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Subject: Why Storisende matters - its strategic dilemma explained rss

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David Buckley
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christianF wrote:
russ wrote:
I noticed that I am still confused by the rules. Trying to follow the recent game comments, I thought "Why can't your red double on the wall simple jump southeast 2 spaces (onto another wall space) and create a single where it came from, then jump northwest again after that single moves away, back and forth, making as many more red pieces on the wall as you like?"

Evidently you can't, or you'd surely be doing that.

So I looked at the rules at http://mindsports.nl/index.php/arena/storisende/747-storisen... and read:
Quote:
Growth: only doubles breed offspring
If and only if a tile is vacated by a 'double' - a column of two men - it will sprout one new man on the cell underneath

Is the Wall not a tile? Apparently not. And yet
Quote:
The board is 'layered': initially every cell is covered by a hex tile, here represented as beige. The module underneath is the actual 'territory', here represented as green. If a hex tile is reversed it shows a dark colour representing a cell of 'the Wall'.
I.e. the Wall IS a tile: it's the dark side of a tile, as opposed to the beige side of a tile. Turning a tile over doesn't make the tile stop being a tile...

So I suggest some further word-tweaking to the rules would be helpful.
Ah yes, I'll see to that, thanks (edit: done). A tile is a tile so long as it is not vacated. If it becomes territory or wall, it is no longer a 'tile' (only applicable to the latter of course).

This endgame might indeed end in a draw, at least I have that option. If some higher power has heard my wish for a 'balanced endgame', I certainly got what I wanted. Yet, I'm still not sure whether I can't win after all ...

I'm thinking it would be more practical (less fiddly) to have a single layer of board on which wall pieces and territory pieces get placed.
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christian freeling
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Of course I can win!



I saw that this morning lying in bed. It was 5.30 but I had to get up (because of it). As usual it was a matter of thinking wrong instead of looking right.
If you can't see how, I'll show you (rather than tell you).


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Russ Williams
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Buckersuk wrote:
I'm thinking it would be more practical (less fiddly) to have a single layer of board on which wall pieces and territory pieces get placed.
I agree; it would make the rules text clearer, and it would make real-life (physical) game setup much more pleasingly fast. The underlying board would be beige, and you place hex tiles which are green on one side (territory) or dark on the other side (wall) as needed during play.

But if the current paradigm is kept, then I propose amending the "Growth" rule
Quote:
If and only if a tile is vacated by a 'double'
to be
Quote:
If and only if a non-wall tile is vacated by a 'double'
for more explicit clarity.
 
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
Buckersuk wrote:
I'm thinking it would be more practical (less fiddly) to have a single layer of board on which wall pieces and territory pieces get placed.
I agree; it would make the rules text clearer, and it would make real-life (physical) game setup much more pleasingly fast. The underlying board would be beige, and you place hex tiles which are green on one side (territory) or dark on the other side (wall) as needed during play.

But if the current paradigm is kept, then I propose amending the "Growth" rule
Quote:
If and only if a tile is vacated by a 'double'
to be
Quote:
If and only if a non-wall tile is vacated by a 'double'
for more explicit clarity.
I added this:
Quote:
The board is initially empty, but every cell is covered by a hex tile. If such a tile is occupied by a piece and next vacated by it, then the tile immediately

- disappears, exposing a territory cell of the module underneath, or
- it is flipped over, making it a cell of the Wall. It is then no longer a tile in the original sense.
russ wrote:
I noticed that I am still confused by the rules. Trying to follow the recent game comments, I thought "Why can't your red double on the wall simple jump southeast 2 spaces (onto another wall space) and create a single where it came from, then jump northwest again after that single moves away, back and forth, making as many more red pieces on the wall as you like?"
I do have some reservations about you being confused Russ, you strike me as one of the most unconfused people I know.
 
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Russ Williams
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christianF wrote:
russ wrote:
I propose amending the "Growth" rule
Quote:
If and only if a tile is vacated by a 'double'
to be
Quote:
If and only if a non-wall tile is vacated by a 'double'
for more explicit clarity.
I added this:
Quote:
The board is initially empty, but every cell is covered by a hex tile. If such a tile is occupied by a piece and next vacated by it, then the tile immediately

- disappears, exposing a territory cell of the module underneath, or
- it is flipped over, making it a cell of the Wall. It is then no longer a tile in the original sense.
I saw that, but I'm not a fan of that kind of fuzzy zen-koan-meta-sounding rule, which I find vague (what is "the original sense", and what are the various implications of something which literally/physically IS a tile somehow NOT being a tile "in the original sense"?)

That info is also located away from where it's actually most relevant (in the Growth section). Hence I think adding "non-Wall tile" directly in the Growth section is clearer and more helpful.

Quote:
I do have some reservations about you being confused Russ, you strike me as one of the most unconfused people I know.
Thanks.
 
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
I saw that, but I'm not a fan of that kind of fuzzy zen-koan-meta-sounding rule, which I find vague (what is "the original sense", and what are the various implications of something which literally/physically IS a tile somehow NOT being a tile "in the original sense"?)

That info is also located away from where it's actually most relevant (in the Growth section). Hence I think adding "non-Wall tile" directly in the Growth section is clearer and more helpful.
You're right, but I don't want to overload the wording of the growth condition, so I changed it to:
Quote:
The board is initially empty, but every cell is covered by a hex tile. If such a tile is occupied by a piece and next vacated by it, then the tile immediately

- disappears, exposing a territory cell of the module underneath, or
- it is flipped over, making it a cell of the Wall. Wall tiles cannot be used for growth (see below).
 
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Russ Williams
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FWIW I perceive adding the 8 characters "non-Wall" to be more helpful and directly relevant than overloading, but YMMV.

---

Another thought:

Since there are multiple ways of physically implementing the game (starting the game with a beige tile on every hex, as in the rules as currently written; or starting the game with no tiles and placing a green or dark tile during gameplay when a beige hex becomes vacated), I wonder whether it would be nicer for the rules to not even talk about physical implementation details like that, and instead take a more abstract approach. (Especially since the game may often be played online where there are no "tiles" in any case and hexes simply change color, right?) E.g. something like:

The board is a contiguous set of hexes. Initially every hex is beige. During play, a hex may become green (part of a contiguous "territory") or dark (part of a contiguous "wall").

...

If an occupied beige hex becomes unoccupied, then the hex immediately

* becomes green if the hex has at most one adjacent territory, i.e. if this hex would become a new territory or an expansion of exactly one existing territory
or
* becomes dark if the hex has more than one adjacent territories, i.e. if this hex would merge existing territories, then it instead becomes a wall separating those existing territories.

...
Growth:
If and only if a beige hex is vacated by a 'double' ...
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
FWIW I perceive adding the 8 characters "non-Wall" to be more helpful and directly relevant than overloading, but YMMV.

---

Another thought:

Since there are multiple ways of physically implementing the game (starting the game with a beige tile on every hex, as in the rules as currently written; or starting the game with no tiles and placing a green or dark tile during gameplay when a beige hex becomes vacated), I wonder whether it would be nicer for the rules to not even talk about physical implementation details like that, and instead take a more abstract approach. (Especially since the game may often be played online where there are no "tiles" in any case and hexes simply change color, right?) E.g. something like:

The board is a contiguous set of hexes. Initially every hex is beige. During play, a hex may become green (part of a contiguous "territory") or dark (part of a contiguous "wall").

...

If an occupied beige hex becomes unoccupied, then the hex immediately

* becomes green if the hex has at most one adjacent territory, i.e. if thies hex would become a new territory or an expansion of exactly one existing territory
or
* becomes dark if the hex has more than one adjacent territories, i.e. if this hex would merge existing territories, then it instead becomes a wall separating those existing territories.

...
Growth:
If and only if a beige hex is vacated by a 'double' ...
That seems like a justifiable overhaul. I'm rather crippled in the graphics realm, the last couple of years so I'll see if I can use Stephen's AiAi diagrams instead and adapt the text to that. It may take some time because we didn't publish yet and I'm in no hurry. It's good to have a fresh look. My thoughts obviously started from Mu which is hardly playable over the board anyway.

It did not influence the game in any way. All modifications concerned the wording of the rules, the game was clear to me from the start. I apologise for obviously making that unnecessarily difficult for others. I predicted that "the endgame may feature careful manoeuvring and long term planning of the kind that a 'fast and tricky' player might call tedious". In that extremely illustrative first game between Ed and me you can see what I meant by that. It also shows one of my handicaps as a player (actually more than one I fear): thinking instead of looking. This morning in bed I saw the win, and actually it was quite obvious, certainly considering the draw I already had seen. So I felt stupid and elated at the same time (and at a bit weird moment).
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christian freeling
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One move onwards and I'll keep you waiting no longer.



I need two doubles to be able to capture the purple man in the 4-cell area with one of them. That leaves two red men on the Wall and I can use those to capture the two purple men in the 2-cell area and claim it. That's 16-14 for Red.

The funny thing is psychological, and since it may interest Nick, who is at a game convention until Sunday, I'll explain why I only realised it in bed, at 5.30 in the morning.

When I first considered the endgame I had dismissed the 2-cell territory with the two purple men as 'inefficient' in terms of capture. The two large areas were the important ones!
So when differences began to narrow I saw that conquering the 4-cell area would leave a score of 16-14 for Purple and two red men on the Wall and I thought "well, that's at least a draw", because I could claim two single cell areas with them.
I didn't see that I could win by claiming the 2-cell purple area instead, because in my mind it was still labelled 'inefficient'. The modus operandi of stupidity, but I've never been able to develop any immunity to it.

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Russ Williams
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christianF wrote:


I saw that conquering the 4-cell area would leave a score of 16-14 for Purple and two red men on the Wall and I thought "well, that's at least a draw", because I could claim two single cell areas with them.
OK, I think I see that.
Quote:
I didn't see that I could win by claiming the 2-cell purple area instead, because in my mind it was still labelled 'inefficient'. The modus operandi of stupidity, but I've never been able to develop any immunity to it.
But I'm utterly confused how stealing a 2-cell area would be better for you score-wise than stealing a 4-cell area! If you steal the 2-cell area, then purple's score is 18 instead of 16 (right?) and your score would seem to be 2 less. So I'm clearly missing something; can you elaborate?

Ah wait, never mind! I see now that your "instead" meant "claiming the 2-cell area instead of claiming 2 single cells", while I thought it meant "claiming the 2-cell area instead of claiming the 4-cell area". Doh.
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
Ah wait, never mind! I see now that your "instead" meant "claiming the 2-cell area instead of claiming 2 single cells", while I thought it meant "claiming the 2-cell area instead of claiming the 4-cell area". Doh.
Yes, it all worked out perfectly for an example game. The endgame was balanced, but not only that, it showed the difference between prioritising territory versus prioritising domination on the Wall. Thus it illustrates the very point I was trying to make.

Notice that the order of claiming is crucial: Red needs two doubles to be able to capture the lone man in the 4-cell area with one of them. After that he can finish the 2-cell one off.
Edit: that's not true. Red needs only one double for the 4-cell area. I forgot for a moment that I can split it when attacking.

Of course Ed would under normal circumstance have resigned already, but we play it to the end precisely because it is an example game.

The endgame is very illustrative, for which I'm very glad indeed. The game as a whole must inherently harbour a fair amount of mistakes, since we're both beginners. It would most likely take a more advanced player to point them out. As a whole I'm elated by the game and the process that led to it. I couldn't possibly have wished for a better closure and I'm thankful for the feedback.
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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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I've checked the rules and the example game and it looks very promising indeed.

I must have missed the discussion but why was there a question why Storisende matters in the first place?
 
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nhjelmberg wrote:
I've checked the rules and the example game and it looks very promising indeed.

I must have missed the discussion but why was there a question why Storisende matters in the first place?
I've made some fifty abstract strategy games and they can't possibly matter all, because abstract strategy games may not matter all that much in the first place. But in case they do matter, I published five that in my opinion do in Moving forward Looking back.
As it happens I was still moving forward and I feel Storisende also matters, not because of its 'sport weapon' qualities, but because of its intricate merger of an existential and a territorial goal. That was not intended, because inventing inside out doesn't care about intentions. But it is rather unique because of the uniform pieces and their unified behaviour. I feel Storisende matters because of its behaviour. But not everyone may have a clear idea of what I mean by that.
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christianF wrote:
nhjelmberg wrote:
I've checked the rules and the example game and it looks very promising indeed.

I must have missed the discussion but why was there a question why Storisende matters in the first place?
I've made some fifty abstract strategy games and they can't possibly matter all, because abstract strategy games may not matter all that much in the first place. But in case they do matter, I published five that in my opinion do in Moving forward Looking back.
As it happens I was still moving forward and I feel Storisende also matters, not because of its 'sport weapon' qualities, but because of its intricate merger of an existential and a territorial goal. That was not intended, because inventing inside out doesn't care about intentions. But it is rather unique because of the uniform pieces and their unified behaviour. I feel Storisende matters because of its behaviour. But not everyone may have a clear idea of what I mean by that.

Well, to me a game matters if it brings something new and I agree that Storisende is unique. I had an ambition to design a game with existential and territorial goals myself but this is better than any of my attempts.

Whether Storisende stands the tests of many plays I can't tell yet, but that's usually a good sign. I'll look forward to explore Storisende more in depth.
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nhjelmberg wrote:
Well, to me a game matters if it brings something new and I agree that Storisende is unique. I had an ambition to design a game with existential and territorial goals myself but this is better than any of my attempts.
Along which lines were you thinking? I've seen interesting phenomena appear through inside out inventing a couple of times, that were much sought after by inventors. I'll mention for instance Symple's high resolution balancing mechanism or Sygo's way of securing life in a flip capture Go variant. They also came unintentional. Intentional attempts for the latter all failed. I don't mean the games failed, but they all came down with an additional life insurance.

nhjelmberg wrote:
Whether Storisende stands the tests of many plays I can't tell yet, but that's usually a good sign. I'll look forward to explore Storisende more in depth.
I hope you enjoy it.
 
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christianF wrote:
nhjelmberg wrote:
Well, to me a game matters if it brings something new and I agree that Storisende is unique. I had an ambition to design a game with existential and territorial goals myself but this is better than any of my attempts.
Along which lines were you thinking? I've seen interesting phenomena appear through inside out inventing a couple of times, that were much sought after by inventors. I'll mention for instance Symple's high resolution balancing mechanism or Sygo's way of securing life in a flip capture Go variant. They also came unintentional. Intentional attempts for the latter all failed. I don't mean the games failed, but they all came down with an additional life insurance.

Basically, I wanted the players to group tiles of different colors into territories and have the territories fight each other. The colors would "support" each other and this support would determine which color controlled a territory and which territory won a fight.

However, the game got too chaotic as control shifted and there was no sense of progress as territories were created and removed again.

Storisende's way of creating territories by moving pawns and building walls is way more elegant, as is the merger mechanic of the recent Bug. Nevertheless, the design attempt was a good lesson.

 
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christianF wrote:
I feel Storisende matters because of its behaviour. But not everyone may have a clear idea of what I mean by that.


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mocko wrote:
christianF wrote:
I feel Storisende matters because of its behaviour. But not everyone may have a clear idea of what I mean by that.


Yes I know, but it would also help if you would explain what a game does, if not 'behave in a certain way'.
 
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nhjelmberg wrote:
Basically, I wanted the players to group tiles of different colors into territories and have the territories fight each other. The colors would "support" each other and this support would determine which color controlled a territory and which territory won a fight.

However, the game got too chaotic as control shifted and there was no sense of progress as territories were created and removed again.

Storisende's way of creating territories by moving pawns and building walls is way more elegant, as is the merger mechanic of the recent Bug. Nevertheless, the design attempt was a good lesson.

If there's a lesson it might be that inside out starts from mechanics and tries to adapt a goal to it and embed finitude. The idea is to let mechanics find their own way of being purposeful. Purposeful behaviour starts in principle from maximal freedom and inherent restrictions. There's the first red flag: the restriction to one-directional movement has long been considered to be core behaviour of column checkers, but it isn't.

Anyway, it's not really strange that if mechanics are given the opportunity to work out without restrictions imposed from the outside, that they may reveal unexpected implications.
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christianF wrote:
mocko wrote:
christianF wrote:
I feel Storisende matters because of its behaviour. But not everyone may have a clear idea of what I mean by that.


Yes I know, but it would also help if you would explain what a game does, if not 'behave in a certain way'.
I was merely taking mock-offence at your sly aside (which in reality made me smile).

As for the word behaviour, I never had any objection to it, not any real difficulty in imagining what you meant by it. It was the "core" bit that I was (but am no longer quite so) uncertain about.

Tangential question, though: can you give an example of a game which you think matters for anything other than behavioural reasons?

 
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mocko wrote:
Tangential question, though: can you give an example of a game which you think matters for anything other than behavioural reasons?

In the realm of abstract strategy not immediately, no. Games that matter do so because of their behaviour. So do games that do not matter.

 
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nhjelmberg wrote:
christianF wrote:
nhjelmberg wrote:
Well, to me a game matters if it brings something new and I agree that Storisende is unique. I had an ambition to design a game with existential and territorial goals myself but this is better than any of my attempts.
Along which lines were you thinking? I've seen interesting phenomena appear through inside out inventing a couple of times, that were much sought after by inventors. I'll mention for instance Symple's high resolution balancing mechanism or Sygo's way of securing life in a flip capture Go variant. They also came unintentional. Intentional attempts for the latter all failed. I don't mean the games failed, but they all came down with an additional life insurance.

Basically, I wanted the players to group tiles of different colors into territories and have the territories fight each other. The colors would "support" each other and this support would determine which color controlled a territory and which territory won a fight.

However, the game got too chaotic as control shifted and there was no sense of progress as territories were created and removed again.

Storisende's way of creating territories by moving pawns and building walls is way more elegant, as is the merger mechanic of the recent Bug. Nevertheless, the design attempt was a good lesson.

I know you think along completely different lines. However, when I first read your comment (fast) my first association was Homeworlds.
 
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The Player of Games wrote:
nhjelmberg wrote:
christianF wrote:
nhjelmberg wrote:
Well, to me a game matters if it brings something new and I agree that Storisende is unique. I had an ambition to design a game with existential and territorial goals myself but this is better than any of my attempts.
Along which lines were you thinking? I've seen interesting phenomena appear through inside out inventing a couple of times, that were much sought after by inventors. I'll mention for instance Symple's high resolution balancing mechanism or Sygo's way of securing life in a flip capture Go variant. They also came unintentional. Intentional attempts for the latter all failed. I don't mean the games failed, but they all came down with an additional life insurance.

Basically, I wanted the players to group tiles of different colors into territories and have the territories fight each other. The colors would "support" each other and this support would determine which color controlled a territory and which territory won a fight.

However, the game got too chaotic as control shifted and there was no sense of progress as territories were created and removed again.

Storisende's way of creating territories by moving pawns and building walls is way more elegant, as is the merger mechanic of the recent Bug. Nevertheless, the design attempt was a good lesson.

I know you think along completely different lines. However, when I first read your comment (fast) my first association was Homeworlds.

Different lines but Homeworlds does look interesting.
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Here's the end position of my game against Ed van Zon.


Red 16 - Purple 14

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I'd love to view the game, but Chrome hates Java.
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