, yes?
i like the way it 'cuts the corners' of the board, i think it makes for
greater game play, and the adding of squares in the mid-central area, i
think that is pretty interesting too.

James Spratt wrote on 2006-06-15 UTC
I had one of those tan-vs.-brown Renaissance sets as a teen in the sixties, too, and I have no idea what happened to it. FWIW, we might salute these folks for stumping up for the tooling to cast the extra (dragon) piece; they might have contracted for a run of standard Ren. pieces, if they're the same as the old ones, but the Dragon must be new. Plastic injection molds are complex precision machines and very expensive, and to make one for a chess-set indicates a serious commitment. The ubiquitous plastic picnic fork and knife are made in exactly the same kind of mold, but sold cheap by the millions, are not nearly as risky an investment; you've gotta sell a LOT of either to justify the tooling costs, and chess sets are a much lower demand item.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-06-14 UTC
I looked closely at the Dragon Chess non-dragon pieces. And I agree with Fergus 100% on his piece observation; i.e., they look identical to Renaissance sets. I learned to play chess while watching barbers play against their customers - they used a carmel color vs. dark brown Renaissance Set. I played on it for years before learning there was such a thing as a Staunton Set. Fortunately I own that same set.... no dragons of course. And I never imagined someone would add dragons to it.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2006-06-14 UTC

Peter Aronson wrote:

Upon closer examination of their press releases, it looks like Dragon Chess was developed by four interior designers: Lex Parker, Susan Parker, Ed Thalmann and Tove Thalmann.

The patent names only Brian Grady as the inventor. He comes from Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The press release says, 'Created by Niagara locals including, Lex and Susan Parker, owners of Lex Parker Design Consultants Ltd., and Edwin and Tove Thalmann of Amber Forge Restoration Consultants.' As far as I can tell from the press releases, Lex Parker is responsible mainly for graphic design, Susan Parker for the business plan, and Edwin Thalman (not Jeff Easley) for the design of the Dragon pieces. Jeff Easley is responsible only for drawing the cover. I expect that Brian Grady is the original inventor of the game. The press release says that someone, left unnamed, proposed the game to Lex Parker. This was probably Brian Grady. It seems that he recruited the Parkers and Thalmans to turn his game into a marketable product.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2006-06-14 UTC

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote:

are there any games with this 'dragon' piece that anyone knows of?

Knightmare Chess uses this piece. One card that lets you introduce a new piece to the board calls it a Princess. Another card that lets you curse your opponent's Queen calls it a Cursed Queen.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2006-06-14 UTC

Gary Gifford wrote:

On a different note, regarding pieces. I own two of the old Renaisance (SP?) sets by Lowe. Are the pieces for Dragon Chess (excluding the Dragon), made from the same mold? That is what I gathered from Fergus's earlier comment about the pieces.

All I know comes from comparing photos of the Dragon Chess pieces with photos on ebay of Renaissance sets. They looked identical as far as I could tell.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2006-06-14 UTC

Peter Aronson wrote:

Actually, Fergus, it was the artist Jeff Easley who is the ex-TSR employee.

I know that, Peter. That is why I said 'the designer of the Dragons' rather than 'the inventor of Dragon Chess.' I was referring to the artist who designed the pieces, not to the game's inventor.


Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-06-14 UTC
Hi Christine, in regard to your second question '... and are there any
games with this 'dragon' piece that anyone knows of?'

My Medusa piece (from Pillars of Medusa and Mini-POM) moves 3 spaces any
direction (as does the Dragon); However, the Medusa turns adjacent enemy
pieces to stone (freezes them) and can still capture them by displacement
on another turn.

Also, I recall someone else had commented that the 'mini-Queen' was a
fairly well known piece.  But I do not know where it is used.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-06-14 UTC
just a couple of questions, are there any games with a similar board set up
as this game, and are there any games with this 'dragon' piece that
anyone knows of?

oh by board set up in mean the shape of the board

James Spratt wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
Hi, Gary. S'aright, no biggie..

Jianying Ji wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
There is a patent in the US too. it is US Patent No. 6,799,763, granted in
2001. A close reading of the patent gives one the impression that in the
path to trying to patenting the game in the broadest language possible, it
made the board more central to the patent, then the pieces. I am not a
patent attorney so I don't know how much weight each section gets.

One more thing about the patent: chessvariants.com is in the prior art
(reference) section of the patent. So PTO is aware of this page's
existence and is viewed as an archive for prior art info. So as these
pages grow, we will actually help improve the quality of patents going
forward.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
Upon closer examination of their press releases, it looks like Dragon Chess was developed by four interior designers: Lex Parker, Susan Parker, Ed Thalmann and Tove Thalmann.

The Dragon piece is patented (in Canada), which is ... interesting. It is not like short Queens are anything particularly new. They also hold the trademark (at least in Canada), but that is often a matter of whoever asks for it first.


Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
James, sorry about the identity error. I've made the correction to my previous comment.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
Peter, I'm not sure if you have control over the classification, but I hope you can help. This game is wrongly classified. it should be 16x10 Cells:124. Thank you very much.
Fixed!

James Spratt wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
Um, I think that was Greg's question; since I get an Active-X Alert, to
accommodate which I won't trouble myself one keystroke, I can't see
their site, have never seen the game, and it doesn't look like I will
unless they authorize a (maybe temporary?) preset here from which to
derive some qualified suggestions for improvement, I'll never know enough
to even ask any questions about it.

Jianying, you might be right, about the inexperience part; we don't know
how much we don't know, do we?  But when you put dollars and deadlines
into creativity equations, they don't balance any more.

It might be a really good game; the box looks very nice.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
In regard to Greg's excellent question: 'But why add the extra
battlefields on the side?  It is not as though the setup or rules
encourages any pieces to move there' --
My response: I think if I were to play this game and I had a flank attack
against the enemy King, then I could possibly have a Queen, Dragon,
Bishop, and/or Knight on the side battle field to join in the forray.   So
it could end up adding another angle of attack.  I'd need to look at the
board again to see if this actually makes sense, but from what I recall it
does. 

On a different note, regarding pieces.  I own two of the old Renaisance
(SP?) sets by Lowe.  Are the pieces for Dragon Chess (excluding the
Dragon), made from the same mold?  That is what I gathered from Fergus's
earlier comment about the pieces.

Jianying Ji wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
James, this game is put out by a very small family business in ontario, so
I think it is more lack of experience rather than motivation that made the
game subpar. I think with more insight they may put out more rule sets with
more innovation. At least I hope so.

Peter, I'm not sure if you have control over the classification, but I
hope you can help. This game is wrongly classified. it should be 16x10
Cells:124. Thank you very much.

James Spratt wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
Nothing made for profit is made as well as it can be made--the profit could
have been applied to making the product better.
Employers (of creatives) in the US hold copyright by default, unless
otherwise agreed in writing, which is rare, which further compromises
product quality; the (hired) creative, not having a long-term interest in
the product, need only please the boss between paychecks.
'Front-line' control is when the sales staff direct product development
based on previously-observed market interest in similar products, i.e.
'copycatting' or 'knocking-off'; 'back-line' control is when the
creative staff comes up with something really original, which is rarer. 
The boss is usually interested in sales, not originality or even, really,
product quality.
This may account for some of your complaints.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
Curiously, the designer of the Dragons is a former TSR employee, and he probably knows that his former boss has a previous claim on the name Dragon Chess. I wonder if Lex Parker made any arrangement with Gary Gygax before trademarking the name of his well-known 3D Chess variant.
Actually, Fergus, it was the artist Jeff Easley who is the ex-TSR employee. The site doesn't say anything really about Parker. I don't think it even states outright who invented Dragon Chess, although it sort of implies Parker did. And in any case, I think you're underestimating how obscure Gygax's Dragon Chess would be to someone not on this site, although a quick Google would have turned it up if anyone bothered to look.


Greg, a quick and dirty calculation of how much the Dragon is worth on an 8x8 board, counting it as W + F + nD + nA + nH + nG (really abusing Betza notation here) we end up with a value of roughly two Knights (2 half-Knights + four lame half-Knights (worth half for being lame)), which is interestingly the same ratio you got for the larger board.


Jianying Ji wrote on 2006-06-13 UTC
Greg, I noticed that too. I certainly think the game needs to find a better
use of its field.

Gary, quite true about the Openning Book not being existent at the present
time for Dragon Chess.

Greg Strong wrote on 2006-06-13 UTCBelowAverage ★★
When I looked at this game, I was very pleased by the appearance of the
pieces, and, although I, like Fergus, find Staunton pieces easier to use,
on account of their familiarity, I think I will purchase a Dragon Chess
set anyway, just to have the pieces at my disposal to facilitate making
physical representations of other Chess variants that I do enjoy.

I was not particularly impressed by the game itself, however.  Unlike
Jianying, however, I do not think it needs to be a radical deviation to be
good or to be successful.  Gothic Chess is no radical deviation and yet it
seems plenty popular, as CVs go.  And I'm not sure that throwing out the
opening book, while that is of concern to more experienced players like
us, even entered into their thinking.  My criticism of the game is more
related to the specific implementation.  The main 10x10 board... ok, good,
clearly that board has been tested in many successful games such as Grand
Chess.  But why add the extra battlefields on the side?  It is not as
though the setup or rules encourages any pieces to move there; I see them
remaining largely unused.  And a pawn would not want to go there (only
possible by capture) as it would then have to capture again to get out of
there, which it would have to do in order to promote.  But, conversely,
the fact that a pawn would not want to go there is not enough incentive
for other pieces to go there.  You would still move a pawn into such an
area in order to capture a piece, even if it means giving up on promoting
that pawn.  The board doesn't seem to be well thought-out.

It also looks like the text of the rules wasn't thought out at all.  For
example, they list material values for the pieces, but they left the
values of the Chess pieces as-is, and added the Dragon in at a value of 4
pawns.  For starters, on such a large board, the Bishop and Knight are
obviously not of the same value any more.  Beyond that, all the standard
chess pieces are valued incorrectly.  Should be more like: pawn=1,
knight=2.5, bishop=4, dragon=5, rook=6, queen=10-12.

But I'll probably still buy a set just for the pieces.  I wish I had
acquired an Omega Chess set before they all ran out.  Anyone have an Omega
set they want to sell?!?

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-06-12 UTC
Jianying Ji, I agree that openings would evolve in Dragon Chess. What I meant by wiping them out was that, for example, players can no longer go to books and apply an opening such as Ruy Lopez, Sicilian, King's Gambit, etc. Also, it would take years for well-developed Dragon Chess Openings to evolve. Basically, opening book knowledge is no longer directly present.

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