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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2018-07-21
 By Charles  Gilman. GraTiA. A blend of two historic variants. (13x12, Cells: 156) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-06-05 UTC

I'm not sure about the knight's and camel's promoted forms. Can they be blocked after the first knight/camel leap or something akin to mao with a twist for the camel :)!


Greg Strong wrote on 2011-03-19 UTC

Ok, I created a GC preset for GraTiA. It can be accessed here.

I thought I submitted it for publication; maybe it needs to be approved before it will appear.


Greg Strong wrote on 2011-03-19 UTC

Interesting synchronicity that this topic comes up right now. Am playing a game of Hex Shogi 91 now with Fergus and immediately started thinking about hexagonal shogi with vertically stacked hexagons for a very specific reason, which is almost the opposite of Fergus' reason for chosing the opposite orientation...

Going from squares to hexagons leads to more mobile pieces generally. With horizontally stacked hexes, and with the conventional mapping of orthogonal and diagonal moves, The Rook then travels in 6 directions and the Bishop in 6 (although the Bishop becomes colorbound to 1:3 of the board instead of 1:2 on a rectangular board.) The stepers also become more mobile. In Hex Shogi the Gold travels to 9 cells instead of 6, the Silver to 8 instead of 5, the Knight to 4 instead of 2. The Lance slides in 2 directions instead of 1. And, to me, the biggest difference is that pawns step in 2 directions instead of 1. Everything becomes more mobile, and therefore more powerful, hopefully maintaining the balance.

Given this, Fergus observes that with vertically stacked hexagons, not all pieces become more mobile. The Lance and the Pawn only travel in 1 direction instead of 2. Hence they get left behind in the mobility upgrade. Seems like a good reason for horizontal hexagons. (Also note the Silver moves to 7 instead of 8, Gold to 8 instead of 9; still an upgrade but not as large of one.)

Now when I looked at this, I thought that, with vertically stacked hexagons, the pawns stayed the same, which, not seeing the larger picture, I saw as advantageous. In Chess variants, the pawns are what to me is fundamental about Chess. In Shogi I wouldn't say the exact motion of the pawn is quite as fundamental to the nature of the game as in Chess, but it made sense to me to try to preserve the pawn.

So I quickly came up with a board and setup that seemed obvious to me. (see preset here). But now reading the comments I see mention of George Dekle Sr's HEXSHOGI, and looking in Pritchard's I see the almost identical board layout. (Very slight difference, board with 85 hexagons instead of 86, and bishops and rooks slid in one more.) And I've had Pritchard's Encyclopedia for seven or eight years, and flipped though it a lot, so I've probabaly seen this game and had it in my subconscious...

The biggest thing I notice with this arrangement, is that the Rook can no longer slide along the bank rank to protect the promotion zone. Instead, until pieces move out of the way, the Rook cannot move more than one space at a time! This I see as a definite drawback. I have a different vision, though, of how the Gold and Silver should move that makes them slightly weaker and also more reminicant of regular Shogi that should help to remedy the piece value problem that Fergus correctly identifies. (The Gold still moves to 8, and the Silver to 7, but the arrangement is different. Need to make a diagram...) But, yes, the Rook is made even more powerful compared to the rest of the pieces with the vertical stacking, and he was already pretty powerful.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-03-18 UTC
Okay, I've now remembered why Hex Shogi uses horizontally-aligned hexagons rather than vertically-aligned hexagons. Using horizontally-aligned hexagons modifies the movement of every piece in Shogi, whereas using vertically-aligned hexagons leaves the movement of some pieces unmodified, which creates a greater disparity in value between the pieces with additional powers of movement -- such as Rooks, Bishops, and Kings -- and those without, namely the Pawns, Lances, and Knights. Although I wasn't aware of it when I created Hex Shogi, George Dekle adapted Shogi to a vertically-aligned hexagonal board in 1986 and called his game Hexshogi. His is a more straightforward adaptation of Shogi to a hexagonal board, but I expect the weakness of the forward only pieces makes it more drawish than my game. In fact, it includes rules for counting pieces and declaring a winner when the game is at an 'impasse,' which I take as an indication that even the inventor found the game drawish. Also, the use of the same board as Glinski, McCooey, and Wellish used is an afterthought. Hex Shogi was originally designed for a board with 41 spaces, and it is only after I had formulated the rules for the game that I selected some more suitable boards for playing it on.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-03-18 UTC
I don't know about you, but I create Chess variants as solutions to engineering problems. For Hex Shogi, the engineering problem was how to play Shogi on a hexagonal board. It is natural that a solution to this problem would share features with solutions to the similar problem of how to play Chess on a hexagonal board. The pieces shared between Hex Shogi and Glinki's or McCooey's Hexagonal Chess move the same because the solution to how these pieces should be adapted to a hexagonal board is an obvious and natural one. Although I think I knew of these variants when I created Hex Shogi, the similarity is due only to my recognition that the definitions of diagonal and orthogonal used in these games are the appropriate ones to use on a hexagonal board. Even if these games hadn't been invented, I could have easily come to this solution on my own. As for any similarity with Wellisch's Hexagonal Chess, none of it is due to any knowledge of the game, as I was ignorant of the game at the time. I only now just looked it up, and while there is a Java applet for it, there is no page on it. There are in fact only two ways the board could have been oriented. So it's not surprising that past hexagonal variants have already covered both ways. For whatever reason -- I don't remember exactly why now -- I preferred the horizontal orientation to the vertical. Notably, the horizontal orientation makes more sense for a three-player game, which is what Wellisch's is, and the even greater similarity that Wellisch's game has to my Three-Player Hex Shogi is due only to this. They resemble each other due to being solutions to similar problems, not to inheritance or to any historical connection. With Storm the Ivory Tower, there is a historical connection between it and its antecedents. The engineering problem I had in mind for this game was how to combine Xiangqi with Smess, and because of this, these two games are literally the parents of my game. The similarities between this game and its antecedents are due mainly to inheritance. The differences are due mainly to engineering problems that could not be solved with a more straightforward combination of the two games. While Smess (not counting the slightly different All the King's Men) was the only example of its kind, Glinski's and McCooey's games were not. I already knew of other hexagonal variants when I created Hex Shogi. Nor were they even the first I knew of. Before I even became involved with this site, a friend of mine created a three-player hexagonal version of Chess, which I started to play asynchronously with him and someone else before he lost interest in it. At best, Hex Shogi is a half-sibling to other hexagonal variants, because it is based on an idea that has also inspired these games. But it was not inspired directly by any of these games, and it was not designed as a combination of Shogi with any particular version of hexagonal Chess. So I would not describe it as a combination game in the same way I would Storm the Ivory Tower.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-03-18 UTC
To clarify, no variant is a combination of other variants in their entirety - except perhaps ones like Easterhouse - and even then a third variant, Bughouse, appears only as a concept. There are some that tweak the array of one variant with an element of another. The example that comes to mind is Storm the Ivory Tower, which modifies the Xiang Qi array with Take the Brain's theme of varying pieces' directions by square. It does not in any sense have the Take the Brain array. Then there are variants that take concepts from other variants and combine them in a completely new way, and Hex Shogi is of that kind. It takes a huge amount from Shogi, the concepts of including part-symmetric pieces and mixed-range promotees, but no hex variant is simply Shogi transferred to a different board. There have been at least six hex analogues to FIDE Chess, three apparently independent of each other, and differing in ways varying from slight tweaks of each other to completely different approaches. In fact, Hex Shogi uses concepts from two historic hex variants. The orientation and definition of the forward orthogonal are those of Wellisch. The substitution of hex diagonals for square ones, however, is one attempted in Glinsky's variant and realised more completely in McCooey's.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-03-17 UTC
I agree with Greg that this game might be interesting. I am puzzled by the comment referring to myself and Hex Shogi. Although I have combined games before, Hex Shogi is not a combination of two games. It is just an adaptation of Shogi to a hexagonal board. It is no more a combination of Shogi and Hexagonal Chess than Hexagonal Chess is a combination of Chess and Hex Shogi. Also, there are some non-ASCII characters on this page that need to be converted to UTF-8.

Greg Strong wrote on 2011-03-16 UTC
This game might, in fact, be interesting. Unfortunately, as with almost all of Gilman's games, there's no game courier preset, so I couldn't play even if I wanted to (unless I was ambitious enough to make one myself, which I'm probably not, despite the fact that non-rule-enforcing presets on rectangular boards can be made in just a few minutes...)

George Duke wrote on 2011-03-16 UTCGood ★★★★
Cvs#75 are going to take more time to properly cross-compare. Next Day 76 17.3.11 generates cv #76 and never commented, or looked at, GraTia may have significance more than usual in being the only 'Gilman' both six-lettered and starting with the same authorial 'G'. The pieces are all good or very good because immediately recognizable; and there are some neat newly-invented ones. From the Intro both Grande Acedrex and Tamerlane's are appealing and the object is to combine them. This may be about the first use of Panda and Bear, who are weaker Rook and Bishop respectively that nevertheless may traverse the board, or some boards all the way but one. Contrast Panda and Bear to Ramayana Buddha and Rakshasa who become also Rook and Bishop respectively strengthened as much as possible. The Mutator of the subvariant indicated at the end, Win by Marriage, has not received enough attention yet, this GraTia only its third or so implemention. (There are other less used win conditions, one example being Win by Arrival as Maxima's goal squares, called throne and palace in other cvs.) Generalization similar to the Gilman GraTia subvariant win condition could allow win by acquiring piece-types of a total to a certain amount or in a certain series for entire new family of cvs. The elementary Win by Marriage inspiration could lead to sequencing winning states after Rummy or Poker or even word-forming Scrabble or crosswords. Rather than the platitude ''Checkmate,'' say ''Rummy'' and determine for sure if the winning state appears and holds. Win conditions alone can number very high in the thousands, let alone the chosen piece-types and the cvs themselves, whilst there should be never the end to these productions. Inshallah.

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