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Hex Horngi

Introduction

Fergus Duniho's family of hex Shogis use the Wellisch orientation to make forward-only pieces stronger (2 directions out of 6) than they would be in the Glinski/McCooey one (1 out of 6). It occurred to me to wonder whether a Shogi variant could be devised suiting the Glinski/McCooey orientation. Given my recent concentration on the Wellisch interpretation of Hex pieces, with no analogue to the standard diagonal, my approach now may seem surprising. It is to apply the McCooey interpretation to my square-cell variant Mitregi, which actually adds diagonal pieces to match the orthogonal ones. In doing this the choice of orientation is integral in giving a balance between a Wing stuck on one file and a forward-only version of a colourbound piece having to always change file. A Wellisch orientation would lack this just as a corner-orientated Mitregi would.

It is also worth comparing with my 3d variant Tunnelshogi, and my more recent Missionary Cubic Variants. Both these pages feature pieces with many of the same names as I equate the 3d nonstandard diagonal (commonly called triagonal) with the hex diagonal. I justify this based not merely on their having moves of common length but on the fact that steps of each can be expressed as an orthogonal and a standard-diagonal step at right angles, the first on the cubic board itself and the second on a Tetrahedral Chess one. It is on the hex diagonal that forward-only pieces have multiple directions, as they do on the standard one (SD) in Mitregi and on both kinds in Tunnelshogi and the Missionary variants.

It is because there could theoretically be a cubic Horngi (having but not using the standard diagonal) that I include Hex in the name of this variant. Mind you there could be a cubic Mitregi (having but not using the nonstandard diagonal) but it would still be rectilinear like the original.

Setup

Pieces

symmetric pieces
The GRANDDUKE moves one step along any orthogonal or ND and must be kept out of Check. It is the G/McC analogue to the FIDE and Shogi King.
The ROOK moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along any orthogonal. It is promotable to a VICEREINE by adding the ability to move one step along any ND. In the G/McC interpretation the Vicereine is the Chatelaine analogue, although in the Wellisch one it would be a Marshal analogue.
The UNICORN moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along any ND. It is the G/McC analogue to the Bishop, although in the Wellisch imterpretation it would be a Nightrider analogue. It is bound to a third of the board but with promotion and return for capture this matters little. Like the Bishops in Shogi the two opposing Unicorns are in line. It is promotable to a BESIEGER by adding the ability to move one step along any orthogonal. In the G/McC interpretation the Besieger is the Primate analogue, although in the Wellisch one it would be a "Marshrover" (Nightrider plus Wazir) analogue.
Part-symmetric pieces
The BRASSGENERAL moves one step along any orthogonal or either forward ND. In the G/McC interpretation it is the Goldgeneral analogue.
The AZUREGENERAL moves one step along any ND or the straight forward orthogonal. In the G/McC interpretation it is the Silvergeneral analogue.
Forward-only pieces
The HORN moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along either forward ND. In the G/McC interpretation it is the Mitre analogue, and is promotable to an Azuregeneral.
The WING moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along the straight forward orthogonal. It is promotable to a Brassgeneral.
The SALTIRE moves one step along either forward ND. In the G/McC interpretation it is the Cross analogue, and is promotable to an Azuregeneral. It starts further back than the next piece on account of its move beinging it further foward.
The SENHELM (Sh) makes either of the two most forward root-7 leaps. It is the G/McC analogue to the Helm. As neither an orthogonal nor an ND piece, it is promotable to a DUKE, a piece moving like the Grandduke but capturable.
The POINT moves one step along the straight forward orthogonal. It is promotable to a Brassgeneral.

Rules

In the 2-player subvariant play alternates between the two players starting with White. In the 3-player one it progresses anticlockwise starting with Red.

There is no initial double-step move, En Passant, or Castling.

As in Shogi a player's promotion zone comprises the furthest edge(s) plus cells one or two orthogonal steps short thereof. A promotable piece starting or ending a move on such a cell may be promoted at the end of that move. Promotion is optional unless the piece has no further move.

Players hold the pieces that they capture in a Reserve, and can reintroduce them in unpromoted form on cells whence they have a further move in that form.

In the 2-player subvariants Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as usual. In the 3-player ones a player is Checkmated when their Grandduke is threatened by the player about to move. That player's pieces, both on the board and in Reserve, are removed from the game. As with recent Shogi variants of mine for three players and for four, this is because the variant has a greater density of pieces - and particularly of long-range pieces - than either 2-player Shogi or Yonin Shogi. It also gives an incentive to postpone Checkmating the first player in the hope of capturing more pieces.

Notes

A good opening move on the 3-player subvariant is to move the second leftmost Point forward. There is the potential for an exchange of Saltires, but if the player to your left captures with their Point they will leave their Rook open to an exchange with your Unicorn.

The name of the Besieger is part of a "Unicorn plus short-range X represents attacker of long-range X" pattern, in this case an attacker of castles. In its cubic form it is complemented by Unicorn+Ferz=Heretic (attacking the church) and Unicorn+Prince=Usurper (attacking the monarchy).



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2006-12-03. Web page last updated: 2016-03-16