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Arimaa Forum Paco Sako - Interesting Chess var. - Kickstarterww

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   Author  Topic: Paco Sako - Interesting Chess var. - Kickstarterww  (Read 10285 times)
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Arimaa player #4712


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Paco Sako - Interesting Chess var. - Kickstarterww
« on: Aug 22nd, 2017, 5:05am »
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I don't know to what extent this community is interested in Chess variants. I do not consider Arimaa in this category and, frankly, most Chess variants are a waste of time, but I thought that there might be some interest in this one.
I stumbled across this on Kickstarter and found it quite interesting.  It keeps Chess a two-player game (yea!), it keeps it on a square, 8x8 board (yea!), and it does not introduce any new pieces with arbitrary moves (yea!).
It does eliminate captures - when you move your piece into a square with an enemy piece, the two merge into a new piece that can be controlled by either player. White can move the piece according to the rules for the white piece in the merger and Black moves it according to the rules for the black piece in the merge. (This aspect of pieces being movable by either player is very slightly reminiscent of Arimaa).  The game implements this with cleverly designed pieces that have a yin-yang-shaped base and pieces that are slightly tilted away from vertical.
You can move one of your unmerged pieces into a square of a merged piece. Your new piece replaces your old piece in the merge and the old piece then makes another move.  This can set up a change reaction.
The goal is to merge one of your pieces with the opposing King.
Anyway, it looks very nice and it's the first Chess variation I've seen on Kickstarter that looked like it was reasonably thought out.
If you are interested: www.kickstarter.com/projects/pacosako/paco-sako?ref=user_menu
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Re: Paco Sako - Interesting Chess var. - Kickstart
« Reply #1 on: Aug 23rd, 2017, 2:55pm »
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Looks like an interesting and fun game.
I imagine the "mate"-in-X problems could get very wild.
One rule I'm not clear of is whether the King is allowed to create a union.  Of course you lose if your opponent creates a union with your King, but if the King is not allowed to create its own union, that piece is very passive and the game loses some dynamism. The rules at
https://pacosako.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Paco-%C5%9Cako-game-rule s-ENG.pdf
are ambiguous, at one place saying:
"Different rules apply to the king. A king cannot be united with another piece and is therefore exempt from creating, moving or taking over a union and from the chain reaction."
and at another place saying, in contradiction:
"Paco Sako is a really fun and enjoyable game for children. For younger players, the official rules may prove to be a little
too complicated at first. To make it a little easier, it is possible to play variations of the game that make it simpler. For
- dropping the chain element of the game
- dropping the option that the king can form his own unions."

The sample games at   www.kickstarter.com/projects/pacosako/paco-sako?ref=user_menu, played at blitz speed, all look short, with the longest being about 26 moves.  I'm wondering if more defensive play could lead to longer games.  I'm also wondering how often draws would occur.  The number of unions can never decrease and once all the union-eligible pieces are united (15 or 16 unions, depending on the rules for Kings), the kings are safe, resulting in a draw.
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