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3d Minishogi. A variant originally devised for a contest that never materialised. (3x5x3, Cells: 45) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on 2009-07-08 UTC
Well, an extra rank might help but it would violate the conditions of the competition! You could be right about a second-move advantage, but remember that all possible Princelings are never the whole lot. Remember that they cannot use the triaxial diagonals. So Princelings can be threatened non-mutually by pieces with a forward moves in those directions. Things may turn on which one White chooses to move first and how that affects how well non-mutual threats can be delivered.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2009-07-01 UTC
I have played, or rather, playtested, this game, a year and a half ago, I think. Much as I hate to say it, it plays better without the princelings. With them, the beginning of the game seems to fall into an ultimately rather unenjoyable trading of all possible princelings. One can screw up, and lose an extra one or two, I suppose, but the moves are very stereotyped - basically forced. [And look how they play out - how does white do in the series of exchanges? Does black have a second move advantage? At this point, I don't remember.] It's an interesting concept and a very pretty setup, but it doesn't work well as a game. I believe the pieces need a little more distance between them at start, for starters. Maybe an empty 3x3 section or two added to the middle of the board would give some room for maneuver. Still, the extremely low movement ability of the pieces has a tendency to telegraph intentions.

I believe the problem with the princelings in this game is that they are too strong. Now, the king does have unlimited 3D freedom, which makes it almost uncatchable, so you might think you need all that extra power. But making the king effectively uncatchable, unbalancing the game, and trying to re-balance it by making the pawns into full, if forward-only, pieces, only makes it more unbalanced, I think. But I can't criticize without making some concrete and testable suggestions for improvement.

I'm promoting the 'Held King' rule this week for situations like the one here: a king that can move to 26 different locations on 3 different 2D levels. The friendly king may hold the enemy king on a 2D level by moving onto the same 2D level the enemy king occupies. Once this happens, the enemy king may not move off that level until after your king leaves that level. Both kings may freely move within that 2D level they both occupy, subject to the standard rules, including checkmate, but your king may freely move away on any turn, while the enemy king cannot, even to save himself from checkmate on that 2D level, and even if the enemy king would not be in check when on another level. This allows a conventional checkmate in 2D, at the cost of exposing your king to danger by moving up. Note that if your king voluntarily moves off the level, the enemy king can immediately follow your king to his new level, and then your king is held to the one level he's on. This solves the 'uncatchable' problem in a very nice way. 

I'd be happy to try the original and some reworked versions, if you'd like. I'm comfortable with the held king rule; it should work well in this game, given the nature of the board. I'm not at all sure about just adding a slice of board to the middle, making it a 54 cube 3x3x6. That needs real playtesting. For critiquing the game this way, Charles, I'll volunteer to playtest some revisions.

George Duke wrote on 2009-06-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
To the contrary, grounding in the mathematics of chessboard and pieces is essential to avoid triviality. See ChessboardMath, ChessboardMath-1, -2, -3, -4, -5, and -6. Moreover, to David Pritchard just the term ''a designer'' is silly cliche again, since he points out in Intro to 'ECV' that ''anyone can make up a CV in a minute.'' Dark forces within CVPage have encouraged the pointless practice, some past contests themselves standing on the idle principle. Pull a random soul off the street to carry the placard ''Designer.'' Why make CVart no one can possibly take time to play? Don't ask, don't answer. Some prolificists with over 15 so-called CVs have not designed anything really, because of ignorance of past chess-form history. One unfortunate case glories in contempt for historicity within comments here. Recall that the greatest variantist (with Betza) T.R. Dawson has nary a full rules-set to convey. On the contrary, always fully grounded in what has been done before him are Gilman's 200 CVs, and he happens to have mentioned up to 10 of them in 'M&B01 to M&B05' already. 3d Minishogi is offered up in 'M&B04' as having suitably logical promotion rules for generals, as to movement directions in 3d. Gilman's ethos gives the sense of recognizing the unlikelihood most his art ever being played extensively, often theme-based or nomenclature-emphasized and most clearly for strictly entertainment viewing and intellectual analysis. Ideally in foreseeable future, Gilman may be pressed upon to single out differently 2-3 Gilmans, Winther 2-3 Winthers, likewise one or more each by panel from Gifford, Betza, and some 10 others etc. for clear field of 20 CVs to play extensively, dump the rest, add an afterthought-handful of deliberate mutators a la Betza, one or two wildcards -- Tetrahedral? :-(!); and then peripheral entities to CVPage would oversee a million games played by 2015. And expect continued play of those thoughtfully and logically chosen through mid-century. The era of ego-driven proliferation by the trillions dead with the times. Yeah, I remember....necessity.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2007-09-06 UTC
I have removed the centring so that all ranks line up against a hopefully constant start-of-line (reducing rather than increasing total text). Does this fix it?

David Howe wrote on 2007-09-06 UTC
Depending on many factors (one being the width of the window one uses when browsing) the diagram can appear horizontally skewed. The fix for this is to enclose the diagram in an html table.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-11-13 UTC
Yes, you were right about the dimensions in the opening paragraph, and I have corrected them. The array diagram looks correct to me.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-11-12 UTC
Hello, Charles. One typo that can be a bit confusing is '5x5x3' instead of '3x5x3' in the first line of the second paragraph. And the alignment of black's back rank in the diagram should be fixed. These are very minor points, annoyances rather than problems, one mental and one visual, that detract from what looks like a very nice game. But the purpose of my previous comment was not to provoke a reaction about typesetting issues, but to find out a bit more about this game. It covers an area I'm very interested in but have not gotten to yet, and in a way that I would not have. Joe

Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-11-12 UTC
The only typo I could see was one gref for href, which I have corrected. If you can point out any others, please do so and I will correct them. If you are thinking of Jewelled and various verbs ending -ise, these are standard usage in Britain.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-11-10 UTCGood ★★★★
This is a very interesting-looking game. [You might want to clean up a
couple typos, though.] I'd love to know how it plays. It looks like it
begins almost in mid-game with the pieces so close; and with a starting
piece density of 80%, it's a good thing pieces can only move 1. It's
tight; of the 45 squares, only 3 allow a piece its full range of movement.
A very tricky piece of design: something necessary if you want a good game
with so few squares. You compensate for the limited number of squares by
an almost outrageously high starting density, and by having all your
pieces move only 1. Radical. You've certainly pushed the game to a limit.
Any possible white first move and black reply puts both pieces en prise.
Are there forcing moves available to either player that provide an
advantage? What is the range of options in this game? I'd really enjoy
trying a game of this. If it works, the game as well as the initial
concept would be excellent. As someone interested in short-range pieces, I
have to commend you on an excellent idea here. You have presented a pretty,
almost puzzle-like game. I hope it plays like it looks. [And it's nice to
know I'm not the only one with a 45-square chess variant languishing
somewhere in a corner, waiting for Hans to get younger.]

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