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Thoughts on large numbers of players in one chess game. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2015-03-11 UTC
The turn-order thing looks kind of similar to what I have in my 3-Player Chess I, complete with rules for king threats (although as yet no provision for consecutive checks), although I have also added rules making sure that trades do not go on for too long; presumably this would have an effect on trading tactics. I have wondered about extrapolating to more players; aside from longer escape clauses to accommodate the larger no. of players, would anything else need adding?

Daniil Frolov wrote on 2015-03-10 UTC
I had thoughts of same direction, with many players on a vertical cylinder (each player having two rows of pawns - for two opponents he oe she faces). And the turn order in my thoughts was... mixed with real-time movements. So, players that are far from each other, moves independently, until their pieces would be in a contact (defination of of "contact" is that the furthest pieces are not further than 7 ranks from each other, or something like that; rook and Queen's rook component are not allowed to move more than 7 squares). What do you think of it?

H. G. Muller wrote on 2015-03-10 UTC
Just an idle thought that occurred to me:

Rather than just letting the players move in a fixed order, you could transfer the turn to the player from which a piece was captured. Only on non-captures the turn would proceed to the next player in the normal sequence (say the left neighbor).

This would do a great deal for mitigating the ganging-up problem, as you would always immediately get the opportunity to recapture  piece that was taken from you. After the recapture the turn would go back to your assailant. So attacking basically did not cost him a move (unless he grabbed a hanging piece), which provides a nice incentive to attack.

Providing an incentive to attack is always a problem in multi-player Chess, as battle tends to weaken your forces in Chess, which weakens your position w.r.t. all players except the one you attack. Games like Crazyhouse and Shogi, where you get the captured pieces in hand for dropping, are much more suited as a basis for multi-player variants. Battle does not on average weaken the battling factions, as all material is recycled. And in hand it is often more dangerous than on the board, so both players could actually benefit.

It could also make the game faster, and less boring for the other players, as the recaptures are 'easy moves', which require little thinking as you do not have many reasonable alternatives. So basically the game would proceed as a number of trades between player A and zero or more opponents, after which player A would make a non-capture move, and the 'initiative' would transfer to player B, the next-in-line. This avoids that you have to wait a long time for your turn to come up while there is nothing to think about. Situations that present you with easy-move recaptures bring you on move immediately, and you could play the recapture quickly. While exchanges between the battling players go on, you plan your 'unforced move' for when the turn comes to you in the natural order. It might take many moves before that turn comes up, but only of lots of material gets traded, which in any case would force you to reconsider your plans. So the wait for the turn would never be boring, as it would only take very long when a lot is happening on the board.

I guess checks might require a similar turn transfer as captures, in which case evasion from check might have to give the turn back to the checker.

Lawrence Smith wrote on 2015-03-09 UTC
I should say the board I am currently experimenting with is more like a chinese checker board, with the idea that it allows symmetric victory conditions for 2, 3, 4 and 6 players (sadly, not five, as the gap in the who-vs-who rotation gives one player and extra advantage and one player an extra disadvantage.)

Lawrence Smith wrote on 2015-03-09 UTC
My current thrust is to come up with a form of social chess - something that might be played more casually than most of the other multi-player versions. I'm not sure how your comments apply to these ideas - the concept of letting players choose their own opponent rather than assigning one by position is intriguing, but requires the players to weigh questions of relative placements in order to attack or defend. As normal chess has a very hard and fast opponent rule (beat the other guy) it seems more logical to allow the order of play also determine victory and failure conditions. I had assumed the game "won" when the first checkmate occurred. In terms of making a more challenging game, many of the other comments you made would certainly apply - such as taking over the pieces of a checkmated opponent and going on the checkmate others, for example - but this would also lengthen the game, and one of the problems I am trying to address here is that the games just run too long, people don't get to play fast enough, and lose interest.

Johnny Luken wrote on 2015-03-08 UTC
I think freedom to choose who you fight with or against is one the more intrigueing aspects of multi player chess, and extra constructs should be avoided where possible.

Reward systems for enterprising players seem necessary-gaining players you captured, and in the event of checkmate inheriting the remaining piece set.

Incomplete information is a good feature to add. Personally I think the mechanic of Dark Chess, where a player can only see through his pieces, is more ideal as it again rewards an agressive player, in a game system where conservatism could get unfairly rewarded. 

Simultaneous move commit is intriguing in itself and easier to implement. Is there a chess variant based on this mechanic?

It obviously requires some exception handling, for example;

*Non attacks*

If a piece moves to retaliate, but a piece isn't actually captured it captures its own piece/or produces a null move. Only allowed if a piece is actually threatened.

*Pawns misses*

If a pawn attempts to capture on a vacated square, it moves straight forward. If it can't advance it produces a null move.

Material wise pawns probably have to replaced by something more mobile.

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