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Sudden Death Abstracts
Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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This list is for abstracts which can end early, rulewise.

A tentative definition is based on the following:
1. The game must be finished. It is not enough that any sane player would give up.
2. The condition for finishing the game can be achieved early, say, after half the number of moves of the median of games.
3. It must have a tangible influence on gameplay.

Typically, this will include the more developed games from the Chaturanga and n-in-a-row families. That is why I am curious about hearing from other games.

Games which do not belong on this list are scoring games, even if they might end early. An example for that is Go. According to the Chinese rules, there is always a score after move 1, but it does not define an end for the game. Please note that Tic Tac Toe does not qualify, because it last at most 5 moves, and can end after 3 moves only, thus violating rule 2.

Feel free to add new items.
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1. Board Game: Xiangqi [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:684]
Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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Of all the Chaturanga games, Xiangqi leaves most options for an early end, especially if you are not experienced.
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2. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:320]
Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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The highly powered pieces of Western Chess and vulnerabilities in the setup position allow many a checkmate in the opening, too.
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3. Board Game: Shogi [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:755]
Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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It came as a major insight that Shogi allows non-trivial checkmates in some 20 moves, too.
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4. Board Game: Renju [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:6340]
Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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An n-in-a-row game.
 
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5. Board Game: Connect6 [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:4494]
Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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Another n-in-a-row game.
 
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6. Board Game: Shashki Poddavki [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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Give-away Checkers have many sudden death lines. You better watch out.
 
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7. Board Game: Tix [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
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Because of the fact that players can chain moves, sometimes a loss can come quite quickly..
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8. Board Game: 90 Grad [Average Rating:6.38 Unranked]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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In this fabulous abstract, a player can start a potentially lethal attack in his/her first move and win in his/her second one. It's not likely to work out (unless the other player is asleep), but defending against it has a definite influence on gameplay.
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9. Board Game: Blokus Duo [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:521]
Nathan Woll
United States
Warsaw
Virginia
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It's possible for the second player to lose after one move.
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10. Board Game: Trax [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2261]
Neil Oldvial
France
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I would rank this on par with xiangqi in the ability to loose after only a few moves for inexperienced players.
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11. Board Game: Themisto [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Rey Alicea
United States
New Jersey
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Another n-in-a-row game.
 
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12. Board Game: Trinity [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Harvey Wasserman
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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The picture shows a Halo win (with a player's Orbs inside his/her 4 Halos), which would be a longer, infrequent game. But a game can end quickly with an Arc win (3 Arcs around an opponent's Orb).
 
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