GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!

8,545 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
20 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
 Hide
25 Posts

Catchup» Forums » Rules

Subject: Officially changing the rules of Catchup. rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've been fascinated by blueblimp's recent series of Catchup analyses, and it's returned me to thinking about a modification I've been contemplating for some time. After a bunch of testing and analysis, I've become convinced it's time to change the rules. Here's the new ruleset, with the change highlighted in red:

----------------------------------

Prep
Before the game starts, set one white pawn and one black pawn on the “1” space on the scoring track. These will be moved along the scoring track as the game goes along to mark the size of each player’s largest group.

Rules
1. One player owns the white stones and the other owns the black. White begins by dropping 1 stone.

2. From then on, starting with Black, each player must drop 1 or 2 stones on her turn.

3. If you increase the size of your largest group, move your pawn to the corresponding space on the scoring track. If you move your pawn up to or past your opponent’s pawn on the scoring track, your opponent may drop up to 3 stones on her next turn.

4. The game ends when the board is full. The player with the largest group wins. If the players’ largest groups are the same size, compare their second-largest groups, and so on, until you come to a pair which aren’t the same size. Whoever owns the larger of the two wins.


----------------------------------

As you can see, the Catchup rule has been slightly modified: it's now triggered when you make your largest group the same size or larger than your opponent's.

This provides an added advantage to jumping out to the lead: it gives the leader the right to make groups of a certain size without triggering the catchup rule further, while the trailing player cannot do the same. This gives the leader a bit of a positional advantage he wouldn't get otherwise.

This doesn't have a giant effect on the mid- to late-game, but it does give players a stronger incentive create groups larger than 1 in the early going.

Catchup is now played in a bunch of places and I'm not sure how many of those places I can convince to change. We'll see.

Let me know what you think.

Nick
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
milomilo122 wrote:
Catchup is now played in a bunch of places and I'm not sure how many of those places I can convince to change. We'll see.

Let me know what you think.

Are you going to try to convince them to change (eliminating the current, well, previous rules), or to add this as a 2nd way to play it? Adding seems better arguably at least in the short term (e.g. what about correspondence games currently in progress? it would seem weird to change the rules in the middle of the game...), but I dunno.

PS: Is this like version 42 now or what?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
Catchup is now played in a bunch of places and I'm not sure how many of those places I can convince to change. We'll see.

Let me know what you think.

Are you going to try to convince them to change (eliminating the current, well, previous rules), or to add this as a 2nd way to play it? Adding seems better arguably at least in the short term (e.g. what about correspondence games currently in progress? it would seem weird to change the rules in the middle of the game...), but I dunno.

PS: Is this like version 42 now or what?


Good point. I think I should give them discretion to make the change how they want, since they're doing me a big favor by making any change at all.

This is the 6th public version (and of course there were earlier versions I never made public). I'm stupid but persistent.

I'm kind of almost glad I haven't found a publisher for the physical version yet, because it's allowed me to refine the game so much. If I ever do get a publisher, I can go into it with a degree of confidence and refinement I wouldn't have been able to get any other way.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Malcolm S
msg tools
If the new rules could be made an option in an update to the iOS app, that would be a nice way to get in a bunch of test plays.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
blueblimp wrote:
If the new rules could be made an option in an update to the iOS app, that would be a nice way to get in a bunch of test plays.


agreed. I'll get in touch with the developer.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
milomilo122 wrote:
I've been fascinated by blueblimp's recent series of Catchup analyses, and it's returned me to thinking about a modification I've been contemplating for some time. After a bunch of testing and analysis, I've become convinced it's time to change the rules. Here's the new ruleset, with the change highlighted in red:

----------------------------------

Prep
Before the game starts, set one white pawn and one black pawn on the “1” space on the scoring track. These will be moved along the scoring track as the game goes along to mark the size of each player’s largest group.

Rules
1. One player owns the white stones and the other owns the black. White begins by dropping 1 stone.

2. From then on, starting with Black, each player must drop 1 or 2 stones on her turn.

3. If you increase the size of your largest group, move your pawn to the corresponding space on the scoring track. If you move your pawn up to or past your opponent’s pawn on the scoring track, your opponent may drop up to 3 stones on her next turn.

4. The game ends when the board is full. The player with the largest group wins. If the players’ largest groups are the same size, compare their second-largest groups, and so on, until you come to a pair which aren’t the same size. Whoever owns the larger of the two wins.


----------------------------------

As you can see, the Catchup rule has been slightly modified: it's now triggered when you make your largest group the same size or larger than your opponent's.

This provides an added advantage to jumping out to the lead: it gives the leader the right to make groups of a certain size without triggering the catchup rule further, while the trailing player cannot do the same. This gives the leader a bit of a positional advantage he wouldn't get otherwise.

This doesn't have a giant effect on the mid- to late-game, but it does give players a stronger incentive create groups larger than 1 in the early going.

Catchup is now played in a bunch of places and I'm not sure how many of those places I can convince to change. We'll see.

Let me know what you think.

Nick



Hi Nick. What (just in a nutshell) is your reason for feeling, as you presumably do, that this is a necessary change? Is the 1-1-1-1-1-etc tendency until forced otherwise so recurrent that it looks/feels to you like the symptom of a weakness in the game as is?

Incidentally, I for my part very much hope that you'll eventually decide on a version, whichever it be, that you consider best, and then scrap the others. I know there's quite a strong view in some quarters that options = enrichment, but I reckon that's ... how can I put this delicately? ... bollocks. Different board sizes at a pinch, but not rules, for heaven's sake!


3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mocko wrote:

Hi Nick. What (just in a nutshell) is your reason for feeling, as you presumably do, that this is a necessary change? Is the 1-1-1-1-1-etc tendency until forced otherwise so recurrent that it looks/feels to you like the symptom of a weakness in the game as is?


Yep. The opening is my least favorite part of the game and I want to make it more interesting.

Quote:
Incidentally, I for my part very much hope that you'll eventually decide on a version, whichever it be, that you consider best, and then scrap the others. I know there's quite a strong view in some quarters that options = enrichment, but I reckon that's ... how can I put this delicately? ... bollocks. Different board sizes at a pinch, but not rules, for heaven's sake!


I feel the same. I think it's important that there be only one version. When I make a change to this game, these days it's only after a long period of testing and contemplation (in this case about a year), and only if I'm convinced it's better than what came before. I'm convinced in this case. The key will be getting it changed where it's played.



 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph DiMuro
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
So White is guaranteed to be able to place 3 stones on his second turn?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TrojH wrote:
So White is guaranteed to be able to place 3 stones on his second turn?


Nope. read the "prep" section, and then rule #3.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph DiMuro
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Doh. And here I thought I'd read everything carefully. Sorry. blush
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TrojH wrote:
Doh. And here I thought I'd read everything carefully. Sorry. blush


No problem! I'm a TERRIBLE rules misreader myself.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten K
Denmark
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
It would indeed be good to have this updated in the iOS as well!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tigrillo wrote:
It would indeed be good to have this updated in the iOS as well!


I will definitely try to convince the developer to do so!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Malcolm S
msg tools
Little Golem is now using the new rules for new games. http://www.littlegolem.net/jsp/forum/topic2.jsp?forum=1&topi...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Malcolm S
msg tools
The LG rules are currently bugged to have the second player's first move give catchup. I've reported it on the LG forums.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
blueblimp wrote:
The LG rules are currently bugged to have the second player's first move give catchup. I've reported it on the LG forums.


eek. Thanks for reporting it. I'll mention it to them as well. That's bad.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
milomilo122 wrote:
blueblimp wrote:
The LG rules are currently bugged to have the second player's first move give catchup. I've reported it on the LG forums.


eek. Thanks for reporting it. I'll mention it to them as well. That's bad.


Bug is repaired. Sigh of relief.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Blank

North Carolina
msg tools
I went ahead and signed up for a new monthly tournament on LG, but that's only going to make the next month more confusing: "which rules is this game again...?"

I'll be curious to see how this changes the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hyperpape wrote:
I went ahead and signed up for a new monthly tournament on LG, but that's only going to make the next month more confusing: "which rules is this game again...?"

I'll be curious to see how this changes the game.


So will I! I mean, I *think* I know, but I can never be certain until a bunch of good players put it through its paces. I'm no longer the best player so it's harder for me to see beyond the horizon of the other players than it used to be
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bennett Gardiner
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
flag msg tools
I have to be honest - I think this is a terrible move Nick. Regardless of whether this makes the game slightly better or not (I can't imagine it makes an enormous difference, changing the rules this late in the game fractures the community who was playing your game. Not only will people continue playing the old rules, anyone who has been playing for months now (like myself) now have zero intuition on strategy. The rule change makes the scoring more clumsy and non-intuitive. I don't know. I think you should have solidified the rules before the publication of the app. Why are you still tinkering with rules rather than coming up with strategies/working on openings/moving up to the next board size/theory? Seems strange. Hope to hear your thoughts.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
dispatch134711 wrote:
I have to be honest - I think this is a terrible move Nick. Regardless of whether this makes the game slightly better or not (I can't imagine it makes an enormous difference, changing the rules this late in the game fractures the community who was playing your game.

There's plenty of precedent for this in Catchup's history, for better or worse. I won't be surprised if this isn't the last time its rules get changed...

Quote:
Not only will people continue playing the old rules, anyone who has been playing for months now (like myself) now have zero intuition on strategy.

"Zero intuition" seems a bit strong, though I agree that the rule change certainly alters strategy.

Quote:
The rule change makes the scoring more clumsy and non-intuitive.

But isn't this the same scoring as before? See who has the biggest group, in case of tie compare the next biggest groups, etc. Hasn't this been how scoring has always worked (or at least for a long time), or am I confused?


Quote:
Why are you still tinkering with rules rather than coming up with strategies/working on openings/moving up to the next board size/theory?

I guess this is a common dilemma for any published product in which the creator discovers a way to improve it. Is it "good enough" already and should be left unchanged, or should the improvement be made official?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Malcolm S
msg tools
dispatch134711 wrote:
Why are you still tinkering with rules rather than coming up with strategies/working on openings/moving up to the next board size/theory?


Well, the latter is more the role of the player, isn't it? So far, players have failed to find ways to make first connection work reliably under the old rules. My opinion is that we would have figured it out eventually, since it seems unlikely that optimal play is to stall until the last possible moment. But game design is about the experience of playing the game, and if the experience players have is that they feel punished for connecting first, leading to drawn-out openings, then I can see the game design case for tweaking the rules, even if it would turn out to not be necessary for sufficiently high-level play.

I'm still reserving judgment on whether I like the new rules, the reason being that I've played a lot with the old rules and I know that I like the game they create, and I don't have that volume of play with the new rules. The old rules force a light playstyle, which I enjoy, and the new rules will (by design) encourage play to be heavier. If that allows for a greater diversity of playstyles that still includes light play, then that's great. But it might instead tilt the balance too much towards heavy play.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Koppang
United States
Westmont
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy..."
badge
"For the listener, who listens in the snow, and, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is." -- Wallace Stevens
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Games evolve, new games even more so. In these days of designer games, it's tempting to think that rules are set in stone. Boy, I hope not. Classics such as Chess wouldn't be half the games they are today if not for a furious age of tweaking.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

I've come to believe it's worth tinkering with game rules for a long time, right up until a physical set comes out. After that it gets tricky, but it's mostly upside up until then. And if a game truly has emergent complexity, it's simply impossible to get it perfect without a looooong gestation.

If I find out players prefer Catchup the old way, I have no objection to going back.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Hutnik
United States
Albany
New York
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
Catchup is now played in a bunch of places and I'm not sure how many of those places I can convince to change. We'll see.

Let me know what you think.

Are you going to try to convince them to change (eliminating the current, well, previous rules), or to add this as a 2nd way to play it? Adding seems better arguably at least in the short term (e.g. what about correspondence games currently in progress? it would seem weird to change the rules in the middle of the game...), but I dunno.

PS: Is this like version 42 now or what?


If it is, and then one more version follows, there is risks of a reference to Movie 43 being made :-P:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1333125/
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.