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HiveQueen. Missing description (Cells: 61) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Larry Smith wrote on 2009-12-21 UTC
No prob, Joe, I fixed it.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2009-12-19 UTC
Sorry, Charles, that's my fault. The original preset, which we used for the first game, was used for the picture in the write-up. Being dangerous around computers, I didn't attempt to correct it when I fixed the piece icons. If I can figure out how to fix it without blowing up the page, I will.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2009-12-19 UTC
I notice that now the Setup section shows a preset, its piece images no longer correspond to those on the Pieces section. This makes an already complex game (in terms of difference from standard forms of Chess) even harder to analyse.

Larry Smith wrote on 2009-04-30 UTC
Thanks for the kudos.[blush]

I will admit that Nemoroth had the strongest influence on this variant. Its interlocking conditions inspired me. But rather than make them 'painful' to consider, I opted for a more 'logical' approach to this interactivity. Not saying that I succeeded, just a goal.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2009-04-28 UTC
Congrats, Larry. I'm looking forward to playing another couple games with you. [Adrian, yes it is brilliant and baffling, and I'm not just talking about the zrf. :-)] 

This game plays nothing like Ultima [Baroque], but it is Ultima-like in that it strikes out on its own, away from 99+% of variants, the pieces are strongly differentiated, with unique powers, and, as there's nothing in the game that resembles a standard chess piece, tactics and strategy often require a little sideways thinking. 

Our two playtest games were very interesting but unbalanced*. Those games were far more active than I expected from the rules, with some surprising twists and turns. It sounds like you've pretty much kept the insanity. Good!
* pretty wild, actually

Larry Smith wrote on 2009-04-28 UTC
Allow me to list and explain those adjustments which were made with this update.

Playtesting determined that the introduction of five pieces during the production phase was rather excessive and could place the second player in a negative position often. Thus the potential introductions were reduce to two.

And these introductions were predicated on the presence of a Nurse for each. This now turned each Nurse into a highly desirable target. The loss of each Nurse would reduce or eliminate the player's production phase. The rule that permitted two Nurses to be introduced together was eliminated to strengthen this aspect of the game.

The Soldier is now required to be introduced adjacent a friendly piece. This reduced the number of potential introductions, giving the opposing player a break there. This also expanded the power of the Drone. Besides assisting the Nurse in moving some of the pieces around the field and assisting the Soldiers in their attack lines, the Drone now can be used to claim distant positions. This rule also allows for patterns and positions on the field which each player will vie over.

The Highborn was only slightly adjusted. The previous form of promotion was merely a change of state but not position. In the interest of keeping the endgame interesting, the Highborn is now allowed to move and immediately promote on its destination cell.

Now the Queen is no longer the prime determination of the production phase, it was no longer beneficial to have more than one. So, simply maintaining a Queen on the field became a goal in the game. This eliminated the large potential of attrition-decided games(sometimes very long indeed).

One of my personal parameters applied during this 'adjustment phase' was that, as much as possible, the bare bones of this game would remain untouched. For instance, the field, the initial number of pieces and their basic movements. Keeping these changes to those rules which affect the interaction between friendly pieces. And since most of the changes were needed to reduce certain aspects of the interaction of hostile pieces, not adjusting either the simple move or capture ability of the piece proved challenging.

At this point I am quite happy with the game. And it appears to play quite nicely. But, fair warning, playtesting continues. Without a large volume of played games, a designer cannot say that a game is completely error-free.

Larry Smith wrote on 2009-03-14 UTC
I have updated the rules, limiting the number of Workers on the field for each player to eight.

With a little play-testing and a lot of discussion with Joe Joyce, it was determined that unlimited Workers always allowed the first player a significant opening advantage.

This restriction actually plays rather nice. With the limitation on Workers follows a limitation of potential introductions, so each player must consider these careful.

And this also brings the game closer to being quantified. ;)

Adrian King wrote on 2009-01-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
It looks brilliant but baffling. I checked out the ZRF code -- those arithmetic routines a marvel, in a painful sort of way -- a testimony to both the power and limitations of Zillions.

John Smith wrote on 2009-01-08 UTC
I now see that you lose when all of your Queens and Highborns are captured, so it is indeed a Chess variant. It is too unchesslike for me however, with seemingly not-too-useful pieces, which is why I gave it a rating of Poor. I think that you should explain the movement of pieces on the page for those that do not have Zillions of Games and cannot understand the code.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2009-01-07 UTC
After 24 turns, I can't say quite what it is, but it is not really a territory game. It falls only loosely under the heading of chess variant, but it's certainly close enough for this site, which hosts a number of games that are only somewhat related to the more traditional chess forms. [And this is a good thing. Many of these games are quite good and very novel, and few sites would claim them. That this site does is only to the benefit of those who visit.]

John Smith wrote on 2009-01-07 UTC
This is a territory game, which has everything to do with Go and Reversi.

Larry Smith wrote on 2009-01-07 UTC
Check out the Zillions implementation if you need further explanation of the piece movements.

Or check out the game that Joe Joyce and I are playing on Game Courier at this site.

This varaint has extremely little to do with Go or Reversi. It has more in common with the larger Shogi varaints.

John Smith wrote on 2008-12-31 UTCPoor ★
Please explain the movement of the pieces better. Of what I understand, this seems like more of a Go or Reversi type game than a Chess type game.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-10-25 UTC
If you put the icons you made in CV 'standard format', they could be added to the Alfaerie piece set. Then you could use the icons here, too.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-10-24 UTC
No prob.

Though I am quite partial to the graphics which I created for the Zillions implementation, I completely understand the need to match those of the preset.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-10-24 UTC
Hey, Larry, I edited your game page, so I could print out rules [that I could figure piece moves from] and have a copy next to the computer. This way I may even be able to make some moves in our game. Hope you don't mind. ;-) Joe

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-09-01 UTC
I have written a Zillions implementation for this game. Currently play-testing it.

So far it only enforces the win condition of all opponent Highborns and Queens being captured. I'm still working on coding the other endgame conditions.

I will post it when I am satisfied. If anyone wishes to participate in the play-testing, I will send them a copy if they promise not to distribute it.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-08-27 UTC
A question was raised in a private communication. 'Can pieces be introduced adjacent a Nurse which is also being introduced?'

The answer is 'Yes'. As long as the introduced Nurse is adjacent another Nurse.

So there is the potential of Nurses being introduced in a 'string', expanding the area for the other pieces being introduced.

And 'yes', if two or more Nurses are being introduced they can be done so that they are solely introduced adjacent to one another. This allows for an expansion of play after acquiring an additional Queen.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-08-23 UTC
I have noted that there must be the necessary friendly Workers on the field to support the promotion of the Highborn. Since this is an increase of three units on the field, it was logically apparent but probably needed to be clarified.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-08-22 UTC
You are correct about the Soldier and Nurse.

Allowing the null-swap of the Nurses prevents the condition of stalemate until further into the endgame. It also allows a player to maintain a particular position anytime during the play.

Since the capture of the Nurse is a positive in-game goal for the opponent, this particular condition may rarely present itself. Remember that the Nurse needs vacant adjacent cells to introduce particular pieces. This can leave 'open' the potential of a threat. And if a player is overly protective of their Nurses, this will cripple their production phase. The loss of Workers will be difficult to recover.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-08-22 UTC
Have I understood correctly that a Soldier, apart from swapping with a Nurse, can only capture, and that it can leap an arbitrary distance along an orthogonal ray to do so, provided that all squares it passes over are occupied by friendly pieces? And that if you have two Nurses, you can effectively do a null move by swapping them for each other?

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-08-22 UTC
The statement I wanted to prove wrong was that this game would be difficult for a computer to play. I am not sure what I said that you considered nitpicking. I realy was not sure about the non-captures of the Highborn, and you have some pretty weird pieces in there, that only non-capture, (Workers), only capture (Soldiers), can move anywhere (Drones), cannot move at all (Queen when there are no Highborns left). So nothing seems to be excluded. It was entirely possible that you had meant the Highborns to stay in the back of the hive, and only use the capture in self-defence against invaring foes.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-08-22 UTC
I was not the one who began the 'nitpicking'.

Exactly what are you trying to prove me wrong?

Irregardless, if all this results in your attempt to program this game, I am happy. I look forward to the result.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-08-22 UTC
Well, if we are down to nitpicking: it never 'must' capture, even if it had no non-capture moves at all, because it might stay where it is, and you might move another piece. Only in checkers capture is a must (and even then you might have a choice).

So I still think the description is a little ambiguous, although it was very logical that this is what you meant: without non-capture moves the Highborn would not be able to save itself after a capture, so that most captures would be rather suicidal, and the whole game would become rather static.

I asked because I was considering how difficult it would be to adapt micro-Max to play this game, n order to prove you wrong. That the board is 9x9 when mapped on square topology is a bit of a show-stopper, though, as expanding the board beyond 8 ranks is still on the to-do list.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-08-22 UTC
The term 'can' means that such is optional. If it was not, the term would be 'must'.

So the Highborn can make non-capturing slides, and even simple non-capturing steps.

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