Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
67 Posts
Prev «  1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Abstract Games» Forums » General

Subject: Game: "Containment" first formulation - what doesn't work here? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
dale walton wrote:
Quote:
Loose ends, well you mentioned one: when groups are considered to have merged. Keep thinking, this game breathes such a unity of behaviour that the solution should be in line with it.
I think I have it right, but that needs to be determined in testing. There is only so far one can take an idea in one's imagination.
Especially a complex one like this. But with a behavioural question, if you can see through it before that, so much the better.

dale walton wrote:
Quote:
I also asked myself whether the death penalty for groups that cannot unload their offspring might be a bit harsh. But then I realized that it will most likely lead to very intricate life & death problems.
What else to do with them - it is natural that ALL doubles must be consumed as part of the mechanic, if only to keep track of which groups have been processed so far. You can almost always make a group eternal (not growing or dying) by avoiding spurs and ends, so this is really an exceptional case where one might consider whether to keep growing and force your opponent to create/divert resources to kill the group, or hibernate and force him to surround you at his leisure.
This game might behave very wild. I wouldn't say erratic because it isn't unrestricted. But many things happen simultaneously and the board state before say a middle game turn may be quite different from what it is after the turn.
So I wondered if the game would slow down to an unacceptable speed if players were allowed to modify/grow one group in a turn. It would inherently solve the merging problem.

dale walton wrote:
Actually there is an exception to the "you can always make a group that is eternal" statement and I allowed voluntary surrender of groups to eliminate the impact of what could be called "time bombs". This is something else that needs testing.

A time bomb is an external spur or a loose end on a group that has been surrounded by the opponent. If the opponent always maintains a single thickness channel through which the spur pieces can reach a main group, there is no way to stop the end point from filling in the group one piece at a time (except through the voluntary surrender rule.) So, if one carelessly left such a spur on a group or left an isolated chip just outside the challenged side of a group, it would become a waiting game of whose groups fill first.

Voluntary surrender allows you cut the fuse and then snuff the spark. This is its only purpose, so it is not a clean hack. It would be good to see if it actually improves the game by making forward facing spurs relatively safe, or if time bombs give more interest to the play. (Beginning players will certainly not like getting hit with a time bomb.)

Time bombs could be a reason to be very careful peppering enemy territory with small growing groups: The enemy could open paths from them to your main wall, and with enough of them reaching it he might be able to outlast you as your area fills in. (even one could be enough).
I'll have to digest that slowly. You've obviously dug deeper into the consequences than I can at the moment. But I'm glad you posted it because it's interesting to think about.

P.S. Carolientje grows, changes her shape from one moment to the other and kills occasionally, so it fits more or less. But calling a game 'Carolientje' ... you're kidding, right?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Piovezan
Brazil
Jundiaí
SP
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
Are we settled on the grid? Cause I've been thinking:


(sorry, my hex grid looks like crap)

It looks like the game would be faster and take up more space on a square grid than on a hex grid. Similar formations tend to have more spurs in the square grid.

Time bombs sound like a feature, not a bug. It could scare beginners, though. Again, I suppose they would be more common on the square grid.

1+ vote for Carolientje!

christianF wrote:
This game might behave very wild. I wouldn't say erratic because it isn't unrestricted. But many things happen simultaneously and the board state before say a middle game turn may be quite different from what it is after the turn.
So I wondered if the game would slow down to an unacceptable speed if players were allowed to modify/grow one group in a turn. It would inherently solve the merging problem.
I had thought about that, but imagined it would be too much of a temptation to stick to one big single group.

Also, it would nerf time bombs tremendously. Or not?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
christianF wrote:
Quote:
Actually there is an exception to the "you can always make a group that is eternal" statement and I allowed voluntary surrender of groups to eliminate the impact of what could be called "time bombs". This is something else that needs testing.

A time bomb is an external spur or a loose end on a group that has been surrounded by the opponent. If the opponent always maintains a single thickness channel through which the spur pieces can reach a main group, there is no way to stop the end point from filling in the group one piece at a time (except through the voluntary surrender rule.) So, if one carelessly left such a spur on a group or left an isolated chip just outside the challenged side of a group, it would become a waiting game of whose groups fill first.

Voluntary surrender allows you cut the fuse and then snuff the spark. This is its only purpose, so it is not a clean hack. It would be good to see if it actually improves the game by making forward facing spurs relatively safe, or if time bombs give more interest to the play. (Beginning players will certainly not like getting hit with a time bomb.)

Time bombs could be a reason to be very careful peppering enemy territory with small growing groups: The enemy could open paths from them to your main wall, and with enough of them reaching it he might be able to outlast you as your area fills in. (even one could be enough).
I'll have to digest that slowly. You've obviously dug deeper into the consequences than I can at the moment. But I'm glad you posted it because it's interesting to think about.
First, there is a way to defuse time bombs without voluntary surrender of a group, so there are not the serious issue I imagined:

Break off the offending spur leaving one free space up to the main group and a spur length at least 2 (if it is a spur of 2 you need to back the main group away one space, or, on a hex board, leave the spur as an isolated chip with one space to it.) The remainder of the group should retain one inward spur (or more if it still needs to grow elsewhere.) Next turn move the main group up to the detached old spur without creating a new spur, then when you process the spur it dies.

Your opponent can try to open up 1 extra space for the island to force a merge or new spur instead -- so there could still be a threat here?

I had previously forgot that the isolated spur grows 2 at a time, not one at a time, so it is easier to manage this kill.

For the immediate merge game variant, the sequence is reversed: the former spur grows first to die or merge with the main group, then the main group is reformatted without the spur.

For the play-a-single-group variant, just never play the island again.


Another point on time bombs is that the hunter can become the hunted. If a player surrounds all but one side of an isolated stack or the endpoint of a line, he is forcing growth indefinitely upon his opponent. As long as he can control its path that is a strategic tool, but if the other player can grow enough to turn the situation inside out, he is in trouble.
BozoDel wrote:
christianF wrote:
This game might behave very wild. I wouldn't say erratic because it isn't unrestricted. But many things happen simultaneously and the board state before say a middle game turn may be quite different from what it is after the turn.
So I wondered if the game would slow down to an unacceptable speed if players were allowed to modify/grow one group in a turn. It would inherently solve the merging problem.
I had thought about that, but imagined it would be too much of a temptation to stick to one big single group.
I also thought about limiting a move to one group, but I like the ability to determine your rate of growth as a trade off to area. one group at a time would slow the opening a lot, which might make the game feel more strategic, or maybe more boring. -- And it leave the question of how to handle growth unresolved. - see my take on it in #3 below.

===================
Groups-merge-as-they-are-formed rules would make the game more snaky, as the early played groups can be released from their roots in this way. It means time bombs are much less an issue, as instead of defusing by regrowing until captured, one would regrow to merge, and then pull out the now unachored roots(spurs) when relocating the main group.
===================
I see the possibilities as:
1.) The game as I originally wrote it (but no voluntary surrender) - closest to a war game.

2.) Merge-as-connected:
"...on your turn choose a double and remove all the exposed chips in its group leaving only the base chips of the doubles. ... Once every one of these chips have been placed they merge with the other groups they touch.
Select another group and repeat the process. Continue until there are no more doubles left, then do phase 2 of the move." -- most flexible and morphing, possible blitz type moves where everything is mobilized.

3.) Merge-as-connected, but move only one per turn:
"On your turn choose a stack and remove all the chips in its group except for the base chips of the stacks. ... After processing this group and a chip to every spur and isolated group that belonged to it, as well as the endpoints and spurs of any other groups that are now adjacent to it." (note this version allows higher stacks to form in groups one merges to.)
Slower openings, more focused action, no/less blitz type moves, so more like a traditional abstract strategy game.

I am not sure which is best. They might not be as I characterize them, needs test.

BozoDel wrote:
Are we settled on the grid? Cause I've been thinking:


(sorry, my hex grid looks like crap)

It looks like the game would be faster and take up more space on a square grid than on a hex grid. Similar formations tend to have more spurs in the square grid.

Time bombs sound like a feature, not a bug. It could scare beginners, though. Again, I suppose they would be more common on the square grid.

Daniel, in your picture there is a square of stones with an arrow to a triad. It is not allowed to surrender individual chips, only entire groups, so if the arrow represents a transition, it is not allowed.
Also, the hexagon shown is large enough for a single internal spur - you have not shown any spurs there.

Re grids. As you point, out the cost of internal spurs on hex boards is much is higher for groups with efficient perimeters. For high speed (risky) growth a defensive perimeter is not needed, so the growth pace can be about the same. My guess is that after an initial high-rate expansion phase one may not need full expansion power, so the loss in efficiency may not be too important. - But the square grid will be more dynamic, and the hex board may need to be much larger. (Also note: min free-space for an internal spur on a square grid: 5 free inside 15; for 4 spurs, 5 free inside 20. For hex grid: 1 spur, 5 free inside 14; 3 spurs, 12 free inside 21.) For hex walls, zigzag walls can have numerous spurs on one side. Straight walls: lower efficiency but higher spur density, while straight walls without spurs, highest efficiency.


In general, targeting the edge of the board will be much more efficient than trying to creating full enclosures, unless forced to. (This would not be possible on a torus board however. (Mark Steere, are you here?)) I am happy to have edge effects be part of the game. Whose-group-is-in-whose gets real confusing fast on a torus. But it could be that a torus is the natural field for the game...

Sticking to plane boards for now, to keep it playable. I am leaning to #2.





1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
A quick guess of what typical unimpeded growth might look like:


The top row is original rules, the bottom is an example of the merge as you go rules, that allow some chips to be moved more than once, and some of the anchoring points to be lost. (The grid is 17 x 17)

I am thinking the original is better. The immediate merge is too much like a free licence to go anywhere you want. The main problem would be how to mark which pieces are in groups already processed, so that mistakes aren't made. Probably a temporary special color chip, or chip cap for the chips that end in the merging positions.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Florent Becker
France
Orléans
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dale walton wrote:


I am thinking the original is better. The immediate merge is too much like a free licence to go anywhere you want. The main problem would be how to mark which pieces are in groups already processed, so that mistakes aren't made. Probably a temporary special color chip, or chip cap for the chips that end in the merging positions.

How about "a chip can only be placed next to a friendly group if that group contains no pair"? That way, there's no need for extra material or memory and each chip can only be moved once on a turn.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
dale walton wrote:
I am thinking the original is better.
I agree.
dale walton wrote:
The immediate merge is too much like a free licence to go anywhere you want. The main problem would be how to mark which pieces are in groups already processed, so that mistakes aren't made. Probably a temporary special color chip, or chip cap for the chips that end in the merging positions.
The same problem emerges in Sygo and Symple (and any game featuring the Symple move protocol), the latter combining it with a group penalty that makes a quick estimate the score difficult. It might be a problem for an over-the-board version but a significant body of players nowadays plays online, particularly if the games are not on the market. And in online play the engines keep track of the score and indicate legal moves/placements.
So I wouldn't worry about it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
galbolle wrote:
How about "a chip can only be placed next to a friendly group if that group contains no pair"? That way, there's no need for extra material or memory and each chip can only be moved once on a turn.
That would make merging groups more difficult, and also affect the surrender rule. I'll give it a think, but it wouldn't make the rules simpler.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
christianF wrote:
dale walton wrote:
I am thinking the original is better.
I agree.
dale walton wrote:
The immediate merge is too much like a free licence to go anywhere you want. The main problem would be how to mark which pieces are in groups already processed, so that mistakes aren't made. Probably a temporary special color chip, or chip cap for the chips that end in the merging positions.
The same problem emerges in Sygo and Symple (and any game featuring the Symple move protocol), the latter combining it with a group penalty that makes a quick estimate the score difficult. It might be a problem for an over-the-board version but a significant body of players nowadays plays online, particularly if the games are not on the market. And in online play the engines keep track of the score and indicate legal moves/placements.
So I wouldn't worry about it.
Agree. Online, the processed pieces could be slightly greyed or something like that to give visual indication, as well as barred from movement...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Piovezan
Brazil
Jundiaí
SP
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
dale walton wrote:
Daniel, in your picture there is a square of stones with an arrow to a triad. It is not allowed to surrender individual chips, only entire groups, so if the arrow represents a transition, it is not allowed.
Oh, no, no. It was just to show that a square grid triangle would be very different from a hex grid triangle.

Quote:
Also, the hexagon shown is large enough for a single internal spur - you have not shown any spurs there.
You're right! I had it fuzzy in my mind, and I didn't really check it when putting it on paper. Sorry!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
Thoughts on what the opening offer parameters mean.

As I see it there are 3 basic parameters to the opening offer:

1. Distance apart: (measured in Manhattan distance, diagonal grid distance, or Euclidean distance?) - This affects the style of play - whether to block or engage.

2. Angle: This has secondary effects due to the likely Manhattan distance to split the board at different angles, and the ease of adding diagonal breaks or spurs to facilitate growth.

3. Offset: This is the critical parameter for the second player. it determines advantage, and is used to offset the difference in advantage of the initial number of pieces and turn order.

Offset does not exist on a torus board or other edgeless geometries, so balancing advantage would be very hard on such boards...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
Looking at a hex grid,(intersections, not cells) the development is a bit slower, but with exponential growth capability it is not an issue. Creating "blunt ends" is more resource consuming. (Blunt ends are needed to un-pin the roots of ones formations in the original rules)

Below is an example of how I imagine play might progress for black in the opening of a game without white intervention. It starts to illustrate how some of the emergent features appear on the hex grid.


From this you can see the game's closer connection to war games than to placement abstracts like Go. But that there is still a lot of geometrical tactics involved in deployment. However the way the tactical factors work is pretty transparent, and the bigger strategical elements are more important (though constrained by) the tactical ones.

In the example the beginning focus is on growth, but maintaining a defensive barrier. There is a shift toward preparation for movement (eg first forward facing spurs and later looping up the back structures) as the forces become large enough. If there were an opportunity to penetrate or surround, the final move would probably be designed to allow more growth instead of the looped ends... Alternatively, the looped ends could extend to the edge of the board, and most activity shut down if the territory is already big enough.

Next I will need to look at hex cell play, which makes end loops easy, but spurs and lines with defensive gaps harder...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
christianF wrote:

P.S. Carolientje grows, changes her shape from one moment to the other and kills occasionally, so it fits more or less. But calling a game 'Carolientje' ... you're kidding, right?
mmmm.... would she be jealous? Yours is a much more serious game, and I doubt if this game ranks up there with giving your life for.

But as for marketable names, I don't actually see the need, so why not? - the name is difficult enough that an interested person would make an effort to memorize it or write it down, and it has meaning to this group.

For names like 2nd Term, Anaconda, etc. They are too obviously descriptive, and the movie industry would also probably mind, even for something this obscure.

If it is 'Carolientje', then the board should be this grid which Stephen will recognize from another game of mine:


Makes for a large number of opening scenarios, as there are about 107 different 3rd move black positions with 4 end-points out of 5 pieces, not counting rotations and translations. -- Though the distinctions probably won't matter unless the game is played for as long as Go.

(Added note: this board looks about the right size, but needs to have one more or less column so that there is no point of symmetry. It doesn't start symmetrical, but just so someone doesn't work to make it become symmetrical later, it is reasonable to take the precaution.)


As for names, any one else have a suggestion?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
dale walton wrote:
mmmm.... would she be jealous? Yours is a much more serious game, and I doubt if this game ranks up there with giving your life for.
I sincerely don't know but I guess she won't care. I make it a habit to not try to assess her mental condition (although she gererally seems to be at ease). I treat her as I would handle a high voltage device.

dale walton wrote:
But as for marketable names, I don't actually see the need, so why not? - the name is difficult enough that an interested person would make an effort to memorize it or write it down, and it has meaning to this group.
The Dutch have a weird passion for diminutives. We have 'de zon' voor 'the sun', but also 'het zonnetje', literally meaning 'the little sun'. The thing gives more energy in a second than the earth would need in a century, but never mind!
So 'Caroline', whether sweet or not, is 'Carolien' in Dutch. The diminutive is 'Carolientje' and that name is rooted in Dutch society because of this song by Willeke Alberti. Her name is a diminutive of 'Wil'.

It is about an 18 yo girl who 'wants a man' and then kills them one after the other till she's 80. Very Dutch!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
ChristianF wrote:
So 'Caroline', whether sweet or not, is 'Carolien' in Dutch. The diminutive is 'Carolientje' and that name is rooted in Dutch society because of this song by Willeke Alberti.

It is about an 18 yo girl who 'wants a man' and then kills them one after the other till she's 80. Very Dutch!

Could be appropriate. This game looks to be quickly destructive, seducing one into rematches. And it might take a while for a beginner to catch on to the nuanced threats...

And the Dutch would have no problem remembering it!

=================
HWVR, Maybe something positive (at least not evil) can be said about the game. So what kinds of names would fit whatever is positive here?

This is after all not a fight to death, but about growing and finding boundaries. Any ideas of positive themes?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Piovezan
Brazil
Jundiaí
SP
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
At the risk of sounding dumb yet again, I must say I didn't quite grok how to defuse time bombs in the rules as written (other than surrender). Can I haz phase by phase pictures, if it's not much trouble?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
BozoDel wrote:
At the risk of sounding dumb yet again, I must say I didn't quite grok how to defuse time bombs in the rules as written (other than surrender). Can I haz phase by phase pictures, if it's not much trouble?

This is embarrassingly simple, but hard to describe well in words:

Sample case (grid is not important to the process. In this case everything is immobilized except the "time-bomb" spur.

Step one, spur caused growth - use this to activate the larger area.
Step two, now there are two growths: split the group by relocating the base point of the spur, creating a hole, and deactivate further growth of the base group.
Step three, spur cannot regrow into space available, and so is forced to surrender.



Short spur is a little trickier:
Step one, spur caused growth - use this to activate the larger area.
Step two, now there are two growths: split the group by relocating the base point of the spur, creating a hole, and use the growth and use the growth to keep the base group active.
Step three A, Move the base group first, tight against the detached spur. Also reorganize it to eliminate further undesired growth.
Step three B, Now its time to process the spur, but there is no place for it to grow, so it dies.



If white remains active, white can expand for the spur to grow. However since it is then growing into white area, there is no net advantage, after the eventual capture of the black pieces. - and if not done efficiently then becomes an actual disadvantage. i.e. white also needs to reclaim the territory the spur occupied to break even.

Edit: For such a short spur, if white had no other reason to remain active, it would not be worth it to remain active just to recover the one or two (maybe 3) empty cells on the border. But for longer spurs, or if later a connection to growth is useful, white would certainly clean it up.

Thus time bombs will only exist for those who are uninformed (my mistake.) The growth needed to defuse them and the loss of the pieces themselves remain a small cost for captured spurs, that probably does not outweigh the extra cost of the opponent's having to surround them. So my opinion is not to avoid forward spurs. - They give opportunity to advance quickly and/or penetrate.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
I had a thought that this game might actually work multi-player.

King-making is always a problem, but would likely be obvious and thus an observable breach of game etiquette. Teaming up could also happen, at severe risk of back-stabbing.

But overall, would the ability the game gives to expand quickly on demand, trade-off expansion vs movement, and to permanently capture areas, mitigate these concerns more than in other abstracts?

Started a separate thread about how a multi-player pie rule might be designed, as it has relevance to other games, especially to games with imperfect information that frequently have multiple players in need of a balanced start.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb

I'll come back to the game's core behaviour later. It's a weird monkey and I'm inclined to consider it from scratch. Not sure if something sensible will come out of it.
But as for multi player, it's hard to turn collusion into something positive. If at all, territory would imo. be the best goal because everyone can in principle have a slice of the pie. You all have my blessing!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
Here is a square grid growth scenario in open space with an unnecessarily defensive boundary (higher internal density (eg keep filling until almost solid then burst out) could allow faster growth, but this is a kind of steady state based on a impermeable, but not thick boundary. It has reached a steady-state growth. This approach is reasonable for a center of the board start strategy especially if the other player was allowed multiple start locations as a handicap.

This kind of growth is much like amoebas growing to fill the available space. However, if defense is not needed all around, the extra edge material is a resource that (while leaving some internal growth spots that will each need to quadruple in size) can quickly wrap out to the board edges of a larger board, or around some "prey".

For this behavior to manifest the game requires a very large board, lengthy turns and gradual growing together with a fast when at a critical moment.

With all the pieces, growth is a bit puzzle like, but with a clock can be managed reasonably quickly making heuristic decisions like: I want to clean up the insides so this turn, I'll loop and connect them to the outside; I want a few or a lot of ends, I need a long connection with no spurs to mobilize a big movement or wrap attack...

However, on a smaller board or with pieces starting closer together, this kind of pattern might not emerge, and there may be other kinds of infighting that happen. The garbage collection of your internal pieces would also be more important in small boards. And moves would involve fewer pieces/groups.

christianF wrote:

I'll come back to the game's core behaviour later. It's a weird monkey and I'm inclined to consider it from scratch. Not sure if something sensible will come out of it.

Hope you do, as I am biasing this far too much with my own observations...

I normally can simulate playing two sides to see what happens, but for this game, I don't yet trust myself to be able to do it. Also the infighting between players and small board effects will be affected by the grid choice much more than these growth scenarios are.

If the game turns out to be too straight forward , one could make the starting position include multiple locations.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
dale walton wrote:
I normally can simulate playing two sides to see what happens, but for this game, I don't yet trust myself to be able to do it.
It's hard to see what happens through several stages. I encountered similar opaqueness while visualising Storisende.

dale walton wrote:
Also the infighting between players and small board effects will be affected by the grid choice much more than these growth scenarios are.
Hmmm ... not sure about that but I'm annoyingly traditional, square and hex will do.

dale walton wrote:
If the game turns out to be too straight forward , one could make the starting position include multiple locations.
One thing about both this game and Storisende is that they start from a single core to get things going. On small boards, and depending on the type of interaction, this may lead to opening manoeuvres with little room for deviation. In Storisende it is a stage of provisionally fencing off territory and create space to manoevre and grow. Such 'fences' usually emerge simultaneously opposite one another. On small boards this directs openings without much room to deviate, on large boards it may suggest multiple opening locations. My conclusion would be that there is probable a Goldilocks zone in terms of board size.

Since I'm busy with Aleh's book on Dameo, it may be a slow process anyway. But it has a lure about it
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
I'm noticing the mechanic is a little bit like the game of life (growth) alternating with human interaction (movement). Fortunately, I feel, the automaton behavior doesn't dominate control of what one can do. However, this suggests that investigation of modified growth rules may be in order.

eg If the rule is adding pieces on to oddly connected pieces. -- Doing so gives perhaps more easily understood and controlled patterns. Growth can be sustained at a slightly higher level (very near doubling) more points are tied down, but as groups are larger and more connected, it is easier to come back and collect them -- and easier to reshape.

Another possibility: Even connections grow. This needs lines to stay alive. Lines can nearly double their extent, but adding spurs to them allows them to be relocated at a big growth penalty. - might be the easiest to understand, but more snaky, less amoeba-like.

Or, for something quite similar to the original, there is something to be said for having growth only at endpoints/spurs, and not on isolated blots. Then the penalty of leaving them inside is not as high.

Still, for all these games, the territory goal is fairly vanilla for strategy. --


Having a multiplier: area times number of groups separated by enemy or neutral territory. -- or better yet, the product of these group areas -- would make for a more interesting goal and more varied play. It would take it away from military play into something more abstract.

To move this project along at this point, though, I need to get on with some tests of opponents starting adjacent...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
dale walton wrote:

Or, for something quite similar to the original, there is something to be said for having growth only at endpoints/spurs, and not on isolated blots. Then the penalty of leaving them inside is not as high.

Still, for all these games, the territory goal is fairly vanilla for strategy. --
This is a good idea, investigate the core behaviour better because ideally everything follows from it.


dale walton wrote:
Having a multiplier: area times number of groups separated by enemy or neutral territory. -- or better yet, the product of these group areas -- would make for a more interesting goal and more varied play. It would take it away from military play into something more abstract.

To move this project along at this point, though, I need to get on with some tests of opponents starting adjacent...
That's the other road, diverging into multiple possibilities, one more interesting than the other. Been there, done that, and both quite enough to know that it's usually a dead end. Simplification may be a better strategy. But thinking about it takes time and I've got other issues right now.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter S.
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
This might get a little more attention if the rules are cleaned up just a little bit. So, just to help (and to give myself some practice):

Containment

Goal

Extend walls of your own chips to enclose the most empty space.

Equipment

Stackable pieces (chips) in two colors (e.g., typical Go colors) and a board to represent the area being fought over (e.g., a typical Go board, though any network/graph/grid where a "next to" relationship between pieces can be clearly shown will work).

Terms

Single: a single chip, placed at a location on the board.

Double: a stack of two chips (one atop another) of the same player color placed at a location on the board.

Group: a set of pieces of the same player color occupying mutually adjacent locations on the board.

Setup

The "starting" player will place a Double of one color and a Single of the other color on separate locations on the board. Their opponent can now choose either to claim the Double (and go first), or claim the Single (placing a Double of the same color in an adjacent space, meaning that they go second but start with a free Single).

Play

Play alternates between players. On each turn, the player completes two phases, a Spread phase and a Grow phase.

Spread: In the Spread phase, the player will reconfigure each of their Groups that includes at least one Double, one at a time. For each Group, players will gather up each Single that is part of that group, and remove the top chip from each Double in that group (leaving the bottom chip as a Single on the board). Then, the player must either play all of the gathered chips as Singles back onto the board, or remove the bottom chips from the former Doubles of the group and surrender all the chips of the group to their opponent (who will add the surrendered chips to their final score).

Singles played back to the board must be directly or indirectly adjacent to one of the Singles left behind by the prior Doubles in the Group. "Indirectly adjacent" means a path can be traced back via adjacent chips of that player's color to at least one of the prior Doubles of that group.

If a player cannot play all of their gathered chips in this fashion, then the entire group must be removed.

Note that a Group can be extended to become adjacent to other Groups of the same color -- such Groups are not considered to merge together until after the Spread phase is complete (partly to ensure that all Groups Spread). Similarly, a Group that began with more than one Double may end up split into separate, smaller Groups.

After the Spread phase that player should not have any Doubles on the board.

Grow: In the Grow phase, the player will add a chip on top of each of their Singles (in all of their Groups) that has either zero or one same-colored neighbors, "promoting" it to a Double.

Note that a Group that does not have a Double at the end of this phase will not be able to Spread on the player's next turn. (Even if that player is able to Spread a different Group to connect with it, it won't have merged with that Group until the following turn.)

Game End

If your Groups no longer include any Doubles, then you must pass your turn and allow your opponent to continue playing. When there are no Doubles (of either color) on the board at the end of a player's turn, the game ends.

Each player's final score is the count of 1) empty, open spaces in each region that is bordered only by chips of their own color or the edge of the board, and that does not contain a chip of an opponent's color, and 2) chips surrendered to them by their opponent. The highest score is the winner.

Tips

Empty spaces count toward your score, spaces with your chips in them do not. Therefore, you want to avoid needlessly growing into territory you've captured.

------------------

Feel free to copy, edit, and post at the start of the thread should you care to. As a note, subtracting your lost chips from your score is the same as adding them to the opponent's score, so I simplified the final tally to be purely additive.

Lastly, I'll add that the gather and spread reminds me a bit of the behavior of slime molds, if there's a theme being sought.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dale walton
Thailand
Bangkok
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
Thanks, you have put a lot of thought into this, which I appreciate. I'll take a closer look and possibly use some. Some initial observations.

I prefer the immersive "you/your opponent" instead of the objective "he/she, one, their..Player1/Player2, player/opponent." Procedure vs description. However, descriptive language may be clearer for getting an overall picture of the nature of the game, and its mechanics. Which do you feel is best for communication / political correctness? etc.

ErsatzDragon wrote:
Setup

The "starting" player will place a Double of one color and a Single of the other color on separate locations on the board. Their opponent can now choose either to claim the Double (and go first), or claim the Single (placing a Double of the same color in an adjacent space, meaning that they go second but start with a free Single).
Minor point: I think for game statistics purposes it is useful to standardize the colors of the offer. (It also can make the opening easier to state. It is sad if race has become so sensitive an issue that Black and White pieces must be referenced obliquely as "typical Go colors". On the other hand, I refuse on aesthetic grounds to play Blue vs Green - well, might fit the Slime theme? Color 1 and Color 2 will get very awkward. Any help here?)

Major point: This changes the opening, or is unclear. The opening is meant to be a double starting vs a double+single moving second. The problem is I tried to back this up a step leading to a special move for each player and causing confusion.

In your interpretation, claiming the double leaves the first player with a single that will require another turn before growing, and it is not certain what happens if the double is not claimed. In any case, it needs to be symmetrical: i.e. the exact equivalent of turning the board around.

How about:
The "set-up" player places two Doubles, one of each color on the separate locations on the board, and then places a Single of the "non-starting color" on a free space next its matching Double. The "choosing" player either claims the isolated Double as his own color and starts, or else has the original player claim it and start.

Quote:
Then, the player must either play all of the gathered chips as Singles back onto the board, or remove the bottom chips from the former Doubles of the group and surrender all the chips of the group to their opponent (who will add the surrendered chips to their final score).
My feeling at this point is not to allow voluntary surrender, this wording hides the issue, but allows it. On the other hand, I have concerns about if no voluntary surrender: does that mean I may not spread earlier groups in a way that forces a later group to die? (unless forced? if forced should all die or a group of my choice die?... therefore forced should apply to each group as played) So:

Then, the player must play all of the gathered chips as Singles back onto the board if he can; or else, if he cannot, he must remove the bottom chips from the former Doubles of the group and surrender all the chips of the group to their opponent (who will add the surrendered chips to their final score)

Quote:
Note that a Group can be extended to become adjacent to other Groups of the same color -- such Groups are not considered to merge together until after the Spread phase is complete (partly to ensure that all Groups Spread). Similarly, a Group that began with more than one Double may end up split into separate, smaller Groups.
It is more to ensure that no groups get re-spread in the same turn. Your 3rd interpretation of a possible merge rule to differentiate: merge while second step of spreading (thus leaving some groups unspread would be interesting, but difficult to police. It highlights that there are many interpretations possible if the rule were merge while spreading. (I can think of 2 more)

Quote:
Each player's final score is the count of 1) empty, open spaces in each region that is bordered only by chips of their own color or the edge of the board, and that does not contain a chip of an opponent's color, and 2) chips surrendered to them by their opponent. The highest score is the winner.
does not contain... unclear here as it might contain such a piece if it were itself surrounded. Problem is ambiguity in the term "contain".

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
France
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
ErsatzDragon wrote:
Singles played back to the board must be directly or indirectly adjacent to one of the Singles left behind by the prior Doubles in the Group. "Indirectly adjacent" means a path can be traced back via adjacent chips of that player's color to at least one of the prior Doubles of that group.
Shouldn't it rather be the following? Because as stated, the chips of another group could be used in the path.

'Indirectly adjacent' means a path can be traced back via adjacent chips placed during this phase to at least one of the prior Doubles of that group.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Prev «  1 , 2 , 3  Next »   |