Let's rename FFA to eliminate ambiguity



I offer to rename 4PC FFA mode to Solo Play (or just Solo) to make clear that teaming is not allowed.

More details:

As you might have noticed, English is not my native language. I thought that there is only one meaning of FFA (Free-For-All) and that I clearly understand this meaning.

But there are different meanings and they cause misunderstanding and ambiguity which must be eliminated.

I found more than 10 definitions of Free-For-All, which I grouped in 3 groups. So, we have 3 meanings:

1. "Open to anyone." No problem with this one.
2. "Everyone plays against everyone." This is what we want in 4 Player Chess FFA Mode.
3. "Do what you want, no rules, no limitations." No! We don't want this in 4PC.

We have FFA and Teams modes, and want team players to play in Teams. In FFA we want Solo Players, which may naturally and temporary ally (natural short term alliances). Everyone plays against everyone. We hate unfair teaming up by: pre-arrangement, chat or excessive trust!

(We can add this paragraph to the Rules.)

But if we call this mode "FFA" it allows "do what you want (including unfair teaming up)" interpretation.

That is why I offer to rename it to Solo Play (Solo Mode, or just Solo).

For those who likes definitions:

Solo Play: Games in which each person plays on his own instead of in partnership with another. Any performance carried out by an individual without assistance from others.

"Solo Play (no teaming allowed)" item in the New Game drop down list should make it clear that we do not welcome teamers in FFA.

Show your team skills in Teams and solo skills in Solo.


FFA definitions (grouped):

1. A contest, race, etc. that anyone may enter. Open to everyone.

2. A game mode sometimes called "Deathmatch". In this type of game, you fight against everyone others. Everyone against everyone.

3. A competition, dispute, or fight open to all comers and usually with no rules. A situation in which several people or groups are trying to get something for themselves and there are no controls on how they do it. A disorganized fight or argument which lots of people join in. An uncontrolled situation in which people do what they want because there are no limits to stop them. A situation in which there is total freedom and anything can happen. A disorganized situation in which there are no rules or controls and many people or companies are competing together.


Babyagun why dont you try to reach 1700 level, then u may better understand how the game works, before u make big opinions like this. The opposite players work together to eliminate side players, so that they dont get left in the middle of 2 players. Then once a player is eliminated  they become enemies again. This is in general and not always, depends on material balance, but especially at the beginning, good players will understand that the opposite is your teammate. Then in the 3 player game the tactics and teaming should keep changing depending on who has more points / material.  But there is only one winner. Maybe just having one winner and everyone else loses. One winner , three losers, no second third or  fourth, because what annoys me is in the 3 player game, one player settles for 2nd when they can win, gives an easy win to the winner, makes u 3rd and gains rating. this damages the quality of the game. Also the option of an anonymous mode, would  be  a good addition in my opinion.


i think GDII got it right. (not just him, but he was able to word it very well imo)

GDII wrote:

It's very difficult and time-consuming to enforce rules that prohibit players from playing certain moves in certain situations. There will always be a large grey area and pretty much every case will be open to debate (regardless of your definition of collusion). I think that's not the way to go. The rules should be clear and simple. Any legal move should be allowed by definition. Rather than trying to define which acts of teaming are and are not allowed, I think it is much more productive to try and come up with changes to the game mechanics that inherently discourage collusion.


The question is, how to we change the mechanics to disincentivize "teaming with your opposite", if that's what we want? Renaming FFA to somethign else just isn't gonna cut it, i dare say.

There have been a few Ideas

- more points for checkmate

- 9pt queens instead of 1pt queens


- 9th rank promotion

The rules should remain as simple and easy to understand as possible. I haven't seen any suggestions that are certain to work, but I think we should keep searching.


@TheSidewinder, first of all, you are not 1700 too. Secondly, the rating is not related to this discussion in any way. Please focus on the discussed subject, not on my person.

the opposite is your teammate

No, he is not. There is a 14 months old pinned thread: Your best friend, backstabber and worst enemy

Everyone knows, that the opposite is your "best friend" or "frienemy". Not a teammate.

If you want to play with a teammate - play Teams.

> ... Then once a player is eliminated  they become enemies again. ... Then in the 3 player game the tactics and teaming should keep changing depending on who has more points / material.

I 100% agree that players should change their targets during the game. But in the reality they tend to team up, kick 1 opponent together, then 2nd one also together and then (in some cases) fight for the 1st place or just finish that game immediately. They play like a team from start to finish, do not take pieces of one another, trust and support 100%, as is a real team. This is neither the idea of FFA, nor its spirit. It should be and will be prohibited.

Illustrative examples of excessive teaming in FFA:

Teamers have some time till the next update to enjoy this game style.


The question is, how to we change the mechanics to disincentivize "teaming with your opposite" ...

We have some ideas on this forum and I have some ideas too. But first of all I want to dispel the myth that FFA is "everything is allowed, including playing like a team with your opposite during the whole game."


>>- more points for checkmate
Gets my vote. I propose 1000 points. See thread by that name happy.png


When the game first started it never used to be like this. For the 6 months or so it really was free for all and I think chess skills accounted for more of one's rating. Then this opposite teaming started to creep in. 

Maybe reducing the amount of points for checkmate, so that there isn't this often +40 at the end for the winning opposite player to take and increase the number of points of material so any material simply cannot be refused to take. But yes something is not quite right and needs to change, there should be more people playing and there seems to be no titled players at all anymore and there probably is a reason for this


Reducing the amount for checkmate will make the problem worse. It needs to be massively increased.


>> your idea, VAOhlman, makes every piece a potential Kamikaze piece.      
That is actually the norm in chess. The idea in chess is that everything, every piece, can and should be sacrificed to produce checkmate.
I'm not following much of your logic, but let me explain mine:
I'm not someone much worried about 'teaming', since I think it is natural and normal. However in order to successfully team, both players have to gain a potential to win. In 1000 point FFA the way you win is by getting checkmates. So lets say that blue and yellow decide to team. They would have to agree, and successfully give yellow a checkmate on green, then turn around and give blue a checkmate on red. Then turn on each other.
I think that is far, far harder to arrange than the piece here piece there that is the norm in 'teaming'.


The thing that has really seemed to make a big difference recently with excessive teaming is the pieces "hanging".

If you wanted to change the rules to actively encourage attacking your opposite, as stated by others you can incentivise to manage this.

Here is my proposal to actively change the game dynamics and encourage attacking your opposite instead of helping them. 

While all players are still in, any pieces or pawns you capture of your opposite player are +2. When there are 3 remaining they are worth +1. When 2 remaining they are worth +0. Checkmating your opposite would be worth +10 when all players remain, +5 with 3 remaining, +0 when 2 remaining.

This also reflects the difficulty of achieving these goals with 4 players in the game. 

You could also make Queens promoted by players that have no active player on that side of the board that they promote on worth 9 points to capture, instead of 1 point. This would help discourage taking out a side opponent further as well, as this can be one of the siginificant advantages of it. Or you could make them promote to a rook instead of queen if promoted on that side of the board. If you really wanted to balance the game you could make it a 9 point rook. happy.png


I should also add that in high rated games (1600+ opponents), I recently had my opposite complain when I turned on them when there were 3 of us remaining and he was in 2nd place. His expectation was that I continue to attack the side opponent and was pissed off that I turned my attention to him after he had significantly contributed to me mating the other side opponent. Differentials in points for capturing pieces and having it change through the course of the game can make a significant difference to game dynamics, peoples expectations during the game and meta-game strategy across hundreds of games against the same highly rated opponents, which is how over-trusting develops.


I kind of like the idea of assisted checkmates being worth fewer points. The problem with this is that assisted may mean that any player is taking away a square of the king during the checkmate, perhaps that is not, in reality, an assisted checkmate (maybe it should be though)


I like the name Solo Play! It as descriptive, accurate, and non overloaded with conflicting meanings.

I would advice against including the words fair/unfair anywhere in the rules. The rules are there to define what is fair and what is unfair. Everything allowed by the rules should be considered fair. Everything prohibited by the rules should be considered unfair. Including these words may result to circular logic problems. For example including the rule "1. Unfair play is not allowed" is like saying "1. Playing against the rules is not allowed". But if someone ignores the rules, he will probably also ignore a rule about not ignoring the rules!


The thing that has really seemed to make a big difference recently with excessive teaming is the pieces "hanging".

Exactly. An opposite player is your frienemy, not your teammate. One should not leave their queen hanging for many moves and know that it is safe. Look at

A coordinated attack is ok, but taking a knight (+3) of a side player instead of a queen (+9) of your opposite is pure cheating. If taking that knight does not protect you from a checkmate or losing your queen - take the queen. Otherwise you guys are a team in a Solo Play game and you cheat.


>>A coordinated attack is ok, but taking a knight (+3) of a side player instead of a queen (+9) of your opposite is pure cheating.

ummm, what? Are we playing checkers here?? I can imagine many situations, far more than the two you list, where a dozen great players, studying the board carefully, making their judgement purely from the advantage of the player involved, would say, "You would have to be an idiot to take that queen. Taking the knight is the far better play."
We all know that this happens in 2pc. True it doesn't happen *often*. True it isn't *the norm*. But it happens far to often to be ruled out of bounds... unless we are playing checkers. (Note: some forms of checkers have a 'you must take' rule. Even those forms, however, let you choose between two takes.)
Given the nature of 4pc; given the fact that the queen you might take might be actively threatening an enemy of yours; given the fact that most time limits are, so far, set to really fast (for those of us used to playing daily or 15 minute chess, for example); given the fact that the knight might be (to quote Alice) 'wriggling down amongst your pieces'... It is simply not true that the only reason to take a knight not a queen (or even to let both go!) would be either 'to prevent immediate checkmate' or 'to prevent losing your own queen'. How about 'the knight covers a square you want to move to in order to threaten checkmate. Or how about 'the player that owns the knight is currently dominating the board and the player with the queen basically only has the queen so is no real threat to you'?


>>Everything allowed by the rules should be considered fair.
and the rules need to be very objective.


@BabYagun what would you you play here?


I think taking the Q is indeed not the best move. It looks like a losing move to be honest. If blue takes the Q, he will lose his bishop. But more importantly, Yellow has many pices pointing at him, including a kight check that will likely be played at the most devastating moment, given Blue cannot even perry the threat. Apart from the green Q, there are no threats to Yellow in this position, he will be free to attack (and so will Red), and Green will not be able to interefere with his limited and distant material. Blue cannot afford to a move that doesn't defend against the threats for the sides, and instead weakens Green severely. 9 points alone (even without losing a bishop) simply don't compensate. I would not take that Q unless I got points that guarantee me 2nd)


What would you play here?


Description of Green, from the pinned topic "Your best friend, backstabber and worst enemy":

"First off let's talk about the person sitting in front of you. He is your best friend. Since he's pieces are far away from yours they rarely make contact with yours in the opening. In addition you both have the same enemies on the sides and if any combination happens against an enemy on the side, he is the most likely to help you. You also don't want anything bad to happen to your friend since you are unlikely to be able to join the party and get points from him. And you don't want your enemies to get free points."


I might have taken the free queen here to be honest, but I'm not sure it's the best move. Taking into account this advice, it probably isn't.

(Note that the rules we have regarding teaming are from the same author, as they seem in violation on his own advice about the best strategy, depending on how you interpret them. I'd say it's an indication that he means teaming is only forbidden via chat or prearrangement. I think prearranged teaming becomes obvious when the two teaming players are not opposites)

I don't think we should call not taking the queen cheating, as long as pinned forum topics by the author of the rules suggest it's bad strategy.


>>I don't think we should call not taking the queen cheating, as long as pinned forum topics by the author of the rules suggest it's bad strategy.


I don't think we should call not taking the queen cheating, as long as pinned forum topics by the author of the rules suggest it's bad strategy.

Show me where exactly in 
@Martin0 tells that "taking a queen ... it's bad strategy".

BabYagun wrote:

I don't think we should call not taking the queen cheating, as long as pinned forum topics by the author of the rules suggest it's bad strategy.

Show me where exactly in 
@Martin0 tells that "taking a queen ... it's bad strategy".

I believe he was referring to this line:

>> You also don't want anything bad to happen to your friend
Obviously losing one's queen is 'something bad', at least under normal circumstances happy.png