Author Topic: A Chess variant to surpass Taikyoku  (Read 391 times)

joejoyce

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Re: A Chess variant to surpass Taikyoku
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2018, 05:02:29 pm »
A number of years ago I argued you could have a playable chess variant on a 100x100 board. Then I started looking for those games. As this topic demonstrates, it becomes very quickly realized that it has to be a multimove game, unless you want it to be a generational game, a family heirloom you pass down through the decades. I tried a number of things that didn't work (like Corps Chess or Spacewar.) The one idea that did work, and in more than one way, was using 'little kings' - leaders, brain units, all activators, to control small groups of pieces independently. The reason it worked is that large multimove games can get very chaotic very quickly, and leaders, along with using short ranged pieces, controlled this chaos, and actually used it to simulate the randomness of combat in large single battle games and even to simulate wars between 2 countries. So I've done successful 32x32 and 48x64 games, and demonstrated that the currently developed wargame version of activators could scale well beyond 100x100 and still give a playable, if long, game.

There have been 2 arguments against this idea presented here. The first is that the OP wants to use long ranged pieces, infinite sliders or leapers. Since this idea of combining leaders and long range pieces hasn't been examined at all, it is an open question, and I'll leave it there for a while. The second argument against military-style leadership is simple. If you have multiple moves, you can attack a single position multiple times in one turn, and that isn't fair. While I agree with the sentiment, I don't agree that multimove games have to be unfair. Regardless of how bad they may be as games, none of the fair number of activator games I've posted has been unfair in that way. The full wargames have terrain differences that can introduce elements of unfairness, but that is part of war. Further, the terrain is moveable. Change the board if you don't like it. ;) But activators are 'tunable'. The ones that activate pieces next to them (touching) or 2 squares away (and not touching) act like military leaders and supply units for short range pieces. (With infinite sliders, such a 'unit' would act like a moveable missile battery, an interesting military unit, no?) So, what happens if you tune your activator range to 'touching'?

Now you've got a whole different animal, so to speak, especially if you allow activation to flow through a chain of touching pieces. Now you've got something that can move and flow, that feels more alive. Since I'm naming-deficient, I call these 'pieces' chesimals, chess animals. Developing this idea for a very large game just might help out here. I will say this, chesimals need a lot of space, somewhat like real animals. They can't be jammed into all the squares of 40% of a large chess board and actually move - move at all, much less move effectively. SInce one "piece' is composed a several units, say 9 bishops, with the brain unit in the middle of a 3x3 square. Even when in the front row, the 3x3 square can't move without own capture if the chesimals are jammed side by side. To get out diagonally, the 'bishop chesimal' would need 2 files of 3 empty squares on either side to be able to move freely just in forward directions. And they tend to 'want' more than that. But you could set up each chesimal as a 3x3 critter in the middle of a 5x5 block of squares. So a 40x40 board section would hold 40 chesimals containing 360 individual pieces. Shoot, that almost sounds like it'd be playable in an afternoon! It certainly seems to beat the other ways I've been looking at a giant game. hmmm... You've posed a pretty puzzle here. Can you make a giant game using chess pieces and rules that remains a pure chess game playable in reasonable time, or must it involve elements of 'unfairness'?


ubersketch

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Re: A Chess variant to surpass Taikyoku
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2018, 07:48:00 pm »
A number of years ago I argued you could have a playable chess variant on a 100x100 board. Then I started looking for those games. As this topic demonstrates, it becomes very quickly realized that it has to be a multimove game, unless you want it to be a generational game, a family heirloom you pass down through the decades. I tried a number of things that didn't work (like Corps Chess or Spacewar.) The one idea that did work, and in more than one way, was using 'little kings' - leaders, brain units, all activators, to control small groups of pieces independently. The reason it worked is that large multimove games can get very chaotic very quickly, and leaders, along with using short ranged pieces, controlled this chaos, and actually used it to simulate the randomness of combat in large single battle games and even to simulate wars between 2 countries. So I've done successful 32x32 and 48x64 games, and demonstrated that the currently developed wargame version of activators could scale well beyond 100x100 and still give a playable, if long, game.

There have been 2 arguments against this idea presented here. The first is that the OP wants to use long ranged pieces, infinite sliders or leapers. Since this idea of combining leaders and long range pieces hasn't been examined at all, it is an open question, and I'll leave it there for a while. The second argument against military-style leadership is simple. If you have multiple moves, you can attack a single position multiple times in one turn, and that isn't fair. While I agree with the sentiment, I don't agree that multimove games have to be unfair. Regardless of how bad they may be as games, none of the fair number of activator games I've posted has been unfair in that way. The full wargames have terrain differences that can introduce elements of unfairness, but that is part of war. Further, the terrain is moveable. Change the board if you don't like it. ;) But activators are 'tunable'. The ones that activate pieces next to them (touching) or 2 squares away (and not touching) act like military leaders and supply units for short range pieces. (With infinite sliders, such a 'unit' would act like a moveable missile battery, an interesting military unit, no?) So, what happens if you tune your activator range to 'touching'?

Now you've got a whole different animal, so to speak, especially if you allow activation to flow through a chain of touching pieces. Now you've got something that can move and flow, that feels more alive. Since I'm naming-deficient, I call these 'pieces' chesimals, chess animals. Developing this idea for a very large game just might help out here. I will say this, chesimals need a lot of space, somewhat like real animals. They can't be jammed into all the squares of 40% of a large chess board and actually move - move at all, much less move effectively. SInce one "piece' is composed a several units, say 9 bishops, with the brain unit in the middle of a 3x3 square. Even when in the front row, the 3x3 square can't move without own capture if the chesimals are jammed side by side. To get out diagonally, the 'bishop chesimal' would need 2 files of 3 empty squares on either side to be able to move freely just in forward directions. And they tend to 'want' more than that. But you could set up each chesimal as a 3x3 critter in the middle of a 5x5 block of squares. So a 40x40 board section would hold 40 chesimals containing 360 individual pieces. Shoot, that almost sounds like it'd be playable in an afternoon! It certainly seems to beat the other ways I've been looking at a giant game. hmmm... You've posed a pretty puzzle here. Can you make a giant game using chess pieces and rules that remains a pure chess game playable in reasonable time, or must it involve elements of 'unfairness'?
Pretty similar to the infantry concept. This is what we did to ensure the game is playable within a short time. We also made sure that each piece should also have a special ability.

"Okay now I can't stop staring at that alien crotch." ubersketch 2k17

HGMuller

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Re: A Chess variant to surpass Taikyoku
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2018, 07:18:28 am »
I don't see how multiple moves per turn shortens the game. It will decrease the number of turns, for sure, but you still have to make all the moves. It only changes the order of the moves.

If you have very many pieces, it seems a big problem to have them all participate in a meaningful way, and still keep a reasonable game duration.

joejoyce

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Re: A Chess variant to surpass Taikyoku
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2018, 03:17:45 pm »
I don't see how multiple moves per turn shortens the game. It will decrease the number of turns, for sure, but you still have to make all the moves. It only changes the order of the moves.

If you have very many pieces, it seems a big problem to have them all participate in a meaningful way, and still keep a reasonable game duration.
I think to a great extent, time taken is dependent upon the coordination of the moves. If each individual move is totally independent of what is going on elsewhere, then you are correct, and there is no difference in time to play. However, if there is coordination among piece moves, then the calculation time, in general, tends to drop. Yes, you may envision some bizarre, far-reaching group of complex moves that decimates your opponent and gives you far and away the better position, and this might well take more time, but how often can it happen realistically? And if that is the case, the future of the game being played will be shortened by that move, in general. I grant exceptions, but they are just that, exceptional, and not something you would deal with often.

If you use activators, then the time almost has to be shortened, because you have a tight-knit group of pieces all moving together in the game, even though they move one at a time on the board. Basically, all the other pieces have to go along with the activator, or they won't be able to move next turn and thereafter, until they are picked up by an activator again.

What are the benefits of a multiple unit activator "piece", besides ease of movement? Well, the 'piece' now has "hit points", and can survive losing some units. It has general attack and defense abilities that are based on the number of units in the piece and how the units move, modified by the *exact*placement of all units involved in or near the action. Now consider the last example I gave, a 50x50 with 40 3x3 9-unit activator pieces. I would argue that just on the face of it, the 40 *piece* game is much more likely to move more of its *units* than the 360 piece game, especially if the game is played one move per player turn.

I grant that it's obviously true that a single move/turn game where most pieces are ignored, and all the action is concentrated in a few pieces near the kings, can end faster than a multimove version of the same game, but there are 2 points here. One is yours - why bother with a large game when you are only actually playing a small game? Exactly! There is no reason, other than to add confusion (which may be a valid reason on rare occasions.) The second point is mine - the multimove game provides a far fuller and richer game experience as well as using far more of the individual units on the board. That is, if the game is properly constrained by the rules. You could set things up so that white always wins on the first move, but that isn't a game I'd play very often.

Finally, very large chess variants can exhibit more different behaviors that the standard games. Macysburg is a riff on the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Heh, and I was actually playing with a chesimals game that evolved chesimals in an 'ocean' (puddle) over the course of time. I'd gotten up to multiple organ chesimals with offensive and defensive capabilities, and also the need to 'eat', to harvest 'plants' in the ocean for raw material to build, repair, and mutate during a game. Then Nick Bentley announced a new game from the company he now works for that covers similar territory in what sounds like a much simpler way, so I shelved that project for the near future, at least.

I've tried to push the boundaries of what chess can do with a lot of my games. So in many ways, I'm conservative, in an attempt to tempt people to take just one (sometimes large) step from chess to whatever strange thing I dreamed up, instead of a bunch of steps. I design games I'd like to play, so they have to be able to attract the occasional player. Creating your own universe where everything is different and novel creates an almost insurmountable learning curve for new players, giving very few opportunities to actually play. The pile of short range pieces I've designed is introduced in 'shatrangized' versions of Modern chess, Capablanca's/Carrera's Chess, and Grand Chess. Grin, that way, they actually get some play! For the larger games, I use very few different piece types, from 5 to 10ish, for ease of play, especially in multimove/activator games. I try to make games as simple as possible to showcase the idea of the game, for ease of learning and play, not necessarily for ease of winning.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 06:03:35 pm by joejoyce »

ubersketch

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Re: A Chess variant to surpass Taikyoku
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2018, 02:39:53 pm »
Darn, looking back, this is a pretty ambitious project.
Perhaps we should start by making a fairly sized variant and scale up from there.
Although I find some of the op pieces I came up with are pretty interesting.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 02:58:22 pm by ubersketch »

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ubersketch

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Re: A Chess variant to surpass Taikyoku
« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2018, 04:54:04 pm »
Also I made this Google Doc to organize information.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1X4s5b677_YZeNpVZMdsOiULiaSNhnmWuCAc1TplR0Ug/edit?usp=sharing
DM me your email for editing rights.

"Okay now I can't stop staring at that alien crotch." ubersketch 2k17

ubersketch

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Re: A Chess variant to surpass Taikyoku
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2018, 06:58:37 pm »
Some new pieces:
Dummy - Can be placed at any turn in the game for free. Cannot move or capture or do anything (unless itís activated by a piece like the Lamia.)
Beacon - Can be placed at any turn in the game after a sacrifice. All friendly pieces a queens move away from it cannot be captured. Cannot move or capture. May be placed anywhere.
Rider - Every friendly piece within a 5x5 radius of it can move as itís rider equivalent.
Shifter - Can capture any unprotected piece and take its tile.
Armor - Promoted dummy (capturing a piece and moving to the last 3 enemy ranks) can move to any tile, but cannot capture unless activated.
Tamer - Moves and captures as queen. May convert every piece within a 5x5 radius into a friendly piece, but demotes to a Lion (chu shogi.)
Draftsman - A draughtsman from draughts/checkers, obtained from sacrificing a Queen.
Drafter - A king draughtsman, obtained from getting a Draftsman into the last 3 enemy ranks.
Final Chariot - Obtained by sacrificing 3 Rooks. A final chariot makes a rook and a bishop move in one turn, allowing for 2 captures (one for rook move, another for bishop move.)
Lighthouse - 3 lighthouses can be placed in one game. Every friendly piece within a queens move can leap.
Abbess - Moves as a bishop. All friendly pieces a queens move away immobilize all adjacent pieces.
Grenadier - Moves as an uncapturing queen. One turn may be used to capture all enemy pieces within a 5x5 radius.
Annihilator - Moves as a queen. Every piece within a queens move may be captured without moving.
Beserker - All pieces within a 6x6 radius get captured, regardless of color.

A sacrifice is giving up a certain number of pieces of certain types for another piece (it may be placed at any turn.)

"Okay now I can't stop staring at that alien crotch." ubersketch 2k17