Wxyzaerds ~ A Pastime Of Wordcraftery

Wxyzaerds Diceword Game By Simon Jepps
Wxyzaerds
A Pastime Of Wordcraftery
Assemble ye good Wizards, for ’tis time.

If my earlier creation, Ghost, wasn’t quite to your ghoulish fancy, then why not have a little dabble in the art of spells, with my next… Wxyzaerds.

There are actually so many different kinds of dice on the market, from 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, 24, 30, 60 or even 100 sided dice, to divination, tarot or psychic dice, all kinds of creative, abstract, magical or humorous dice… but, most favourably in my book… letter dice.

Letter or “word” dice are generally six sided with letters of the alphabet printed on their faces. There are various kinds available, but ones which also display a letter value are harder to find.

I will leave a reference at the end of this article to a few such letter scoring dice, but for Wxyzaerds we will be using the nine dice set from the game Dicewords by Graham Lipscomb.

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Unto The Dice Tray…

Circular Dice Tray Rubberwood
13″ Circular Dice Tray made from Rubberwood
I love dice. Nowadays I am truly becoming more and more drawn to them than even Chess.

Yet, as a man who has played Chess passionately his entire life, whence taking away the board and pieces to make way for a handful of mere dice, something is profoundly missing.

For ages I couldn’t work it out. I kept asking myself, why, if I can get just as much strategic nutrition out of dice as I can from Chess, then why is there something missing?

Then it struck me. Aesthetics.

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Ghost ~ Dice For Two & Who?

Ghost ~ A Yahtzee type game by Simon Jepps
Ghost
A spooky kind of Yahtzee game, by Simon Jepps
Prepare thine self for a challenge of ghouls,
Hence a hand by chance worthy only of fools,
For this ancient game art greater than its host,
Play not one or two, but three, play the Ghost!

The heart beckons, aye, yet again I was drawn to the simplicity of the dice and the myriad of labyrinths kept hidden within their faces.

Simple and yet beautiful aren’t they? How many games have been invented with only a handful of dice? Only the roaring oceans of sailors gone before could possibly know.

Here then is another game of my own.

This game dawned on me in a kind of “eureka” moment. I was thinking very deeply about the game of Yahtzee and pondering over its limitations.

I wanted to somehow bring an extra dimension of strategy to what is quite simply a game of mere dice.

Whence the moment of realisation struck I was actually quite awestruck to have worked it out. Perhaps it was a premonition, perhaps it was divination, or perhaps… it was my Ghost.

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Open_Sppej

Introduction

Open_Sppej_Chess_System_By_Simon_JeppsI would like to begin this article by explaining that what I am about to describe is not a “Chess Variant” in the conventional understanding. Of course, the following is indeed a “variation” of classical Chess, yet its function and purpose is one of “evolution”.

As such I regard Open_Sppej as a “system”, that is to say, an algorithm through which classical Chess may evolve.

Anyone who has been following my blog will know I have invented many Chess Variants and even conducted in depth studies into not only their own individual merits, but also into the wider field of Chess Variant design in general.

Amongst these essays are investigations into why the next evolution of Chess, as a world wide embraced phenomena, continues to elude even the greatest of players, whence still, even today, the international community merely continues to snail through an ancient played out game of sixty four squares.

Yet perhaps, as my own studies have finally led me to personally conclude, the next evolution of Chess is not a different game at all. Perhaps, one way or another, all the squares and pieces remain just as they always have been, all the ancient rules in tact and yet everything continues… in another yet more majestic reality.

Aye, recently in fact I proclaimed my Chess Variant, JepKnt, to be the “crown jewel” of all my good games. And indeed it still is.

But in truth, Chess itself is not looking for new pieces, or even more squares. We know this now. For after a century of pursuit we have to surrender to the continuing prevalence of evidence, that mankind and womankind, will not sacrifice the classical game.

And this is not least because, at the end of the day, we love all our Knights and all our other pieces of the board, just as they are and just as they always have been.

For herewith, what all Chess players and Chess itself both agree on, is that amidst all the seemingly impossible odds of an almost defeated challenge, the game itself must harbour the solution to this absolutely paradoxical conundrum… within its own biology.

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JepKnt ~ The Jepps Knight ~ A Chess Piece

Introduction

JepKnt LogoFollowing a good but somewhat concise educational introduction into the history of Chess Variantism, I will herewith present unto you my “Crown Jewel” in the library of Jepps Chess Variants.

There is a rumour about the world. That rumour is of Chess. It has been said that Chess is both living and dying, evolving and yet devolving. It has been said, Chess is approaching an event horizon, of its next generational fate.

Aye, it is known, Grandmasters of the world agree, Chess will either change for the better of us all, or become merely an old fashion of the intellectual.

The first official promotion of an evolution of Chess was proposed in 1925 by the World Champion Jose Capablanca. He explained how exhaustive studies of Classical Chess will eventually lead to the stagnation of a played out game, prompting a need for it to evolve.

He was and still is, absolutely right.

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360° Chess Symbols & Counter Pieces

360° Wooden Chess Counters by Jepps
These 360° Chess Counters by Simon Jepps are made from wooden base discs for craft models, which were then hand painted freely with Indian ink. They are only the simplest improvised creation, yet so easy to replace and make again.
This is a personal project I undertook in order to remedy the Chess industry’s apparent inability to manufacture sensible, useable counter Chess pieces.

This project is also a secondary hobby to accompany my Chess variant creation, Genie Of The Lamp.

There are many Chess sets featuring counter pieces, yet for some unknown reason they are always designed featuring standard Chess symbols.

Of course you would ask, “Why, whatever else?”

Aye, if studying a Chess problem, or correspondence position, or indeed teaching strategies to a classroom, of course you would make sure a universally accepted symbol is employed.

However, a problem is encountered when employing the universal symbols into a face to face match, over a real board.

This problem is the inevitable fact that standard Chess symbols are only recognisable if they only face one direction.

Granted, people can play with these symbols, but in reality they are very disorientating and “counter-productive” when trying to study a position… upside down.

It occured to me that since nobody has yet decided to design specific “360 degree” symbols for counter piece Chess sets, that I should publish a public template for such a concept.

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Genie Of The Lamp

GOL Sondergut Travel Chess
Genie Of The Lamp is designed for the Sondergut Travel Chess Set
Of gods and men, mountains and seas,
Wherefore art thine hearkener of pleas;
A game of Chess, a battle of truths,
Aye, summon ye good Genie, for ’tis time we choose.

Here is another good Chess Variant of mine, which I created a few years ago whilst living in an old Church house.

I have fond memories of that time, a period in my life whence I was enjoying much blissful contemplation.

This blog article will be a purely concise tutorial, that is to say, without detailed intricate diagrams, since the rules to this game are actually fairly straight forward.

Therefore, I hope you enjoy the beauty in its simplicity, which I endeavoured to create.

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Armageddon Chess

Armageddon ChessA game of Chess which must be won before the world disappears.

This is an intriguing little variant of mine, played exactly the same as standard classical Chess, but without squares.

What?! You ask? NO SQUARES??!! Yes, that is correct.

In fact it is easier to play than you might first imagine.

The beauty of this game is not only its entertainment value, but as we all know, it is a lot easier to just carry about some pieces in a small pouch than also a hefty wooden, or even roll up board.

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The Phantom Of The Chess Board

The Phantom Chess Piece By Simon Jepps
Phantom

Chess is like an Opera,
The board a theatre,
The pieces the performers,
Yet the game has only just begun.
Phantom to f4.

The centuries long search for the next evolution of Chess by Grandmasters and Chessicians alike has indeed proved itself a worthy adversary to even the greatest minds.

Yet perhaps this little wonder which has boggled so many for such a long time is and always has been staring us in the face. Laughing at us. Dancing around us unawares. Teasing us with possibilities but then never materialising to grant us its existence.

Indeed the “holy grail” that is the evolution of Chess may very well have driven many a player insane with torment.

Today however, I do believe that someone, who has lurked amongst the shadows of the Chess board for so many centuries, seems to have forgotten their cape.

Elusive, aren’t they, Phantoms?

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Siomega’n Openings & Pawnspace

Siomega Chess by Simon Jepps
Black plays 14… h6.
As discussed often regarding one hundred square board variants, Opening play about this much larger arena is often observed to weaken the collective strength of Pawns, since vast spaces will grow between them reducing their ability to form defensive communities.

Yet perhaps what is more often overlooked, is the remedy within the individual player’s ability to adjust and adapt to a different style of play.

In actual fact, whence playing a 100sq variant such as Siomega, the most experienced players of such an arena will tell you, the secrets of defensive agility reside in the ability to play offensively yet at arms reach ~ recumbently so to speak, yet with a long distance catapult.

Indeed scholars of “Hedgehog” systems may find this article of particular interest.

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