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AltOrth Hex Chess

Introduction

This is a new take on hex Chess, but moving in the very opposite direction (no pun intended) relative to Wellisch than that taken by Glinski and McCooey. The latter pair take the root-7 oblique as the analogue between hexagons to the root-5 one (the direction of the Knight) between squares, leaving the root-3 diagonal so used by Wellisch free to serve as analogue to the square board's root-2 diagonal.

What I do here is preserve Wellisch's use of the root-3 diagonal but split the six orthogonal directions into two groups of three, each trio serving as one of two complementary types of direction analogous to the orthogonals and diagonals on the square board. In other words, rather than expand from the 4 Rook and 4 Bishop directions to 6 each as Glinski and McCooey did, this variant reduces to 3 each. This gives the name, which is short for Alternate Orthogonal Hexagonal-cell Chess. In a sense the resulting pieces have more of the Hunter and Hawker which I have since used in the square-board variant Nimrod Chess than of the actual Rook and Bishop, not only because both resulting pieces are unbound but because they cannot return to a cell by retracting a previous move but only in a third or later move sweeping out a triangular or more complex path. An alternate-orthogonal rectilinear Chess would of course not be so practical on account of having too few orthogonals for the pieces to remain 2d!

I now have three offshoots of this variant: Ringworld Chess, a variant inspired by the Fore- and Hind- prefixes; AltOrth with Further Piece Types, a page of AltOrth analogues to extra-piece square-cell variants; and AltOrth with Hopping and Crooked pieces, a page of still more complex variants.

The Doubleback concept is described with reference to the basic square-cell geometry in the Notes section of Nearlydouble Chess.

Setup

It took a while to choose a full set of images to use to replace the old Ascii Art diagrams, even with this set, but I eventually managed it by interpreting "Crab" as "incomplete" (the Crab being an incomplete Knight) in conjunction with orthogonal-piece images for Forepieces and their diagonal duals for Hindpieces.

Basic subvariant - can be played by 3 players as well as by 2:

Trios Hex subvariant:

Doubleback subvariant:

Pieces

Wellisch pieces:
The GENERAL moves one step along any orthogonal, like a Wazir, but unlike the latter piece and like the FIDE and Shogi King - whose Wellisch analogue it is - it must be kept out of check.
The ROOK moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along any orthogonal. It is actually this variant's analogue of the Queen - or in terms of the Hunter and Hawker their own compound the Queenranker.
The VICEROY moves one step along any of the 6 hex (or on a cubic board, 8 3d) diagonals. It is the Wellisch Knight analogue, although in the Glinski/McCooey interpretation it would be a Ferz analogue.

Pieces specific to the new analogy:

The FOREROOK moves like the Rook but only in the straight forward and both half backward directions. It is this page's analogue to the square-board Rook.
The HINDROOK moves like the Rook but only in the straight backward and both half forward directions. It is this page's Bishop analogue, but is not colourbound.>
The MIGRANT moves one step at a time. It moves along the straight forward orthogonal expect when capturing, which it does along the two half-forward orthogonals. See also my piece article Man and Beast 16: Diverging Further. It is an even better analogue for a Pawn in a variant using alternative orthogonals in the way of this variant than it is in McGlinwell, a variant combining the Wellisch analogy with elements of the other variants.
In the 2-player subvariants play alternates between the two players. In the 3-player one it progresses anticlockwise.

A Migrant on any Migrant starting cell of its camp may make a double-step noncapturing move, regardless of whether it has already made one or more moves to get there. It may however be immediately captured En Passant by an enemy Migrant poised to capture it had it moved only a single step.

Migrants reaching the far edges can be promoted to pieces captured by the enemy if any have been. Promotion on the far corner is compulsory.

There is no Castling.

In the 2-player subvariants Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as usual. In the 3-player one a player is Checkmated when their General is threatened by the player about to move. That player's pieces are removed from the game and the remaining players then alternate moves starting with the Checkmating one. The last player not Checkmated wins. A player can also win by getting a Migrant to the far corner while having a full complement of non-Migrants, in all subvariants and even if both 3-player enemies are uncheckmated.

Rules

In the 2-player subvariants play alternates between the two players. In the 3-player one it progresses anticlockwise.

A Migrant on any Migrant starting cell of its camp may make a double-step noncapturing move, regardless of whether it has already made one or more moves to get there. It may however be immediately captured En Passant by an enemy Migrant poised to capture it had it moved only a single step.

Migrants reaching the far edges can be promoted to pieces captured by the enemy if any have been. Promotion on the far corner is compulsory.

There is no Castling.

In the 2-player subvariants Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as usual. In the 3-player one a player is Checkmated when their General is threatened by the player about to move. That player's pieces are removed from the game and the remaining players then alternate moves starting with the Checkmating one. The last player not Checkmated wins. A player can also win by getting a Migrant to the far corner while having a full complement of non-Migrants, in all subvariants and even if both 3-player enemies are uncheckmated.

Notes

The irreversibility of moves in this variant should perhaps be more thoroughly explained. It differs from those of the familiar Grasshopper and Gryphon, which are dependent on placement of intervening pieces. For example on that classic of piece description the Otherwise Empty Board the Gryphon can indeed return to a square in two moves and the Grasshopper cannot move at all! Movement of a piece can also allow a return e.g.
15 Grasshopper a4-h4 Rook g4-b4 16 Grasshopper h4-a4

or
27 Gryphon a2-b8 Knight a5-b3 28 Gryphon b8-a2

The Forerook and Hindrook, like the Hunter and Hawker, can never move between two cells in both directions. In the two-player subvariant there are other characteristics of such pieces. Firstly either both or neither of two opposite-colour Forerooks threaten each other, likewise two opposing Hindrooks. Contrast two opposing Gryphons one of which may be blocked but not the other, or two opposing Grasshoppers three or more squares apart which cannot both be threatening each other. Secondly a Forerook cannot capture an enemy Forerook by "following" it. Contrast the Grasshopper that can use the very same screen as its captive. On the contrary it is the Hindrook that can follow the enemy Forerook and vice versa. Paradoxically in the three-player subvariant all three players' Forerooks move in the same three directions, likewise all three players' Hindrooks, allowing pieces to follow the same but not the opposite type, and mutually threaten the opposite but not the same type!

AltOrth versions of the standard games of mainland Asia didn't make it to AltOrth with Extra Piece Types. Most of these simply substitute pieces, but the Chinese and Korean ones are a bit more complex. It is hopefully clear from my definitions of Forerook and Hindrook what a Forewazir and Hindwazir would be - and for that matter a Foredabbaba and Hinddabbaba, Forecannon and Hindcannon, et cetera mean. Substitutions are as follows:
AltOrth Chaturanga: Hindwazir for full Rook, Hinddabbabas for Hindrooks;
AltOrth Shatar: Rook-Wazir puppeteer instead of full Rook;
AltOrth Makruk: Hindwazir for full Rook, Colonels for Hindrooks;
AltOrth Sittuyin: ditto but with random initial placement;
AltOrth XQ: Foregeneral+2 Hindwazirs all limited to a Fortress, 2 Hinddabbabas (sharing binding within army), 3 Viceroys (one per binding), 2 Forerooks, 2 Forecannons, a few Points;
AltOrth Korean: General+2 Wazirs all limited to Fortress lines, 2 Hindsennights (defined in Man and Beast 20: Far From Square), 3 Viceroys (one per binding), 2 Forerooks, 2 Forecannons, a few Points.

If you are wondering about the use of Hindsennights, the reason is that whereas Wellisch analogues confound pairs of sqaure-cell pieces (see notes on Trios Hex Chess), AltOrth splits them out, through considering only the straight forward and half-backward orthogonals for coordinate purposes. Thus analogues for leapers beyond the Knight are Foresennight for Camel, Hindsennight for Zebra, Foreaurochs for Giraffe, Hindaurochs for Antelope, Foreoverscore for Zemel, Forestudent for Satyr, Hindstudent for Gimel, Hindoverscore for Rector, Forenewlywed for Flamingo, Hindnewlywed for Parson, Forebarnowl for Stork, Foregoose for Samel, Hindgoose for Ox, Hindbarnowl for Famel, et cetera. Note that relationships of duality are entirely lost. Thus analogues of compounds - Foreseprelander for Gnu, Hindseprelander for Gazelle, Sennight for Bison, Seprelander for Buffalo, Foreravallander for Lookout, Aurochs-Sennight puppeteer for Gamewarden, et cetera - lack the significance of the square-board compounds. This is why I see little point in an AltOrth Wildebeest with Foresennights and a Foreseprelander. Note also that Fore- or Hind- versions of a hex-diagonal piece retain the whole of the hex-diagonal piece's move on this orientation - though not on the Wellisch one..

Another interesting use of the Glinski board is Larry Lynn Smith's Stations. That variant uses pieces which start as Wings, Rookrankers, Forerooks, Rookfilers, and a Brigacowarrider (long range piece in the reverse of the Brigadier's directions). but are rotatable at the end of their moves to cover up to all six radial directions over the course of a game.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2007-03-03. Web page last updated: 2016-05-10