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Subject: WIP - Legio rss

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Matteo Perlini
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Hi,
in the last weeks I was working on a new movement game. I'm testing it with Zillions of Games: next days I will share the code so, hopefully, it would be much easier for you to play it and leave some feedback here.

The design is still in progress, so I will change the rules with your help if needed.





Legio is played on a classic 8x8 square board with 23 black checkers, 1 black emperor, 23 white checkers and 1 white emperor.

The main feature of Legio is the modularity of the pieces. A player can choose any square occupied by one or more checkers of him and the movement depends on the number of checkers he is moving at the same time.

- A single checker, a man, moves one square in any direction (as a king moves in Chess) and it can capture only other men and the emperor.
- Two stacked checkers, a centuria, move exactly two squares in a straight line and they can capture only men, centuries and the emperor.
- Three stacked checkers, a cohort, move exactly three squares in a straight line and they can capture man, centuries, cohorts and the emperor.
- Four stacked checkers, a legion, move exactly four squares in a straight line and they can capture everything.
- Lastly, the emperor moves one square in any direction and it can capture everything.

Centuries and cohorts are powerful pieces because they can move among many men without any problem. Legions are even more powerful: they can run around on a board full of men, centuries and cohorts fearlessly.

Legions are difficult to attack but they are not almighty: in addition to opponent’s legions, the emperor can capture them too! They are fast but they lack in flexibility: they are fantastic in the long-distance running, but they cannot reach closer squares. Of course you can mitigate this limitation separating the checkers: a cohorts can jump out of a legion to capture a piece that is three squares away, a centuria can do that to capture a piece that is two squares away, or a man to capture an adjacent piece. But doing this, you no longer have an unstoppable legion, you have exposed yourself.

In a game where each piece can capture in any direction, the fact that higher stacks cannot be captured by lower stacks is a way to create interesting gameplay, avoiding a messy slaughter-fest.

BOARD

Legio is played on a common 8x8 board.

There are two players: Lux, controlling white pieces, and Nox, controlling black pieces.

At the beginning of the game, Lux has 24 white pieces and Nux has 24 black pieces: 7 men, 8 centuries and 1 emperor for each player.

The initial position of the checkers is shown in the following picture:



A small trivia: there are 104 unique first moves.

PLAY

Players move alternately, starting with Lux.

If a piece moves to a cell occupied by an enemy piece the latter is considered to be captured, taken by the capturing player and removed from the board. The capture is not mandatory.

If a piece A can capture an enemy piece B, it's said that A attacks B or that B is under attack.

The emperor is said to be "in check" if it is under attack of some enemy piece.

A player may never leave his emperor "in check" at the end of his move.

NON-ROYAL PIECES

A non-royal piece can be a single checker, two, three or four checkers stacked together. A single checker is a man, a two-stack is a centuria, a three-stack is a cohort and a four-stack is a legion.

A player does not have to move an entire stack; the player can split the piece in two during the move.

Pieces can move in three ways:

1. Simple move.
A piece can move orthogonally or diagonally a number of spaces exactly equal to the number of checkers in the piece. The middle spaces and the destination space must be empty.





2. Capturing move.
A piece can move orthogonally or diagonally a number of spaces exactly equal to the number of checkers in the piece. The middle spaces must be empty and the destination space must be occupied by an enemy piece.

A piece can capture only pieces with the same height or less. Emperors can always be captured.


Initial configuration. White to move.


Four captures made. Three illicit captures marked by “X”.

3. Stacking move.
A piece can move orthogonally or diagonally any number of spaces exactly equal to the number of checkers in the piece. The middle spaces must be empty and the destination space must be occupied by a friendly piece. Any piece can stack on any piece up to an height of 4.



EMPERORS

Emperors cannot be stacked with other pieces. So, it is forbidden for an emperor to do a stacking move or to be part of another piece’s stacking move.

Emperors can move in only two ways:

1. Simple move.
The emperor can move to any adjacent unoccupied cell that is not under attack.



2. Capturing move.
The emperor can move to any adjacent cell that is not under attack and that is occupied by an enemy piece.

The emperor can capture every non-royal piece.

OBJECTIVE

If a player puts an enemy emperor in check and the opponent cannot eliminate it on his next move, then the game ends and the player wins. Such position is called a checkmate.
A player loses if he is left without any legal move too.
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Virginia Milne
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Looks interesting

If you can provide a Zillions of Games script, I would certainly like to try out this game
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Matteo Perlini
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epicurus wrote:
I'm testing it with Zillions of Games: next days I will share the code so, hopefully, it would be much easier for you to play it and leave some feedback here.
VirginiaMilne wrote:
Looks interesting

If you can provide a Zillions of Games script, I would certainly like to try out this game

Hello there,
here you can find the file to play Legio with Zillions of Games.

When you start the game, you have this message: "A move was generated [......]. Should I continue reporting these errors?". Just click "No" and you can play Legio without any other problem.

I hope to read your feedback.
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Maurizio De Leo
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Seems interesting. Some questions.
1) Any particular reason to implement checkmate and not simply emperor capture ?

2) The rules on stacking are a bit wordy. Maybe just saying that any piece can stack on any piece up to an height of 4 ?
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Matteo Perlini
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megamau wrote:
Seems interesting. Some questions.
Hi Maurizio, thank you for your feedback.


megamau wrote:
1) Any particular reason to implement checkmate and not simply emperor capture ?
I made this choice for the usual reason: to avoid the early and accidental end of a game. Do you have any reservations about that?


megamau wrote:
2) The rules on stacking are a bit wordy. Maybe just saying that any piece can stack on any piece up to an height of 4 ?
I wanted to list all the possible combinations for completeness, but I see the uselessness. I fixed it now.
 
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christian freeling
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epicurus wrote:
megamau wrote:
1) Any particular reason to implement checkmate and not simply emperor capture ?
I made this choice for the usual reason: to avoid the early and accidental end of a game. Do you have any reservations about that?
This may also be solved by the usual convention of saying 'check'.

As for an unsolicited opinion, capture avoids some awkward consequences like stalemate, but checkmate has more style.
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Matteo Perlini
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christianF wrote:
epicurus wrote:
megamau wrote:
1) Any particular reason to implement checkmate and not simply emperor capture ?
I made this choice for the usual reason: to avoid the early and accidental end of a game. Do you have any reservations about that?
This may also be solved by the usual convention of saying 'check'.

As for an unsolicited opinion, capture avoids some awkward consequences like stalemate, but checkmate has more style.
I agree. But it would seem strange to me using the check rule without the checkmate rule (I know, my feeling is unjustified).
 
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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epicurus wrote:
megamau wrote:
1) Any particular reason to implement checkmate and not simply emperor capture ?
I made this choice for the usual reason: to avoid the early and accidental end of a game.

Similarly, with checkmate someone could win or make an illegal play and not notice.

Checkmate requires extra rules and creates illegal plays. I recommend against it.

Most abstract games don't include rules such as 'you cannot make a losing play if you can avoid it' and 'if you can't stop your opponent from winning, stop playing and just declare them the winner'. People actually do play that way (and roll back dumb moves), but Chess is one of the few games that codifies these practices.
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Virginia Milne
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A practical reason for checkmate occurred when epicurus implemented Legio in a Zillions of Games script so that you can play Legio using the Zillions of Games Program. The Zillions of Games scripting language already contains "checkmate" as a primitive which does all the "heavy lifting" for you.

Anyway, what is so wrong with stalemate? It keeps players on their toes and leads to some interesting examples of play in the end game devil

I have played some games of Legio using Zillions of Games. I started on the lowest time setting of Zillions of Gams of one second per turn for the computer, just to get and idea of how things flow in Legio

Has anyone else tried out the game play of Legio on Zillions of Games
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Matteo Perlini
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mlvanbie wrote:
epicurus wrote:
megamau wrote:
1) Any particular reason to implement checkmate and not simply emperor capture ?
I made this choice for the usual reason: to avoid the early and accidental end of a game.

Similarly, with checkmate someone could win or make an illegal play and not notice.

Checkmate requires extra rules and creates illegal plays. I recommend against it.

Most abstract games don't include rules such as 'you cannot make a losing play if you can avoid it' and 'if you can't stop your opponent from winning, stop playing and just declare them the winner'. People actually do play that way (and roll back dumb moves), but Chess is one of the few games that codifies these practices.
Hi Michael,

it is true that most abstract games don't include that kind of rule, but it is also true that a lot of games don't have a "single point of losing", so to speak. i.e. in Draughts, Go, Hex, Breakthrough,..., you cannot identify a single losing move.

Of course there are many games that rule could have been implement. So your point is still valid.

I'm still pondering about it but I think the two more natural options are: using the checkmate rule + draw in case of stalemate or using the capturing rule (implicitly accepting the loss in case of stalemate). So I'm probably going to change the objective as you suggested.
 
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Matteo Perlini
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VirginiaMilne wrote:
A practical reason for checkmate occurred when epicurus implemented Legio in a Zillions of Games script so that you can play Legio using the Zillions of Games Program. The Zillions of Games scripting language already contains "checkmate" as a primitive which does all the "heavy lifting" for you.
Yes, but the fact that Zillions has the checkmate rule easily available doesn't justify its usage in itself.

VirginiaMilne wrote:
Anyway, what is so wrong with stalemate? It keeps players on their toes and leads to some interesting examples of play in the end game devil
I shamefully admit that I'm a member of the school of thought aiming to minimize the number of draws.

VirginiaMilne wrote:
I have played some games of Legio using Zillions of Games. I started on the lowest time setting of Zillions of Gams of one second per turn for the computer, just to get and idea of how things flow in Legio

Has anyone else tried out the game play of Legio on Zillions of Games
What is your feedback?
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