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Subject: Myriades, little brother of Infinito rss

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Matteo Perlini
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Myriades

Myriades is a two-player game, played on a 10x10 square board.

First player own the black stones, second player the white stones. Each player has 50 stones, numbered from 0 to 49. Such numbers represents the value of the stones.

Grey stones are neutral, without value and, once placed on the board, they are immovable.

Players move alternately, starting with the player controlling the white stones. Each turn consists of two actions, performed in this order:

1. OPTIONAL MOVE: you can move a stone of your colour as a Queen’s moves in Chess, i.e. any number of cells horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
If your stone ends its move (orthogonally and diagonally) next to one enemy stone whose value is less, and your stone wasn’t (orthogonally and diagonally) next to that enemy stone to start its move, replace any friendly stone – but the stone just moved – on the board with a neutral grey stone. In one move you can end up close to more enemy stones whose value are less than your stone, in that case you replace your stones with neutral stones for each of those stones.
When you remove your stones from the board, those stones will be available for future placements.

2. COMPULSORY PLACEMENT: you must place a stone onto any empty space.

The game ends when the board is full, whoever has the least sum of his values wins.


************
Myriades is born from my research for a game with an infinite number of moves per turn. Such research produced Infinito. Infinito is probably a theoretical curiosity... I like to think, with irony, it is a game for deities.
Myriades is the little brother of Infinito, with a more practical usage.

Someone can estimate the average number of moves per turn of Myriades?


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Luis Bolaños Mures
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I see that I didn't comment in the Infinito thread, but I think it's an elegant and innovative concept and it should be very interesting to play. Well done!
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Matteo Perlini
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luigi87 wrote:
I see that I didn't comment in the Infinito thread, but I think it's an elegant and innovative concept and it should be very interesting to play. Well done!


Thank you very much, Luigi.

A very difficult task in abstract game design is to come up to a new objective. With Infinito e Myriades I was lucky enough to discover a new kind of goal by change, in effect it is the natural outcome of the general design (quintessential game?).
 
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christian freeling
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epicurus wrote:
luigi87 wrote:
I see that I didn't comment in the Infinito thread, but I think it's an elegant and innovative concept and it should be very interesting to play. Well done!


Thank you very much, Luigi.

A very difficult task in abstract game design is to come up to a new objective. With Infinito e Myriades I was lucky enough to discover a new kind of goal by change, in effect it is the natural outcome of the general design (quintessential game?).

Optimizing a score, whether upwards or downwards, isn't exactly a new goal. However, it's the combination of object and mechanism that would have a game qualify as 'quintessential'.

* Does the mechanism imply, or at least point clearly to the object? Here the answer would seem to be 'yes'. A misere implementation does also suggest itself.
* Is the mechanism in itself non-arbitrary with regard to the object? In other words, is this the only way to implement it? I haven't extensively thought this through.

Not that it is a necessary goal of a game is to be quintessential. Arbitrary decisions regarding structure are often necessary, and quintessential implementations may not always be the best ones. On the whole it seems a clear concept and an interesting game, congrats.
 
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Richard Moxham
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christianF wrote:

Optimizing a score, whether upwards or downwards, isn't exactly a new goal. However, it's the combination of object and mechanism that would have a game qualify as 'quintessential'.
* Does the mechanism imply, or at least point clearly to the object? Here the answer would seem to be 'yes'. A misere implementation does also suggest itself.
* Is the mechanism in itself non-arbitrary with regard to the object? In other words, is this the only way to implement it? I haven't extensively thought this through.
Not that it is a necessary goal of a game is to be quintessential. Arbitrary decisions regarding structure are often necessary, and quintessential implementations may not always be the best ones. On the whole it seems a clear concept and an interesting game, congrats.


Okay. Enough, already. The "quintessential" thing finally became too much for me.

Given that an entire thread has been spun around it (to say nothing of overspill references elsewhere), it would have been helpful to establish fairly near the beginning that at least some of those involved in the discussion knew what the key term actually meant.

The adjective quintessential may appropriately be applied to an entity if and only if the latter exhibits, to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered, the defining characteristics of a nominated class to which it belongs. It follows that the class in question must itself possess a set of such characteristics, amounting in aggregate to an archetype which, to all intents and purposes, would be universally recognisable. So it could be intelligible to speak of a person as the quintessential Yorkshire farmer, or of a book as the quintessential Agatha Christie novel, or of a piece of music as the quintessential Eagles song. But the quintessential farmer, or novel, or song ... who on earth knows what any of those might mean?

To come closer to the case in point, is there any clear reason why baseball should be thought a "more quintessential game" than stud poker? And even narrowing it down to abstract boardgames, who is to adjudicate the relative claims of chess and hex?

I seem to recall that the actual discussion was really not about this at all, but something else which now escapes me. Fair enough, of course, except for the pressganging of a perfectly clear word into an alien army. Reminiscent of what someone's (English) grandmother said irascibly at the time of Apollo 11: "Why couldn't they land on their own moon?"

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Russ Williams
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Richard has given a quintessential refutation of this thread's use of the word "quintessential"!
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christian freeling
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mocko wrote:
The adjective quintessential may appropriately be applied to an entity if and only if the latter exhibits, to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered, the defining characteristics of a nominated class to which it belongs. It follows that the class in question must itself possess a set of such characteristics, amounting in aggregate to an archetype which, to all intents and purposes, would be universally recognisable. So it could be intelligible to speak of a person as the quintessential Yorkshire farmer, or of a book as the quintessential Agatha Christie novel, or of a piece of music as the quintessential Eagles song. But the quintessential farmer, or novel, or song ... who on earth knows what any of those might mean?

The definition revolves around concepts like degree and reasonably that may be open to different interpretations. Moreover, I find the absence of the concept simplicity curious.

I don't see what 'a quintessential game' might mean without referring to an object. I have no trouble seeing Hex or Y as quintessential connection games. Y comes in pure connectivity-6 variants as well as variant where 3 cells have connectivity-5. I don't feel this affects the game's 'quintessentialness', but it does imply that some players, if not indeed the inventor, consider the latter an improvement, the point being that this would constitute an improvement of a quintessential game.

mocko wrote:
I seem to recall that the actual discussion was really not about this at all, but something else which now escapes me. Fair enough, of course, except for the pressganging of a perfectly clear word into an alien army.

I don't quite see how the given definition would be 'perfectly clear', nor do I see, given the definition, why it could't be applied to games like Hex and Y, and thus implicitly to other games of a nominated class.
 
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Richard Moxham
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Christian, in the first place may I say that my post wasn't meant as an attack on you specifically - simply on a misusage which others had perpetrated on many more occasions, but of which your post happened to be the most recent example.

christianF wrote:
mocko wrote:
The adjective quintessential may appropriately be applied to an entity if and only if the latter exhibits, to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered, the defining characteristics of a nominated class to which it belongs.

The definition revolves around concepts like degree and reasonably that may be open to different interpretations. Moreover, I find the absence of the concept simplicity curious.


Not curious at all, as a matter of fact. Simplicity has nothing whatever to do with the case - but it does highlight the way in which the usage got derailed. There are frequent assertions in this forum of simplicity as a quality to be prized in board game design - Occam's razor and all that. But assuming for a moment that these assertions are justified, they're still assertions of a desideratum rather than of a defining feature. If Sbnog, by Hercules Wolftrax, is said to be the quintessential abstract board game, that's synonymous with the claim that it's the most abstractboardgamelike of abstract board games. As for what that might mean in practice, well yes, like you...

christianF wrote:
I don't see what 'a quintessential game' might mean without referring to an object.


But then we diverge again...

christianF wrote:
I have no trouble seeing Hex or Y as quintessential connection games. Y comes in pure connectivity-6 variants as well as variant where 3 cells have connectivity-5. I don't feel this affects the game's 'quintessentialness', but it does imply that some players, if not indeed the inventor, consider the latter an improvement, the point being that this would constitute an improvement of a quintessential game.


This is precisely the point. Quintessentiality (if that's the noun) is not about quality. It's about typicality, and nothing else. So the quintessential board game would be played on a board, certainly - but after that I'm struggling. I'm sure, however, that people better informed than I would be able to say what sort of thing might characterise, for instance, the quintessential Reiner Knizia game...

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christian freeling
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mocko wrote:
Christian, in the first place may I say that my post wasn't meant as an attack on you specifically - simply on a misusage which others had perpetrated on many more occasions, but of which your post happened to be the most recent example.

Don't bother, I'm a legitimate target since I more or less introduced the misusage.

mocko wrote:
christianF wrote:
mocko wrote:
The adjective quintessential may appropriately be applied to an entity if and only if the latter exhibits, to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered, the defining characteristics of a nominated class to which it belongs.

The definition revolves around concepts like degree and reasonably that may be open to different interpretations. Moreover, I find the absence of the concept simplicity curious.


Not curious at all, as a matter of fact. Simplicity has nothing whatever to do with the case - but it does highlight the way in which the usage got derailed. There are frequent assertions in this forum of simplicity as a quality to be prized in board game design - Occam's razor and all that. But assuming for a moment that these assertions are justified, they're still assertions of a desideratum rather than of a defining feature. If Sbnog, by Hercules Wolftrax, is said to be the quintessential abstract board game, that's synonymous with the claim that it's the most abstractboardgamelike of abstract board games. As for what that might mean in practice, well yes, like you...

christianF wrote:
I don't see what 'a quintessential game' might mean without referring to an object.


But then we diverge again...

christianF wrote:
I have no trouble seeing Hex or Y as quintessential connection games. Y comes in pure connectivity-6 variants as well as variant where 3 cells have connectivity-5. I don't feel this affects the game's 'quintessentialness', but it does imply that some players, if not indeed the inventor, consider the latter an improvement, the point being that this would constitute an improvement of a quintessential game.


This is precisely the point. Quintessentiality (if that's the noun) is not about quality. It's about typicality, and nothing else. So the quintessential board game would be played on a board, certainly - but after that I'm struggling.

I sensed something might be wrong with 'quintessentialness', but was too lazy to look it up, hence the quotes.

Going back to the given definition - the adjective quintessential may appropriately be applied to an entity if and only if the latter exhibits, to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered, the defining characteristics of a nominated class to which it belongs - I feel that "to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered" might be open to different interpretations. For me simplicity is always something to strive for, but does that prevent it from being a defining feature of a resulting game? Does it mean that "Hex is a quintessential connection game" is a meaningless sentence? Does not "to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered" also refer to efficiency - to maximal effect with minimal means - and hence to simplicity?
 
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Oooooo. An opportunity to disparage the use of a word I don't like much! This is my jam. I don't like the term because:

1. It feels haughty. More than one game designer has used it as a euphemistic way to claim that his game is like, the best game ever invented. That's not a smart claim to make even when it's true.

2. It's too fuzzy for me to understand how to use it.
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Richard Moxham
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christianF wrote:
Going back to the given definition - the adjective quintessential may appropriately be applied to an entity if and only if the latter exhibits, to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered, the defining characteristics of a nominated class to which it belongs - I feel that "to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered" might be open to different interpretations. For me simplicity is always something to strive for, but does that prevent it from being a defining feature of a resulting game? Does it mean that "Hex is a quintessential connection game" is a meaningless sentence? Does not "to a degree which one could not reasonably expect to see bettered" also refer to efficiency - to maximal effect with minimal means - and hence to simplicity?


For a start, as far as usage is concerned, I'd say the standard formulation is to speak of something as "the", not "a", quintessential whatever-you-happen-to-be-talking-about. But given that small adjustment, your sentence "Hex is [the] quintessential connection game" isn't a meaningless one - or at least, isn't meaningless a priori. What would limit its meaningfulness in practice would be the absence of a set of core characteristics generally conceded to be common to all connection games. Dictionary definitions of the term frequently refer to the fact of being "perfectly representative" of such and such a class, and that's quite a helpful phrasing. FWIW, I think I probably agree with you that the ideal abstract game, all other things being equal, would also be the simplest. But that's not the sense of "ideal" which quintessence has to do with. Think Platonic ideal, instead.
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Nick Bentley
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mocko wrote:
Think Platonic ideal, instead.


I think this is one of the reasons it feels so haughty to me. When someone describes a game as quintessential, there's this implication that it somehow touches the platonic realm, whereas all those other games over there don't, and are therefore inferior. Even if there were a platonic realm and games live in it, what makes anyone qualified to say what's in there?
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milomilo122 wrote:
mocko wrote:
Think Platonic ideal, instead.


I think this is one of the reasons it feels so haughty to me. When someone describes a game as quintessential, there's this implication that it somehow touches the platonic realm, whereas all those other games over there don't, and are therefore inferior. Even if there were a platonic realm and games live in it, what makes anyone qualified to say what's in there?


Okay. One last try, because this is getting silly. When someone uses the word "quintessential" correctly, there's no element of value judgement involved (though obviously you can't entirely eliminate subjectivity - hence my inclusion of the cagey riders that troubled Christian). Fact is: none of this muddle would have arisen in the first place if everyone concerned had settled for taking "quintessential" as synonymous with "typical", which is a fair working approximation. And of course there's nothing at all patrician about that.
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
mocko wrote:
Think Platonic ideal, instead.


I think this is one of the reasons it feels so haughty to me. When someone describes a game as quintessential, there's this implication that it somehow touches the platonic realm, whereas all those other games over there don't, and are therefore inferior. Even if there were a platonic realm and games live in it, what makes anyone qualified to say what's in there?

Though I stand corrected regarding its usage I never had any association with 'haughty'. And I may need a better way to distinguish between games with 'constructed' and hence often arbitrary rules, like say chess variants, and games with natural and non-arbitrary rules, that would appear to be discoveries rather than inventions. The latter category doesn't harbour all that many games, and there's a considerable twilight area between the obvious representatives of both categories.

But I don't care about the issue all that much, certainly not enough to engage in a debate about the status of any particular game. If and when I come down with creativity, these issues play no role at all. It's kind of an inside hunt and one can't comment on the undiscovered or uninvented.
 
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Nick Bentley
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mocko wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
mocko wrote:
Think Platonic ideal, instead.


I think this is one of the reasons it feels so haughty to me. When someone describes a game as quintessential, there's this implication that it somehow touches the platonic realm, whereas all those other games over there don't, and are therefore inferior. Even if there were a platonic realm and games live in it, what makes anyone qualified to say what's in there?


Okay. One last try, because this is getting silly. When someone uses the word "quintessential" correctly, there's no element of value judgement involved (though obviously you can't entirely eliminate subjectivity - hence my inclusion of the cagey riders that troubled Christian). Fact is: none of this muddle would have arisen in the first place if everyone concerned had settled for taking "quintessential" as synonymous with "typical", which is a fair working approximation. And of course there's nothing at all patrician about that.


No disagreement there. Just making a comment on the way many abstracters have been using it in practice. Or at least the subtext I perceive in the way it's been used.
 
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christianF wrote:
I may need a better way to distinguish between games with 'constructed' and hence often arbitrary rules, like say chess variants, and games with natural and non-arbitrary rules, that would appear to be discoveries rather than inventions.


How about 'artificial' and 'natural'? After a while, you may even feel able to dispense with the single inverted commas.
 
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milomilo122 wrote:
mocko wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
mocko wrote:
Think Platonic ideal, instead.


I think this is one of the reasons it feels so haughty to me. When someone describes a game as quintessential, there's this implication that it somehow touches the platonic realm, whereas all those other games over there don't, and are therefore inferior. Even if there were a platonic realm and games live in it, what makes anyone qualified to say what's in there?


Okay. One last try, because this is getting silly. When someone uses the word "quintessential" correctly, there's no element of value judgement involved (though obviously you can't entirely eliminate subjectivity - hence my inclusion of the cagey riders that troubled Christian). Fact is: none of this muddle would have arisen in the first place if everyone concerned had settled for taking "quintessential" as synonymous with "typical", which is a fair working approximation. And of course there's nothing at all patrician about that.


No disagreement there. Just making a comment on the way many abstracters have been using it in practice. Or at least the subtext I perceive in the way it's been used.


Fair enough.
 
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christian freeling
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mocko wrote:
christianF wrote:
I may need a better way to distinguish between games with 'constructed' and hence often arbitrary rules, like say chess variants, and games with natural and non-arbitrary rules, that would appear to be discoveries rather than inventions.


How about 'artificial' and 'natural'? After a while, you may even feel able to dispense with the single inverted commas.

I like the idea of a natural abstract game, but by its very nature as well as the nature of abstract games fora, a concensus regarding a definition would seem unlikely. There's always this twilight zone separating it from games that are not natural. For that group I've considered 'artificial', 'unnatural', 'assembled', 'constucted' and the like, but in the end I feel there's no need to name it at all.

Off the top of my hat I'd say that a 'natural abstract' has a natural object, uniform pieces and a single move protocol. It should preferably use a natural grid or more than one natural grid of any reasonable shape or size. Discussion points might include the question what constitutes a 'natural' object and whether or not some forms of promotion might be considered not to violate uniformity.
 
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christianF wrote:
mocko wrote:
christianF wrote:
I may need a better way to distinguish between games with 'constructed' and hence often arbitrary rules, like say chess variants, and games with natural and non-arbitrary rules, that would appear to be discoveries rather than inventions.


How about 'artificial' and 'natural'? After a while, you may even feel able to dispense with the single inverted commas.

I like the idea of a natural abstract game, but by its very nature as well as the nature of abstract games fora, a concensus regarding a definition would seem unlikely. There's always this twilight zone separating it from games that are not natural. For that group I've considered 'artificial', 'unnatural', 'assembled', 'constucted' and the like, but in the end I feel there's no need to name it at all.

Off the top of my hat I'd say that a 'natural abstract' has a natural object, uniform pieces and a single move protocol. Discussion points might include the question what constitutes a 'natural' object and whether or not some forms of promotion might be considered not to violate uniformity.


Well, if we're looking for a definition - I mean, for purposes of eligibility etc - then it's clearly a doomed enterprise. And that, paradoxically, is a weight off the shoulders. Because then it doesn't greatly matter whether there's a grey zone or not, nor whether some people disagree about this and that. Fact is, the quality of 'naturalness' in a game is both meaningful and useful, and in general not difficult to recognise when it crops up. Anybody who wishes, for example, to deny the naturalness of Hex has, no doubt, a fully-documented right to do so under some international charter or other, but at the same time he's an obvious moron to whom we, for our part, do not wish to speak.

[Tangential observation. Although the statement "Hex is the quintessential abstract" may be too slack to mean much, "Hex is the quintessential natural abstract" seems to me bang on the money ... which is not to say, of course, that there aren't other games of which the same claim could be made with roughly equal justification.]

A propos of naturalness - or the opposite, actually - do you know the expression "[Such and such a thing] smells of the lamp" (I don't know whether there's a Dutch equivalent), the implication being that the creator has had to sit up all night working on it - and you can tell!
 
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christian freeling
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mocko wrote:
Well, if we're looking for a definition - I mean, for purposes of eligibility etc - then it's clearly a doomed enterprise. And that, paradoxically, is a weight off the shoulders. Because then it doesn't greatly matter whether there's a grey zone or not, nor whether some people disagree about this and that. Fact is, the quality of 'naturalness' in a game is both meaningful and useful, and in general not difficult to recognise when it crops up. Anybody who wishes, for example, to deny the naturalness of Hex has, no doubt, a fully-documented right to do so under some international charter or other, but at the same time he's an obvious moron to whom we, for our part, do not wish to speak.

Hex is an obvious example. Less obvious examples keep the forum going. Thus the matter is resolved naturally.

mocko wrote:
[Tangential observation. Although the statement "Hex is the quintessential abstract" may be too slack to mean much, "Hex is the quintessential natural abstract" seems to me bang on the money ... which is not to say, of course, that there aren't other games of which the same claim could be made with roughly equal justification.]

That would imply that Hex is a quintessential natural abstract, to which you object elsewhere.

mocko wrote:
For a start, as far as usage is concerned, I'd say the standard formulation is to speak of something as "the", not "a", quintessential whatever-you-happen-to-be-talking-about.


mocko wrote:
A propos of naturalness - or the opposite, actually - do you know the expression "[Such and such a thing] smells of the lamp" (I don't know whether there's a Dutch equivalent), the implication being that the creator has had to sit up all night working on it - and you can tell!

In my case you couldn't. I always look as if I've been burning the midnight oil.
On another note, I didn't. I think in between the more important things.
 
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christianF wrote:
mocko wrote:
[Tangential observation. Although the statement "Hex is the quintessential abstract" may be too slack to mean much, "Hex is the quintessential natural abstract" seems to me bang on the money ... which is not to say, of course, that there aren't other games of which the same claim could be made with roughly equal justification.]

That would imply that Hex is a quintessential natural abstract, to which you object elsewhere.


Logically, of course, you're right, but the point is simply one of usage. Even if Noughts & Crosses, Dots & Boxes, Othello, whatever, would have an equally valid claim, one still speaks of Hex as the quintessential etc. Compare "He's the perfect English gentleman", where of course there's no suggestion of his being the only example of the breed. Best just blame it on our crazy language!
 
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Filipe Gama
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Hello there,

I'm developing your game in prolog for uni, and I'd like to ask if you know (or if it's possible to know) how to calculate the best move/add each turn, so I can implement player vs PC with some "AI".

Thanks in advance

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filipedgb wrote:
Hello there,

I'm developing your game in prolog for uni, and I'd like to ask if you know (or if it's possible to know) how to calculate the best move/add each turn, so I can implement player vs PC with some "AI".

Thanks in advance


Ho Filipe,
sorry for my late reply. Unluckly, I don't have an answer to you question. Did you try the Monte Carlo method?
 
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Matteo Perlini
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epicurus wrote:
Someone can estimate the average number of moves per turn of Myriades?

Old thread, but can someone outline how to do this calculation?
 
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