The site has moved to a new server, and there are now some issues to fix. Please report anything needing fixing with a comment to the homepage.

The Chess Variant Pages

[ Help | Earliest Comments | Latest Comments ]
[ List All Subjects of Discussion | Create New Subject of Discussion ]
[ List Latest Comments Only For Pages | Games | Rated Pages | Rated Games | Subjects of Discussion ]

Comments/Ratings for a Single Item

Later Reverse Order EarlierEarliest
Maxima. Maxima is an interesting and exiting variant of Ultima, with new elements that make Maxima more clear and dynamic. (Cells: 76) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-03-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This cool variant plays well once one gets used to it.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-01-20 UTC

It's dawned on me that occupation of just one of the opponent's goal squares would seem to be 'permanent', i.e. the occupying piece can never move again from that goal square. If that's right, occupying just one of one's own goal squares can be "temporary" (e.g. for strategic defence), i.e. the piece can leave that goal square and go back onto the board at any later time (as long as otherwise a legal move).

Probably the intent is also that a piece cannot shift from one of one's own goal squares to the other. Probably also intented is that immobilizers cannot immobilize pieces in one's own or the opponent's goal square(s) either. I'm not quite sure of all this, but it seems reasonable to think goal squares are meant not to be affected by rules governing the board proper in these ways.

[edit: I discovered playing a game using the current preset on GC that a piece can leave an offensive end zone square, and can shift from one goal sqaure to the other in the offensive zone, and a piece in a goal square can be immobilized from an adjacent square. Presumably a withdrawer etc. can also affect a piece in a goal square in an adverse way, too.]

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-01-16 UTC

I'm not quite clear on a particular rule of Maxima: "...You can occupy temporarily one of your own Goal Squares, as a strategic defense if you want to do so, but not both squares, or you lose the game."

I didn't have a clue what "temporarily" might mean until I saw the notes on "Computer play" which includes the following: "...You may not put two pieces in your own palace (invade your own palace). You may only 'threaten' to invade your own palace if this would capture your opponent's king (see below)... You may invade your own palace to capture your opponent's king. Your opponent is not allowed to leave or put his king in check, even if capturing the king would result in an invasion of the own palace...You may not invade your own palace to bare your opponent's king." Is this all that is meant by "...occupy temporarily one of your own Goal squares..." in the previous paragraph's quote? This (my quote in the present paragraph from the notes on Computer play) all seems about offence rather than defence.

In any case, I don't know if the above paragraph re: "computer play" also would apply as part of the general rules for Maxima, and/or for play on Game Courier.

George Duke wrote on 2016-10-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Mage of Maxima is another Gryphon -- before Aurelian Florea's Apothecary.

Here Lavieri claims Guard resists accurate valuation: Piece_Value.

Understand that before Muller we used to do these things in more of a ballpark way.

Anonymous wrote on 2010-08-03 UTC
Link to game 'Camelot' below is broken. Are there other pages, describing it?

Andy Maxson wrote on 2007-02-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This game sounds really fun! the guards make it very dynamic and exciting along with the wizard it's like ultima meets thronschach meets rennchess. I at first actually hated ultima! but when i started liking it i then favored rococo as an alternative ultima. and then i favored maxima now i like both of them. its like a father having two sons that do not get along. beacause rococo goes ont hte similar ways of moving but different ways of capturing path where as maxima goes down the optimizing ultima. but it has however lost on thing that ultima had the similar ways of moving. but i like the displacing pieces. and tha the king can move as a knight that treats the bord as if it was cylindrically and the mage moving as the griffon but what about tthe bottom squares how do those figure in with the cylinder. This decreases the vulnerability of the king opposed to other royal knights and the bare king rule is also very interesting and you can not fortresed as in orthodox chess. but what about stalemate? is that a win? anyway it is ALMOST completely drawless

Joe Joyce wrote on 2006-03-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
A very nice balance between chess and Ultima, with a nice twist in goal squares. The capture-by-replacement pieces allow direct assaults on a position but are limited in number and movement capacities and are vulnerable to counter-attack by the Ultima pieces. This is a nice balance of direct and indirect actions, with a 'capture the flag' aspect; a successful fusion of two very unlike games, with style.

George Duke wrote on 2004-12-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
A better embodiment than Ultima, to whose family Maxima belongs. Yet does Maxima have one or two too many features(rules), such as its multiple winning conditions? Or maybe it has one more piece-type than optimum for natural play.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-03-18 UTC
FINAL REMARKS ABOUT SOME RARE SITUATIONS: This is all what must be said: You can´t make a move that puts or lets your King in check or checkmate, UNLESS this move is the invasion of the Royal Palace for immediately win the game. If one team has its King checkmated, but it can complete the invasion of the Goal squares in the immediate following move, this team can do that and win the game, due the fact that the Checkmate is a condition that allows a player capture the King in the next move, and this move can´t be played because the game is over after the invasion of both Goal Squares. This is the most logical way to resolve some conflicts in rare situations as mentioned. There are not rules changes, this is only an aclaratory in the rare cases explained.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-03-17 UTC
Finally, I have decided that Mike Nelson proposal number one is reasonable
for special ends in this game:
1.- You can win occuping the second goal square, inclusive if you are in
Check: You have reached a win condition before the other, the object of
the check was capture the King and end the game, regardless it never
happens, but the move to the Goal have finished the game before the other
win condition can be reached.
2.- If you are checkmated, and the other team can reach the second Goal
square immediately after that, the checkmate is removed with the win
condition of Palace invasion, the object of the Checkmate was capture the
King in the next move, but it can´t happen, because the other team
finished the game before that.
3.- You can reach the second square with your King inclusive if the move
puts your King in Checkmate.
This rules are consistent with the Zillions implementation, so there is
not any problem!

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-03-17 UTC
The actual implementation in Zillions uses the easiest 'Capture the King' rule, but it was made in this way because other conditions are more difficult to implement, due to some technical details. But officially, the object is 'Checkmate the King or Invade the Palace', and with this my intention was: 'the condition that occurs at first'. Now, some fine details must be resolved, and they are not immediately clear, like if you can reach a square to win with other non-royal piece being your King in Check, or not. My opinion is positive in this aspect, but if you are checkmated, one of the winning conditions have happened, and the game is over; but it is still another possibility: Can the King reach the second Goal square if the King is in check in this square?. I think yes, but a more difficult question: What about if the King is Checkmated when it reaches this square?. Perhaps the 'capture the King' rule, discarding checks or checkmates, as implemented in Zillions, is the easiest way to resolve it, but I dislike it, because I like the checks and checkmates, and I like the idea of the winning condition that happens at first.

Michael Nelson wrote on 2004-03-16 UTC
There are two different logically coherent ways of resolving this. I remember a quote from <i>Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess</i>: 'The object of the gamee is to capture the enemy King. The capture is never actually carried out.' This is what checkmate is about. So we have: 1. If checkmate and and occupying both goal sqaures are equal priority win conditions, then you can occupy the second goal square and win even in a checkmated position because the win occurs before the King capture would have, were it carried out. (So under this interpretation, there is no checkmate in this position.) 2. If Checkmate is the primary win condition and occupying the goal squares is a secondary win conditon, then it is illegal to occupy the second goal square when checkmated--the game is over and you have lost. It is also illegal to occupy the second goal square when in check (unless the move coincidentally removes the attack on the King). Personally I prefer #1, but #2 is easier to program in Zillions.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-03-16 UTC
The ongoing game against Tony, in the Courier System, is in an end of game that give me a doubt about rules, and it must clarified with the most logical solution. If one team is in Check, but it can win in one move by invasion of Palace, the invader team wins moving to the Goal square, because the objective is Checkmate the King or Invade the Palace with two pieces, so invasion to win removes the Check. But if candidate to invader is in a Checkmate position, it can´t remove the Checkmate invading the Goal Square remaining, because one of the objectives of the game, in this case Checkmating a King, was found at first, before the invasion.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-08-13 UTC
The Pawns are interesting. They seem to be more powerful as defensive than as attacking pieces. I like the Mage, although its diagonal first square can be both a benefit and a hindrance. The game develops nicely into the middle game, remaining tactical, yet beginning to move towards the game's goals. The middle game is surprisingly closed; surprising because the pieces are not extremely powerful individually, but their combined reach is still strong enough to control the board.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-07-30 UTC
The last ZRF version is 1.3.1., but I'm finishing v 1.3.2 (some little improvements, better graphics)... I'm going to send it to TCVP in a two or three days. Let me add new 20% bigger board and bigger pieces...

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2003-07-30 UTC
As long as we're talking updated ZRFs here...Roberto, what's the latest version of the Maxima ZRF? The one I downloaded from here is buggy.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-07-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The Rating 'excellent' is for Antoine, once in a while I can hear brilliant observations, I haven`t tested the game with Guards that don´t freeze, but my intuition says to me that this idea is really interesting to be considered. My decision of select the Mage as the piece immune to Immobilizer was because the different and long movement of Mage (Gryphon movement), making the work of the immobilizer less effective many moves. One of the problems with ULTIMA is the overpower of immobilizer, many times a game of ULTIMA is almost-blocked by the effect of immobilizers, because the lot of pawns in the game are a strong defense against the other pieces, unable to attack the injuring immobilizer. But the dynamics of a game of MAXIMA with immune GUARDS would be really interesting. Actually, Guards are surprisingly strong in this game when they act in conjunction with other pieces, the effect is that the game tendence is to be more open, due the danger of action of Guards in closed positions. If they are immune to immobilizers, the effect should be higher. Guards are dangerous in the ends when they survive, if a Guard acts at least in conjunction with Coordinator, a Chameleon or a Mage, because the danger of construction of a checkmate net against the enemy King, a King that is not in fact easy to be put in checkmate!. Thanks for the suggestion, it is not other random idea, it is a very good idea to be considered.(a variant?). I`ll test it for MAXIMA v1.4...

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-07-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
LOTS of excellent ideas, the equine King, its cylindric ability, fewer
Pincer Pawns, the second way to win, and a piece which is immune to
But why should that piece be the Mage, and not the less powerful Guard?

Michael Nelson wrote on 2003-07-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Maxima is a very fine game. 

With respect to the value of pieces, I wouldn't even attempt to calculate
the values in an Ultima Variant--the multiplicity of capture types means
that this will be far harder than the value of Chess pieces.  But I
believe it is doable in principle.

The reason I'm interested in the value of Chess pieces is for game
design. I want theoretical values so I can have an idea what an unfamiliar
piece should be worth. I particularly have an interest in Chess With
Different Armies and most especially the 'build your own army' variants.
The ideal value won't and cannot be perfect, but it should be a decent
starting place--practical values will always be empirical, and will vary
by game context. For example, play a lot of Chess using Berolina Pawns--do
the Bishop and Rook have the same values relative to each other as in FIDE

Zillions values are about useless for pieces that are even slighty
unorthodox--even the Bishop is overvalued compared to the Knight. That's
why Zillions programmers have techniques to inflate piece values.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-07-25 UTC
Maxima's Guard is an excellent example of how difficult can be stablish 'the theoretical' value of pieces. How to measure 'positional and strategic value?'. Every one who has played Maxima, is convinced that the Zillions's value asignated to the Guard is subestimated, nevertheless Zillions assigns an exagerated value to Withdrawer. Experience says that perhaps the value of a Guard is superior to the value of Withdrawer in many instances on game play, so it is not clear how to apply theoretical ideas that can be consistent to the fact that in this game a short-range piece can be at least as powerful than a large range piece, perhaps the fact that the Withdrawer needs to be adjacent to enemy for capturing makes the difference, but there are more things, there is a Guard's shadow value due to its strategic power, Guards are dangerous not only in some situations, but in the ends of game. How to express this fact with theoretical formulas?. Other notorious example is ROCOCO, the pawns are much more powerful than the value you can assign to them with many calculation or algorithmic methods of estimation. Some revision must be made on these ideas for Practical values...

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-07-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
<p>Maxima is quite interesting and clear. Its subtle, has a lot of variety, and is quite innovative. I particularly like the long move of the Mage and the traditional move of the Guard. </p><p>The Mages' reach makes it a very active piece early in the game. </p><p>Although it has the single step move, the Guard proves to be surprisingly strong and important for attack. Its interesting that among relatively strong pieces, a traditional piece like the Guard should play such an important role. </p><p>The Coordinator comes into play very selectively but can be surprising and cannot be ignored. </p><p>The custodian capture powers of the Pawn make the dynamics of the opening much more positional than in games using FIDE-type Pawns. </p><p>I wonder what the theoretical piece strength density of Maxima is compared to FIDE?</p>

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-06-11 UTC
That´s correct. Camelot is an older game than Bombalot or Thronschach, but
Camelot is a game more close to Draughts, and not to Chess. Bombalot was
invented around the 60´s, perhaps a bit before the aparition of Ultima,
and it was played in some places of Europe, but aparently not so much.
(nevertheless, it still is played in certain circles). Camelot is a more
popular game, and as you have pointed out, there is a Federation of
players, and it was one of the favorite games of the Grand Master
Capablanca (of course, other was CHESS!). In Maxima, the rules for
occupancy of the Goals is a little different, as you can see in the
description. Finally, Thronschach is a more recient game...
Thank you for your comment

David E. Whitcher wrote on 2003-06-10 UTCGood ★★★★
I am not familiar with the history of bombalot or thornschach. The goal
feature of this game appears in the jumping game Camelot which was
invented in 1882 and was quite popular in the 1930's. For more
information visit

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-05-03 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
<p>Maxima certainly seems to be a very interesting game. The powers of the pieces, board configuration and winning conditions seem to have been well considered. Particularly the use of Goal Squares in addition to checkmate seems to give the game more fluidity. <p/><p>The Ultima inspired powerful pieces are well balanced and quite interesting. They do not seem to overwhelm the relatively 'small' (actually, larger) board. For those of us brought up on 'orthochess', pieces like the Mage are consoling!<p/>

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-05-03 UTC
Mike, sorry about that! Corrected.

25 comments displayed

Later Reverse Order EarlierEarliest

Permalink to the exact comments currently displayed.