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Subject: Connection games with capture? rss

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David Ploog
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christianF wrote:
...if we agree that LOA and Inertia are connection games
I don't!

I realise that Cameron Browne does precisely that in his book on "Connection Games" but I believe that his notion of the very term is (a) way over-inclusive and (b) pretty meaningless as phrased. You can see that when he argues that Go is a connection game. In my experience, it is much better to come up with tight, well-defined terms and have a grey area around them.

So as far as winning conditions go, I'm strictly differentiating between Connection = Linking and Connectivity = Unification. Here are some reasons why it makes a lot of sense to separate these:
First, linking needs distinguished zones on the board (what to link); unification does not. Second, linking is a condition on some stones of a player, whereas unification is a condition on all stones of a player. Third, linking games tend to be of the placement type whereas unification games are of the movement type (yes, I know and like Ayu).

In other words, "X is a connection game" would tell me much more about a game if it wasn't overly inclusive. This is my whole point.
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Russ Williams
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dpeggie wrote:
christianF wrote:
...if we agree that LOA and Inertia are connection games
I don't!

I realise that Cameron Browne does precisely that in his book on "Connection Games" but I believe that his notion of the very term is (a) way over-inclusive and (b) pretty meaningless as phrased. You can see that when he argues that Go is a connection game. In my experience, it is much better to come up with tight, well-defined terms and have a grey area around them.
Woo, finally a kindred spirit! I remember feeling rather lonely when this debate about what a "connection game" is came up a year or so ago.
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christian freeling
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dpeggie wrote:
christianF wrote:
...if we agree that LOA and Inertia are connection games
I don't!

I realise that Cameron Browne does precisely that in his book on "Connection Games" but I believe that his notion of the very term is (a) way over-inclusive and (b) pretty meaningless as phrased. You can see that when he argues that Go is a connection game. In my experience, it is much better to come up with tight, well-defined terms and have a grey area around them.

So as far as winning conditions go, I'm strictly differentiating between Connection = Linking and Connectivity = Unification. Here are some reasons why it makes a lot of sense to separate these:
First, linking needs distinguished zones on the board (what to link); unification does not. Second, linking is a condition on some stones of a player, whereas unification is a condition on all stones of a player. Third, linking games tend to be of the placement type whereas unification games are of the movement type (yes, I know and like Ayu).

In other words, "X is a connection game" would tell me much more about a game if it wasn't overly inclusive. This is my whole point.
Have brain, will travel!
I'm perfectly ok with distinguishing between connection and unification. And with grey areas for that matter, love them!

Because, what then is Symple?
It is pure placement and yet needs no distinguished zones on the board.
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David Ploog
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christianF wrote:
Because, what then is Symple?
It is pure placement and yet needs no distinguished zones on the board.
In my system, the place of Symple is clear, and totally different from either unification or from linking.

The most basic distinction among goals, to me, is this: (i) Games that are won by a condition on the board position. (ii) Games that are won by some game-end condition, and then there's a scoring protocol; winner is the player with more points.

Both unification and linking fall under (i). But Symple is a point scoring game, so falls under (ii). There are many scoring games, the most important types (again, in my opinion) are these: (a) At game end, the number of captives is counted. For example sowing games such as Awari, Owale. (b) At game end, the score is computed from the list of chains of each player -- I call these "chain scoring games". And (c), at game end, territories are compared; e.g. Go and Amazons.

Symple sits clearly in (b). On terminology: by a "chain", I mean a maximal set of inter-connected stones of one colour (this is called a "clump" in LOA, and sometimes "group"). The game end condition is "full board", as is the case in very many chain scoring games. If Black, say, at game end has N chains on the board, of lengths L1,...,LN, then Black's score is L1+...+LN - P*N, where the penalty P is part of the rules (like komi in Go, e.g. P=6 is a reasonable value for 13x13 boards). Symple is chain-scoring in my sense.

So the original question makes no sense (to me): distinguished zones are irrelevant to point scoring games. They are something that comes up in certain position-winning games, type (i) above, and particularly in racing games (Halma, Agon), linking games (Hex, Slither), crossing games (Epaminondas, Breakthrough).

Usual disclaimer: we're talking about invented stuff. Obviously, people can and will come up with stuff that does not fit neatly into any system. And I don't claim that my system is the best or the only one. But I think it reasonably captures the variety of winning conditions among abstract board games. And from this point of view, linking is not unification, even if people dub both under connection.

Russ wrote:
I remember feeling rather lonely when this debate about what a "connection game" is came up a year or so ago.
Would you link that thread? I'll promise not to uproot it, but I am very interested in the matter.
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Russ Williams
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dpeggie wrote:
Russ wrote:
I remember feeling rather lonely when this debate about what a "connection game" is came up a year or so ago.
Would you link that thread? I'll promise not to uproot it, but I am very interested in the matter.
My search didn't easily find it. (I make far too many posts at BGG, it seems. Who could have imagined?!)

But I found this thread where it was directly asserted that hexgrid games are mostly connection games:

mocko wrote:
set out to construct a reasonable game on the hex grid and you're practically doomed to end up languishing down there amongst the connection games.

and I replied (very surprised) with many counterexamples, because to me it's patently obvious that most hexgrid games are not connection games:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/19850116#19850116

and fogus replied a few comments later:
fogus wrote:
russ wrote:
What am I missing?

Maybe some people consider connection to be more broad than you? That is, perhaps they see it as containing grouping and n-in-a-row.

(Maybe that is the thread that I was fuzzily remembering...)
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christian freeling
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dpeggie wrote:
christianF wrote:
Because, what then is Symple?
It is pure placement and yet needs no distinguished zones on the board.
In my system, the place of Symple is clear, and totally different from either unification or from linking.

The most basic distinction among goals, to me, is this: (i) Games that are won by a condition on the board position. (ii) Games that are won by some game-end condition, and then there's a scoring protocol; winner is the player with more points.

Both unification and linking fall under (i). But Symple is a point scoring game, so falls under (ii). There are many scoring games, the most important types (again, in my opinion) are these: (a) At game end, the number of captives is counted. For example sowing games such as Awari, Owale. (b) At game end, the score is computed from the list of chains of each player -- I call these "chain scoring games". And (c), at game end, territories are compared; e.g. Go and Amazons.

Symple sits clearly in (b). On terminology: by a "chain", I mean a maximal set of inter-connected stones of one colour (this is called a "clump" in LOA, and sometimes "group"). The game end condition is "full board", as is the case in very many chain scoring games. If Black, say, at game end has N chains on the board, of lengths L1,...,LN, then Black's score is L1+...+LN - P*N, where the penalty P is part of the rules (like komi in Go, e.g. P=6 is a reasonable value for 13x13 boards). Symple is chain-scoring in my sense.

So the original question makes no sense (to me): distinguished zones are irrelevant to point scoring games. They are something that comes up in certain position-winning games, type (i) above, and particularly in racing games (Halma, Agon), linking games (Hex, Slither), crossing games (Epaminondas, Breakthrough).

Usual disclaimer: we're talking about invented stuff. Obviously, people can and will come up with stuff that does not fit neatly into any system. And I don't claim that my system is the best or the only one. But I think it reasonably captures the variety of winning conditions among abstract board games. And from this point of view, linking is not unification, even if people dub both under connection.
It's an interesting way of distinguishing goals. I realise I've used 'connection' rather inclusive since encountering LOA. The reason is probably that I've always seen annihilation and territory as pure war goals (in human terms). The rest was more or less important, usually less: connection, breakthrough, race, blockade, configutation et al are nice sub-goals but rather bloodless as primary goals. I've seen ample opposition to this point of view, particularly (I imagine) from people who like to present an abstract game as 'a series of puzzles'. So for anyone who disagrees, don't bother, it's not all that important.
My point is that I can adapt to any better categorization and this one makes sense.
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