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This item is a website
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2004-08-25
 Author: James Killian Spratt. Sculptures by James Killian Spratt -- Three New Chess Variations This item is a website
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2004-08-25
 Author: James Killian Spratt.. Beautiful chess sets created by a sculptor of three of his own Chess variations plus Jetan.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2004-07-05 UTC
I received a number of unpainted pieces from Mr. Spratt. I would like to remark on them here. <p>All the resin hand-casted pieces are well balanced and stable, with bases designed for weight and stability, and mounted on felt pads. The resin pieces can be cast in various colors for different sets. <p>The large Imperial Chess Emperor is about 6 inches tall, with a base about 2-1/4 inches wide. The resin casting is very detailed and seems to be a very faithful copy of the original. For example, very light line textures are present in the copy. Artistically, the figure is very nice too, with a lot of details in the face, garb, weapons, and certainly imperial in appearance. <p>The small Emperor is about 2-3/4 inches tall, with a base about 1 inch wide. The figure has nice face and clothing details and a nice overall apperance. <p>The large Empress is about 5-3/4 inches tall, with a base about 2 inches wide. Artistically, the figure is very nice. The shape, face, clothing, and other details are excellent. The female figure is very buxom. <p>The small Empress is about 2-3/4 inches tall, with a base about 1 inch wide. The shape is nice. The face is not highly detailed. The clothes and other details are well done. <p>The large Pawn is about 3-5/8 inches tall, with a base about 1-3/4 inches wide. The shape is very nice, one of the best. The shield is emblazoned with a heraldic design. The soldier's mantle and chain mail are very nicely done. The face details are fine, but not as highly developed. <p>The small Pawn is about 1-3/4 inches tall, with a base about 1 inch wide. The shape is nice. The shield and sword are nicely detailed. The face is not detailed. <p>The small King is 2-5/8 inches tall, with a base about 1 inch wide. The shape is very nice. The detail of the face and beard is very nice. <p>The small Knight is about 2-3/8 inches tall, with a base about 1-1/8 inches wide. The shape is very nice, with a rampant horse. The details of the standard, horse, and the soldier are great. The heads are well shaped. The soldier's face is not detailed. <p>The small Imperial Prince is about 2-1/2 inches tall, with a base about 1 inch wide. The rampant shape is very evocative. The details of the horse, Prince, and his mantle are very good. The face is less detailed. <p>The small Catapult is about 1-3/4 inches tall, with a base about 1-1/8 inches wide. The shape is very nice. The details of the war engine, wheels, and wood structure, are very nice. <p>The small Rook is about 2-1/8 inches tall, with a base about 1 inch wide. The details of the brick tower are nice. <p>The small Crossbowman is about 2-1/4 inches tall, with a base about 1 inch wide. The details of the shield and crossbow are nice. The garb is less detailed. The face is not detailed. <p>The large Jetan Chieftain is about 5-5/8 inches tall, with a base about 1-1/2 inches wide. The shape of the figure is very nice. The details of the face, headress, garb, weapon, are very nicely done. <p>The large Jetan Princess is about 5-1/8 inches tall, with a base about 1-1/2 inches wide. The shape of the figure is very nicely done. The female figure is very buxom and is minimally clad. The details of the figure, attitude, face, mantles, footwear, headress are very nice. <p>The large Jetan Sergang Assassin is about 4-1/4 inches tall, with a base about 1-1/4 inches wide. Again, the shape of the figure is very nice, with a semi-crouched attitude. The details of the garb and weapon are very nice. The face is less detailed.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2004-06-20 UTC
Below is a copy of a message posted by Mr. Spratt: Dear editors: Just a note to inform you that I've posted a bunch of pictures of the large, highly-detailed versions of Imperial Chess, Jetan and Sarang on my website, www.sprattart.com. I have a number of unfinished castings of the individual pieces that I'll sell to the general public for $l0 apiece, if anyone cares to finish and paint themselves, and editors of chessvariants can feel free to contact me for a few free samples, if you'd like them. Thanks, James

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2004-06-13 UTC
The editors received this reply from Mr. Spratt: <p>Hi Michael: Thanks for your comments regarding Imperial Chess rules; here I'll try to clarify some of the muddy areas you pointed out. Please understand, first, that as the inventor of this game, I consider myself responsible for clarifications of all points, although I freely admit that you and the other editors share vastly greater experience in rules than I, and might have superior ideas about some of them. Know that I am open to any of them that you feel firmly about; I'm flexible, I play for fun, and I grasp that a firm codification of rules must be thorough, comprehensive, and comprehensible. <p> On Capturing All the Imperials To Win: I feel that this game should adhere metaphorically to the way wars and life really work, or fail to work. It is in the nature of Empires to serve themselves and to perpetuate themselves. It has been known for a King to marry a commoner and call the offspring a King; therefore, to eliminate the royalty entire would require the elimination of all of them. Possibly the Win Condition could be simplified to just the Emperor, or just the Empress, or the pair of them. If anyone would like to play it that way, it's fine with me; just remember the Imperial Prince, when he gets the news from his messenger from home (special rules:Emperor killed.) <p> On Promoted Pawn Return: 'Pawn is returned to his original position.' I've never played a game wherein that spot was occupied by another piece, although I realize it could be; in that case, the pawn should be placed as near that space as possible, behind the occupying piece. The Pawn should be returned in the file in which his promotion took place. (Thus eliminating the need for numbering the pawns.) <p> On 'Moves Any Two Spaces, Square or Diagonal.....' I believe you are referring to the Knight's move, especially, and the Princes. I call this the Knight's Backjump, wherein he can move from a1 to a2 to b1 or b3; a literal interpretation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Jetan rules, regarding the Thoat's (Knight's) move permits this, and it does make the Knight much more dangerous. Some players dislike this option on the very face of it, but then many chess players dislike variations of any kind. I'd consider this optional, to be agreed between the two participants before play; I happen to like it. <p> On 'The Charge.....Within One Move of Direct Attack Position': This would be threat position, minus one move. Look at any given piece on any given board in any given game; you can tell how many moves it will take that piece to clobber another one. Back up one move, and you're in Threat Position; back up one more move, and THAT's the position you need six of your foremost men in. It takes a fairly sharp, predatory eye to perceive this. <p> More About 'The Charge': Charging is an advantage, but not an overwhelming one. Remember, if you're close to him, he's close to you, too. It's usually a matter of who throws the first punch. There is also the danger of overextending your troops by being TOO aggressive, say, two or three charges in a row. The Charge permits the smart to be really smart and the dumb to be really dumb. Any charge, or countercharge, immediately sets up at least six fights which must be dealt with NOW, and introduces an element of desperation which I consider very much like real combat; a truly anal and conservative player will almost never initiate a charge, but they need their butts kicked anyway. There is a little element of serendipity in the post-engagement moments--sorta like 'Wow! WHAT was THAT?!--but some sharp General once said that no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. ALSO, it's a big board, with a lot of pieces; without the Charge, it takes three hours; with the charge, half that time or less. <p> Michael, thanks again for your pertinent questions. I hope I've made it clearer, and let me know if there's anything else about the game that's doubtful. I'm open to your suggestions about how to improve it, but I really think you oughtta play it a few times first. Stay in touch! Yours, James

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2004-06-13 UTC
The editors received this response from Mr. Spratt: <p>Dear Tony, and Mr. Howe, if you are attending: Thank you for your comments on my games; you're right on all counts except perhaps the 'outrageously expensive' part, at least pertaining to IMPERIAL and CHESS FOR THREE. The playing pieces for those two games are small, I can cast a whole team at once so the colors match, the molds have no parting lines to clean, so all I have to do is sand the bottoms flat; accent detailing with model car enamel makes the pieces more easily identifiable, and felting the bottoms makes for a nice quiet game and protects the board, which takes several tedious careful hours to hand-paint. I have on hand maybe a dozen sets of those two, and if anyone wants a set of the pieces, somewhat cleaned and bottom-sanded, to hand-detail and felt themselves, I'll let them go for $l per player; the se (2-3') pieces are designed for play, but properly detailed with a nice matching board they look pretty sharp. I don't think that's outrageously expensive for limited custom items, but I admit that 'expensive' is a relative condition, and I can't do them for less without getting into mass production; I will try to post some better photos as soon as possible. <p> On JETAN: I had a chat with Danton Burroughs, proprietor of the ERB legacy, about selling the JETAN sets back in ('96?) when I made them, and he said that a few sets for the fans would be okay, but don't go overboard; I guess I sold half-a-dozen, maybe, and the molds were starting to wear out anyhow. These pieces are five to seven inches tall, very detailed, cast one-by-one, chased, sanded, tediously hand-painted in many colors, and yes, I admit you might call them expensive. Not for everybody, sad to say, but I can't do them for nothing, and they do take time, materials and long experience. The same is true for SARANG, and more so; there are ninety-six players in the set. I was able to pour four complete sets and some spares before the molds were shot. This is how you establish limitedness--the molds get rough and after a while at the same crazy-making tedium, Meester Arteeste does, too. <p> My website is fairly new and I'll be posting a price sheet, bio and credo sometime soon, as well as the rules to these games and explanations of the players/pieces. Be patient, and know that I do appreciate your attention. <p>Thank you, James Killian Spratt, m.sc.

Ben Good wrote on 2004-06-12 UTCGood ★★★★
the sets definitely look nice but the pics are not good quality and there's little detail. i'd be very interested in seeing additional pics, esp closeups of some of the pieces. and i agree with mhowe, i have no idea how much he's going to charge for them, but you can be sure it's a lot. whenever prices aren't listed, it's never a good sign.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2004-06-06 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The sets of these variations appear trully very nice indeed. Take a look at the site. Hopefully, the rules can be posted soon too. Stay tuned!

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