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Dragon. Missing description (9x15, Cells: 135) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Walker wrote on 2021-02-05 UTC

Does asking "How many times can I consult you again?" to your Seer count towards the number of times you can consult them again?


Charles Gilman wrote on 2010-04-22 UTC
I'm not sure that a preset would be that much help, unless it were a prescriptive one like the Ed Friedlander programs. If it just waited for players to make a move and then complained that it was an invalid one, it would just put players off. If it failed to enforce the rules at all, players could easily start exchanging invalid moves without knowing it - or getting into a row because they disagree about what is a valid move.

Anonymous wrote on 2010-04-20 UTC
It's probably good game, but:
'...King, Dwarf, Gnome, Pirate, blah blah blah... And now i will enumerate
them again: King, Dwarf, Gnome, Pirate, blah blah blah... Now, i will
explain them: King is tall in platinum crown, Witch have red hair, blah
blah blah... Now, let me enumerate them again: King, Dwarf, Gnome, Pirate,
blah blah blah... Have you remember them yet? So, no i will finaly explain
how they moves!'
-It's impossible to read! Can you explain each piece ones: it's moves,
elements, role in story, everything?

George Duke wrote on 2007-12-24 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Also, year 1921 science fiction novel ''The Chessmen of Mars'' by Edgar Rice Burroughs interweaves the story and the Rules of chess-form ''Jetan'' within Chapter 2 of the text and an Appendix, the famous two versions of Jetan. USA television series 1966-1969 shows ''Star Trek Chess'' in enough episodes for determining the Tridimensional Chess' Rules. Proto-Chess presented that way shows the author considers the variation important enough to think out symbolism. Presumably David Howe's Nomic Chess allows lots of room for differing interpretation that can be nailed down specifically in a given context or occurrence, almost like role-playing. Feliz Navidad.

Senorita Simpatica wrote on 2007-12-20 UTC
Senor Nicholls - this looks like a very interesting game. I think you should leave the rules as you currently have them. Let players read a little and figure out what is going on with your game... Your narrative/picturesque style allows Dragon to stand out from the crowd. You could remove the theme... but then you'd just have a board and pieces and the magic would be gone. What you need though, is a pre-set so people can actually play Dragon. Adios.

Glenn Nicholls wrote on 2007-12-20 UTC
A reply to Charles Gilman & George Duke:  Thanks for the comments which have proved helpful and I can see why words such as satire and theme heavy came about.  Obviously nobody wants their page to be awkward to read but there is a reason why the game was written in this manner – let me explain.  There are a number of popular novels which feature within them the playing of chess, a chess variation or a complex board game; they are generally science fiction or fantasy and range from the Dune novels to the Harry Potter books.  Broadly speaking we therefore have in these novels the playing of a war game within a war story.  What I have attempted to do with the game of Dragon is, of sorts, to reverse this by having the story within the game such that the playing of the game enacts out the situation as described by the outline story.  In order to do this it is necessary to bring the pieces and the board to life and the so the pieces must be given characters and sufficient descriptions and the board must be given sufficient terrain details and they need to look realistic and be on a large board – standard Staunton pieces or symbolic Chinese Chess discs have to be forgotten here as does the size of and form of their standard boards.  These additions to the game, of course, substantially increase the length of the page and may at times cause the reading of the rules to be harder.
Probably the easiest way to learn the game is to start with the naval chess side of the game; once the ideas of embarking, passage, boarding, sinking and disembarking are grasped the rest of the game falls into place much easier.
The presentation of the game does not have an obvious order, arrangement or format (that I can see) which gives the best way of learning together with all the rules, prelude and details fitted alongside in a tidy way.  I am sure anybody with good writing and presentation skills could present the game in a much better and more readable way than I can, but for the time being  I will have to give this some more thought.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2007-12-19 UTC
Thanks for the clarification. I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt by considering all possibilities. Yes, this page could all be rewritten, but only by someone with a working knowledge of it, and I do not have that. What I have is long experience of being criticised for pages that overemphasise the theme, accepting that criticism, rewriting to bring the rules more to the fore, and keeping this in mind for subsequent variants. The relevence to your game of what everyone wears and what flags they wave still escapes me entirely. Even if I try to search for particular words or phrases, the page's grotesque length hampers the attempt and leaves me still waiting while I have visited and understood a dozen other pages in a parallel window. Try starting the Pieces section with a paragraph per piece along the lines of 'The [piece name] moves [which directions and how far in each]. It [has zero or more restrictions e.g. must stay out of check]. This reflects [features of the character relevant to the piece move and/or restrictions].' If you still feel the need to mention stuff not directly relevant to the moves, defer it to the Notes section. Then you may be surprised at the change of heart in your critics.

Glenn Nicholls wrote on 2007-12-17 UTC
A reply to Charles Gilman: Whilst I do not intend to go back over ground already covered, it seems that you are wondering about one or two things…..

I wrote this game (with reference only to the standard games of Western and Chinese Chess) in its basic form several years before I was aware that this website existed, and the first I was aware of another game/article featuring Forest and Storm pieces was in your comment.  I do not know whether you thought of these names before myself and I do not even know in which of your many games/articles they appear.

If you are saying, as you seem to be, that Sultan’s Elephant Chess is not a spoof then why should Dragon be so.  Or, put another way, if you think Dragon is a spoof then surely you must expect such thinking about Sultan’s Elephant Chess.

Presentation is largely about form only and is a matter of individual style and preference.  In any case it is always possible to re-write such games in a different format or order.

George Duke wrote on 2007-12-15 UTCGood ★★★★
7.7 out of 10. Very complicated and cross-references as 'Fiction'. Nice diagram 'Board and Initial Deployment'. Produced in 2005 the year after Gridlock, we take Dragon here mostly as satire. One giveaway is the number of pieces having ''no power of movement or capture.'' No one outside Gridlock's or Dragon's coterie are likely to play either. With respect for readers' time, Glenn Nicholls has cut Rules-Set articles to the two, TigerChess and Dragon. Anyone interested can easily enough master them, unlike the work of several dozen 'prolificists'. By and large, it is prolificists' bodies of work that remain out of reach by very burden of their being 15 and more separate, undistinguished Rules Sets. As examples: we are still working through potential fourth 'Joyce' CVs to Comment, no small task to do adequately with citations that author always omits. Likewise, we have not yet re-familiarized with the other 25 'Aronsons' (after evaluating Rococo, AntiKing, Horus and Illusionary). Some prolificists have even more than their 'only' 20 or 30 CVs. Staying true-to-form in style and structure, as Gilman remarks, proves nothing but hobgoblin 'consistency'. In general, one interesting, ironic effort like the present Dragon is better than yet another earnest, formulaic new-combination Rules Set. To anyone not self-absorbed in own CVs' sheer numbers, the game Dragon conveys its sense of self-parody, and even spoof, very readily -- without of course trying to comprehend all the embedded Rules and notwithstanding Nicolls' own combative denial of any such intrinsic ambiguity. The remote coherence of Dragon's Rules, obviously intentional, is diverting for a change.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2007-12-15 UTCPoor ★
Although my eventual rating matched my initial instinct on reading this
page, I did take time to try and look at the game in more depth. At one
point I wondered whether it was an elaborate spoof of some of the more
theme-heavy variants, particularly as I have been accused of the same with
Sultan's Elephant Chess - and the article featuring my own Forest and
Storm pieces was due to be updated (the latter are now deferred to a later
article). Replies to comments, however, showed no hint of a sense of
humour, so I had to assume that timing is coincidental and take it
seriously.
	So taking it at face value, I have to say that the variant is so badly
presented as to impair playability. On reaching the start of the Pieces
section, I found a paragraph for each piece, but these said nothing of its
move. Instead they just described the physical and emotional nature of the
character represented by the piece. Only after wading through all that,
and yet more waffle about alchemic elements, are there any details of how
pieces actually move. How unlike my Armies of Faith series, rooted in the
four core Occidental pieces, with background to the name (a single-word
name in most cases) of each extra piece in a few clearly italicised
sentences at the end of the piece paragraph. Dragon may be a playable game
but frankly I haven't enough time online to find out.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2006-09-16 UTC
Concerning Jeremy's claim that Bobby Fischer has posted here, we have had a Robert Fischer post here, but he is not Bobby Fischer. I am not aware that Bobby Fischer has ever posted here.

Jared McComb wrote on 2006-09-12 UTC
'As a final note, a 'you can't reply to criticism to your game' rule
would stop a lot of flame wars here. Then again, it would also give trolls
who just want to hurt people's feelings more power.'

Which is why it shouldn't be strictly enforced - the Internet is much
more open than a small room with a dozen people in it and so there should
be a little leeway, or an option to disregard the thing altogether.  And
besides, if a game is truly good, it will show through peoples' opinions,
not through some interweb troll's offensive comment.

G. Nicholls wrote on 2006-09-12 UTC
A second reply to Sam Trenholme:  I agree with you that images or symbols
would improve the cosmetics of the diagram of the board (an actual board
would of course look different altogether), but designing symbols is not
a
strong point of mine.  I would say, however, that the symbol of the game
is
that of the TrueBorn Banner which shows, against a light blue background,
the right foreleg, stretched forward, of an orange coloured tiger with a
stick insect standing on his paw. She is bright green in colour.  The
viewpoint is through the eyes of the tiger.
Implementation of anything these days is unfortunately very expensive and
requires solid and extensive (and costly) business advice and so I feel
this must await the correct time.
I do not intend a simplified form of Dragon.  There is, however, a
simplified form of TigerChess called LancerChess contained within the
rules of TigerChess.  This game can be learnt and played relatively
quickly by regular chess players and from there someone could, if they so
wished, move to TigerChess and from there to Dragon and/or the
TigerVariation of TigerChess.  I am, of course, happy to explain rules to
anyone who wishes them clarified.

Jeremy Good wrote on 2006-09-12 UTC
One of my biggest pet peeves here has been the tendency of people to rate games before even trying them once. Many are guilty of this. Most games are worth at least trying out. This one clearly is. I don't think it has too many rules. That's clearly just a matter of taste. One thing I'll say: I admire the effort that went into creating a narrative structure to match the rules.

G. Nicholls wrote on 2006-09-12 UTC
A second reply to Jared Mc Comb (one is in TigerChess): In line with what I have already stated, in my estimation it would take years, possibly many years, to play the game of Dragon to a strong enough standard whereby an opinion on the game could be regarded as anything other than what I am currently classifying them as and that is – initial reactions.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2006-09-12 UTC
I think the issue here in terms of the complex rules is a generation gap issue. A lot of younger people feel that a game can't have complex rules. They are probably not aware that in the late 1970s and 1980s, people were perfectly willing to go to the effort to learn complicated boardgames like Squad Leader.

My issues with the game are that I don't feel Glenn has gone to the effort to fully implement this game. The diagram would look nicer if he used images instead of letters. Then again, the counters in Squad Leader had only the most basic of graphics, with letters and numbers indicating the unit's strength. So Glenn is being consistant with an old wargaming tradition. It would be nice if Glenn made a computer implementation of this game, but back in the Squad Leader days, computers were too expensive and specialized to be widely used by wargamers. Another issue is that, if Glenn wants to fully implement a complex Avalon-Hill style game, he needs to have simplified forms of the game so people can learn all of the rules step by step; this is what Avalon Hill did with their complicated games.

This game is a hybrid of the complex wargames of days long past and Chess; to say that such a game has rules that are too complex displays a profound ignorance of an entire gaming culture.

As a final note, a 'you can't reply to criticism to your game' rule would stop a lot of flame wars here. Then again, it would also give trolls who just want to hurt people's feelings more power.


Jared McComb wrote on 2006-09-12 UTCPoor ★
Poor in part to counteract the excellent, but mostly because that is my
opinion.

The game is needlessly complicated and too confusing to learn, and in
addition, the page and diagram are just plain ugly.  And I believe Andy is
correct in saying that Nicholls' arguments are both condescending and
outrageous, although I'm not sure that the LoTR series qualifies as
'second-rate.'  (I really need to go read 'em...)

At the community college that I graduated from, there was a student
association called 'Writers' Guild,' where students and faculty could
bring things that they had written and get opinions on them.  The one
major rule there was, after reading something you wrote, you couldn't
defend it while other people critiqued - and it WORKED.  I believe that
this community could almost definitely improve if people here acted by
this rule for a while after their articles are posted.

Andy wrote on 2006-09-11 UTC
'I agree that Andy crossed the line of being civil and it seems to me that he is just looking for a flame war.'

No. Is it uncivil to challenge one who makes inflated claims for his own invention? No. It is criticism. Is this a forum where we must praise all, and even accept exagerrated self-praise? If so, then forum is mutual and self admiration society and is of no value. If inventor does not want to hear criticism then should not post game on forum that allows it. And defending one's opinion against illogical condescending arguments and argument by nonsequiter is not flamewar, and is not personal. Is debate. Flamewar is exchange of personal insults, which is not what I did. I challenged ridiculous assertions. As for Fischer, I stand by my assessment. Having opinion about behavior of public figures is not inappropriate. Fischer's behavior has been very erratic for a long time. I let editors decide if I was within my rights to respond as I did.


Sam Trenholme wrote on 2006-09-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I agree that Andy crossed the line of being civil and it seems to me that he is just looking for a flame war. Andy: If you want to flame people, there are many sites which are flamer-friendly. Chessvariants.org isn't one of them.

I think the problem is that Andy wasn't fully able to see that he hurt Glenn's feelings when he was critical of his chess variant. It is very hard to be critical of a chess variant; see this discussion where I was critical of a variant.

In terms of Dragon, as I said before, I won't play it until a computer implementation is made, and Glenn is currently unwilling to make one. But, yes, I think this kind of Chess + wargame hybrid is a good idea. The rules are a bit complicated for my taste to try and learn this game unassisted, however. Then again, I never played anything more complicated than Axis and Allies without a computer.

I'm adding an excellent rating mainly to counterbalance Andy's poor rating.

- Sam


Jeremy Good wrote on 2006-09-11 UTC
Fischer is mentally unbalanced. There I said it too. I'm sorry but with his antisemitism, he deserves such a comment to be made. By the way, I believe that Fischer has left comments here, on the chessvariants.org site, so I believe he could 'defend himself' if he wanted. Personally, I don't care to see his paranoid schizophrenic tirades here.

G. Nicholls wrote on 2006-09-11 UTC
A third reply to Andy: You have now posted three comments and you are
starting to go round in circles.

As their names indicate, TigerChess and Dragon are about power, adventure
and excitement.  If this is not what you are looking for then you must
obviously either go back to the games you mention or look elsewhere.

 With your personal attack on Bobby Fischer, who is not here to defend
himself, you have overstepped the boundary of what I consider acceptable
behaviour and our correspondence is therefore concluded.

Andy wrote on 2006-09-10 UTC
'1) If you, or others, find games such as Western Chess, Chinese Chess,
Go
or others so rewarding then why are you not spending your time with these
games instead of (apparently) wasting your time on this web site looking
at and arguing about other game(s).'

Specious argument.  Admiration for one game does not preclude interest in
others.  Do you read only one book for lifetime, listen to only one
symphony?  These are not very intelligent arguments you make.

'2) You use the word “chaotic” to describe Dragon.  It is my opinion
that
the greatest challenge (and hardest work) and greatest achievement (and
reward) of the human mind is to bring about order from chaos.'

So the more chaotic the rules of game the better?  You apparently have no
concept of clarity and elegance in gaming.  Argument by demagoguery.

'3) Of the millions of games of Western Chess, Chinese Chess, Go etc.
not
one individual game (even amongst those played between Fischer & Spassky
or Kasparov & Karpov) has generated the excitement of, for example the
book “The Lord of the Rings”.  Dragon gives the opportunity to do so.'

Argument is specious because excitement is relative.  You presume to
speak
for chess fans level of excitiment at seeing great chess??  Extreme
arrogance.  Many chess fans have found games more exciting than
second-rate work of literature that many have found boring.

'4) Unlike TigerChess (to which I would again refer you), Dragon is
written
for the few and not the many as the purpose of the game is to produce
quality and not quantity.'

More arrogance and elitism.  Besides, I find TigerChess not significantly
better game than Dragon.

'5) I quote from Bobby Fischer (in the opinion of many the greatest of
Chess players) when speaking of Western Chess (in the opinion of many the
World’s greatest of games) – “Chess is dead”. '

And since Fischer (mentally unbalanced person, by the way) said this,
chess has grown in popularity and in number of master tournaments and
very
rapidly in number of female players.  Is fastest growing game in China
and
India.  No one who follows current chess would make ridiculous statement
like this.  Is demagoguery.

G. Nicholls wrote on 2006-09-10 UTC
In reply to Sam Trenholme: You have raised some interesting points with regard to Western Chess, though I will here restrict myself to Dragon and say that I have no plans to involve computers in the game.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2006-09-10 UTC
I have been watching this flame war for the last few days and have decided to finally add my two cents.

Dragon feels like one of those complicated war games that Avalon Hill used to make, before they went out of business (OK, bought out by Hasbro) in the late 1990s. Now, when Avalon Hill was bought out, many, many people on Usenet were upset. Avalon Hill war games did not have enough general appeal to sustain the company, but their games did have a small group of very dedicated devotees.

In terms of why people go to this site, in my case I feel that FIDE chess has been over-analysed, with many opening variations over 20 moves deep. Also, the most common defense against 1. e4 for black is the Sicilian, which Morphy (my favorite player) referred to as resulting in 'uninteresting games and dreary analytical labours'. Even Kasparov recently stated that 'the volume of opening theory has reached threatening proportions and calls for need to find a way to alleviate the pressure of the endless opening databases'.

I feel these issues can be addressed by fairly minor modifications to the rules of chess. Many chess players agree; when Bobby Fischer said that 'Chess is dead', he was promoting his own Fischer Random chess. Indeed, Kasparov has given Fischer Random (where the pieces are shuffled) a reluctant endorsment, pointing out that most random shufflings of the Chess pieces 'are poison to your eyes'.

My own endorsment is the same one Capablanca had: A 10x8 board with a rook + knight and bishop + knight pieces added. Making the board just a little bigger greatly increases the number of possible opening setups. 8x8 chess can only have 1,440 unique setups of the pieces; a 10x8 board has 126,000 possible opening setups.

But I'm diverging.

Back to 'Dragon' (not be be confused with Gygax' 'Dragon Chess'), I think this game would be a lot more playable if a computer program could help enforce the rules. I encourage Glenn Nicholls to make either a computer program that can play this game, or a Zillions preset, so that people can more easily see if this game suits their tastes or not.

And, yes, 'Dragon Random' would have a huge number of possible opening setups.


G. Nicholls wrote on 2006-09-10 UTC
A second reply to Andy.  You are, at least in part, supporting what I have
already said and I set out below some relevant points:

1) If you, or others, find games such as Western Chess, Chinese Chess, Go
or others so rewarding then why are you not spending your time with these
games instead of (apparently) wasting your time on this web site looking
at and arguing about other game(s).
2) You use the word “chaotic” to describe Dragon.  It is my opinion that
the greatest challenge (and hardest work) and greatest achievement (and
reward) of the human mind is to bring about order from chaos.
3) Of the millions of games of Western Chess, Chinese Chess, Go etc. not
one individual game (even amongst those played between Fischer & Spassky
or Kasparov & Karpov) has generated the excitement of, for example the
book “The Lord of the Rings”.  Dragon gives the opportunity to do so.
4) Unlike TigerChess (to which I would again refer you), Dragon is
written
for the few and not the many as the purpose of the game is to produce
quality and not quantity.
5) I quote from Bobby Fischer (in the opinion of many the greatest of
Chess players) when speaking of Western Chess (in the opinion of many the
World’s greatest of games) – “Chess is dead”.

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