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This item is a graphics resource
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-03-20
 Author: David  Howe. Alfaerie Variant Chess Graphics. Set of chess variant graphics based on Eric Bentzen's Chess Alpha font.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-16 UTC

Let me get this clear: the WYSIWYG editor did decide on 150x150 all on its own, without you having to specify the height and width in the image-entry popup? Why did it pick 150? Does it do that for any image? Or just because it considered 2048x2048 ridiculously large?

In hindsight it is a bit unfortunately that all the Alfaerie SVG have native size 2048x2048, just because the Chess-Alpha set from which I started happened to have that. 50x50 would have been more convenient.

P.S. The board editor two comments down now generates more compact FENs, using the dressed-letter piece IDs rather than the parenthesized image names. Catch is that this requires the piece table for the diagram to be defined 'by hand', because there is no way to guess the required IDs from the image names. (Otherwise the script could just get the image names from the directory, which would make it easier to adapt to other piece sets.) I also put the Interactive Diagram there in 'position-setup mode', so that you can make multiple drops of a piece selected in the list.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2018-10-15 UTC

I used CKEditor's WYSYWYG mode to post the image, and it turns out that it set a size for the image without me realizing it. I am switching to Source mode to control the HTML.

Here it is without any size specified:

https://www.chessvariants.com/graphics.dir/svg/alfaerie/wking.svg

Here it is with 50x50 size:

https://www.chessvariants.com/graphics.dir/svg/alfaerie/wking.svg

H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-15 UTC

That is good news. How do you control the size, though? I understood the 'native' size of the Alpha set was 2048 x 2048 (and 100x100 for the XBoard pieces).

I have been experimenting with connecting the SVG renderer to my board-editor page:

Board Editor

Files: Ranks:
Light: Dark:
White: Black:
satellite=Musketeer graphicsDir=http://winboard.nl/my-cgi/fen2.cgi?s=33&p= whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType= squareSize=35 lightShade=#e8c080 darkShade=#a89060 symmetry=none promoZone=0 useMarkers=1 royal=6 pawn::fmWfcF:::99 knight:N::::99 bishop:::::99 rook:::::99 queen:::::99 king::::e1,,e8:99 archbishop:C~:BN:knight--bishop::99 chancellor:R~:RN:knight--rook::99 amazon:Q~:QN:knight--queen::99 wazir::W:::99 ferz:::::99 dababba::D:warmachine::99 elephant::A:::99 camel:::::99 zebra:::::99 wildebeest:-:NC:knight--camel::99 bird:H:ADGH:::99 unicorn::WN:::99 squirrel:-:NAD:::99 ram:-::::99 ox:-::::99 lion:L:KNAD:::99 vao:B;:mBcpB:::99 cannon:R;::::99 leo:Q;:mQcpQ:paovao::99 wazirknight:N':WN:::99 ferzknight:N`:FN:::99 nightrider:N^:NN:::99 dababbarider:D^:DD:warmachinerider::99 elephantrider:E^:AA:::99 modern elephant:E`:FA:elephantferz::99 phoenix:E':WA:elephantwazir::99 alibaba:A:AD:elephantwarmachine::99 kirin:-:FD:warmachineferz::99 champion:A':WAD:::99 wizard:C`:FC:moon::99 steward:-:mWcF:::99 berolina pawn:-:fmFfcW:berolinapawn::99 asian pawn:-:fW:chinesepawn::99 lance:-:fR:::99 horse:-:ffN:::99 silver:-:FfW:silvergeneral::99 gold:-:WfF:goldgeneral::99 tokin:-:WfF:promotedshogipawn::99 promoted lance:-:WfF:promotedlance::99 promoted knight:-:WfF:promotedknight::99 promoted silver:-:WfF:promotedsilver::99 dragon horse:-:BW:promotedbishop::99 dragon king:-:RF:promotedrook::99
square size: pixels

You can drag pieces from the table to the board. Clicking on a piece name shows its moves

Betza move description:

Move definition:

Design your own piece

In the pane above you can define moves of a piece by clicking the squares it should be allowed to move to. First click defines a leaper move to the square. A second click would convert this to a slider/rider move that repeats that step/leap. A third click would remove the move again.

To limit the range of a slider you can click the first square along its path that it should not be able to reach. Clicking on the piece takes away all its moves, and thus clears the entire pane. After you are satisfied with the move, you can press the 'Assign Move' button, and then click in the piece table in the 'move' column of the piece you want to assign it to.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2018-10-15 UTC

On my PC, the image showed up on every browser I tested: Vivaldi, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera. Its aspect ratio was distorted in Safari, so that it was too short or too wide. But this is probably because the latest version of Safari that runs in Windows is old. It appeared fine in Safari on my iPad. Based on this, I expect SVG images to show up in any modern browser.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2018-10-15 UTC

I copied them to this site. This is just to test that they show up in the browser:

https://www.chessvariants.com/graphics.dir/svg/alfaerie/wking.svg


H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-15 UTC

I uploaded a tar ball with all the SVG images to http://winboard.nl/graphics.dir/svg.tar.gz .

Testing a board with holes:


This item is an unknown type!
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2003-09-09
 Author: Fergus  Duniho. Game Courier Logs. View the logs of games played on Game Courier.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-10-15 UTC

The game log of mine in question is now acting as if my opponent (who has since made a move) never lost on time, ever, and clock times are okay in view of what you just wrote Fergus, so it's a case that things have now resolved themselves successfully.


This item is a graphics resource
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-03-20
 Author: David  Howe. Alfaerie Variant Chess Graphics. Set of chess variant graphics based on Eric Bentzen's Chess Alpha font.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-14 UTC

Well, WinBoard uses asterisk for non-space in FENs, and I was planning to do that here too, rendering the corresponding squares as transparent. But for combining two pieces there are still plenty other characters available. The current version of my renderer (fen2.cgi) uses parentheses to enclose piece names for which no dressed-letter ID is available. I could easily switch that to braces, I have no preference in that respect. I don't think it is a good idea to use the same enclosing for full piece names and IDs, though. Infix notation is unambiguous enough.

I have now made it such that a 1x1 FEN always uses fully transparent background, so that it can be used as a piece in other drawing routines (such as the Interactive Diagram). That means the CGI argument p=... has become somewhat redundant; to get a bishop (which before required p=wbishop) now can simply be done by f=B. That means that the piece-combining also works, f=N-Q would give you an Amazon, and f=_Q an inverted Queen. I think I will keep the p=filename argument, but implement it to do the same as f=(filename), i.e. slam parentheses (or braces) around it, and then treat it as FEN.

It might also be worthwile to have a way to add board markers. Perhaps as a second 'color FEN' through the argument m=, where each letter then indicates a color (and perhaps a shape) to be drawn over the corresponding square.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2018-10-14 UTC

The SVG pieces are looking good. When you have finished making them, I'm hoping you could put them into a zip file and make it available for downloading. I could then work on making use of them with Game Courier and the Diagram Designer.

It is good to be able to put more than one piece on the same space, but I'll point out that Game Courier uses the hyphen for non-space, and you might want to do the same if you plan on handling boards that are not completely rectangular. In that case, you might want to come up with a different way of including multiple pieces on the same space. Since Game Courier encloses longer names in braces, what I'm thinking of is to place multiple comma-separated names between a pair of braces.


This item is an unknown type!
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2003-09-09
 Author: Fergus  Duniho. Game Courier Logs. View the logs of games played on Game Courier.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2018-10-14 UTC

Since the site was down for a week, I added a week of time to the players whose moves were interrupted by this downtime. But this works only in Game Courier itself. To repeat accurate calculations for each log, the Logs page would have to load each log, which would multiply the work it has to do. Instead, it relies on the value of the Deadline column in the GameLogs table. This is a fixed value that was not updated when I added code to Game Courier to compensate for the time lost by the site being down. Since this value may be mistaken, the Logs page no longer updates logs or the database when time has run out. In this case, it is mistaken, and you should simply continue your game.


This item is a graphics resource
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-03-20
 Author: David  Howe. Alfaerie Variant Chess Graphics. Set of chess variant graphics based on Eric Bentzen's Chess Alpha font.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-14 UTC

Some more SVG:

I now also allow specification of a rotation in the FEN, through prefixes '_' (180 deg), '>' (+90 deg), '<' (-90 deg), '><' (+45 deg), '>>' (+135 deg) etc.

I took the liberty to redesign the 'Steward', giving it a bit more 'body'; the original one was a bit flimsy.


This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2004-06-25
 Author: Jeff  Rients. Inventor: Alex  Randolph. Knight Chase. Game played on with two Knights on a Chessboard with differing goals. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Nick Dalton wrote on 2018-10-13 UTC

I think a rule is missing here regarding the placement of the second marker. Gamut of Games reads, "The other can be placed in any empty space the player wishes, except that if only one space is open for the opponent's upcoming move, the space cannot be covered." 

I don't see this rule above.


This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2002-05-28
 By Ralph  Betza. Chess with Different Armies. Betza's classic variant where white and black play with different sets of pieces. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2018-10-13 UTC

I have a bit of discomfort as the game did not had any lame leapers before but that borders on nothing. I'm more concerned how the change affect the balance against the two other armies. As this seems to me that will lead to a wave of interconnected changes that are probably not easy to pull through. Some sort of logical system of equations needs maintaining and I honestly doubt such and endevour is even doable, little to say about feasible. This because you don't have many options for tunning while keeping the initial flavour on

This is a valid concern, but I'm hoping this does not become a problem.  And a tiny bit of rock-paper-scisors effect is acceptable so long as things are balanced against the FIDEs.  Obviously, the FIDEs are the one army that cannot be modified.  For an example of a board game that has significant R-P-S effect but is still an awesome game, see tournament Star Fleet Battles.  I should say this as I was probably not clear - I am NOT proposing making this change until testing of all combinations is complete, along with some testing of evaluation terms changes...  This is just what I'm leaning towards given what we know so far.

It is a pity that test takes so long (a common problem in computer chess...)

Indeed it is, but I can scale up quite a bit.  I actually have quite a few i5 and i7 PCs that can be pressed into service to do testing (6 or 7 of them.)  The longest part, which is largely manual, is calculating out all the starting positions so I can feel very confident that my tests aren't playing the same games over and over.  But when this is accomplished I can scale up testing quickly.  I have just finished generating 20 positions of FF vs RR and am just starting on those with the colors reversed.

I suppose that the new ChessV is stronger than Fairy-Max? Have you ever measured by how much?

My current builds are definitely stronger than Fairy-Max, at least at the various 10x8 variants, but I have not done formal measurements.  I intend to test that with my new "batch mode" capability also, but I've been focused on CwDA tests instead :)  ChessV will control XBoard protocol engines for many games, but CwDA is not one of them because it would require more standards than presently exist.  I should also mention that Fairy-Max is an absolute speed demon, in terms of nodes-per-second, compared to ChessV at approximately 4x the nodes.  ChessV's strength comes from smarter search (using ideas stolen from Stockfish and other GPL engines - I take absolutely no credit for this) and better evaluation.

What TC are you using for these tests?

The 400-game sets use different time controls as one way to get more varied results.  They also modify the new Variation setting from None (which is completely deterministic) to Small (for most games) to Medium (for a few games.)  The fastest time controls I'm using are 25 sec + 2 sec/move.  The longest are 5 minutes + 1 sec/move.  Typically a 400-game set on one computer takes about 2 days.  I will post a new (unofficial) version here shortly along with all my opening positions and batch mode control files so everyone can see exactly what I'm doing and run tests of their own.

Regarding the NN vs FF test with the FIDEs given more encouragement to advance through the PSTs, the test is half done.  The 200 games where the NNs are white and the FFs are black are done.  The Nutters won 136, the FIDEs won 36, with 28 draws.  So it doesn't look like this is making the situation any better although these are all games where the nutters have the first move.  Tomorrow we should know the final results.

 


This item is an article on pieces
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2012-02-25
 By Christine  Bagley-Jones. Fairy Pieces Part 1. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
T. Becker wrote on 2018-10-13 UTC

Now that it is possible to mess around with the alfaerie piece images, you should be able to work on a part two very easily.


This item is a graphics resource
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-03-20
 Author: David  Howe. Alfaerie Variant Chess Graphics. Set of chess variant graphics based on Eric Bentzen's Chess Alpha font.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-13 UTC

I guess things are nearly as I want them now:

Like a hypen between two pieces displays the pieces in the same square behind each other, a vertical bar will display the pieces above each other, the lower one vertically flipped to create symbols for forward-backward asymmetric pieces ('hunters'). It also cuts the pieces to half the square size, in that case:

The renderer now first looks if there is a file defaults.ini in the directory for the specified SVG piece set. This file can overrule the hard-coded defaults for the colors (including the original white filling color, so it knows what to replace). In addition it can specify some scaling parameters used for displaying two pieces in one square (horizontal and vertical scaling, horizontal offsets, vertical culling), so these can be made piece-set dependent. Finally it allows specification of a list of aliases for the dressed-letter codes used in the FEN. E.g. B~ stands for knighted bishop, but in Alfaerie this is a cut-and-paste symbol for which I did not make a separate SVG image. So I defined it as an alias for B-N, synthesizing the image on the fly.


This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2002-05-28
 By Ralph  Betza. Chess with Different Armies. Betza's classic variant where white and black play with different sets of pieces. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-10-13 UTC

@HG&@Greg

We have discussed the matter of possible rock-paper-scizors effects with negative conclusions so maybe my idea involving musketeer chess gating was an overreaction, but maybe may be kept in the back of the mind if such problems arise. Good luck everybody :)!


H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-13 UTC

It is clear that the change BD -> BnD should weaken the Clobberers against any opponent, which would be undesirable against opponents that already have the upper hand. But usually such opponents would also be stronger than FIDE, and would also have to be weakened. My earlier testing with Fairy-Max suggested that the performance of armies was reasonably 'transitive', in the sense that when A > B, and B > C, then A > C by an amount approximately equal to the sum of the first two. The only anomaly was that the Nutters under-performed against the Clobberers. I conjectured that this could again be a strategic issue, namely that the more forward-directed strategy and slow backwardness of the Nutters backfires when the army has pairs of pieces (or single pieces) that can easily checkmate a King.

It is a pity that test takes so long (a common problem in computer chess...). I suppose that the new ChessV is stronger than Fairy-Max? Have you ever measured by how much? What TC are you using for these tests? Have you tried how far you can push that, without significantly affecting the result? Large depth is only needed to bring the eventual tactical punishment of strategically bad moves within the horizon, so a more advanced evaluation (e.g. for Pawn structure and King Safety) should allow faster games without play becoming so unrealistic that it is no longer a representative sampling of the pieces their tactical abilities. People are nowadays tuning their engine's evaluation at ~0.25 sec/move (e.g. 10 sec + 0.1 sec/move). It would surely save a lot of time if that would work for piece-strength measurements too.

The danger is that playing at a lower level reduces all 'excess scores', even though the ratio of these scores keep constant (so that you get the same value in terms of centi-Pawn when you divide them by the Pawn-odds score). For a twice-lower Pawn-odds score you would need 4 times as many games to get the same resolution in centi-Pawns. So I suppose there will be an optimum there. Too high a quality of play is also not good. btw; you want the typical evaluation lost per move compared to prefect play to be so large that over the duration of a game it typically accumulates to a range wider than the draw interval (say [-150cP, +150cP]), so that small departures from equality in the initial imbalance already significantly sample the won/lost range.


This item is a miscellaneous item
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2017-08-30
 Author: Fergus  Duniho. Game Courier Settings Files. Keep track of all the settings files you have written for Game Courier.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-10-13 UTC

I've just tried to edit a number of presets that were not authored by me. Nowadays (at least) it seems I'm never provided with a field to enter my own password when attempting such an editing task, and that may explain why in each case when I attempted (again) to save something called '3D Chess War', I was told that I was not the author of the preset.

Has something been changed?

I see that other people have recently successfully produced editor-approved presets, but it's not apparent that the settings file for such was made recently.

I'm not acquainted with how to make a settings file from absolute scratch, if that's even possible.


This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2002-05-28
 By Ralph  Betza. Chess with Different Armies. Betza's classic variant where white and black play with different sets of pieces. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-10-13 UTC

@Greg,

First, I'm on the tip of my toes about your next trial with conditions adapted to HG's observation.

 

"Again, I don't think changing BD to BnD changes the flavor or removes any spice.  Do you?  "

I have a bit of discomfort as the game did not had any lame leapers before but that borders on nothing. I'm more concerned how the change affect the balance against the two other armies. As this seems to me that will lead to a wave of interconnected changes that are probably not easy to pull through. Some sort of logical system of equations needs maintaining and I honestly doubt such and endevour is even doable, little to say about feasible. This because you don't have many options for tunning while keeping the initial flavour on

But I'm very much for any CWDA game. It is just that a sequel to Betza's game should borrow off his elements otherwise it is another chess with different armies game. A better one quite likelly.

"On this we must disagree[about the game not needing rescuing].  Sure, it is playable.  It is one of the most popular games on Game Courier so certainly people can play it and have fun.  But if the armies are way out of balance, as it has become clear that they are, then it fails at its stated goal.  If the game were played and studied even more as time goes on, people would learn exactly how to exploit the unbalance and the game would no longer be playable. "

The game is good enough at my level. It is probably good enough at any current human level (although this could be a stretch) but there is always the quest for even better (I am an engineer after all). And the endeavor of making another game sequel or not is great. I'd venture the idea we may need to make a distinction about it, but if we don't make it other future people will surely do, if it's the case, so much bothering could not be needed here either.

What I was actually insisting about it was that maybe my musketeer technique is and easier goal to achieve without sacrificing any design principles(besides making the board more crowded which is something I actually like, even if 36 pieces on an 8x8 tends to be too much even for me). But we can easily go on our merry way if this back and forth can't advance in an useful way and maybe History will decide. Or not, as currently chess variants don't seem to catch on! The space of possible chess variants is so vast that there is more than enough room for all of us. I remember you actually agreeing to help, so that is cool. So it is a math debate actually: the way I like it :)!


Greg Strong wrote on 2018-10-12 UTC

It occurred to me that the Nutters are unique amongst Betza's armies in their forward-backward asymmetry. I wonder if this could have an unexpected effect on the outcome of self-play games of engines with an evaluation that is not highly tuned. In a random mover Nutter pieces would tend to diffuse forward. Perhaps this makes the nutters a bit more aggressive than the others, which would benefit them if the others are not aggressive enough. Perhaps the others would benefit from a piece-square table with a larger forward-gradient, while the Nutters automatically play like they have one.

Good observations as always.  ChessV has a more sophisticated evaluation than FairyMax but it is certainly not "highly tuned."  I can definitely re-run the FF vs. NN test with the forwardness component of the FIDE's PST increased.  I'll kick that off and see how much it affects the results.  The test will take a few days to complete...


Greg Strong wrote on 2018-10-12 UTC

And balance is the primary goal but to me the flavor is what bring the spice :)!

Again, I don't think changing BD to BnD changes the flavor or removes any spice.  Do you?  You seem clearly opposed to this change, but I do not understand why.

I don't say CWDA needs rescuing it is a good game.

On this we must disagree.  Sure, it is playable.  It is one of the most popular games on Game Courier so certainly people can play it and have fun.  But if the armies are way out of balance, as it has become clear that they are, then it fails at its stated goal.  If the game were played and studied even more as time goes on, people would learn exactly how to exploit the unbalance and the game would no longer be playable.


Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-10-12 UTC

@HG,

In CWDA army tunning is most definetly a thing for any AI, epeacially in the context of flavor I was discussing with Greg earlier. In machine learning that should come rather easy but unfortuneatly I have not god that far. In the end the army is just another variable (be it some multidimensional properties). What I mean is that it should not be more difficult than any other desing of such algorithms.


Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-10-12 UTC

@Greg,

We can very much leave Betza's game as is and invent a improved version ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that. And balance is the primary goal but to me the flavor is what bring the spice :)!

 

" If you want to make such a game, I would encourage it and I would try to help if you wanted, but I don't see this as a valid approach to rescuing CwDA. "

I don't say CWDA needs rescuing it is a good game. But I also see it as a good lesson, we could use.  The musketeer chess approach is meant to offer a way to balance the imbalances in a specific way to each match, because yes it is about armies and not the individual pieces but there is that old libertarian saying that society is made out of individuals which I think goes well here. A pair of minors or a rooklike and a bishoplike piece would at least open more doors which is hardly done otherwise, as far as I can see!


H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-12 UTC

It occurred to me that the Nutters are unique amongst Betza's armies in their forward-backward asymmetry. I wonder if this could have an unexpected effect on the outcome of self-play games of engines with an evaluation that is not highly tuned. In a random mover Nutter pieces would tend to diffuse forward. Perhaps this makes the nutters a bit more aggressive than the others, which would benefit them if the others are not aggressive enough. Perhaps the others would benefit from a piece-square table with a larger forward-gradient, while the Nutters automatically play like they have one.

On two occasions I noticed issues that could be related. In Fairy-Max white seems to play better than black, even when I average out the first-move advantage by having black start in half the games. This must be due to the direction the board is scanned during move generation; for white this typically first encounters the Pawns, for black the pieces. So if a Pawn move and a piece move have equal score, white would likely play the Pawn move, black the piece move. As Pawn moves are always forward, this makes white play more aggressively.

The second case was when I was measuring the value of KNAD. I was not sure whether it would be good to give a bonus for centralizing such a valuable piece, so I did the measurement both with a neutral PST and a centralizing PST for the KNAD. In the latter case the KNAD cae out about 1 Pawn more valuable! Normally misconceptions on the evaluation (such as the piece value) hardly affect the outcome of such measurements, as long as both players share the misconception. But not in this case. Without an incentive to centralize the side with the KNAD too often left it unused, in a place where the profitable things it could do stayed beyond the horizon.So strategic errors only one side can make (because of the imbalance) can affect the outcome.


Greg Strong wrote on 2018-10-12 UTC

There could be a solution but first remember the the state space of the possible solutions is linked to the choosing of the pieces out of a small possible set, is it is probably non-neglijable likely to plainly not be able to succeed as the demands ar pretty tight.

I agree that absolutely perfect balance between all combinations of armies could be very difficult, but I also think it's not necessary.  Even if they are not balanced enough for computer vs. computer matches to come out exactly even, so long as the goal is to make a game good for humans I think we absolutely can get sufficiently balanced armies.

My take from cwda is not about balance but aboutsomething i'd call "dinamic balance" as each army seems to "mean" something.

It is unfortunate that Betza hasn't been heard from in nearly 15 years now and may not even be alive.  But he has written a lot of content on this site about piece values, his struggles to determine them, and his goals for Chess with Different Armies, and his previous failed attempt at it.  I believe we know enough from these writings to feel confident that an even balance between armies was THE primary goal and, if he were here, he would be continuing to work toward it.

Yes, each army does have a unique "flavor" that absolutely should be preserved to the maximum extent possible.  But making the BD's leap a lame leap is a very, very tiny change that doesn't change the flavor at all, at least in my opinion.  I can't really see an argument against this change unless one believes that it is Betza's game and only he can update it and, consequently, if he's dead we are stuck with it forever.

The fact is we have learned a lot since this game was made and Betza was unfortunately wrong about some things.  The Archbishop is worth a lot more than he thought as just one example.  If he had known what we know now, he would have made different decisions.  There's a page here somewhere where he talks about the Short Rook and trying to decide what the range should be and how he used computer vs. computer test matches to help validate the decisions exactly as we are doing.

The Musketeer Chess approach is problematic.  For one thing, you are taking about a radical change that makes a completely different game.  You no longer have armies with themes that "mean" something as you put it.  And, we have determined that the strength of an army depends heavily on the specific combination of pieces, not just the individual pieces.  If you want to make such a game, I would encourage it and I would try to help if you wanted, but I don't see this as a valid approach to rescuing CwDA.


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