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|These five games make up the core of Christian Freeling's work.|
If abstract strategy games matter at all, then these do matter.
|Grand Chess is a natural evolution of Chess towards completeness in terms of implied pieces. It seeks to add a new chapter to Chess.|
|Dameo, on the other hand, seeks to replace International Draughts. In terms of combinations it offers everything Draughts has to offer, but it is far more decisive. Strategy will need re-evaluation, if only because of the differences in pace allowed by linear movement, a feature that also expands the range of standard tactics.|
Dameo would not have existed without Croda by Ljuban Dedić.
|Emergo is the essential column checkers game, and the closest any game may ever get to being 'poetry in motion'. It is also the only column checkers game that did not emerge as a 'columnification' of an existing game.|
Emergo is a joint discovery of Christian Freeling and Ed van Zon.
|Calling Sygo 'Go on Speed' is a metaphor, but not a bad one.|
Sygo has no cycles. It uses the Symple move protocol with its embedded turn order balancing mechanism, so it requires no komi. It features capture and thus the drama associated with it, and due to the possibility of 'seki' it can end in a draw.
|Symple's object merges territory and connection. The move protocol that bears its name, features a dilemma between starting a new group or growing all existing ones. Its embedded turn order balancing mechanism is highly sophisticated.|
Symple is a joint discovery of Christian Freeling and Benedikt Rosenau.
In addition here are twelve more games by Christian Freeling that live up to a place in the ArenA.|
|Yari Shogi is 'westernized Shogi'. It takes some of the most prevalent characteristics of the game, like forward orientation and piece promotion, to extremes and puts them in a logical framework based on the rook, the bishop, the knight and the Shogi pawn.|
|Where Yari Shogi is 'westernized Shogi', Dragonfly 'easternizes' Chess by introducing Shogi's treacherous paratroopers. The game is not wanting of complexity, so it features only the three basic pieces.|
Since captured pawns do not return, the game has no endgame like Chess. With all pieces in play at all times, it eventually topples one side or the other.
|Chad is an elementary chess variant based on the rook, and a king confined to a 3x3 castle. Rooks ending their move inside the opponent's castle are promoted to queens. Mutual capture between pieces is restricted to an attacker on the wall and a defender inside the castle.|
|Two rows of very ordinary chess pawns lend some strategic grip to this highly tactical game of rotational pieces.|
|Few games ever evolved successfully from one grid to another, and Draughts is probably no exception. Hexdame is a literal translation of Draughts to the hexgrid. The main difference between the games is that Hexdame knows no one-on-one opposition, resulting in similar tactics serving a different strategy. As a weapon it should be less drawish, but it is still far from being a match for Dameo.|
|Bushka is a checkers game based on 'contact capture' and fully exploits the possibilities of this strangely neglected method of capture that only survived in one traditional game called Fanorona. The basic framework is taken from Draughts, but Bushka also doubles as the cradle of Dameo's linear movement.|
|Pit of Pillars is a colunm stacking game based on a new principle of capture with very inticate tactics. Players capture the opponent's men in mixed stacks, while retrieving own men as reserves. Captures result in the emergence of Pillars to assist the capturing player in making more captures … but don't make too many!|
|Io may be qualified as 'free Othello'. It uses the one-bound-one-free opening protocol to get to an initial position for the 'free placement' phase in which placement is obligatory, but capture is not.|
|Mu comes in two variants, a wild one called Velox and a tamed version called Levis. Velox is a new generation abstract game, one that can only be played using an applet. It may well be called a hybrid between a strategy game and a pinball machine. It is the most unusual game in the ArenA, a game of serious fun.|
|Of all games that can end in a draw, Havannah must have the smallest margin. The game is not the implementation of one basic idea, but rather a lucky merger of three related winning structures, the interaction of which makes it feel like it is positioned somewhere between Go and Hex.|
|Scware is an inticate square connection game based on the Symple move protocol and its embedded balancing mechanism. A simple generic restriction rule solves the diagonal crosscut problem.|
|"Christian Freeling has invented a mancala that will make you want to forget all the previous ones you've played."|
Wayne Schmittberger, editor of Games Magazine.
The same holds for Chess, Shogi, Draughts, Frisian Draughts,
Stapeldammen, Go, Hex, Mark Steere's Oust and Luis Bolaños Mures' Ayu.
|"Chess is a sport, a violent sport."|
|Japanese Chess poses a major challenge to the western game as a sport weapon. Despite its respectable age there's nothing archaic about it. This in sharp contrast with the Chinese branch that failed to evolve and froze into Xiangqi.|
"If you find a good move, look for a better one" (Shogi proverb).
|A fair century of playing and analyzing have eventually exposed this great game as too blunt a weapon, at least in the international sports arena. Draughts in match play is as dead as the dodo. Like many physical sports, it needs an upgrade in material. This is somewhat hard to swallow for dedicated Draughts players.|
|A game that relates to International Draughts like Armenian to Turkish. It introduces square capture in an otherwise 'diagonal' game in a topologically rather curious way, by going 'back to straight' using only the diagonal grid of the parent game.|
|Stapeldammen is a great column checkers game based on International Draughts. Like Emergo it has no promotion, but it has Draughts' initial position and direction of play. It simply accepts the consequences: a piece on the back rank is stuck and depends on forced backwards captures to get 'into the field' again.|
|Mark Steere's Oust is an elimination game that opens a realm of its own. It has simple and clear mechanics that serve its theme intuitively, yet result in a game the strategy of which may appear very counterintuitive. A beautiful organism with ways that aren't yet fully understood.|
|Go is arguably the essential territory game. However, even Occam's Razor cannot prevent the complexities arising from cycles, "ko" being the most basic one. Go's rules appear simple and concise, but the devil is in the details. Yet Go has an almost universal appeal, and there is a broad concensus about all but the most eccentric positions.|
|Ayu is a game of unification invented by Luis Bolaños Mures in 2011. Luis also invented Yodd and Xodd, ingenious games on the same theme, but with very different mechanics.|
|Think about a placement and connection game on a diamond shaped hexgrid, and you'll end up with Hex. The Danish mathematician Piet Hein found that out, as did his American collegue John Forbes Nash. Hex is essential, simple and very deep. If one thing can be said against it, it would be that it requires a considerable insight in strategy before tactics can be appreciated.|
|Grand Chess, Dragonfly, Yari Shogi, Chad, Rotary, Dameo, Hexdame, Bushka, Emergo,|
Pit of Pillars, Sygo, Io, Mu velox, Havannah, Scware and the Glass Bead Game © MindSports
Symple © MindSports and Benedikt Rosenau
Hex was independently invented by Piet Hein and John Forbes Nash.
Oust © Mark Steere - Ayu © Luis Bolaños Mures - Frisian Draughts, Stapeldammen © unknown
All applets by Ed van Zon