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Subject: How to beat AiAi at Storisende rss

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Craig Duncan
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christianF wrote:
The 'no territory' scenario you describe would be the same under the current rules but Black couldn't make the one mistake he can make in this position under the rules as they are: capturing the white man on the beige cell. That would be a draw, while if beige were no territory, it would still be a black win.

All in all my intuition led me to believe that the way in which the rules now cover territory is the simplest. And I feel its consequences (as you may have noticed against AiAi) should be at least as interesting as the alternatives you suggest.
Thank you for the feedback, Christian.

What you say makes sense, and let me say again that I don't regard the current rules about scoring beige cells as flawed. I suppose I do have, on grounds of elegance, a slight preference for the rule under which beige stays beige in the scoring phase and does not score as territory. But that is just a slight preference on my part, and if the current rule produces more interesting game play -- well, then it's worth the cost in elegance (if indeed my view on elegance has some merit and is not just a quirky view unique to me).

BTW here is the reason that on grounds on elegance I slightly favor the alternative beige-stays-beige-in-scoring rule over the current beige-turns-green-in-scoring rule. Under the alternative rule, one can say: "The ONLY way for a beige cell to turn non-beige is for all its current occupants to move off of it." By contrast, in the current rule, the equivalent claim must be: "A beige cell can turn non-beige(i) by all its current occupants moving off of it during game play; or (ii) by surviving as beige to final scoring, at which point it automatically turns green (whether it's occupied or unoccupied)." OK, there is probably a simpler way to state the latter claim, but I think that even a simpler phrasing will always be more complicated than the previous claim's phrasing ("The ONLY way for a beige cell to turn non-beige is for all its current occupants to move off of it").

Again, this is just an aesthetic preference of mine and I'm prepared to trust your judgment that it's minor enough to be swamped by game play considerations, which favor the current rule.

That said, I'm not sure that your point above, pertaining to the sample board in my post and your quote of my point, is alone enough to convince me that game play is better under the current beige-turns-green-in-scoring rule. You're right that the current rule, in the sample board depicted, does allow Black to make a mistake -- and moreover,the alternative beige-does-not-score rules does not permit this mistake. So in this sample board at least, the current rule in a sense creates opportunity for more skillful play, compared to the alternative rule.

However, I suspect that there are numerous cases in which the opposite is true. That is to say, I suspect one could find many situations X, Y, and Z in which the alternative beige-doesn't-score rule creates special dangers that require skill for at least one player to avoid -- dangers which are not matched by comparable dangers in the same situations X, Y, and Z under the current rule. In other words, my hunch is we could find board states which are tricky to navigate under the alternative rule but which are straightforward to navigate under the current rule. So, the opposite of the sample board above.

The key question is which rule, the current or the alternative, creates more dangers requiring skillful avoidance across their game trees as a whole. I've no idea and I'm prepared to trust your judgment that the current rule is preferable for gameplay reasons. My point now is just that one example using the sample board above doesn't settle this question. But you already surely realize that, and I'm just being pedantic now, so I will shut up!
 
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Craig Duncan
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Oh man, I think I exist to be a long-winded thorn in your side today, Christian. Sorry!

I've got one more thought about the Storisende rules.

I suppose I must be deeply in touch today with my inner "rules lawyer." I've had a thought about a potential misreading of the Storisende rules as currently stated.

In the section of the rules titled "The interaction of the board and the pieces," there is the following text: "If an occupied beige cell becomes unoccupied, then it immediately [converts to green or wall, as the case may be]."

And yet, if a beige cell is vacated by a column of two people, then the departing column leaves behind a newly spawned person, while simultaneously converting the beige cell to green or wall-color. But technically, that's not a case of the beige cell becoming unoccupied, since it has an occupant, namely, the newly spawned person. So the case doesn't conform to a very literal reading of the beige-conversion rule.

Maybe that's nothing to worry about. It didn't confuse me the first time I read the rules. And it doesn't seem to have confused other BGGers in the previous hive mind rule vetting session. So maybe only pedantic rules lawyers might object on these grounds! That said, if there is any easy tweak to the current wording that avoids this issue without creating new confusions, then perhaps it's worth the tweak.

Maybe: "If all current occupants of a beige cell leave that cell, then it immediately [converts to green or wall...]"

OK, I will really shut up now!
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christian freeling
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cdunc123 wrote:
Maybe: "If all current occupants of a beige cell leave that cell, then it immediately [converts to green or wall...]"

I've changed it to: "If an occupied beige cell is vacated by a piece, single or column, then it immediately ..."
 
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christian freeling
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cdunc123 wrote:
The key question is which rule, the current or the alternative, creates more dangers requiring skillful avoidance across their game trees as a whole. I've no idea and I'm prepared to trust your judgment that the current rule is preferable for gameplay reasons. My point now is just that one example using the sample board above doesn't settle this question. But you already surely realize that, and I'm just being pedantic now, so I will shut up!
Please don't, I usually don't find many posters on the same page. And you're right of course, I didn't cite the example to illustrate 'better play' but to illustrate that an alternative has a different set of consequences. I took the decision to implement the rules as they are intuitively and so far the consequences please me.

Of course I can only think through the consequences of an alternative tentatively and I did that in fact during the process of emergence. Like with virtually all other 'organic' games I made, I can't really say 'invention'. I perceive it as a core idea shaping itself. And the basic view was: it's all territory and the emerging walls divide it.
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Craig Duncan
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christianF wrote:
cdunc123 wrote:
Maybe: "If all current occupants of a beige cell leave that cell, then it immediately [converts to green or wall...]"

I've changed it to: "If an occupied beige cell is vacated by a piece, single or column, then it immediately ..."
OK, but (to continue being a thorn...) this new phrasing risks creating a new confusion. Namely, this phrasing could be read as entailing that if I have a column on a beige cell, say, and I move only a subset of the column to a new cell, then the beige cell changes color. After all, a piece (or pieces) has left the beige cell.

I suppose the idea behind the new phrasing is that the word "vacate" in the new phrasing implies that all current occupants have left, but I wonder how clear that is. If, say, a column of 3 is currently on a beige cell and the owner moves the top man from that column to a new cell, then that player might think, "The single moving piece vacated the beige cell, so now the beige cell converts its color." It's maybe not strictly correct, as far as the English language goes, to use "vacate" in this way -- i.e. simply as a synonym of "leave" -- but it's a common enough mistake to make me fear misinterpretation of the new phrasing.

Maybe our resident wordsmith Russ will weigh in!
 
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cdunc123 wrote:
Maybe our resident wordsmith Russ will weigh in!
Although I can see your point about possible confusion, this one didn't bother or confuse me.

Something else bothers me a LOT more and seems far more confusing, namely the odd confusing use of "piece" to mean "stack of pieces", and I strongly encourage changing "piece" to "stack". I recently commented about it in more detail here:
Storisende rules
 
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christian freeling
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cdunc123 wrote:
Maybe our resident wordsmith Russ will weigh in!
I was just getting there

"If an occupied beige cell is wholly vacated by a piece, whether single or column, then it immediately ..."
 
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russ wrote:
cdunc123 wrote:
Maybe our resident wordsmith Russ will weigh in!
Although I can see your point about possible confusion, this one didn't bother or confuse me.

Something else bothers me a LOT more and seems far more confusing, namely the odd confusing use of "piece" to mean "stack of pieces", and I strongly encourage changing "piece" to "stack". I recently commented about it in more detail here:
Storisende rules
I strongly agree with Russ here.

One thing I enjoy about the rules: that pairs of men have babies together. How inadvertently progressive Christian!
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cdunc123 wrote:
christianF wrote:
cdunc123 wrote:
Maybe: "If all current occupants of a beige cell leave that cell, then it immediately [converts to green or wall...]"

I've changed it to: "If an occupied beige cell is vacated by a piece, single or column, then it immediately ..."
OK, but (to continue being a thorn...) this new phrasing risks creating a new confusion. Namely, this phrasing could be read as entailing that if I have a column on a beige cell, say, and I move only a subset of the column to a new cell, then the beige cell changes color. After all, a piece (or pieces) has left the beige cell.

I suppose the idea behind the new phrasing is that the word "vacate" in the new phrasing implies that all current occupants have left, but I wonder how clear that is. If, say, a column of 3 is currently on a beige cell and the owner moves the top man from that column to a new cell, then that player might think, "The single moving piece vacated the beige cell, so now the beige cell converts its color." It's maybe not strictly correct, as far as the English language goes, to use "vacate" in this way -- i.e. simply as a synonym of "leave" -- but it's a common enough mistake to make me fear misinterpretation of the new phrasing.

Maybe our resident wordsmith Russ will weigh in!
At the risk of encroaching on the territory of our resident wordsmith, the problem only exists if we think that an entity leaving a place is equivalent to that place's being vacated.
 
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
cdunc123 wrote:
Maybe our resident wordsmith Russ will weigh in!
Although I can see your point about possible confusion, this one didn't bother or confuse me.

Something else bothers me a LOT more and seems far more confusing, namely the odd confusing use of "piece" to mean "stack of pieces", and I strongly encourage changing "piece" to "stack". I recently commented about it in more detail here:
Storisende rules
Ah, ok that's a fair point, I'll see to it later this evening (Snowy is getting impatient to get in and if he's in I can't sit behind the keyboard).

Edit: by the way Russ do you see any objections against using 'column' instead of 'stack'?
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
One thing I enjoy about the rules: that pairs of men have babies together. How inadvertently progressive Christian!
If you look at AiAi's display, you'll notice that the figurines are actually male and female
 
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
One thing I enjoy about the rules: that pairs of men have babies together. How inadvertently progressive Christian!
If you look at AiAi's display, you'll notice that the figurines are actually male and female
Oh I know. I was merely referring to the wording. We all know AiAi is a reactionary traditionalist.
 
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christianF wrote:
Edit: by the way Russ do you see any objections against using 'column' instead of 'stack'?
"Stack" seems far more often used in stacking games to me.

"Column" is also ambiguously in many games (especially wargames) used to describe a horizontal (not vertical) arrangement of forces (e.g.an infantry column is not a stack of infantry).

So to me "stack" seems clearly preferable: more standard/typical and less confusing/ambiguous.
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russ wrote:
christianF wrote:
Edit: by the way Russ do you see any objections against using 'column' instead of 'stack'?
"Stack" seems far more often used in stacking games to me.

"Column" is also ambiguously in many games (especially wargames) used to describe a horizontal (not vertical) arrangement of forces (e.g.an infantry column is not a stack of infantry).

So to me "stack" seems clearly preferable: more standard/typical and less confusing/ambiguous.
I also prefer stack
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milomilo122 wrote:
russ wrote:
christianF wrote:
Edit: by the way Russ do you see any objections against using 'column' instead of 'stack'?
"Stack" seems far more often used in stacking games to me.

"Column" is also ambiguously in many games (especially wargames) used to describe a horizontal (not vertical) arrangement of forces (e.g.an infantry column is not a stack of infantry).

So to me "stack" seems clearly preferable: more standard/typical and less confusing/ambiguous.
I also prefer stack
Agree!
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
One thing I enjoy about the rules: that pairs of men have babies together. How inadvertently progressive Christian!
If you look at AiAi's display, you'll notice that the figurines are actually male and female
Oh I know. I was merely referring to the wording. We all know AiAi is a reactionary traditionalist.
Yes, in Storisende it would seem females are only there for breeding! gulp

And I've changed 'two men' to 'two singles'.
 
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christian freeling
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The Player of Games wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
russ wrote:
christianF wrote:
Edit: by the way Russ do you see any objections against using 'column' instead of 'stack'?
"Stack" seems far more often used in stacking games to me.

"Column" is also ambiguously in many games (especially wargames) used to describe a horizontal (not vertical) arrangement of forces (e.g.an infantry column is not a stack of infantry).

So to me "stack" seems clearly preferable: more standard/typical and less confusing/ambiguous.
I also prefer stack
Agree!
I'm glad everyone agrees. I've kept 'pieces' if the difference is irrelevant (and a 'piece' is defined) and used 'stack' where needed.
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christianF wrote:
I've kept 'pieces' if the difference is irrelevant (and a 'piece' is defined) and used 'stack' where needed.
I'm not sure if this means you've finished editing http://mindsports.nl/index.php/arena/storisende/747-storisen... but FWIW the "Mechanisms" and "Movement and capture" sections still use "piece" instead of "stack".
 
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
christianF wrote:
I've kept 'pieces' if the difference is irrelevant (and a 'piece' is defined) and used 'stack' where needed.
I'm not sure if this means you've finished editing http://mindsports.nl/index.php/arena/storisende/747-storisen... but FWIW the "Mechanisms" and "Movement and capture" sections still use "piece" instead of "stack".
I've changed the instances in red and think the others use 'piece' right:
Quote:
A 'piece' may be a man or a stack of like coloured men.

A piece may only move straight in one of the six main directions and must move exactly the number of cells equaling its height.

A stack may split in the process, so a player may move a stack of one or more men from the top, leaving the remainder behind. The top part that leaves must move according to its own height.

If a piece lands on a like coloured piece, the two merge. If it lands on an opponent's piece, it captures by replacement, regardless of size. Capture by replacement means that the capturing piece takes the place of the piece that is captured and that the latter is removed from the board.

And again here:
Quote:
Players move in turn, one piece at the time. Movement is optional: a player may pass his turn without losing the right to move on subsequent turns.

Cells belonging to lakes or inlets inside or outside the actual board may be jumped over but not be landed on. The cells outside the board are still part of the grid, so if a player moves a stack over them, the distance is counted by the number of cells as if they were part of the board.

In jumping its allotted straight-line distance, a stack on the Wall may jump over any cell, whether Wall or territory, occupied or vacant, and land on any target cell, again whether Wall or territory, occupied or vacant.

A piece off the Wall may never land on it. A stack may jump over a cell of the Wall if and only if this cell is occupied by a piece of like colour. Singles of course can't jump over the Wall because they can only move to adjacent cells. Other than that, a stack in the territories may jump over or land on any cell.
As I said in the Storisende forum, the game is unique in the number of changes in the wording of its rules that took place without actually changing the game. It's still the very game I envisioned.
 
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christianF wrote:
I've changed the instances in red and think the others use 'piece' right:
FWIW I believe most readers would consider "piece" and "man" to be synonymous (single physical objects, the "atomic" units of the game). Calling a stack a "piece" seems non-standard and confusing. (When I explained the rules to my wife, I called the stacks "stacks" and I'm certain it would have needlessly confused her if I called the stacks "pieces".)

I.e. I'd use "piece" (or "man" if you prefer traditional Checkers-style terminology) for the single physical pieces which form stacks, and "stack" for the stacks (which can have 1 or more pieces).

(I guess you were reluctant to call a single a "stack"? But stacks being one or more pieces seems a common and understandable convention in stacking games, just like how a single piece can be a "group" in placement games. It obviates the need to repeatedly distinguish two cases (one piece vs more than one pieces) or the need to create a third umbrella term to mean "single or multiple pieces").)

Thus (my proposals with yellow background):
Quote:
A 'stack' consists of one or more pieces.

A stack may only move straight in one of the six main directions and must move exactly the number of cells equaling its height.

A stack may split in the process, so a player may move a stack of one or more pieces from the top, leaving the remainder behind. The top part that leaves must move according to its own height.

If a stack lands on a like coloured stack, the two merge. If it lands on an opponent's stack, it captures by replacement, regardless of size. Capture by replacement means that the capturing stack takes the place of the stack that is captured and that the latter is removed from the board.

And again here:
Quote:
Players move in turn, one stack at the time. Movement is optional: a player may pass his turn without losing the right to move on subsequent turns.

Cells belonging to lakes or inlets inside or outside the actual board may be jumped over but not be landed on. The cells outside the board are still part of the grid, so if a player moves a stack over them, the distance is counted by the number of cells as if they were part of the board.

In jumping its allotted straight-line distance, a stack on the Wall may jump over any cell, whether Wall or territory, occupied or vacant, and land on any target cell, again whether Wall or territory, occupied or vacant.

A stack off the Wall may never land on it. A stack may jump over a cell of the Wall if and only if this cell is occupied by a stack of like colour. Singles of course can't jump over the Wall because they can only move to adjacent cells. Other than that, a stack in the territories may jump over or land on any cell.



Quote:
As I said in the Storisende forum, the game is unique in the number of changes in the wording of its rules that took place without actually changing the game. It's still the very game I envisioned.
 
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Should a little further streamlining be of interest, the formulation

"If an occupied beige cell is wholly vacated by a piece, whether by a single or a stack, then it immediately"

could advantageously be replaced with

"Whenever an occupied beige cell is vacated, it immediately"

- which is actually clearer as well as shorter.

Note: "Whenever" instead of "if", because "if"s are coming up imminently in the sub-points.

And "vacated" without any qualification, because the idea of completeness [vacant, vacuum...] is built in.

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Indeed!

And since English can be a bit ambiguous whether a phrase like "a cell is vacated" means a state change ("it becomes vacated") or a state ("it is vacant, it is in a state of being vacated") (cf. "if a window is broken, you'll hear the sound of glass breaking" vs "if a window is broken, there might be a draft in the room"), I have started preferring "become" instead of "is" in this sort of rule about a state change.

(In this particular case, common sense would immediately sort out the ambiguity, but not even having the ambiguity in the first place seems even better.)
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I suggest using 'stack' and either 'man' or 'piece'.

Write about moving, splitting and merging stacks of one or more men/pieces:

To move men, either move an entire stack or split it into two stacks, one of which will remain in its current space. The stack that moves must move exactly as many spaces as there are men in the stack. If the stack moves to a space containing a stack of the same colour, they merge into a single stack....
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russ wrote:
Indeed!

And since English can be a bit ambiguous whether a phrase like "a cell is vacated" means a state change ("it becomes vacated") or a state ("it is vacant, it is in a state of being vacated") (cf. "if a window is broken, you'll hear the sound of glass breaking" vs "if a window is broken, there might be a draft in the room"), I have started preferring "become" instead of "is" in this sort of rule about a state change.

(In this particular case, common sense would immediately sort out the ambiguity, but not even having the ambiguity in the first place seems even better.)
Yes. Worth introducing. Belt and braces, as they say!

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mocko wrote:
russ wrote:
Indeed!

And since English can be a bit ambiguous whether a phrase like "a cell is vacated" means a state change ("it becomes vacated") or a state ("it is vacant, it is in a state of being vacated") (cf. "if a window is broken, you'll hear the sound of glass breaking" vs "if a window is broken, there might be a draft in the room"), I have started preferring "become" instead of "is" in this sort of rule about a state change.

(In this particular case, common sense would immediately sort out the ambiguity, but not even having the ambiguity in the first place seems even better.)
Yes. Worth introducing. Belt and braces, as they say!

Actually, I had a second thought about this. I'd propose alternatives - either "is vacated" or "becomes vacant" - but not the mixture. I don't in fact think that "is vacated" carries any ambiguity at all, but if "becomes" is still felt to be a desirable insurance policy then the adjective would be a less awkward continuation.
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