Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Game Review: Chess

I’ve seen an number of variations on this theme, but this is one of the better ones. What if Chess was a brand new game: how would it be received by the gamer press?

Chess casts you as king of a small country at war with a rival country of equivalent military power. There is little background story to speak of, and by and large the units in the game are utterly lacking any character whatsoever. The faceless, nondescript units are dubbed arbitrarily such labels as “Knight” and “Bishop while their appearance reveals nothing to suggest these roles. To make matters worse, the units on both playable sides are entirely identical aside from a simple color palette swap. The setting of the conflict is equally uninspiring and consists merely of a two-color grid so as to represent the two warring factions. Adding insult to injury, there is only one available map- and it’s pathetically small, an 8×8 matrix (Red Alert maps are up to 128×128 in size). The lack of more expansive battlefields makes Chess feel like little more than an over-glorified Minesweeper.

The entire article is well worth reading. Great pastiche!

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9 Comments

  1. I’m amused.

    Although the reviewer apparently never heard of “Double Speed Chess”. 🙂

    • Even doubling the speed it makes cricket and snooker look fast! (Yes, I like cricket and snooker — and crown green bowls — but in part because they are relatively leisurely to watch. And non-violent, none of this ‘capturing’ and ‘taking’.)

      (The article reminds me of the person who did a time-and-motion study of a symphony concert, back in the 60s, and concluded that there are so much redundancy that it could have been condensed to a few minutes with a handful of performers…)

      • Actually, double speed chess is a team game. Two boards, two players on each side, one playing white, the other black for a team. Any piece that you capture can be plunked down on your partner’s playing board for his move.

        And the entire game is played in ten minutes or less, because each team has five minutes on the clock to make its moves.

        It’s a riot!

        • The two-board variant you describe limits its popularity because there is no agreement on what it’s called: among the group I learned it from in high school, it was known as “Blitz” (which is a name others use for single board speed chess with 5 minutes on each player’s clock), while most of the people I’ve met who’ve played it since have called it “Bughouse” (and again, I’ve seen a couple of other variants called that). I don’t recall having heard it called “double speed chess” before.

          • I looked it up, there are indeed several names for it (and apparently several different sets of rules, some of which don’t mention the time limitation).

  2. No content, just icon love.

  3. I think they’re ready for Double Cranko

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