Monday, June 9, 2008

Bosworth has been out 10 years already

I picked up Bosworth just last year, but I've seen it around for a while.

I finally decided to pick it up after reading a few remarks about it on BoardGame Geek.

I'm a fairly indifferent chess player, being unwilling to spend the time and effort required to get good at it, although I like the game and play it fairly often on a purely casual basis. Being a casual chess player, I'm attracted to chess variants. Real chess players generally seem devoted to playing the game as it is, not messing with it.

I figure my best chance of beating a real chess player would be while playing some variant that disrupts his/her advantage.

Bosworth is an especially disruptive chess variant. While the pieces generally move just like chess pieces (the main difference being pawns, which gain a small, but significant improvement in mobility) the constricted 4x4 square battlefield and semi-random deployment of pieces make it seem a bloody as the first day of the Somme and nearly as chaotic.

Consider that, in a 4-player game, as many as 64 pieces are going to be introduced to that 4x4 battlefield (plus 16 more spaces of "camp" that eventually disappear). Further considering that the board situation will change three times between each player's move and you have a game that's opportunistic to the extreme. So the entire character of the game is different from chess, which rewards careful planning, combinations and the ability to "see" several moves in advance. In Bosworth none of these factors are important. Planning is almost impossible. Combinations are rare and unstable. And, especially in 3- and 4-player games, it's really not possible to "see" past your next move -- and maybe not even that.

It's fun, wild and woolly, but not much like chess!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you might enjoy some other light chess variants.
    See Toystore Chess is quick and playable with a standard set. Baby Chess is pretty good, too.