This is an introduction, to help you get started. A team game is, of
course, two teams competing at one chess game, one side as white and
one side as black. Moves are discussed by each side and each person
can vote on what move they like.
When enough people want to move, the majority move is chosen. In the
event of a tie, one of the winning moves is chosen at random.
These games can be a great learning experience, and also a very
exciting challenge. If you are a stronger player please consider
attempting to help the weaker players understand your thinking and see
what is wrong with theirs, without putting them down. Always try to be
considerate to your teammates.
Three "bot" accounts handle the team
game process. These are automated accounts and have (TD) after their
name, just like the "Mamer(TD)" account handles tournaments.
The bots are "Whiteteam(TD)", "Blackteam(TD)", and "FicsTeamBot(TD)".
If you are using a chess client which lets you talk to different users
in different windows or tabs, you should tell "set full on" to
ficsteambot. The bots will then talk to you in a way that will work
better with your client. Alternatively, if you are using a
single-window client, you might find it convenient to set up some
aliases to reduce the amount of typing that is needed.
You use three simple commands to "talk" to these bots. We currently
don't have system-wide aliases set up, so it would be helpful if you
could type the following 3 commands at the 'fics%' console prompt:
alias tw xtell whiteteam $@
alias tb xtell blackteam $@
alias ta xtell ficsteambot $@
You only need to do that once; they will be remembered by the fics
server once you type them.
Everything told to "Whiteteam" gets passed on to the white team as a
message. Everything told to "BlackTeam" gets passed on to the black
team as a message. And everything told to "FicsTeamBot" get passed on
to *both* teams, and all observers.
You can either play as the white team, play as the black team,
or passively observe both teams struggling through the battle.
The two teams cannot observe each others' messages, so all
discourse is private (until the end of the game, when a log of all the
moves, and all the team talk is uploaded to a website. You can
download the PGN file from the website and
view it in your chess client.
You vote on moves by telling your robot captain the move you would
like, prefaced by "vote". For example, you vote on e4 as white by "tw
vote e4" and e5 as black by "tb vote e5". Then, when you are ready to
move you vote "go" by "tw go" or "tb go". Once enough people want to
move, the move is made. "vote" can be shortened to "v" if you like.
You can join and leave teams at any time, but if you are the ones
starting a team game please be considerate and try to stay for the
whole game. "tw join" joins the white team, "tb join" joins the black
team. The "join" command isn't necessary. Simply telling your vote
to a team captain is enough to join his team. The "leave" command can
be used to leave a team (if you tell it to the captain of the team) or
to leave the game altogether (if you tell it to ficsteambot) . "info"
gives information about the current teams.
Typical output from the "info" command looks like this:
: Use 'observe 256' to see the game board.
: whiteteam (2) : [27.3%]-metal(1623), [72.7%]-dollock(1791)
: blackteam (3) : [50.0%++]-Jello(1469), [25.0%]-zap(1942), [25.0%]-sinx(1924)
: spying (1) : dooglus(1911)
It tells you the board number on which the team game is being played,
and lists the members of each team. The percentage in brackets before
each name is an indication of how strong that player's vote is. The
more you contribute to the discussion and voting, the higher your
percentage vote grows. The number in parentheses after each name is
the players standard FICS ranking. The ++ marker inside the brackets
indicates that the player has been active on the current move, and so
will be rewarded with a higher percentage at the end of the move.
Notice also the 'spying' line. If you would rather watch the game
than participate in it, you can tell "spy" to ficsteambot. You will
then see the private communction of both teams. If you do chose to
observe the game in this way, please don't pass information between
teams, offer analysis, or be a nuisance in general. To stop observing
the game, tell "unspy" to ficsteambot. You will not be allowed to
join either side for at least 5 full moves after you stop observing.
This is to so that anything you learned about the teams' plans will
have more chance of being out of date by the time you join the game.
There are two different ways in which the bots can speak to you. You
can chose between having them use a full "tell" command, which looks
The full version is switched on by telling "set full on" to any of the
three bots. It is a good idea to use the full version if you are
running a multi-tabbed chess client such as BabasChess, because then
a separate chat tab will be created for conversation with your team
captain (and hence also with your team).
The shorter version is switcher on by telling them "set short on". It
produces nicer looking output if you are running in a single windowed
client, such as thief (or telnet).
Occasionally when playing a team game, one or more of your partners
may wander off without leaving the team. This can be a problem,
because the remaining players in the team might not have enough voting
power between them to be able to get their captain to move for them.
The solution to this problem is to wait; once a reasonable amount of
time has passed, you can simply tell your captain to "go", and it will
make the move which is currently the most popular, even if there isn't
a clear majority. When this happens, the captain will also remove any
inactive players from your team to stop the same thing happening on
the next move. The removed players are welcome to rejoin the team
again at any time. To find out how long you have to wait, tell your
If you add a notification for the teambot, then the bot will tell you
whether there is a team game in progress every time you connect to
FICS. Type "+notify ficsteambot" to add the notification.
Tell your captain... When you want to...
join join the captain's team. the captains are called
'whiteteam' and 'blackteam'
Hi team! say "Hi team!" privately to your team mates
vote e4 vote for move "e4"
go tell the captain to make the most popular move
timeout find out how much time must pass before no
clear majority is needed in the voting
leave leave the team
Tell the ficsteambot... When you want to...
Hi all! say "Hi all!" to everybody involved in the team game
leave stop getting all team game messages;
leave the team game completely
spy listen in on both teams' private chat;
warning: this will stop you joining either team
unspy stop listening in on both teams' private chat
Tell any of the 3 bots: When you want to...
info see who is in which team
start start the game
set tell on ask the bots to use full "tell" commands.
this is useful in BabasChess and other tabbed clients
set tell off ask the bots to use short commands.
this looks tidier in thief and other single window clients