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Abstract Games» Forums » General

Subject: Starpoints rss

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christian freeling
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For about a week now, Enschede has been covered by a shroud. Very unreasonable! It's starting to affect my mood and in an unguarded moment gloomy thoughts led me to the 'Superstar' board:



It has six inward corners and twelve ourward ones.
The board can be modified, for instance to set the outward corners one cell apart (for instance by truncating the twelve corner points or adding an extra ring of hexes).

A 'single placement' game with a pie that awards Σn points to a group connecting n corner points would seem interesting. It implies an incentive to connect groups, much like 'group penalty' does. It could end in a draw.

Of course this is a 'bare bones' concept. If considered too 'dry' one could commit conceptual suicide by awarding Σn + Σm points, where m is the number of cells inside a closed loop, that are either vacant or occupied by the opponent (to prevent 'blob growth').

Problems I see are draws and symmetric play. Elegance would require to solve both simultaneously. *

Anyway, thoughts?


* Here's one way: since only the first player can apply symmetric play (by taking the centre), in case of an equal score the second player wins. It implies an extra consideration regarding the pie.
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Corey Clark
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someone should start keeping a tally of how many times Christian comes out of retirement. Honestly I'm losing track at this point.
 
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christian freeling
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CoreyClark wrote:
someone should start keeping a tally of how many times Christian comes out of retirement. Honestly I'm losing track at this point.

I'm retired all right, just had a thought. It happened to bear on an almost on topic discussion in Nick's Dameo king thread, so I thought I'd bring it in.

I can't imagine the Σn award as an incentive to connect groups is completely new, because it would seem to be a sufficiently effective incentive.

This thing comes, however accidentally and unintentional, out of the 'Star' sleeve but unlike the other representatives the reward of a connection isn't fixed but varies with the number of corners of the groups involved.

I'm not sure why it should get so little response, or rather none at all because your comment concerns my behaviour (nothing new there) rather than the concept of the game.

 
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christian freeling
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The Starpoints board has 18 corners, 12 outward and 6 inward ones.



The game starts with a pie and the players, black and white, take turns to place one stone on a vacant cell.

Like coloured connected stones form a group. A group containing n corners is worth Σn points [Σn = n(n+1)/2].

A player may pass without losing the right to move next turn. The game ends when both players pass on successive turns. The winner is the player with the highest score. If scores are equal, the player who placed the second stone on the board wins.

How's that for simplicity and 'conceptual integrity'?
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Nick Bentley
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Christian, you will never be retired from this (well, until you're 6 feet under and even then I'm not so sure)

I'll give this game some thought later this afternoon
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
Christian, you will never be retired from this (well, until you're 6 feet under and even then I'm not so sure)

I'll give this game some thought later this afternoon

Thanks, and regarding retirement I can assure you that my thinking about games is far from compulsory nowadays. Instead I enjoy long walks with Snowy and I have a couple of square miles of countryside nearby to do so. He sees me as a completely natural companion, though he remains wary of other humans and of course of dogs. But the 'regulars' all know him by now. Here he is in his summer coat.



A couple of tiger pythons also require some attention and some special attention in Carolientje's case, to avoid accidentally being killed.



I also have a girl friend since a year or two. If I were to talk with her about abstract games, I might as well talk to Carolientje. It's a more or less situation inspired by girls talk.
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David Bush
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Is containing n corners the same as connecting n corners? It seems like it would be a great game. Players might be compelled in the opening to claim the corners by playing on them, (EDIT especially the six concave ones) then spend the rest of the game trying to connect their claims. That's not necessarily a bad thing.
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christian freeling
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twixter wrote:
Is containing n corners the same as connecting n corners? It seems like it would be a great game. Players might be compelled in the opening to claim the corners by playing on them, (EDIT especially the six concave ones) then spend the rest of the game trying to connect their claims. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Yes, connecting n corners is the same. It seems indeed better than Superstar and YvY and those two were dropped at mindsports because Symple has a degree of 'concepual integrity' they lack.
However, Symple switches from counting 'special stones of a group' to 'all stones' and has a move protocol that supports this change.
Starpoints is back to 'special stones of a group' and single placement, but in a much simpler way than any of its predecessors, including Star et al.
I find that kind of funny.
 
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Nick Bentley
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christianF wrote:
twixter wrote:
Is containing n corners the same as connecting n corners? It seems like it would be a great game. Players might be compelled in the opening to claim the corners by playing on them, (EDIT especially the six concave ones) then spend the rest of the game trying to connect their claims. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Yes, connecting n corners is the same. It seems indeed better than Superstar and YvY and those two were dropped at mindsports because Symple has a degree of 'concepual integrity' they lack.
However, Symple switches from counting 'special stones of a group' to 'all stones' and has a move protocol that supports this change.
Starpoints is back to 'special stones of a group' and single placement, but in a much simpler way than any of its predecessors, including Star et al.
I find that kind of funny.


One of my first thoughts, too, is this is a more true "evolution" of games like Superstar than Symple is. What Superstar is "trying to do" feels different than what Symple is "trying to do" to me. Starpoints, however, feels very much like it shares its aims with Superstar, to my first glance, anyway. I am worried about draws though.
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Nick Bentley
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What you happen if you didn't truncate alternating arms of the star, so every other arm ends in a single point? Then you have an odd number of corners. I don't like the big differences in reachability though. Maybe there's a useful thought in it somewhere however.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:


One of my first thoughts, too, is this is a more true "evolution" of games like Superstar than Symple is. What Superstar is "trying to do" feels different than what Symple is "trying to do" to me. Starpoints, however, feels very much like it shares its aims with Superstar, to my first glance, anyway. I am worried about draws though.

Well, Superstar was a mess, rule wise (or rather 'concept wise'). YvY was better in this respect but still pretty elaborate. Star and *Star have fairly simple rules but Starpoints does it simpler indeed.

Draws, now there was this problem of symmetric play. Not a big problem, because it requires a first move in the centre and then a pie makes that you don't know who gets it.
But, in that case, the player who gets it might go for a draw by symmetric play.
However, he/she is not the player who places the second stone on the board. So I ruled that in case of an equal score, the player who placed the second stone on the board wins.
So far it was a rule to specifically rule out symmetric play. But making it a general rule eliminates draws altogether. The pie takes care of the consequences: both players know that for one of them a draw is enough to win.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
What would happen if you didn't truncate alternating arms of the star, so every other arm ends in a single point? Then you have an odd number of corners. I don't like the big differences in reachability though. Maybe there's a useful thought in it somewhere however.

Oh, you can dream up a variety of boards for this one. I settled for 217 cells and a 2-cells distance between corners because it seems about right for an interesting game.

Moreover, an odd number of corners might not rule out an equal score.
 
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Nick Bentley
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
What would happen if you didn't truncate alternating arms of the star, so every other arm ends in a single point? Then you have an odd number of corners. I don't like the big differences in reachability though. Maybe there's a useful thought in it somewhere however.

Oh, you can dream up a variety of boards for this one. I settled for 217 cells and a 2-cells distance between corners because it seems about right for an interesting game.

Moreover, an odd number of corners might not rule out an equal score.


Oh, right. derp.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
Oh, right. derp.

I got a derp of my own here. With symmetric play around the centerpoint the score may not at all be equal because eventually the centerpoint may constitute a connection.
So the symmetry problem that led to the general rule to resolve draws, may itself never come into being, or only in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Some irony.
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christian freeling
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A problem? No problem!
It is clear that taking the centre and playing symmetrical doesn't draw, it wins! Isn't that a problem? No, it requires the first stone to be placed in the centre and that implies that the opponent will swap to get it and secure the win.

For a fleeting moment I considered excluding the centre for the opening stone, but looking better one can easily see that no player would open there anyway.

Another thing, touching on the 'variety of boards' that are possible. The game can be generalised by for instance filling the outer ring of hexes of a hexhex board with alternating colours and counting groups by the number of these stones they connect, with n --> ∑n.
But I like the 'airier' Starpoints board which led me to the idea in the first place. And you don't have those huge scores that would result from it.
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Benedikt Rosenau
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christianF wrote:

A 'single placement' game with a pie that awards Σn points to a group connecting n corner points would seem interesting.

I feel dense because I do not get it - Σn?
 
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christian freeling
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Zickzack wrote:
christianF wrote:

A 'single placement' game with a pie that awards Σn points to a group connecting n corner points would seem interesting.

I feel dense because I do not get it - Σn?

Ah, it's the triangular number: Σn = n+(n-1)+ ... +1 ( or n(n+1)/2 ).

As an incentive one could also award say 'n square' for a group with n corners, but that touches on 'necessary and sufficient'. 'N square is more than sufficient and thus not necessary.
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Russ Williams
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Zickzack wrote:
christianF wrote:

A 'single placement' game with a pie that awards Σn points to a group connecting n corner points would seem interesting.

I feel dense because I do not get it - Σn?


FWIW I wasn't sure at first either, but then decided it was indeed concise forum post shorthand for
n
Σ i
i=1

rather than summing up some unspecified number of n terms.
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David Molnar
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christianF wrote:
Zickzack wrote:
christianF wrote:

A 'single placement' game with a pie that awards Σn points to a group connecting n corner points would seem interesting.

I feel dense because I do not get it - Σn?

Ah, it's the triangular number: Σn = n+(n-1)+ ... +1 ( or n(n+1)/2 ).


so it's just a Ponte del Diavolo variant.
 
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christian freeling
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molnar wrote:
christianF wrote:
Zickzack wrote:
christianF wrote:

A 'single placement' game with a pie that awards Σn points to a group connecting n corner points would seem interesting.

I feel dense because I do not get it - Σn?

Ah, it's the triangular number: Σn = n+(n-1)+ ... +1 ( or n(n+1)/2 ).


so it's just a Ponte del Diavolo variant.

I read Dave Dyer's review and I cannot possibly imagine why you would consider Starpoints a variant, even less why you would consider it just a variant.

By lay-out, your conclusion seems based on the way scores are counted (i.e. n(n+1)/2 for a group connecting n corners). I can't find anything the like in Ponte del Diavolo.

Enlighten me please.

-----

For the record, I didn't try to invent a game, the thing dropped out of my head and instantly materialised. I realised it mimics the idea of Star et al (as Nick pointed out) and offers a similar conceptual integrity with simpler means. In terms of the object concerned it is a fundamental game, unless you use a different definition of 'fundamental'.
 
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Russ Williams
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Not only Ponte del Diavolo and Starpoints, but also Gipsy King and Notre Dame (and many other games) are all variants of each other, if simply using some kind of n(n+1)/2 scoring makes one game a variant of another.
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
Not only Ponte del Diavolo and Starpoints, but also Gipsy King and Notre Dame (and many other games) are all variants of each other, if simply using some kind of n(n+1)/2 scoring makes one game a variant of another.

Hi Russ,

In this post I already said that I couldn't imagine it hadn't been used before - actually expecting a reply from you.
 
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Russ Williams
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christianF wrote:
russ wrote:
Not only Ponte del Diavolo and Starpoints, but also Gipsy King and Notre Dame (and many other games) are all variants of each other, if simply using some kind of n(n+1)/2 scoring makes one game a variant of another.

Hi Russ,

In this post I already said that I couldn't imagine it hadn't been used before - actually expecting a reply from you.


Right, I saw that, and even without that, I wouldn't have supposed that you thought this kind of scoring had never been done before.

In case it's unclear, I'm agreeing with you that I don't see how Starpoints is a variant of PdD merely because they both use this kind of scoring (which exists in many games).

(It also occurs to me that perhaps molnar was merely kidding. But I don't know. Damn the internet's joke-stripping ambiguity-inducing powers!)
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Luis Bolaños Mures
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Although not a variant of it, Starpoints seems closely related to Side Stitch.

Similarly, I think Catchup and Ecalper would still be reasonable games if a player's score were the sum of the triangular numbers of the sizes of their groups. Nick, how about using that in Byg?

What I wonder about Starpoints is merely why the board is a star. It doesn't fit nicely on my square tables...
 
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Russ Williams
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luigi87 wrote:
What I wonder about Starpoints is merely why the board is a star. It doesn't fit nicely on my square tables...

Now you have an excuse to buy that star-shaped table you've always wanted!
 
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