We recently had the chance to catch up with Chris Frazier, a developer for The Game Table, an online game playing experience that develops games for Desktops, Tablets, and Mobile Devices. Chris recently sat down with his relatives over the holidays and decided to share with them about Sovereign Chess, teaching them the fundamentals and playing all-out matches with his family. Of course, we were thrilled and had to ask him about what his experience was like.
Sovereign Chess: “Thanks for your comments about teaching Sovereign Chess, both on Facebook, and on the website. I wanted to follow up on how it felt to teach the game to your family: was it easy to teach, or was it tricky?”
Chris: “Very easy. I think the hardest part was getting people past the word CHESS. Once everyone realized that the game you're playing is chess strapped to a scramjet, the barrier to both interest and learning was gone. The whole idea of squares of color is just so obvious that you don't really even need to explain it.
When I was teaching I played fairly recklessly, so I lost a bunch to keep it fun. That lead to more than one game per person, and the second games always showed new [aspects] to the game that neither I nor the other player would have imagined.”
Sovereign Chess: “What rules seem easiest for them to understand? Was there anything confusing?”
Chris: “Blocked squares of color were the one part that we'd forget about in the first game and rely on in the second. Black and white squares weren't confusing in practice but one friend just wondered what the point was; then I blocked the center and [the purpose became very obvious].”
Sovereign Chess: “Did you try to teach them about some of the more advanced rules like converting gray pieces and regime changes?”
Chris: “[I explained these rules later, when there was context.] I focused on building and managing control chains and building up effective attacks without leaving yourself open. When I mentioned about regime changes, everyone said, ‘Oh… you can teleport. Cool.’”
Sovereign Chess: “Did you learn anything in the course of teaching it, or watching others play?”
Chris: “Twice I attempted to promote without controlling the center and that was where [strategically, I would lose my advantage]. Controlling the center becomes more essential than it first appears at the beginning of the game.”
“For basic gameplay, seeing it played is the most obvious way to learn, especially if the people playing understand some of the classic [traditional chess] opening moves, which - I learned the hard way - are completely different in your game than regular chess.”
“The rules for regime change don't show up until midway through the match, so you may have to refer to the rules to even know they're coming.”
“Also, from a gaming developer standpoint, I'm actually hit by how important playing face-to-face is. I originally imagined this game to be a desktop + network play style of game, but now I’m seeing that face-to-face or having a “pass-and-play” option is essential for the types of games we want to work with.”
Sovereign Chess: “And, how did everybody like the game?”
Chris: “LOVED it. Everyone I taught wanted, ‘one more game.’ That's something special.”
Sovereign Chess: “Thank you for that! Were there any confusing aspects to the rules for you? An area that might be clarified?”
Chris: “I'll think about that. I tend to be dense when it comes to reading rules - I still think D&D 3.5e rules for grapple are impossible to understand - so the fact that your rules seem clear to me might be a good sign!”
Sovereign Chess: “Thanks again for including Sovereign Chess in your holiday fun! We are truly honored. I think we share a belief that not only are games social, but they can truly add to a festive, family experience.”
Chris: “Exactly. Our [Game Table] team keeps talking about how one of our goals is to be part of making memories for families and friends.”
Please chime in! Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
This post is also posted on the Sovereign Chess website, here: http://bit.ly/ONEMORE