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Unclear Description: Variant Chess get usage counts

Several issues with this trope IMHO.

1. The name is simply unclear and perhaps misused. By it's definition you naturally think of games that are actual derivatives, or variants of Chess as we know it. Yet the Description allows for, (via not specifying a clear upper limit on the level of differences), and the examples list contains cases where there is littlie if any rules similarity to chess. The name is at least vaguely confusing in it's implications, since there appears to be no requirement in the examples list for the game to bear resemblance to chess as we know it.

2. The description itself is unclear. It talks again about things which are variants on chess rules. But is unclear on how far the rules can diverge before it fall's outside that and the cases of examples being placed in that involve games that are visually similar to chess but play nothing like chess raise further confusion.

3. The trope is rather short on examples and links to it. IMHO the ambiguity in the trope itself is probably a big issue here.

The obvious question is what to do with it.

I don't think it needs cutting, it seems in my experience to be an actual common trope, (hell there are apparently 2, 000 IRL examples over on The Other Wiki).

Theoretically we could split it so that the actual chess modifications go in one trope. And the chess like in another. However I’m not sure that’s going to work as even with an examples expansion we may run rather short on them.

Rather I’d like to suggest a rename to avoid confusion and a re-work of the description to cover the broader scope the trope has taken on now.

For the name I’d like to suggest Chess Analogue or Chess Equivalent.

As far as description goes. To build on the concept Another Duck stated, (and to over simplify a littlie for the sake of a topic, and actual re-work would need to be more complex).

Anything that functions as an in universe chess equivalent.

To help avoid further confusion on what does and does not belong there I’d suggest internally splitting the trope into 3 types, (in the same way the Tsundere page is).

One type for a game that looks like mostly or entirely like chess, and plays mostly or entirely like chess. This covers everything from novelty chess sets that use different looking pieces, to more serious but still recognisable 3D chess. Byzantine chess, or more weird examples like assassin’s chess.

A second type that covers games with a visual similarity to chess, (similar looking pieces or board will do), but littlie actual rules relation. Thud, and probably intrigue would likely fall under this category.

The third type would cover Games that fit the same role in the setting as chess. But which bears littlie if any resemblance to chess in appearance and rules. Stratamanga is about the only example I can think of for this.

The main outstanding question I see is weather we should include non-chess games that resemble IRL games or not. Chess equivalents usually stands out, but other rarely do to the same degree. However it's possible for some games to straddle the line as well. They might serve the same purpose as chess, but be clearly derived/based on a different IRL board game.

Thoughts?

 
 2 Clever Pun, Tue, 13th Nov '12 2:55:56 PM from Monterey, California Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Occasionally erudite, often ignorant
In the YKTTW for it, the name was a sticking point.

I like the idea of a split, but I'd suggest doing two types instead of three, and a hard split rather than a soft split. I know you already considered this and the pages might be too short, but I think it could work.

Put another way, first type is a plot/setting trope, and the second type is a game/rules trope. Since the problem with the current page is that it's too broad, splitting it based on functions is more manageable than sub-dividing it and trying to cover everything in one page.

First type would be for the Board Game Of The Future or Chess Analogue (ie what the page started on—Alien board game = alien setting); The board game that offers both verisimilitude and flavor, by being different but still a game in some form. I don't think the presence of rules should factor into this category, since explaining the rules may be a plot point, and often they're left unexplained to enhance the mystique.

Second type would be for actual derivatives of real life (or fictional) games; most of the Board Games section of the current article would go here, obviously.

This would also mean we could have a better name for each type, further clearing up any confusion. They might also end up on different indexes (type 2 would certainly not be on the Settings index, for instance).

edited 13th Nov '12 2:59:44 PM by CleverPun

“It's hell writing and it's hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” ― Robert Hass
 3 Another Duck, Tue, 13th Nov '12 5:45:24 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
I've completely missed this thread.

I think two types may be enough.

  • Games with the same personality as chess. I'd suggest this would also include games and variants thereof, like shogi, which sometimes funnily is called "the eastern chess". A name referring not specifically to chess but to intellectuals would probably be a good idea.
  • Games that play like chess. Variants of chess that just changes a few rules would go here, perhaps as a soft split within it, but that's a minor detail right now. I'd like to call this one Variant Chess.

edited 19th Nov '12 1:41:31 AM by AnotherDuck

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 4 Clever Pun, Tue, 13th Nov '12 10:42:55 PM from Monterey, California Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Occasionally erudite, often ignorant
[up] wouldn't those just be lists of games, not tropes?
“It's hell writing and it's hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” ― Robert Hass
 5 Another Duck, Wed, 14th Nov '12 7:40:02 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Not any more than your suggestion, which isn't much different, and is based on the same idea anyway.
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 6 Clever Pun, Wed, 14th Nov '12 4:18:39 PM from Monterey, California Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Occasionally erudite, often ignorant
Point
“It's hell writing and it's hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” ― Robert Hass
I don't think whether or not a fictional board game plays like chess is necessarily easy to determine. One of the previous posts implies that shogi doesn't play like chess; I think it plays similarly enough.

 8 Clever Pun, Mon, 19th Nov '12 1:19:32 AM from Monterey, California Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Occasionally erudite, often ignorant
This is a world-building trope—the rules/character of the game are not important, except as a function of the setting. The fact that this has become unclear is one reason why this trope needs work.
“It's hell writing and it's hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” ― Robert Hass
 9 Lomerell, Mon, 3rd Dec '12 11:07:29 AM from North Carolina
Jason R. Peters
The description is vague and covers multiple uses with little in common. "3d chess" from Star Trek is directly based on actual chess (first in appearance, rules added later), while "Stones" from Wheel of Time is a generic strategy boardgame, and resembles Go or Othello. Sha'ra and Tcheran sound closer to chess; Stones is just more common.

http://13depository.blogspot.com/2009/03/sharah-fisher-king-and-their.html http://13depository.blogspot.com/2002/02/tcheran.html

I bring this up because if the point of the trope is board games for world building/fleshing, then Stones fits the role despite being unrelated to chess.

The trope's description is incredibly vague. "It COULD be, x, y, z, q, r, 11, or platypus." If the definition is broad enough, you could include Polo because horses resemble knights.

The example from Three Musketeers (1973) just says, "Animal Pieces." By that standard, Mario Chess, Lego Chess (etc) should be included, but they aren't chess variants at all. They're regular chess with stylized pieces.

I wasn't around for the YKTTW but it seems like this trope is aiming for alternate-chess-as-worldbuilding but got derailed by real life, since chess has so many variants, you can't have a trope called "Variant Chess" and omit some of the popular ones. Even though there's no relation to putting not-quite-chess into fiction.

It almost feels like this could stand to be re-YKTTW'd despite its age. If it's not specifically about chess, it probably needs to be given a title without chess in the name, even if most of the examples will be related to chess.

 11 Clever Pun, Tue, 4th Dec '12 7:03:58 AM from Monterey, California Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Occasionally erudite, often ignorant
[up]I think the name defaulted to X Chess because of Small Reference Pools. Since the name seems to be causing a lot of ambiguity a new name may be the first step, though.

edited 4th Dec '12 7:04:08 AM by CleverPun

“It's hell writing and it's hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” ― Robert Hass
 12 Another Duck, Tue, 4th Dec '12 1:09:24 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
It's about something like chess, so having chess in the name isn't problematic to me.
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 13 Lomerell, Tue, 4th Dec '12 5:59:53 PM from North Carolina
Jason R. Peters
But there's a difference between "like chess" because Nightmare Chess is a RL variant, and "like chess" because I wanted to flesh out my fantasy/sci-fi world and included strategy board games.

 14 Lomerell, Wed, 5th Dec '12 10:01:49 AM from North Carolina
Jason R. Peters
Stumbled upon Uncoffee today and it made me think of what I would actually use the Variant Chess trope for (as an author) — to see what had already been done. Fake-Chess in fiction is just like Uncoffee in fiction, it's there to suggest things are different but the same.

This is in direct contrast to variant rules in real life, which I would now argue, aren't tropeworthy at all, just as the variants for Poker are not a trope. People play variations of games just like People Sit on Chairs. Real life alterations of Coffee are also not tropeworthy, but Uncoffee is because it's fictional coffee for a storytelling purpose.

Un Chess would convey that distinction pretty well, just as Un Coffee does.

edited 5th Dec '12 10:02:56 AM by Lomerell

 15 Native Jovian, Wed, 5th Dec '12 10:36:11 AM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
I think we need to tighten up what exactly the trope definition is, first. The description as-written is really broad, to the point where it basically reads like "fictional board games", which I don't really think is trope worthy. I'd say we need to tighten it up and define it as either "chess, but altered based on the setting" (eg, Harry Potter's "wizard chess", which is just chess with magically animate pieces, or Star Trek's "three-dimensional chess", which is chess with extra boards stacked on top of each other) or else "a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of chess" (ie, an ancient, classic strategy boardgame that smart people play).
 16 Another Duck, Wed, 5th Dec '12 2:41:51 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Un Coffee is a drink with the same personality as coffee, since it's used in exactly the same way. The chess equivalent would be a game for intellectuals.
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I think we need to tighten up what exactly the trope definition is, first. The description as-written is really broad, to the point where it basically reads like "fictional board games", which I don't really think is trope worthy.
Post 2 suggests it's trying to be "fictional board games that add flavor to the setting." For example, you could say Quidditch helps demonstrate what wizarding culture is like. It's not a board game, but it's also not much of a derivative of an existing sport, although you could say it plays a similar role as soccer; indeed, the nature of the Golden Snitch is such it's hard to imagine it applying to a non-magical sport, efforts to defictionalize the game notwithstanding. Similarly, a lot of the chess variants are trying to be "this is how you know it's the future, because we're playing weird games like this."

edited 5th Dec '12 11:57:05 PM by MorganWick

 18 Another Duck, Thu, 6th Dec '12 2:43:33 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
[up]They're also about saying "these people are smart", which is generally the specific thing about chess.

edited 6th Dec '12 2:44:41 AM by AnotherDuck

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 19 Clever Pun, Thu, 6th Dec '12 3:50:18 AM from Monterey, California Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Occasionally erudite, often ignorant
[up][up]So are you suggesting that the trope should cover fictional sports as well as board games? Cuz that makes sense for a setting trope.

[up]I think the setting implications are more important than the look-how-smart-we-are implications. We already have a trope for the latter, after all, and Smart People Play Chess even notes in its description that it's not limited to chess.

edited 6th Dec '12 6:45:24 AM by CleverPun

“It's hell writing and it's hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” ― Robert Hass
 20 Another Duck, Thu, 6th Dec '12 6:33:44 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Fair enough. Didn't know that page existed. What I was thinking of isn't sufficiently different from that.
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 21 Native Jovian, Thu, 6th Dec '12 8:34:06 AM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
Well, that's what I'm saying we need to decide — is it "Fictional World-Building Game"? "Fictional World-Building Board Game"? "Un Chess" along the same lines as Un Coffee? There are several different things it could be, and we need to pick one.
 22 Another Duck, Thu, 6th Dec '12 2:40:24 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Between Fictional World Building Game and Fictional World Building Board Game, what would the difference be? The Same but More Specific? Does the latter add anything that the first doesn't already include by definition?
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World's Toughest Milkman
I don't think Variant Chess is really a trope. Certainly not if you try to distinguish it from Variant Go. If we're talking about actual tropes, some of the things I can think of are:

  • Intellectual Board Game: games used to show that characters are smart. Chess and Go are often used for this, and sometimes even checkers; Terry Pratchett's fictional game Thud would also qualify.
  • Overcompetitive Gamers: Monopoly is often used here, but this covers all sorts of things. Basically, showing that a character is overcompetitive by the way they play real or fictional games.
  • Kiddie Games: Games are for kids; often a good way to keep the kids occupied. Chutes (Snakes) and Ladders, Candyland, Parcheesi...
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 24 Clever Pun, Thu, 6th Dec '12 8:11:23 PM from Monterey, California Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Occasionally erudite, often ignorant
[up][up] I think the former safely encompasses the latter. Post 1 also expressed concerns about the length of a page just about board games, so including ALL fictional sports could help beef up the page.

[up] We already have Smart People Play Chess and "Stop Having Fun" Guys. Kiddie Games are another genre entirely. I think an Un Coffee-esque Un Sport or Un Chess is tropeworthy; it's a recognizable world-building tool. The conflation of setting-construction and different rules are casualty of the current name.
“It's hell writing and it's hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.” ― Robert Hass
So are you suggesting that the trope should cover fictional sports as well as board games? Cuz that makes sense for a setting trope.
I was using Quidditch as an example of how the trope works; I'm agnostic to it actually being an example.

Total posts: 29
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