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Subject: The "Activator Game" Design Contest rss

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christian freeling
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Activators are units that allow game pieces to move and/or capture, or move and/or capture differently.

Quote:
1 - They are mobile.
2 - They have the explicit power of activation/inhibition
3 - They should be a key component of the game from the beginning, whether they are regular pieces with additional 'activation powers' or separate pieces, distinct from regular ones.

The contest is to make such a game. Entries should be posted in this thread before the 1th of February 2014.

A jury should be appointed to see if an entry satisfies the criteria. Participants should not be members of that jury. The jury's decisions should not be debatable.

After the entry period has passed, applets should be made to make the games available online. There should be a certain time in which the public can play all games, and then they should be subject to a popular vote. However, only players that have played each game at least 5 times will be eligible to vote. Contestants may be allowed to vote, but not for their own game.


Mindsports will provide a Grand Chess board and pieces, including handling and shipping, for the winner!

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christian freeling
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I'm in of course, and in case I should win, the Grand Chess game will go to the runner up.
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Christian K
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great idea I love design contests.
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Joe Joyce
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I *gotta* be in! I do have a couple questions:
1) How many entries is a contestant allowed?
2) May a contestant change entries once posted?
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Richard Hutnik
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joejoyce wrote:
I *gotta* be in! I do have a couple questions:
1) How many entries is a contestant allowed?
2) May a contestant change entries once posted?


Yes Joe, you need to be in it. And this thread here had me wondering (maybe someone could come up with a game for it) if maybe different activators could causes pieces to act differently. Say one activator happens to impart one ability, and another one imparts another one.

Anyone want to work with this? I am trying to think how to stick it in Joe's game. And I probably gave away a "secret sauce" here.
 
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Joe Joyce
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docreason wrote:
joejoyce wrote:
I *gotta* be in! :D I do have a couple questions:
1) How many entries is a contestant allowed?
2) May a contestant change entries once posted?


Yes Joe, you need to be in it. And this thread here had me wondering (maybe someone could come up with a game for it) if maybe different activators could causes pieces to act differently. Say one activator happens to impart one ability, and another one imparts another one.

Anyone want to work with this? I am trying to think how to stick it in Joe's game. And I probably gave away a "secret sauce" here.

*******************
From this thread: Abstract Games» Forums » General
Subject: Activators: pieces that allow other pieces to move/capture.
*******************
joejoyce wrote:
christianF wrote:
joejoyce wrote:
The way I've been using activators:
1 - they are mobile;
2 - they have the explicit power of activation;
3 - they are active game pieces, subject to all the rules of the other game pieces, including the need to be activated, by themselves or another activator nearby.

Item 3 is too restrictive for a range of games... Essentially I'm arguing that if we are having an activator contest, then the activator should be the/a key component of every move from the beginning, not something that may or may not occur depending on how pieces line up.

If we distinguish between "powers of pieces" and "powers of activators", then there are at least two possibilities:

* Activators and pieces are distinct (Chess with Batteries)
* Pieces may act as activators (Jump Sturdy)

I have no problem with either implementation. May I suggest to replace point 3 and the subsequent text by:

3 - they should be a key component of the game from the beginning.

Seems a one-size-fits-all solution to me. :)

I like it. I think it threads the needle just about perfectly. To lay it out:
Activators are units that allow game pieces to move and/or capture, or move and/or capture differently.
1 - They are mobile.
2 - They have the explicit power of activation/inhibition (translation[movement of an area to another area] - I have "motors" in mind for chesimals - transformation - to "build" a piece up into a permanently different piece, again a chesimals use prompted this - ... whatever fits)
3 - They should be a key component of the game from the beginning, whether they are active pieces in the game or distinct from the other game pieces.

I think I've incorporated what you had in mind, and maybe stretched the definition a little, but not really very far. If anyone has any comments, critiques, suggestions, please let us see them. Again, I am working from 1 particular point of view, based on the way I developed activators. A person who is already in a room cannot see the entire room at once...
 
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Rey Alicea
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joejoyce wrote:
I *gotta* be in! I do have a couple questions:
1) How many entries is a contestant allowed?
2) May a contestant change entries once posted?


These were the exact same questions I was about to ask.
 
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Joe Joyce
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reyalicea wrote:
joejoyce wrote:
I *gotta* be in! I do have a couple questions:
1) How many entries is a contestant allowed?
2) May a contestant change entries once posted?


These were the exact same questions I was about to ask.

I'm psychic! laugh

There has to be a reasonable limit, otherwise I could flood the contest with entries. I'd like 2 or 3 per person, depending on the number of entrants. But will I get that?
 
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Christian K
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I suggest 1.
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christian freeling
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joejoyce wrote:
I *gotta* be in! I do have a couple questions:
1) How many entries is a contestant allowed?
2) May a contestant change entries once posted?

My take on it would be to have 1 entry per contestant, and to have at least 5 contestants.
I wouldn't object to any changes, as long as the game is ready by the 1th of February 2014.

I'm eternally thankful to Joe for defining this general concept because it opens a new, little explored and very promising field of design, even if (as in my case) only simple abstract games are considered. Actually I found a brand new activator emerging from an at least till recently new mechanism and folding itself into a game right before my eyes. The ones looking at the inside, that is.
So I have an entry

It may take a bit longer to get a name for it. I had "All Out" in mind, but there's a card game by that name. Minor bummer.
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Joe Joyce
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christianF wrote:
I'm eternally thankful to Joe for defining this general concept because it opens a new, little explored and very promising field of design, even if (as in my case) only simple abstract games are considered. Actually I found a brand new activator emerging from an at least till recently new mechanism and folding itself into a game right before my eyes. The ones looking at the inside, that is.
So I have an entry

It may take a bit longer to get a name for it. I had "All Out" in mind, but there's a card game by that name. Minor bummer.

I'm very grateful that someone has actually looked at the idea and not only seen some promise in it, but expanded it. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the ideas that show up from the contest. Now, if I can just come up with a game that has under a hundred pieces in it...
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christian freeling
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joejoyce wrote:
I'm very grateful that someone has actually looked at the idea and not only seen some promise in it, but expanded it. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the ideas that show up from the contest. Now, if I can just come up with a game that has under a hundred pieces in it...

I just did. I made a serious abstract out of Tinkertown Cemetery by leaving out ad hoc thematic requirements such as the chapel, and introducing mobile pillars replacing the fixed graves, as activators. I think it's about right here, but I got time enough to let it sink in. After all, you never know. I had a sloppy rule in Tinkertown and it went unnoticed till yesterday. I'm not blaming anyone here for not seeing it, but I did actually look and missed it.

Quote:

Pit of Pillars
Pit of Pillars is an elimination game. There are two players, Red and White. Each has a sufficient number of men and a sufficient number of pillars at his disposal. The board is 8x8 with the cornersquares omitted.



Definitions

* The "capacity" of a square equals the number of its orthogonal neighbors. The board initially has 8 c2 squares, 16 c3 squares and 36 c4 squares.
* Men move in stacked "groups". A single man is a group of one. Groups may have any composition and are controlled by the color on top.
* A "pillar" is a piece that, if it occupies a square, reduces the capacity of the adjacent squares by one.

Rules
There are two stages, the entering- and the movement stage.

The entering stage
The game starts with the board empty. White starts by entering one man on a square he chooses. From that point on players take turns to:

* Enter a man next to the man just entered by the opponent, and ...
* ... enter a man so that it has only vacant squares next to it.

Both placements are compulsory. When the player to move can no longer enter the second man, then his turn ends and his opponent may start the movement stage. The number of white and red men will always be equal, although the 'density' of the position may vary and either player may end up being the one to start the next phase, depending on whether the number of full turns was even or odd.

The movement stage
On his turn a player must either move one of his groups or enter a man from his stack of reserves.

* A group moves horizontally or vertically, based on the number of men to be moved (e.g. one man moves 1 square and a group of three moves 3 squares). Groups may be split in the process: a player may choose for instance to move only the top man (1 square) or the top two men (2 squares) of a larger group. Groups may move over or onto any square, whether vacant or occupied, but they may not move over or onto a pillar.
* Instead of moving a group, a player may choose to enter a man on any square, whether vacant or occupied.
* After this compulsory part, a player may move one of his pillars. Pillars move like queens in chess, but cannot move onto or over pieces or pillars. The emergence or movement of a pillar affects the capacity of the squares involved, and of their adjacent squares.

Capture
* If moving or entering causes a bi-colored group to surpass the capacity of its square (or to heighten it, if it is already above capacity), then the moving player's men in it return to his stock of reserves, while the opponent's men are removed from the game. At the same time a pillar of the capturing player's color is put on the square. There is one exception to this: a mono-colored group cannot be captured by entering, though it may be captured by a move on the board. Entering on a mono-colored group is nevertheless legal, it just does not result in a capture. The group may (or may not) be captured by the opponent on his next turn.
* The emergence or movement of a pillar may cause a group on an adjacent square to surpass capacity. Such a group remains above capacity and may (or may not) be captured by the opponent on his next turn.

Object
A player wins by leaving the opponent without any group on the board, regardless of how many reserves remain in either stock, or whether his own last group has disappeared from the board in the process.

Pit of Pillars © Mindsports
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Moshe Callen
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I want to enter but can't design an applet for a game without someone first teaching me how.
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christian freeling
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whac3 wrote:
I want to enter but can't design an applet for a game without someone first teaching me how.

Or someone taking care of it. This is a problem of course. In my case Ed will take care of an applet, but java is increasingly becoming a dinosaur technologie, so I'd go for an app. But writing an app is far from easy and having one written may nowadays come at too big a price, literally.

I wonder if anyone sees a way out of this.
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Rey Alicea
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christianF wrote:
whac3 wrote:
I want to enter but can't design an applet for a game without someone first teaching me how.

Or someone taking care of it. This is a problem of course. In my case Ed will take care of an applet, but java is increasingly becoming a dinosaur technologie, so I'd go for an app. But writing an app is far from easy and having one written may nowadays come at too big a price, literally.

I wonder if anyone sees a way out of this.


Ah its called PNP.
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christian freeling
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reyalicea wrote:
christianF wrote:
whac3 wrote:
I want to enter but can't design an applet for a game without someone first teaching me how.

Or someone taking care of it. This is a problem of course. In my case Ed will take care of an applet, but java is increasingly becoming a dinosaur technologie, so I'd go for an app. But writing an app is far from easy and having one written may nowadays come at too big a price, literally.

I wonder if anyone sees a way out of this.


Ah its called PNP.

Please no price?
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Rey Alicea
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christianF wrote:
reyalicea wrote:
christianF wrote:
whac3 wrote:
I want to enter but can't design an applet for a game without someone first teaching me how.

Or someone taking care of it. This is a problem of course. In my case Ed will take care of an applet, but java is increasingly becoming a dinosaur technologie, so I'd go for an app. But writing an app is far from easy and having one written may nowadays come at too big a price, literally.

I wonder if anyone sees a way out of this.


Well it does cost them ink and paper.

Ah its called PNP.

Please no price?
 
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christianF wrote:
reyalicea wrote:
Ah its called PNP.

Please no price?

Yes, no price, because you Print-n-Play the game yourself. Or more likely in the case of abstract strategy games, skip the printing step and simply play it on an existing board with typical game pieces you already have lying around.
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
christianF wrote:
Please no price?

Yes, no price, because you Print-n-Play the game yourself. Or more likely in the case of abstract strategy games, skip the printing step and simply play it on an existing board with typical game pieces you already have lying around.

Thanks, I wasn't aware of that possibility, or more likely had neglected it because we've got our own applets.
Does this mean that the problems regarding making a game playable online are in principle solved? That would be great!
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christianF wrote:
Thanks, I wasn't aware of that possibility, or more likely had neglected it because we've got our own applets. Does this mean that the problem of making a game playable online are in principle solved? That would be great!

From my point of view, the contest should not require that the game exist in software form (any more than it should require that it exist, e.g., in commercially published form). Simply making the (clearly written) rules available should be sufficient, as far I'm concerned...
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christianF wrote:
whac3 wrote:
I want to enter but can't design an applet for a game without someone first teaching me how.

Or someone taking care of it. This is a problem of course. In my case Ed will take care of an applet, but java is increasingly becoming a dinosaur technologie, so I'd go for an app. But writing an app is far from easy and having one written may nowadays come at too big a price, literally.

I wonder if anyone sees a way out of this.

If it's playable on a board with pieces and it's not gigantic, the Game Courier software at chessvariants.org can be used. I do not program, but I can set up a plain board and pieces for the games, but the pieces will be what's available at CV.org, although you might be surprised at the range of pieces available. Boards are square or hex. Custom boards can be made, but now you are getting into things I cannot do.
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
christianF wrote:
Thanks, I wasn't aware of that possibility, or more likely had neglected it because we've got our own applets. Does this mean that the problem of making a game playable online are in principle solved? That would be great!

From my point of view, the contest should not require that the game exist in software form (any more than it should require that it exist, e.g., in commercially published form). Simply making the (clearly written) rules available should be sufficient, as far I'm concerned...

But does that hold for other players? It would be nice to be able to follow the games online.
 
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christian freeling
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joejoyce wrote:
If it's playable on a board with pieces and it's not gigantic, the Game Courier software at chessvariants.org can be used. I do not program, but I can set up a plain board and pieces for the games, but the pieces will be what's available at CV.org, although you might be surprised at the range of pieces available. Boards are square or hex. Custom boards can be made, but now you are getting into things I cannot do.

I must confess that I've shamelessly neglected the Chess Variant Pages, ever since I stopped inventing chess variants. So I wasn't even aware of Game Courier software, but it sounds exactly like what we need. I'll have a look tomorrow. Thanks for pointing it out.
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My entry:

Name: Activation Petteia

2 players.

Set-up:
The game is played on an uncheckered board of 8 rows and 12 files; the game does scale though to boards of smaller size. Each player starts the game (sitting across the board from one another facing a long side of the board) with 12 stones placed in the nearest row, 10 identical pieces starting one each on all spaces except the two corners each of which is occupied by an activator. A supply of neutral colored stones and of additional pieces in the player's own color (designated white and black) are also needed.

Object of the game:
1. To create a situation at the end of one's turn in which one has at least twice as many pieces on the board as one's opponent.
2. To leave one's opponent without a legal move at the start of that player's turn.

Other rules:
1. Players decide randomly who moves first and then play alternates with each player moving exactly one of the player's own stones on each turn.
2. If a player has a legal move, that player must take it.
3. If both players move pieces such that both players have a legal move but no additional captures are possible, both players simultaneously remove one of their own pieces of the opponent's choice until either captures become possible or one player wins.
4. All stones, both pieces and activators, move like rooks in chess, i.e., any number (integer n>0) of spaces vertically or horizontally in an unobstructed line.
5. No two stones may ever occupy the same space.
6. No piece may jump over another.
7. Captures are custodial so that the capture is made by moving a stone, whether a piece or activator, into a position horizontally or vertically immediately adjacent to one of the opponent's stones (whether a piece or an activator), the piece captured, with a friendly piece immediately adjacent on the other side. The consequence of the capture depends on the pieces involved as explained below.
8. Any piece which is rendered unable to move on its turn, such as a piece in a corner with an enemy piece horizontally and vertically adjacent, is treated as captured by the pieces surrounding it as soon as the last surrounding piece is moved into position. If only one stone is involved in the capture, the capture is treated as if two stones identical to that making the capture is involved. The same applies to a piece moving into position to surround a piece which is either against an edge or an immobile piece on the other side.
9. More than one piece may be captured at the same time if a piece moves into a position n which the criteria for a capture are fulfilled on more than one side.
10. A piece may move between two enemy pieces without being captured.
11. If two pieces together make a capture, then the captured piece is removed from the board and eliminated from play.
12. If one activator and one piece are involved in a capture, then the captured piece is replaced by an immobile piece of a neutral color which occupies the space where the captured pieces was at the time of its capture.
13. If two activators are involved in making a capture, the captured piece is converted to the color of the player making the capture.
14. If a piece moved to make a capture is an activator, then the capturing player may replace any one of that player's own pieces with an activator so long as no player ever has more than two activators on the board at any time.
15. A player wins immediately if at the end of the player's turn the first victory condition is fulfilled or if at the start of the opponent's turn the second victory condition is fulfilled.
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Rey Alicea
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One question, how are the 5 contestants determined?
 
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