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Subject: Hive versus Chess rss

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David B
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Much has been said by Hive fans that the game provides an alternative to chess. Hive does not require the endless hours of boring book study, it's portable, it's quicker, and (according to many) more fun than chess. I have been playing chess now for well over 30 years, and I have grown tired of the book study and LONG games, but I still enjoy chess games with an hour or less on each players clock. Hence, I am always interested when a game comes out that purports to fill the chess void when a gamer wants to avoid the study, practice, and commitment that chess requires. I find that Blokus and Torres are two excellent substitutes for chess if I cannot or do not want to get a chess board to the table. Hive, however, does not foot the bill for me. I do not see the addictive lure of Hive and I haven't gotten an overly receptive response form those I have introduced to the game. Even though the game usually lasts under ten minutes, I am ready to put it up and play something else after one game. Its just....meh. I have also heard that after a couple hundred plays, if two players of equal skill are facing off, player 1 is assured of at least a draw. This is at times true of chess as well when you get to a certain level (depending on the choice of openings), but I am not at that level and neither is anyone I play against. So I guess what I am saying is that there ARE games out there that seem to scratch the chess itch. Hive just does not seem to be up for it.

Are there any chess players out there that have turned to Hive instead?

Alternately, what games do you find provide a good substitute for chess?
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J C Lawrence
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More seem to head for the various connection games ala Hex, *Star and their many derivatives.
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Brian Schroth
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Seems like if you're tired of the "book study" aspect of chess you could simply play one of the thousands of chess variants out there, for which that book study will generally be useless.
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Mitch Willis
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While I like Hive, I've heard (from players better than myself) that there is a 1st player advantage among players of equal skill...but I've heard the same thing 'bout chess...

You might want to take a look at Arimaa...it's branching factor is greater than that of chess and the way the game is set up, there is no 1st player advantage. I remember reading somewhere, that of the thousands of recorded games in the database at arimaa.com, the numbers show that the game is fairly well balanced; there's a very slight advantage in number of wins for the 2nd player, but it looks statistically insignificant...
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David B
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Arimaa does look fascinating.


I also forgot to mention in the original post that Tigris and Euphrates is a worthy chess substitute. I, however, am not quite as fond of Tigris if it is only 2 players. Very good with 3 or 4, however.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
More seem to head for the various connection games ala Hex, *Star and their many derivatives.


I would certainly agree with this. Although I have never been anything more than a beginner Chess player, I just simply never had the will to go out and read strategy books in order to get to a decent level.

Games like Hex and The Game of Y scratch the same itch as Chess for me while not requiring anything more than experience in order to improve.

Also, you might take a look at something like Through the Desert. It has the added bonus of being playable with 2-5 people.
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Brian Schroth
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pfctsqr wrote:

I also forgot to mention in the original post that Tigris and Euphrates is a worthy chess substitute. I, however, am not quite as fond of Tigris if it is only 2 players. Very good with 3 or 4, however.


It seems a key component of chess is the complete lack of randomness. I wouldn't recommend any games with a random factor except maybe a game that only has randomness in the setup (i.e. Caylus).
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otha62 wrote:
While I like Hive, I've heard (from players better than myself) that there is a 1st player advantage among players of equal skill...but I've heard the same thing 'bout chess...


Can't speak for Hive, but Chess has a definite first person advantage, scoring about 55% vs. 45%. However, the strong feeling is that if played perfectly, chess is a draw (the advantage is not enough). I also feel if two players are weak at chess, the first person advantage doesn't matter.

Of course, you can also play multiple games to even out any advantage.
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David B
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Erratik wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
More seem to head for the various connection games ala Hex, *Star and their many derivatives.


I would certainly agree with this. Although I have never been anything more than a beginner Chess player, I just simply never had the will to go out and read strategy books in order to get to a decent level.

Games like Hex and The Game of Y scratch the same itch as Chess for me while not requiring anything more than experience in order to improve.

Also, you might take a look at something like Through the Desert. It has the added bonus of being playable with 2-5 people.



I love Through The Desert. Call me nuts, but it is my favorite of Knizia's tile laying designs.
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David B
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BagelManB wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:

I also forgot to mention in the original post that Tigris and Euphrates is a worthy chess substitute. I, however, am not quite as fond of Tigris if it is only 2 players. Very good with 3 or 4, however.


It seems a key component of chess is the complete lack of randomness. I wouldn't recommend any games with a random factor except maybe a game that only has randomness in the setup (i.e. Caylus).



Caylus is a blast. Ive played it many times. I actually do not mind randomness in games. I am somewhat of a Can't Stop addict. Just depends on the mood. Sometimes I want a no random game. But randomness sometimes contributes to replayability. Macao is one of my favorites and the way randomness in introduced is one of the reasons I like the game so much. I guess randomness can even be introduced in chess. I havent played very many games of Chess960, but the times I have tried it seemed like a lot of fun. The only issue with Chess960 is that some of the set ups give an even bigger first player advantage than the standard set up.
 
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David B
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Prop Joe wrote:
otha62 wrote:
While I like Hive, I've heard (from players better than myself) that there is a 1st player advantage among players of equal skill...but I've heard the same thing 'bout chess...


Can't speak for Hive, but Chess has a definite first person advantage, scoring about 55% vs. 45%. However, the strong feeling is that if played perfectly, chess is a draw (the advantage is not enough). I also feel if two players are weak at chess, the first person advantage doesn't matter.

Of course, you can also play multiple games to even out any advantage.



When you say scoring, do you mean scoring at least a half point (draw)? At the grandmaster level, well over half of all games end in a draw.
 
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pfctsqr wrote:

When you say scoring, do you mean scoring at least a half point (draw)? At the grandmaster level, well over half of all games end in a draw.


This is one of the things I hate most about Chess to be honest. I really don't mean to bash, but if a designer came out with a new abstract that had the same first player advantage and high draw rate as Chess, they would get flamed into obscurity.

The game still has many positives, and it will always be a classic, but I prefer Shogi.
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Erratik wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:

When you say scoring, do you mean scoring at least a half point (draw)? At the grandmaster level, well over half of all games end in a draw.


This is one of the things I hate most about Chess to be honest. I really don't mean to bash, but if a designer came out with a new abstract that had the same first player advantage and high draw rate as Chess, they would get flamed into obscurity.

The game still has many positives, and it will always be a classic, but I prefer Shogi.


Well, to be fair, if most games that have come out in the last 20 years were played and analyzed as much as chess has, they would be in the same boat as chess as far as being "close to solved" is concerned. And with 95% of all people who play chess, that first player advantage is gone in 5 moves.
 
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I'll second Shogi and Arimaa.
For a simpler (but still interesting) chess-like game see Cannon.
And somebody has to suggest Go so I guess it will be me.

Possibly also see some non-random unbounded-grid tile-laying games like Trax, Palago, Spangles,Andantino.

And game systems like Looney Pyramids and Shibumi which have rules for a variety of interesting short abstract strategy games.

And subscribe to BGG's Abstract Games forum (if you've not already) to see more ideas mentioned in various threads...
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David B
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russ wrote:
I'll second Shogi and Arimaa.
For a simpler (but still interesting) chess-like game see Cannon.
And somebody has to suggest Go so I guess it will be me.

Possibly also see some non-random unbounded-grid tile-laying games like Trax, Palago, Spangles,Andantino.

And game systems like Looney Pyramids and Shibumi which have rules for a variety of interesting short abstract strategy games.

And subscribe to BGG's Abstract Games forum (if you've not already) to see more ideas mentioned in various threads...


Isnt the first player advantage in Go even stronger than the first player advantage in chess? Is that first player advantage mitigated by giving a stone(s) or point(s) advantage to player 2? I am fascinated by Go, but I just do not know what the hell I am doing, even after reading 3 books. I can't even tell when the game is over or close to over.
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Thom0909
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pfctsqr wrote:
Prop Joe wrote:
otha62 wrote:
While I like Hive, I've heard (from players better than myself) that there is a 1st player advantage among players of equal skill...but I've heard the same thing 'bout chess...


Can't speak for Hive, but Chess has a definite first person advantage, scoring about 55% vs. 45%. However, the strong feeling is that if played perfectly, chess is a draw (the advantage is not enough). I also feel if two players are weak at chess, the first person advantage doesn't matter.

Of course, you can also play multiple games to even out any advantage.



When you say scoring, do you mean scoring at least a half point (draw)? At the grandmaster level, well over half of all games end in a draw.


Yes. 55% of all result points, .5 for a draw. So if we played 10 times, I win 2, you win 1, 7 draws, that's 5.5 to 4.5 (55/45).
 
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pfctsqr wrote:
russ wrote:
I'll second Shogi and Arimaa.
For a simpler (but still interesting) chess-like game see Cannon.
And somebody has to suggest Go so I guess it will be me.

Possibly also see some non-random unbounded-grid tile-laying games like Trax, Palago, Spangles,Andantino.

And game systems like Looney Pyramids and Shibumi which have rules for a variety of interesting short abstract strategy games.

And subscribe to BGG's Abstract Games forum (if you've not already) to see more ideas mentioned in various threads...


Isnt the first player advantage in Go even stronger than the first player advantage in chess? Is that first player advantage mitigated by giving a stone(s) or point(s) advantage to player 2? I am fascinated by Go, but I just do not know what the hell I am doing, even after reading 3 books. I can't even tell when the game is over or close to over.


I totally agree about GO. My opinion is if I need to play a game hundreds of times just to get "decent" at it, I would rather spend that time playing games that I enjoy rather than torturing myself learning GO.

Tons of people love it, but there are few games I dislike more.
 
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This may be a bit off but;
Dungeon Twister 2: Prison
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Russ Williams
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pfctsqr wrote:
Isnt the first player advantage in Go even stronger than the first player advantage in chess? Is that first player advantage mitigated by giving a stone(s) or point(s) advantage to player 2?

In an even game, the second player gets komi (handicap points, typically between 5 & 8 depending on the ruleset/server/tournament/etc).

In a game between players of unequal skill, the weaker player starts with handicap stones on the board. (A very nice advantage of Go - it's so easy to handicap to give both players a roughly equal chance of winning, compared to most games.)

Quote:
I am fascinated by Go, but I just do not know what the hell I am doing, even after reading 3 books. I can't even tell when the game is over or close to over.

Recognizing when it's over is pretty easy to learn: just keep placing stones until you can't see a place to place which wouldn't be filling in your own territory.

Often more experienced players will not bother filling in the neutral points, but there is no reason not to fill them in if there's any doubt if the game is over. Sometimes when the last outside liberty of a group is filled, it becomes possible to atari them and kill them or otherwise cause some damage (e.g. create a seki with an invasion which would have been killable while the group still had outside liberties). Thus it's good practice to fill in the dame (neutral spaces between enemy groups) when there's any uncertainty.

As for not knowing what the hell you're doing - well, that's what a deep game is supposed to be like. If it was so obvious and easy right off the bat, everyone would be a master. But if you dislike that feeling, then perhaps Go is not for you. I've been playing for years and certainly am nowhere close to being a very good player. The distance between a newbie and the top players in the world is much bigger than with most games.
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Well, first off I think one of the only games that is older than chess is Go ... its also a fairly complicated game as is chess.

I suppose there is checkers which is far easier than chess because there are fewer moves and only 2 types of pieces.

I wouldn't call Arimaa a substitute for chess but it is very similar in alot of ways although I couldn't really get into the game and I think is is inferior to chesses elegance.

There really isn't a good chess substitute if you really want to be honest with yourself ...and if you really have grown tired of the work involved to being good at chess ... then why do you want another game that plays like it??

Go online and play some sub 1300 level players that tend to play quicker and with less depth and I think you will have accomplished finding an easier game "like chess".
 
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David B
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jasss333 wrote:
Well, first off I think one of the only games that is older than chess is Go ... its also a fairly complicated game as is chess.

I suppose there is checkers which is far easier than chess because there are fewer moves and only 2 types of pieces.

I wouldn't call Arimaa a substitute for chess but it is very similar in alot of ways although I couldn't really get into the game and I think is is inferior to chesses elegance.

There really isn't a good chess substitute if you really want to be honest with yourself ...and if you really have grown tired of the work involved to being good at chess ... then why do you want another game that plays like it??

Go online and play some sub 1300 level players that tend to play quicker and with less depth and I think you will have accomplished finding an easier game "like chess".


I do a lot of that. I still play a lot of blitz online. But I enjoy variety and it is also difficult to find people to play chess face to face. That is another reason I look for games that fill the same void: I can teach other games and quickly find people at roughly the same skill level. For instance, I taught Torres to several friends and we can now easily enjoy that because we all like it and we are all fairly new to it. If I teach chess to my friends, it will be a long time before they can play me and be competitive. And if they don't practice chess on their own time, they will never be competitive with me. To find a competitive game of chess face to face for somewhat experienced player, you almost have to go to a tournament. A big reason I love the games I find here is that I can invite the guys over, teach them the game in 15 minutes, and off we go. Torres is one example that just seems to give me the best of both worlds.
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Jimmy the Warmonger wrote:
Conflict games, specifically wargames, while not abstract like Chess, more than fill the bill for me when I walked away from tournament play years ago. While many of the conflict games can, indeed, take as long as chess, the non repetitive dynamic of most of them keep them hitting the table.
There are many block wargames that take an hour to two, and some less. In lieu of endless hours of book study I find I will often, after playing a game a few times, read a book about the battle/conflict/period that I have been modeling in my gaming.

Yes, I still play Euros but that is more socialization than any particular game draw, fun with friends. But Chess was always more than that, it was a struggle against a particular person, mistakes would be punished when made by either side and the end would result in one person defeated.

Try Napoleon's Triumph. While some have difficulty with the rules I think that is more because they come from old school hex and counter. If you can get 3 to the table regularly I suggest Maria both deep, rewarding games that satisfy my itch for a titanic struggle without requiring I practice for endless hours.


I wonder if you stopped tournament play for the same reasons I did. I stopped because chess tournaments are entire weekends of silent AP. You can talk to people after your game is over in the next room and if you keep your voice down. But I felt like I was by myself all weekend. Now, with all the gaming buddies I have, I feel like I have friends I can actually talk to, even though I am still trying to kick their ass.
 
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Hive should take awhile to 'master' as it has 2 expansions. Chess is dull.
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David B
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davedanger wrote:
Hive should take awhile to 'master' as it has 2 expansions. Chess is dull.



Chess is more exciting than Hive. Sac a queen to blow up the pawn chain in front of a king and checkmate 3 moves later...anything like that in Hive? no
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Go
Shogi
GIPF series
Ponte del Diavolo

Or with a little randomness:

Fjords
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