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Subject: my online hex variant. rss

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James Hutchings
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I've been working on a playable, online hex variant for a while.

The idea is that the human and computer player bid for control of randomly-chosen hexes, rather than taking turns choosing.

If you're interested, you can play it at:

http://www.apolitical.info/webgame/imhotep

It's not finished yet (I want to have an event that happens if the bids are tied, and it doesn't stop when the game is won), but please give me feedback so far.
 
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Russ Williams
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Cool! I just enjoyed playing a game. Indeed it didn't recognize when the game was over.

The AI seemed to spend too much early on, and then I kept control of the bidding from then on, never having fewer points to bid than the AI.
 
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James Hutchings
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I've updated it so it now knows when the end the game. More updates ASAP.
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Russ Williams
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Neat. I played again, and it indeed recognized when the game was won.

The AI made a few basic mistakes, bidding and wasting points to place a useless stone in a closed area solidly sealed by my stones.

And as before, I noticed it sometimes spent a very high number of points for a strategic location that had several alternative places, so that I then was able to easily direct the flow, always bidding equal to the AI's current (small) point total if I didn't want it take a location vital for it.

The end game actually dragged on tediously, unfortunately, as a long sequence of random locations for bidding were irrelevant. I had 2 big chains, each connected to one side, with several mutually adjacent empty spots. So I just had to wait for one of those several spots to be randomly selected, which took a long time, and all the other locations that came up were a long irrelevant sideshow, unfortunately.

Aside from the endgame problem, it's cool. I wonder if you could objectively define such situations and alter the rules to only randomly select from among "relevant" locations... at least excluding locations inside sealed areas, for instance.
 
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James Hutchings
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I noticed it bids on 'sealed' areas as well. It's not meant to, so I'll have to have a look at that.

I'm planning to alter it so that tied bids cause the hex to become either a mountain, which blocks both players, or a lake, which counts as part of both players' chains. However mountains can be selected for new bids and lakes can't, so this will tend to end the game more quickly.

I'm also planning to alter it so that if one player bids twice as much as the other (or more), they get to pick the next hex to be bid on. Again, this will tend to end the game more quickly.
 
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James Hutchings
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I've changed the AI, so that it's less likely to bid on useless hexes.
 
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Russ Williams
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Trying it now, I see the AI wisely didn't bid on several corners, but at the first reasonable place to bid, it bid all its money again (12 points), leaving me in strong control. Once we're in a situation where the AI has to make more vital connections than I do, if I have more money, I win - the endgame just plays itself out. With a lot of passing until some of the small number of vital points are randomly chosen (in this case, the game-winning vital point was finally chosen when I had 49 points to bid, vs the AI's 13 points....)

I also saw it bid 2 to uselessly connect to an AI stone that was in a dead end anyway.

A minor buglet: after the game is over, a randomly chosen "next space" is still displayed.
 
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James Hutchings
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I've added 'lakes', which happen when the human and computer bids are the same, and count as part of both player's routes. This should make the game quicker.

It also no longer generates a target when the game is over.
 
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