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Hi folks, I'm WJ MacGuffin and I design games for a living. (Not a very good living, but still ....) I'm working on a silly variant of chess and need playtesters to help find all the bugs and whatnot. If you are interested, please email me (wjmacguffin at gmail dot com), drop me a note at my company's website (happybishopgames dot com) or post something here.
The variant is tentively titled Personality Chess. The idea is to give pieces their own personality and attract people who normally don't play chess. (I know, shame on them!) Here's how the variant works:
Example: Nigel the pawn. Nigel isn’t just the dullest knife in the drawer--he’s the spoon. He’s a good man, mind you, but he keeps getting distracted by things that shine or move quickly. This wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t have sharp weapons.
Since my goal is to publish this commercially, getting playtesting from folks I don't know is necessary. Of course, I will provide you with a beta version of the rules and include your name in the finished product (assuming you want that). Please, if you have any questions or even just comments, I'd love to hear them! Thanks!
king should be called Lenny
I can playtest it if you're okay with me just playing it against myself.
I've got a variant I'm working on too, BTW. Let's playtest trade.
I'd love to give it a try!
@KrisRhodes and @soothsayer8
Thanks! Here's the link to the beta version of the rules: http://happybishopgames.com/PersonalityChessBeta1.pdf
Kris, I'd be happy to playtest your variant. How can I get the rules?
I've decided the game I was working on is not ready for prime time.
I'll check yours out in a bit, though. And when I figure out the one I was working on, I'll let you know.
I think this idea would work a lot better if you didn't involve chess at all; just make it its own game.
hey wjmacguffin! Played your new game a little bit. My main complaints were as follows:1. The special rules made the game a bit slow to start, what with knights who didn't want to move and pawns that wanted to go anywhere but forward.2. I played the advanced version and I would have liked a quicker way to be able to access the information for each piece. I think Ispent more time searching and reading than thinking/moving.
3. Mating your opponent is almost impossible. For example, in an ending like K + Q v. K it's tough to mate when your queen is constantly running off somewhere you don't want it to go. I imagine with endings like K+B+B v. K or K+B+N v. K it's basically impossible to mate, when otherwise, it would be quite possible.
1 & 2 are minor complaints, #3 was the stand out one for me though. Overall, I thought the game was pretty clever and fun! I think you did a good job weeding out the situations where the special rules could cause some confusion in certain circumstances, and I don't remember running into any times where I felt the rules were non-applicable and didn't have directions on what to do otherwise. In other words, you seemed to cover all the bases.
@KrisRhodes Feel free to send me an unfinished work. I can focus on mechanics and review what's there.
@oinquarki There's two commercial reasons I'm sticking with chess. 1) I can sell the rules without having to produce pieces/boards. I'm such a small company (just me!) that I cannot afford big stuff like that. 2) Chess is such a great game, and so many people know it. Yet lots of people don't play it, at least not regularly. My hope is to tap into that market segment with novelty.
@soothsayer8 Wow, thanks! I appreciate you trying it! To address your points one by one ....
1) I noticed the slow start myself. I've changed it so that the first move of each player is always normal, no rolling dice. That helps a bit.
2) I haven't begun to address readability yet--I'm focusing on the rules. The plan is to create two separate pull-out pages with charts for pawns and other pieces respectively. These charts will be brief (they won't cover every possible scenario) but will be helpful to jog the memory.
3) I've played dozens of times and never hit checkmate. Every time, the king was captured by a surprising move, i.e. a rook suddenly moves like a bishop and captures the king diagonally. However, I think you make a great point and I need a rule like this: "When a piece can move to check or checkmate, no roll is needed. Simply move the piece normally." Thoughts on that?
Again, soothsayer8, I really appreciate your help.
wjmacguffin, I think those are good ideas for #1 and 2. For my third point, I didn't know you could simply capture the king! I guess that was probably in the rules somewhere and I must have missed it. Either way, I don't think a situation like that cropped up for me. I think your checkmate roll is definitely a helpful improvement, but maybe something else in case one side has something like a rook, or two bishops, or a queen, against a lone king that prevents the side with the lone king from claiming a draw because the other side keeps tripping over itself with the special moves to mate. In those cases, mate can take many correct moves.
Looks like a fun game; I look forward to playtesting it.
Hooray! I finally finished and published the variant - Personality Chess!
It's a small ebook available at Amazon for the Kindle and B&N for the Nook. I also have it available as a PDF. It's $3.99 regardless of format.
I hope y'all like it!
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