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I can think of three different starting positions that I think would greatly change the game.
1.) Free placement of Amazons. Not that there is any opening game studies and over analyzed positions but this variant reduces the chance of any possible “overly strong” first moves. It also adds to the strategy in my opinion.
2.) East/West Vs North South. The traditional setup has white the white starting positions at a4,d1,g1,j4 and black at a7,d10,g10,j7. This starting positions would place the amazons starting positions as follows. White at A4,A7,J4,J7 and black at D1,G1,D10,G10. It is similar to the starting setup of lines of action. This unique setups places an amazon with equal access to all corners and the center of the board. I've tried this setup with the invader program and it plays evenly. It does change the game play in a positive way in my opinion.
3.)Scrambled eggs. Similar to how E/W vs N/S is to Lines of action. Scrambled eggs is relates to how Lines of actions: Scrambled eggs is started. White starts with A4,D10,G1,J7 and Black starts with A7,D1,G10,J4. This mode is pretty hectic as no amazons is next to an amazon of the same color.
Do you think that these would make for some interesting variants? If only one of them would be chosen which would you prefer. I would vote for #2.
I like #2. I have also thought about adding arrows on d4, d7, g4, g7 at the start of the game.
Do you think that it would be possible if one of these layouts could be added to this site?
I've been doing some playtesting against the invader program and #2 really seems to change things up in the begginning.