1. ## Help to test a chess variant (Please)

Hi,
We are a group of students studying game design in Canberra. Our latest unit is 'Testing' & the assignment requires us to make a variant of chess & ask people to play it & provide feedback, the idea being that this is a test cycle that will provide information to enable us to know whether it is a viable change or needs further analysis. As our class size is small we were hoping that some of you might be able to help us by playing our version. The attached document has details of the change plus a slight variant on that change. If you do decide to give it a try any feedback would be appreciated, especially around what did/didn't work, what you did/did not like, & any other information you think is useful for us to provide an overview of how the change was received.

Feedback can be posted here or emailed to an account we have created for this purpose : ourchessvariant@gmail.com

Thanks

Sean

Chess Variant.doc

2. ## Proper attachment

Sorry, the original attachment lost the images. Hopefully this one works.

Chess Variant.doc

3. I have read the description, but I am not sure I fully understand the variant.

• The player can use their turn to invert/flip the rook which roots the rook & freezes the adjacent squares.

• No piece of any colour in a frozen square can move until the rook is flipped back to being the right way up.

• Frozen pieces can still be taken but cannot take any pieces (as they can't move).
• This means that they also cannot be used to check the opponents king.
• Pieces can move through frozen squares without being affected, they only become frozen if their move ends in a frozen square.
• Kings & Queens are unaffected by frozen squares & can move through them unaffected (e.g they can be used to safely take enemy pieces each turn).

Are these rules inspired by the Disney movie "frozen"?

4. If a rook has flipped and flipped back but hasn't moved, can a king still castle with that rook?

If the same position happens three times with the same player to move but a difference as to whether a rook was flipped at the time or not, can the player claim a draw?

I thought the restriction on freezing kings and queens actually makes the "freezing" concept less interesting. If rooks can't take anything but can only freeze pawns, knights, bishops and rooks (and even then having to take a move to do it, in which time the other pieces will often either take the rook or run away) then it seems that rooks are rather puny.

Another consequence of rooks not being able to take anything is a vast increase in drawn endings. Even king and two rooks vs king is a draw.

5. Originally Posted by ElevatorEscapee
I have read the description, but I am not sure I fully understand the variant.

• The player can use their turn to invert/flip the rook which roots the rook & freezes the adjacent squares.

• No piece of any colour in a frozen square can move until the rook is flipped back to being the right way up.

• Frozen pieces can still be taken but cannot take any pieces (as they can't move).
• This means that they also cannot be used to check the opponents king.
• Pieces can move through frozen squares without being affected, they only become frozen if their move ends in a frozen square.
• Kings & Queens are unaffected by frozen squares & can move through them unaffected (e.g they can be used to safely take enemy pieces each turn).

Are these rules inspired by the Disney movie "frozen"?

Thanks for responding. To clarify:
- the adjacent squares are the 8 surrounding the rook (hopefully the 2nd attachment has the pictures showing it). Basically the ones directly in front, behind, each side & the four diagonals.
- no they weren't inspired by Frozen, but if Disney want to market it & kick me a few bucks then I'll say it was

6. Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
If a rook has flipped and flipped back but hasn't moved, can a king still castle with that rook?

If the same position happens three times with the same player to move but a difference as to whether a rook was flipped at the time or not, can the player claim a draw?

I thought the restriction on freezing kings and queens actually makes the "freezing" concept less interesting. If rooks can't take anything but can only freeze pawns, knights, bishops and rooks (and even then having to take a move to do it, in which time the other pieces will often either take the rook or run away) then it seems that rooks are rather puny.

Another consequence of rooks not being able to take anything is a vast increase in drawn endings. Even king and two rooks vs king is a draw.

Thanks for looking at this.

- No, rooks can't castle if they have been flipped as it counts as a move (We will clarify that in our rule set, we totally forgot that bit).
- Again, we hadn't considered that as every time we had tested it the opponent managed to get a piece out of range on their next turn. That was probably due to our lack of actual chess skill in getting so many pieces stuck in the first place.
- Rooks can't be taken by any piece either. They are basically a blocker that has the option to affect movement in a larger area.
- Yes draws are potentially more likely (though in the limited number of games we have seen with novice players we haven't had any). What we found though was that because pieces were being rendered inactive that the players were moving their kings out more often to try & take the pieces.

The reason we put up the second version (where pieces were limited to moving one square) was to overcome some issues we saw where players combined to lock across the whole board. We were hoping that better players than us might see more complex strategies/uses with the variants we came up with. But, all feedback is good feedback as that was the intention of the exercise being set by the teacher (that & teaching us that just because we think an idea is the best thing since sliced bread players will have different views ).

7. Originally Posted by ChessVariant
- Rooks can't be taken by any piece either.
Whoops, I missed that they can't be taken. Which means they just stay on the board the whole game. Also means there is no stalemate at all because a player can always endlessly flip rooks.

Would seem then that a defensively inclined player can plant two flipped rooks on the same rank and thereby create a block to pawns and knights coming through a 3x6 square block. That makes it very hard both to create a mating attack and to ever promote pawns. Unless I'm missing something the game as played by strong players will be a draw unless both players choose to play riskily.

8. Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
Whoops, I missed that they can't be taken. Which means they just stay on the board the whole game. Also means there is no stalemate at all because a player can always endlessly flip rooks.

Would seem then that a defensively inclined player can plant two flipped rooks on the same rank and thereby create a block to pawns and knights coming through a 3x6 square block. That makes it very hard both to create a mating attack and to ever promote pawns. Unless I'm missing something the game as played by strong players will be a draw unless both players choose to play riskily.
Yes. We were hoping that the frozen pieces would encourage the kings & queens out to clean up the frozen opponent pieces (since even if the opponent sets the freeze the chances are that they will freeze some of their own pieces). We also found that flipping them to freeze was ok & people rushed to do it but then they were sort of stuck & agonised over unfreezing (even if they were losing & had good pieces frozen) because as soon as they unfreeze the opponent gets to move one of their own previously frozen pieces. Playtesting will hopefully prove us right or wrong either way.

Endlessly flipping rooks to serve no purpose other than to use a turn is something we will be considering having a limit on for a stalemate or loss condition depending on feedback from players as to whether it was used/abused.

9. I'm suspecting even that the ending of king, queen and two rooks vs king and two rooks (since the rooks stay on the board forever and are never taken) is a draw in most positions. Not only do the rooks have the ability to use moves by flipping or moving, and the ability to block checks by moving in the way, but more importantly they can cluster around the king and make it difficult for the opposing king and queen to work together on a mate. There might even be a way for two rooks to corral an opposing king so it can't participate in a mate at all, but I'm not sure about that.

To increase winning chances I'd allow for rooks to be taken but also allow for them to freeze anything, including opposing kings and queens. And I'd allow that any piece can take a piece on a frozen square, but in doing so itself becomes frozen (this may already be the case in the current rules; unclear to me). (A piece could still move through a frozen square as before)

10. Originally Posted by road runner
Comments like this are the reason there should be a +1 system

11. Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
I'm suspecting even that the ending of king, queen and two rooks vs king and two rooks (since the rooks stay on the board forever and are never taken) is a draw in most positions. Not only do the rooks have the ability to use moves by flipping or moving, and the ability to block checks by moving in the way, but more importantly they can cluster around the king and make it difficult for the opposing king and queen to work together on a mate. There might even be a way for two rooks to corral an opposing king so it can't participate in a mate at all, but I'm not sure about that.

To increase winning chances I'd allow for rooks to be taken but also allow for them to freeze anything, including opposing kings and queens. And I'd allow that any piece can take a piece on a frozen square, but in doing so itself becomes frozen (this may already be the case in the current rules; unclear to me). (A piece could still move through a frozen square as before)
good points, I will pass that back to the others. And yes, a piece that takes a frozen piece becomes frozen itself unless it is the king or queen (as they are immune). We obviously need to make that clearer.