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Toccata. A hexagonal variant inspired of Maxima. (Cells: 76) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on Fri, Sep 18, 2009 12:28 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
76-square Toccata is mix of Xiangqi and Maxima, according to the earlier comments in year 2005. Roberto Lavieri, Gary Gifford, and Charles Gilman all weigh in that Toccata is intentionally Chinese-chess-like. It is better expressed than I could summarize in the three last of their comments. I played 2 of the 5 Game Courier logs of Toccata recorded. It's pretty good, because of concentrating on the orthogonals, and just hit ''all comments'' above for more depth of analysis. No one yet mentions Toccata is also like Rococo, a comparison more important than Maxima and Ultima.

💡📝Roberto Lavieri wrote on Fri, Jun 17, 2005 06:33 PM UTC:
Gary, you are right,the game play feeling is a mix between Maxima and Chinese Chess, although there are not many elements of Xiang-Qi in the game, and only a few from Maxima. Xiang-Qi feeling is based on the positional concepts, the Cannon, the Jumper (a kind of 'Short-Cannon'), and the interaction Cannon-Jumper-Rook makes a close idea to many situations in Xiaang-Qi, regardless the six directions. The Maxima feeling is due, basically, to the Palaces and rules of the game. I have played now at least ten test games against Zillions, and now I think that the game play and feeling of this game has its own characteristics. The game is very strategic, much more than I thought at first, and the rythm can change a lot and many times through the game. Archer can be controled using well the Shielded-Guards, and Immobilizer can be controled using well the Cannon, Jumper, Rook and Pawns, so a good strategy is necessary. The tactics are complex and, sometimes, charged with a rare beauty. Toccata is a correct name for this game, by many of the reasons explained. At first view for a novice which has not played the game, it may look intimidating, fast and somewhat unclear, but it far from being the case, the game is much more clear than other games in its style, and rythm is complex, fast in some moments, very slow in others. The average numberf of moves to finish a good game seems to be around 40-50 moves. The ends are usually incredible, plenty of tension. Draws seem to be less probable than in Maxima. King and any other piece always win against a solitaire King, although in some cases it is not easy. Immobilizer is a powerful piece, equivalent to two major pieces in many instances (By example, Long-Leaper+ Rook), but if one player loses its Immobilizer, the best strategy is mantaining the active major pieces relatively far from each other but trying to control potential enemy attacks, it can preserve the attack possibilities due the six directions and topology of the board, and limit the possibilities of the Immobilizer, but it is not a good idea losing the Immobilizer in the first stages of the game. Cannons and Jumpers can be very powerful pieces in closed structures and in some particular positions against the King. Archers, Rooks and Long-Leapers are particularily dangerous in open structures. Shielded-Guards are pieces of intermediate value, but they may be important for changing the Pawn structure of the enemy and to control some pieces.¨Pawn defensive power is high and difficult to atenuate by simplistic tactics, so a good attack strategy must be planned step by step; fast and not well calculated attacks are almost always controled, regardless the apparent power of some pieces. I´ll wait a Preset for this game, I am anxious to test it in a human-human game.

Gary Gifford wrote on Tue, Jun 14, 2005 11:58 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I had a chance to play several games of this already and they were interesting and fun. The game reminds me a little of Chinese Chess mixed with Maxima. At first I expected the hexagonal aspect to be overwhelming and intimidating, but that wasn't the case at all. Nice job Roberto!

Charles Gilman wrote on Tue, Jun 14, 2005 07:58 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
With its concentration on the orthogonals this variant puts me in mind of Wellisch Hex, Xiang Qi, and even Tetrahedral Chess. Wellisch can be seen as a hex pre-Cannon XQ with a touch of Mongolian Chess thrown in, and this can be seen a hex post-Cannon XQ but replacing the short-range pieces with pieces from the -ima family of variants.

💡📝Roberto Lavieri wrote on Sun, Jun 12, 2005 12:03 PM UTC:
After many headaches, I have finally completed the first
Maxima/Ultima/Baroque HEXAGONAL variant, and the ZRF is almost ready, it
will be posted in one or two weeks. The initial idea has had to be changed
a lot: it is not easy to construct a good game of this kind in a hexagonal
board, and my first attempts have shown to me some of the problems: the
new directions are an obstacle for a good game of this kind, more than a
good new element, and some pieces, like Coordinators, Chameleons and Mages
are horrible in hexagonal boards. Following the wave of names for this kind
of games, the new game name is TOCCATA. It has elements from Maxima (the
main idea), from Hexagonal Chess (of course), from Fugue, Ultima and other
variants, but also new elements, proper for the game. I have a good opinion
about the final resulting game. If you are patient, in a couple of weeks
you can make your own opinion!.

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