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Subject: Favorite Freeling Games rss

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christian freeling
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FiveStars wrote:
International Draughts is a rather recent addition to "traditional" checkers (18th century). Your story about the "spirit" of draughts is strange and misleading. There are countless regional variants of Checkers including variants of International Draughts, which proves that many different rulesets are felt to be "natural". While games have a logical foundation, its "gestalt" is at least as much a matter of cultural interpretation (we could call it "Ausgestaltung" in German).
This might be entirely subjective, but the fact that there are countless regional variants of Checkers shows to me that there's a spirit at work here that people try to implement in the best possible way.

Apart from that I perceive a spirit. No 'misleading' involved. After seeing it work in Bushka, I literally felt the spirit of draughts craving for linear movement.
But I failed to accommodate it, in fact didn't even try. I saw that it never would work in International Draughts. The smell of gridlock was too overwhelming.
The game I perceived wasn't anything like it. That's why the idea "linear movement in Draughts" remained dormant for 15 years.

In retrospect the reason was that International Draughts is a 'monoplane' game: movement and capture follow the same grid.
Croda is a 'dualplane' game, excluding gridlock, and linerar movement fits it like a glove. Once I realized that, it took me two minutes to accommodate the game. Doen't that prove I had the spirit, pending the accomodation?

FiveStars wrote:
Adding your killer draughts rule to the official set of International Draughts doesn't make the game "unnatural", just different - but in a gradual way: the opening theory wouldn't be affected at all, the middle game just a bit, but the endgame would change a lot - which is exactly what is wanted.
Thanks, but it's not 'my' rule but an old idea that has surfaced from time to time. It just shows mindsports likes to serve Draughts players as much as possible.
The Thai play it that way if I'm not mistaken. It might help but how much remains to be seen. What can't be denied is that it requires an extra rule limiting the king's capturing abilities in an unnatural way to get a specific result.
I'm not saying it's illegal, or we wouldn't have castling in Chess, but it's a band aid.

FiveStars wrote:
Have you ever thought about the special rules in Italian and Spanish Draughts? They show that games (including abstracts) are cultural constructions at least as much as they are mathematical expressions.
You said it: special rules. Dameo has no special rules because it doesn't need them.

FiveStars wrote:
However, traditional games change over time even in the same region. Go has changed, Chess has changed, Wari has changed, Backgammon has changed. The old ways of playing have slowly fallen into oblivion, but the game itself still exists. There is no reason why this shouldn't happen again with International Checkers.
It will. But not any time soon. You make it appear as if all local variants are of equal value. International Draughts is BIG because its structure has so much to offer in combinatorial terms that it almost seems inexhaustible. Unfortunately, in those places of the world where it is less well known, it often suffers from a 'Checkers' image. And Checker's tactics pale in comparison.

It is the combination of the following that makes Draughts superior in combinatorial respect, and different (in points) from say Checkers or Shashki, not to mention Dama. In random order:

Forward movement but multidirectional capture.
Promotion only upon ending a move on the back rank.
A long range king, counting as one piece if captured.
Finishing a capture before removing the captured pieces.
The precedence of majority capture.

The precedence of majority capture and having to finish the capture before removing the pieces and not being allowed to capture a piece twice during a move (as in most if not all draughts variants), these together give rise to the enigmatic 'turkish capture', a possibility that is ironically not provided by Dama (turkish draughts).

Here's an absolutely bare bones example.

The precedence of majority capture also gives rise to a move that literally pervades Draughts tactics, the sticker (dutch: plakker).

I'll give just one example: the fabulous Coup Raphaël that triggered my life long interest in Draughts combinations.

The combination of the above rules makes this magic possible. And games based on this framework can be relied upon to deliver. That means first and foremost Croda and Dameo, and in the more exotic realm it also means Hexdame and Bushka.
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christian freeling
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CDRodeffer wrote:
Mephisto? (one of my favorites).
I dug deep into my old mac and guess what I found:



Mephisto devil

This must by now be a BGG exclusive, ripped from the jaws of obscurity by Clark D. Rodeffer.

You need:
A domino set, five different colored pawns, five correspondingly colored dice, a one minute sandtimer and as many beer infested beta-nerds as the room will accommodate.

This is how we played it:
The dominos are laid out in a 7x8 grid, no blanks on the edge, no blanks orthogonally adjacent (except the double-blank of course).

Players set their stakes (jawbreakers for instance, or beer) The pawns are placed on five blanks. The dice are thrown, the timer is set.

Each pawn must move orthogonally, exactly the number of steps that is on the corresponding die. The track may not lead onto any square twice (including the starting square). A pawn may not move onto or over an occupied square.

Object:
Players now all try to visualize how to move the pawns so that the highest possible score is reached. There are two kinds of score: a nominal score and a street

Nominal
If the pawns in the endposition are on different values, the score is the total of these values, for instance 6+6+6+5+4=27.

Street
If the pawns in the endposition are all on the same value, the position is a street. The highest possible nominal score 6+6+6+6+6=30 is also the lowest possible street. The lower the value, the higher the street.
The highest street of 5 blanks is called Mephisto, but remember all pawns must end on a different blank than the one they started from!

If a player sees a first score or a score that tops the previous bid, he calls out: 28! ... street6! ... street4! ... .

When the timer stops it is turned and the player with the highest bid must realize it within a minute, moving the pawns according to the rules. If he succeeds he wins all stakes, if he fails he must pay every player his stakes.

If a player calls out Mephisto!, the timer is turned immediately and the player must realize it in the same time it took him to visualize it.

I have no objection to local rule changes

P.S. Isn't this a multi-player abstract without collusion?
The Holy Grail so to say, lol? wow
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Clark D. Rodeffer
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christianF wrote:
CDRodeffer wrote:
Mephisto? (one of my favorites).
I dug deep into my old mac and guess what I found:



Mephisto devil

This must by now be a BGG exclusive, ripped from the jaws of obscurity by Clark D. Rodeffer.

Thank you for posting this, Christian. About three years ago, I played Mephisto with Dan Troyka (at his house) and a few other "abstract strategy" game enthusiasts from this area, and it was great fun. I don't remember who all else was there that evening, but I remember it as quite a brain burner for the end of the evening.

Clark
 
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Joe Joyce
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FiveStars wrote:
joejoyce wrote:

Lol, here's where I confess to being an ugly American. After 4th grade, I held checkers in very little esteem. But the game in the US is ugly.


No, it's not. Thank you for revealing that your mental state is still that of a 10 year old boy. Please, inform yourself about Checkers again,

Ah, Ralf, what a beautiful wish for a game designer! To have the mind of a 10-year-old boy... I learned chess when I was 10. But I am now 62, and see 8x8 boards as small. Why did Christian increase the size of the board to 10x10 for Grand Chess, rather than make it smaller, or keep it the same? American checkers and FIDE chess are both becoming stifled by the smallness of their boards; Go played exclusively on 9x9 would be little more than a sort of advanced tic-tac-toe after thousands of years of analysis.

The reason we watch Nadal is because he is one of the very best at tennis. Pele was the first real crack in the wall of US indifference to soccer, and we didn't watch him because he wasn't any better than his opponents and could never win. We watch the best players to see the best action, and what do we get in American checkers played from the standard setup - infinite draws - not the best play, but the worst, jammed up and inconclusive time after time - ugly, in that sense. At the highest levels, we should see the best play, not the worst - the most blocked play, where nothing happens because nothing can happen. If you don't like the word "ugly", we can choose something like "played out", because any game that has to make 3 random moves at start to try to make it interesting for high-level play has a problem. I do believe the solution is to expand our ideas of what games we play at championship level. And just as Christian sees the lifespan of a game, I think you can see not necessarily a final ending when that game dies, but possibly a speciation, where the game gives rise to offspring that carry at least part of the original game within them.

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christian freeling
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CDRodeffer wrote:
Thank you for posting this, Christian. About three years ago, I played Mephisto with Dan Troyka (at his house) and a few other "abstract strategy" game enthusiasts from this area, and it was great fun. I don't remember who all else was there that evening, but I remember it as quite a brain burner for the end of the evening.
Thanks for reminding me. It had drifted so far into the realms of 'the ornamental' that I'd lost sight of it laugh .
 
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christian freeling
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joejoyce wrote:
Why did Christian increase the size of the board to 10x10 for Grand Chess, rather than make it smaller, or keep it the same?
I can answer that: because considered logically, there are either two pieces missing in the set of Chess, or there's one too many.
So Grand Chess emerged (I accidentally projected Rotary's initial set-up over Capablanca Chess and there it was), but also Dragonfly.
Dragonfly has a 7x7 board and no Queen, but it features piece drops like Shogi. And then 7x7 suddenly isn't so small.
Zickzack feels my main aim was to increase move options, and looking at Dameo and Bushka, and Dragonfly for that matter, it would appear that way.
But I never thought in those terms while making a game.
 
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Ralf Gering
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Message from
North Korea - Octavian

FiveStars wrote:
joejoyce wrote:

Lol, here's where I confess to being an ugly American. After 4th grade, I held checkers in very little esteem. But the game in the US is ugly.


No, it's not. Thank you for revealing that your mental state is still that of a 10 year old boy. Please, inform yourself about Checkers again,


Matthew M Monin has just joined Joe's elementary school.

BGG's wiki article about Draughts variants will soon be moved to Wikinfo or some other safe place. BTW, I recommend to read One Jump Ahead: Challenging Human Supremacy In Checkers by Jonathan Schaeffer before you give offense to thousands of Checker players.

Octavian, you have just shown what kind of mental level is BGG really about. BTW, what's your country: Iran, China, North Korea? Just wondering ...

Bye!




[BGG] http://boardgame.geekdo.com/article/5119504#5119504
From: Matthew M Monin (Octavian)
Subject: [BGG] http://boardgame.geekdo.com/article/5119504#5119504
From: Octavian
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Ralf Gering
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joejoyce wrote:

After 4th grade, I held checkers in very little esteem. But the game in the US is ugly... But I am now 62


This kind of prejudice is typical. Maybe it's not too late to learn Checkers (not just the rules).

joejoyce wrote:

American checkers and FIDE chess are both becoming stifled by the smallness of their boards; Go played exclusively on 9x9 would be little more than a sort of advanced tic-tac-toe after thousands of years of analysis.


Neither American Checkers nor FIDE Chess have been analyzed for thousands of years. Both games have been stifled by being played on a professional level for hundreds of years.

joejoyce wrote:

what do we get in American checkers played from the standard setup - infinite draws - not the best play, but the worst, jammed up and inconclusive time after time - ugly, in that sense.


Again you prove that you have no understanding of the game. These Checkers draws might be disappointing for the public, but they are the BEST play, very close to perfection - a perfect Checkers game is a draw.

(proven by computers)

Probably my last post as BGG is a North Korean website.
 
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Joe Joyce
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FiveStars wrote:
joejoyce wrote:

After 4th grade, I held checkers in very little esteem. But the game in the US is ugly... But I am now 62


This kind of prejudice is typical. Maybe it's not too late to learn Checkers (not just the rules).

joejoyce wrote:

American checkers and FIDE chess are both becoming stifled by the smallness of their boards; Go played exclusively on 9x9 would be little more than a sort of advanced tic-tac-toe after thousands of years of analysis.


Neither American Checkers nor FIDE Chess have been analyzed for thousands of years. Both games have been stifled by being played on a professional level for hundreds of years.

joejoyce wrote:

what do we get in American checkers played from the standard setup - infinite draws - not the best play, but the worst, jammed up and inconclusive time after time - ugly, in that sense.


Again you prove that you have no understanding of the game. These Checkers draws might be disappointing for the public, but they are the BEST play, very close to perfection - a perfect Checkers game is a draw.

(proven by computers)

Probably my last post as BGG is a North Korean website.


Um... hi, Ralf?

Possibly you misunderstood my post. You seem to believe that I now hold the same opinions as my 10-year-old self. Please consider the totality of my statement from before. You properly characterize my mental state in the first paragraph, but as I said in that paragraph, it was after 4th grade - that is, 5th grade - and I *was* 10 in 5th grade. The two paragraphs following the initial one are a much better indication of my actual opinion today. [They start with "But a couple years ago..."]
"Lol, here's where I confess to being an ugly American. After 4th grade, I held checkers in very little esteem. But the game in the US is ugly. At 8x8, sort of, it falls right in the "smallest possible boards to adequately play a game" category. [Like FIDE chess... ;-)]

But a couple years ago, I met Jianying Ji, who has shown me I didn't know anything at all about "checkers". We played a 20 men/side game one time, and a large variant of 56 men/side on a specially designed octagonal cell-based rectangular board, found here: http://chessvariants.wikidot.com/universal-board And while I don't find myself with any desire to design draughts variants, I look forward to playtesting any and every such variant Jianying wants to bring any time we get together.

Why can't the draughts and chess communities figure out that everything they could possibly want to defeat memorization, excessive draws, staleness - it's all in variants. Simply make the tourneys every game different, at least half randomly chosen, and lots of games. Ralf's list, which I've just glanced over, should provide a fine start for choosing games for draughts tourneys. I'm also sure that 100 or so excellent chess variants could easily be found from which to do chess championships. And you could easily churn the pool every so often, in ways to encourage audience participation even, if you allow open voting of some form. But I'm an insane dreamer.
"

Should you need further proof, please check out the thread I started on interest in chess and checkers variants. It certainly pre-dates this last interchange between us, and should demonstrate my commitment to push a form [draughts even though I called it checkers, its American name] that I myself don't design in. You seem to think I am dissing draughts, and I am not. I am dissing what I see as very bad tournament design. It's obvious what will instantly "rescue" checkers and chess from their high-level doldrums, and that's variants. It's equally obvious, just like we all played tic-tac-toe as kids [and probably expanded it to 4x4 and/or 5x5 when we learned how to win, lose, or draw at the game], that most people can continue to play FIDE chess and American checkers with maximum enjoyment and little fear of draws.

We have a difference in philosophies, possibly, that comes down to playability, and how we each define it. I look for a very fair game that does not generally end in a draw when played by current high-level practitioners of the game. To me, that involves expanding the size of the board as one very basic step, because 8x8, to me, is quite small. Heh, even Christian said he uses drops in his 7x7. Grin. Why do you think Christian uses drops in his 7x7? Could it be to expand the possibilities on a board small enough to need a little help?

What is the essence of competition? Infinite frustration? Or a resolution? Ralf, you're a purist, aren't you. That's not a question, because even to someone brand new like me, it's obvious from your statement above. It takes more than just a fan to appreciate a string of draws.

Before you go, consider this. I jokingly referred to myself earlier as an "impurist". In many ways that's true. I want playable and enjoyable games that generally come to a resolution. But the major part of that word is purist, and if you look at my well over 50 chess variants, you'd begin to realize just how much of a purist I am. I joke there about being a conservative designer, but actually I am a purist in my designs. I have also made moves in serious competitions for the beauty of the resultant position. Because not everyone sees beauty the way you do means neither that they don't see any beauty at all nor that they cannot appreciate others' concepts of beauty. Pulling your list is the sort of act that cuts all ways. It's up to you.
 
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christian freeling
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Let's pour some juice in this one. In March 2009 Omar Syed, the inventor of Arimaa started a thread in the Arimaa off topic forum, titled Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games.

The issue was my claim that I could predict some games' behaviour on a hypothetical high level of play.
Depending on the game, that may not be so difficult. Why would Grand Chess, in essence, behave any different than Chess? Why would Dameo, in essence, behave any different than International Draughts?

Similar structures often lead to similar games. Not always though: Hexdame has the same rules as International Draughts, but the consequences of those rules on the hexgrid make Hexdame's character totally different from Draughts'. Yet it is easy to see that tactics are very similar, and that the game is at least as inexhaustible, or exhaustible for that matter, as Draughts.

I've never been the most original of inventors, so quite a few of my own games had previous and well known games for context.

Jeson Mor for Grown Ups
While translating the rules of the games at iGGameCenter, thus literally being immersed in rules, my mind wrapped itself round a funny childrens' game called Jeson Mor (nine horses).
It wrapped for a day or two, and for a night or two, between going to bed and falling asleep, and out came HanniBall.

HanniBall
I could 'see' it work, and it was highly original, at least for my standards. So I made it a challenge and posted the rules in the above mentioned Arimaa thread.

That was in April 2009 and this happened and that and such and so, and a number of initial modifications were made, some of which I could have made before publishing, if that hadn't been counter to my plan to invent a game 'live' and in complete transparency.

Thus the field shrank from 9x15 to 9x13.
The number of moves per turn oscillated a bit before settling on four.
'Obstruction' was spotted by the community, and Greg Magne came up with the definition that still governs the algorithms that check it in the Zillions machine and at iGGC.
JDB had a stroke of genius when he suggested to generalize the 'shots at the keeper' rule to work the same, whether the shot comes from a defender or from an attacker.

And then a year passed pending playtesting. The Zillions machine is a generic bot, and HanniBall has an 'Arimaa type' branch density, so playtesting on it amounted to nothing.

In May 2010 Arty Sandler implemented it at iGGC. I hadn't asked for Hanniball in particular, so I was somewhat amazed that he took the risk with a game that had not been playtested to any significant degree.

Did a bug emerge? Of course it did, or the story wouldn't be interesting. So yes, but not in the rules as such, nor in the tactics as such. It was indeed Arty who first formulated a 'near obstructional' strategy, and employed it successfully. It was coined catenaccio.

And successful it was. And boring. So very much not the spirit of soccer, that it was clear we had a serious bug on our hands.

Meanwhile the story at the Arimaa forum continued now that playtesting was possible.

It was not my grandest moment, especially when I made a suggestion to counter catenaccio that was in no way related to the problem.
A second suggestion did indeed address the problem, but was made redundant by a much simpler idea by Arty, that had a similar effect.

Or even better, I'd say now. So good in fact that I decided to offer Arty the co-inventorship and copyrights, for taking the risk in the first place, for showing the catenaccio approach and for providing the rule that counters it (to a sufficient degree that is: catenaccio is still a strategy, but only one among several others, and not boringly successful either).

So this was all very interesting, and left me not quite living up to my claims, but it also resulted in an extraordinary game on a very simple simple basis (a knight's move and a king's move, 4 kinds of pieces and a ball) that captures the spirit of soccer in an unusual way. This is a comment by megajester at the Arimaa forum:

Quote:
In our teens my brother and I tried and tried to make a chess-football hybrid, and never came up with anything workable. In the end I had personally concluded that football's involving chance elements and simultaneous movement makes it impossible to realise as a turn-based abstract strategy game.

Of course introducing a "ball" concept is relatively easy, but then it's very hard to make it feel anything like football. A bit like the drinks machine making tea in the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, you come up with something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike football.

So I have immense respect for anyone who actually manages to pull it off. Looking at Hanniball it seems it really does capture the ebb and flow of a football game while still having a chess-like requirement for strategic understanding and not just tactical analysis.

So hats off to you Christian! (and Arty)


Highlighting by me and I couldn't have said it any better and I invite you all to come and check the game out at iGGC.
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Richard Hutnik
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joejoyce wrote:

I thought you guys got yellow cards and red cards... or is that in football? ;-) That is an impressive list, even thought I just glanced over it. I'll have to make sure Jianying [I guess Clark is reading this thread - hey Clark, if you're not reading this, let me know so I can tell you to read it, it's good] sees the list. And finally, if IAGO's Rich hadn't been following this, IAGO's Joe just directed him to here about an hour ago on the phone.

And considering a bit of the organization, Clark's the purist who goes for combinatorics, Rich is the lunati... pragmatist who started this, and I, since I would prefer watching Strip Checkers to ChessBoxing, well, I guess that makes me the impurist.


On that note, I have argued that if something will get people to play more abstract strategy games, you do it. You find the right spot for it and context, but you don't say no. That is why I have been what seems to be not a purist. Key is to have things not flow WAY out of control that you lose meaning, but you do get growth.

I personally would say YES Strip Checkers would be suitable under IAGO technically. HOWEVER, I don't think that is the right direction to go to foster growth of abstract strategy games. I believe ChessBoxing is more appropriate, because I believe ignoring gender, and so on, and focusing on competitiveness, is what is the best approach to be able to bring about drama that is needed, and azlso be acceptable.

Anyhow, just an FYI, I have other project stuff I am working on. You will see Joe and others doing more IAGO things than myself at this point. A part of this other project stuff is looking to get something up like Meetup for gamers, that is comparable, but also free. This is NOT in place at this time, and it is coming along slowly.
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Richard Hutnik
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CDRodeffer wrote:
joejoyce wrote:
I guess Clark is reading this thread - hey Clark, if you're not reading this, let me know so I can tell you to read it, it's good [...]
And considering a bit of the organization, Clark's the purist who goes for combinatorics
Joe, just to confirm, I'm not reading this, but feel free to remind me to read it if I fail to timely chime in on something.

Yes, I confess that I'm (one of) the people in the camp who tends to apply the term "abstract strategy" to combinatorial games rather than using the term "abstract" to refer to relative mechanistic removal from the subject, setting or theme of a game.


I think you need to account for both theming issues, and the combinatorial side, when dealing with abstract strategy games. Failure to do this, results in some results that end up not making sense to the world, and making abstract strategy games more accessible. BGG, as I see it, has problems with shoving anything that is themeless into the abstract strategy games category, even if the strategy component is primary to what the game is about (see deduction games like Mastermind). Conversely, you have the purist side that would end up taking a combinatorial Euro game, like Shadow of the Emperor, which the world wouldn't lump in with chess, and their definition would cause Shadow of the Emperor to be considered an "abstract strategy game".

The purist side would also emphatically argue that you MUST call abstract strategy games, "abstract games". It is from this that IAGO got its name, but the other half that makes IAGO work, is the name Iago it has, which alludes to Shakespeare and competitive thinking. I am sure people here see issues if you were to call an organization like IAGO, Abstract Strategy Society, for example.
 
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Richard Hutnik
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FiveStars wrote:
joejoyce wrote:

After 4th grade, I held checkers in very little esteem. But the game in the US is ugly... But I am now 62


This kind of prejudice is typical. Maybe it's not too late to learn Checkers (not just the rules).


Hey Ralf, from a social acceptance standpoint, in the US, there are several things that are considered "ugly" about checkers here:
1. The sets themselves have issues. People involved with checkers professionally find horror in the red and black pieces on a red and black board. Checkers is considers such a throwaway game here, that people just sell them, and follow this pattern mindlessly. It is done, because it is always what people do.
2. In the United States, the game has a LARGE stigma associated with it, that it is seen as something for old men, or maybe children. It isn't taken seriously in any degree, and is considered a waste of time.

Consider this ad done by an insurance company that used checkers in a negative way:



Yes, checkers is not seen as mattering. Everyone knows what it is, and can relate to it in the ad. BUT, don't ask to play that, as it is what you retire to when you aren't active. Now THIS is ugly to me.
 
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christian freeling
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docreason wrote:
I think you need to account for both theming issues, and the combinatorial side, when dealing with abstract strategy games.

In this thread the subject is even more narrowed down. With my previous post I wanted to steer it back to the title it has, but obviously I failed. I cannot keep threads from being hijacked. My apologies.

I thank you all for showing interest in my work, and I'll leave the thread now to the old men to fight over an old game snore .
 
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Richard Hutnik
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christianF wrote:
docreason wrote:
I think you need to account for both theming issues, and the combinatorial side, when dealing with abstract strategy games.

In this thread the subject is even more narrowed down. With my previous post I wanted to steer it back to the title it has, but obviously I failed. I cannot keep threads from being hijacked. My apologies.

I thank you all for showing interest in my work, and I'll leave the thread now to the old men to fight over an old game snore .


Sorry about this. I was informed of the thread and I came into it. I am sorry if I ended up derailing things.
 
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christian freeling
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docreason wrote:
I was informed of the thread and I came into it.

In the usual way I might add, braying "Iago ... Iago ... Iago ...Iago" and posting remarkable insights such as "I personally would say YES Strip Checkers would be suitable under IAGO technically."

Did you read the title? If anything, the 'sub-subject' was the evolution of Draughts.

It's like discussing the evolution of cars, and in comes Ralf Gering to inform us all emphatically that we never really appreciated the T-ford and next the whole discussion is about the T-ford and its lack of appreciation.
Does it actually drive? Ralf: "the essence of a car is standing still."

You didn't derail the thread, you just gave it the last push.

I'll be back when the Mu applet is launched, later this year. Not that you or Ralf should care.
 
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christian freeling
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christianF wrote:
I'll be back when the Mu applet is launched, later this year.

It so happened that life went on. I stopped pursuing new games, so therse recent additions are mainly solidified loose ends.
With one exception.

As you all know, a squaregrid with one set of diagonals is topologically equivalent with the hexgid:



While considering the board of Alquerque in a different context, I noticed that this grid, too, is obtained by removing half the diagonals from the square grid, albeit half of both directions intead of all in one direction.



This led to the question whether these 'twins' might have some properties in common, and that of course led to 'connection' and games like Hex, Twixt and Crossway. So here is Query.

As far as I could check it's new (quite surprisingly so), and the name Query doesn't show up at BBG either so I expect no complaints on that front.
The rules are what you'de expect: Black and White take turns to put one stone on a vacant intersection of the board. Black begins by putting one stone, after which White is entiteld to a swap.
White tries to connect the upper and lower side of the board, Black the left and right side, following the lines of the board. The cornerpoints belong to both sides.

Not an 'invention' actually, more something I stumbled over accidentally.

Is it a fun game? I don't know. I can predict Mu's behaviour because it's a self explanatory organism. Here I've got no clue except logic.
I'm not attempting a formal proof here, but it would seem that one connection excludes the other, and that mutual blockade is impossible. Clearly there are strong and weak points, eights and fours, and within both sets there will probably be stronger points nearer the center, weaker points going outward. So there's a good chance the swaprule fits properly.

I must admit to the absence of any 'feeling' regarding the game's behaviour, just that it's finite and one will win. That's the one who was smarter and that's what makes it a game laugh .
 
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Michael Howe
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Reminds me of Schmittberger's Octagons, although with the board rotated, and Schmittberger split his octagons into irregular spetagons. And Schmittberger felt that the connectivity-7 spaces on his board were so much stronger than the connectivity-4 that he allowed a player to play two of the latter per turn. Query has c-8 and c-4, so I'd be concerned that the former would be so much more important than the latter as to unbalance the game. Players would play on almost all of the c-8 before playing on any of the c-4. Can you give us a sample problem where c-4 play is critical?
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Joe Joyce
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christianF wrote:
christianF wrote:
I'll be back when the Mu applet is launched, later this year.

It so happened that life went on. I stopped pursuing new games, so therse recent additions are mainly solidified loose ends.
With one exception.

As you all know, a squaregrid with one set of diagonals is topologically equivalent with the hexgid:



While considering the board of Alquerque in a different context, I noticed that this grid, too, is obtained by removing half the diagonals from the square grid, albeit half of both directions intead of all in one direction.



This led to the question whether these 'twins' might have some properties in common, and that of course led to 'connection' and games like Hex, Twixt and Crossway. So here is Query.

As far as I could check it's new (quite surprisingly so), and the name Query doesn't show up at BBG either so I expect no complaints on that front.
The rules are what you'de expect: Black and White take turns to put one stone on a vacant intersection of the board. Black begins by putting one stone, after which White is entiteld to a swap.
White tries to connect the upper and lower side of the board, Black the left and right side, following the lines of the board. The cornerpoints belong to both sides.

Not an 'invention' actually, more something I stumbled over accidentally.

Is it a fun game? I don't know. I can predict Mu's behaviour because it's a self explanatory organism. Here I've got no clue except logic.
I'm not attempting a formal proof here, but it would seem that one connection excludes the other, and that mutual blockade is impossible. Clearly there are strong and weak points, eights and fours, and within both sets there will probably be stronger points nearer the center, weaker points going outward. So there's a good chance the swaprule fits properly.

I must admit to the absence of any 'feeling' regarding the game's behaviour, just that it's finite and one will win. That's the one who was smarter and that's what makes it a game :laugh: .

I recently started doing a games focus group/workshop for teens in a court-ordered program, concentrating on abstracts. Mephisto appears to be an ideal game for this. Where might one find the scoring for the "streets"? I didn't notice it in earlier comments.

One of the games I brought was Go, and I was looking at using the board for a connection game. If you place the stones on the intersections, you run into the problem of having one square with alterenating corners black and white. This is an ambiguous situation. I decided that in this situation, a player could place a stone directly into the square, joining the 2 diagonally opposite friendly corners and blocking the opponent's 2 corners from ever linking up. And that would be the center stone's only use, connecting the corners of the square it occupies, and blocking the opponent's path through that area [square and its 4 corners].Never got any farther than that with the idea.

That is, until your post quoted above. After looking at it for a while, I realized the topology should be the same for your board here, my way of using the Go board for a simple connection game, and an octagon and square tiling of the plane, no?

EDIT: This wass posted before I saw Michael Howe's reply. Would the Go-board situation I described be a reasonable answer, Michael?
 
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christian freeling
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mhowe wrote:
Query has c-8 and c-4, so I'd be concerned that the former would be so much more important than the latter as to unbalance the game. Players would play on almost all of the c-8 before playing on any of the c-4. Can you give us a sample problem where c-4 play is critical?
Hi Michael, no, unless you consider a vacant four with alternating adjacent eights as critical.



I never played it and presumably won't for the foreseeable future because I'm otherwise occupied, the 'context' I mentioned regarding Alquerque.

I share your feeling and so does Zick. The reason I posted it anyway is because of the 'twin' relationship between this tesselation and the hexgrid: do any of the hexgrid's properties shine through here? It's not rethorical: I don't know.

A swap would probably raise questions like "a four in the center or an eight near the edge?". But again, I suck at Hex and 30 years of havannah leave me struggling at LG .

But there are two players and a probably decent swap, no imbalance there. If eights are more important, then try to do without fours and see where it leads. My guess is: into fours, eventually.

But my guess is as good as yours, or at least that's what I hope.

P.S. Wayne's idea may not be so bad (they usually aren't). One c-8 or two c-4rs per turn looks very appealing.
 
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sunday silence
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First of all this is a wonderful thread. Best thread EVAH!

I would like to ask to rather theoretical questions, but before making a separate thread for them I thought I would ask them here assuming this thread is still alive and the various personages assembled still have an interest/still breathing....

Q1) Which regional main line variant of chess do you think is closest to the original? By original I mean whatever non dice thing emerged out of India or wherever. Do you think 9x9 was original? Perhaps more importantly which pawn move/capture do you think original?

Q2) More of an idea. We go round and round with these checkers variants all the time. Christian's concept (should I say "reason to exist"?) of getting back to the basics of games such as checkers and discovering interesting combinations in the barest rule set is well thought out...

Having said that, It seems to me that one of the odd rules about checkers that sometimes bothers me and lately seems to be really bugging me is Why the Mandatory Capture?

Well okay, I guess it's obvious otherwise the game would be blocked.

WHat if a game inventor said this? The concept of huffing, or forced capture is an after-thought probably added many years after the original when it became obvious the position was easily blocked. Surely the original game had no forced capture. Or if it did surely this makes the game less pure. I mean take chess or take almost any game, when it's your move you cant be forced to make a certain move. That ruins the spirit of the game in a certain way...

Okay so far I think of several bad things about forced captures: it's an afterthought, it's another rule, it's not pure, and it violates a certain freedom of action I asssociate with games.

So are hypothetical game inventor says:

"what is the PUREST form of checkers that we can invent that does not force the players to capture?

Would the result be interesting?

What do YOU think?
 
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Joe Joyce
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sundaysilence wrote:
First of all this is a wonderful thread. Best thread EVAH!
I would like to ask to rather theoretical questions, but before making a separate thread for them I thought I would ask them here assuming this thread is still alive and the various personages assembled still have an interest/still breathing....
Q1) Which regional main line variant of chess do you think is closest to the original? By original I mean whatever non dice thing emerged out of India or wherever. Do you think 9x9 was original? Perhaps more importantly which pawn move/capture do you think original?
Q2) More of an idea. We go round and round with these checkers variants all the time. Christian's concept (should I say "reason to exist"?) of getting back to the basics of games such as checkers and discovering interesting combinations in the barest rule set is well thought out...
Having said that, It seems to me that one of the odd rules about checkers that sometimes bothers me and lately seems to be really bugging me is Why the Mandatory Capture?
Well okay, I guess it's obvious otherwise the game would be blocked.
WHat if a game inventor said this? The concept of huffing, or forced capture is an after-thought probably added many years after the original when it became obvious the position was easily blocked. Surely the original game had no forced capture. Or if it did surely this makes the game less pure. I mean take chess or take almost any game, when it's your move you cant be forced to make a certain move. That ruins the spirit of the game in a certain way...
Okay so far I think of several bad things about forced captures: it's an afterthought, it's another rule, it's not pure, and it violates a certain freedom of action I asssociate with games.
So are hypothetical game inventor says:
"what is the PUREST form of checkers that we can invent that does not force the players to capture? Would the result be interesting?
What do YOU think?

As for chess, I think it depends on which way it spread. Chess apparently developed along the Silk Routes, in northern India. From there, it spread both east and west. It spread west along the Silk Road. In Persia, it was Shatranj. I suspect this is the closest to the original, for various reasons. But we may never know. Chess is the most plastic boardgame ever invented, spawning roughly ten thousand variants as a very reasonable estimate. All the great regional variants are clearly chess, but just as clearly, have been changed from the original by different forces.

The original, Chaturanga, survives as a board and pieces, apparently in two versions, neither of which we have the rules to. One version is set up similarly to shatranj, although the exact positions of the king and "queen" were not constant. Sometimes kings faced each other, and sometimes kings faced "queens". The original boards were uncheckered, and 8x8.

An earlier version had 4 sides, with king, elephant, horse, boat, and 4 pawns each. The 4 sides were set up in the corners in a pinwheel-like pattern. This is the dice game. The closest in appearance is the Persian game, shatranj. Today's western chess, as exemplified by [the ideals of] F.I.D.E., mirrors that original shatranj/2-player chaturanga game.

The games that travelled east are more problematic. Looking at a map, the next [major] country eastward from India on the Silk Road is China. Clearly, the game is different in China. But the differences with Shogi, the game of Japan, are curious, because shogi shows clear signs of being influenced by xiangqi, but it also shows other influences, possibly even from the western game. Korea's Jianggi is xiangqi-descended, but Burmese chess, Sittuyin, may be the connection with "western" chess the Japanese game seems to show. The Burmese game shows close connections to Chaturanga, and Burma, modern Myanmar, is directly east of India, and traded with India by sea during the time of the Silk Routes, and before. And sea routes ran all along the southeast coast of Asia, all the way to Japan.

This, of course, is speculation. The history of games is notable for its lack of such history. Pawns are an interesting piece of the puzzle. I believe the diagonal capture is the oldest rule we know of, from the first known rules, those of shatranj. This is not to say that the original move, now unknown, was not the directly forward move and capture of shogi and xiangqi. But Sittuyin also uses the diagonal capture and the single step only of shatranj pawns.

As for checkers, what sorts of rules would replace mandatory capture? How about mutual annihilation? When it's a player's turn, if s/he cannot take an action, s/he loses. Allowable actions are:
- slide one checker diagonally forward [maybe king]
- jump one or more enemy checkers
- if you cannot move or jump, you must blow up one friendly checker of your choice, removing it and any checkers in the 4 adjacent squares
- after an explosion, there are two options:
-- other player then moves
-- owning player moves after exploding a checker.
But I know nothing about checkers. I know there are undoubtedly many better ideas out there.

As for respect, specifically to Michael and Christian, we might move this discussion to the current 'interest in chess and checkers variants' thread, or a new thread. This is supposed to be a thread about Christian's games. ;-) Joe
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sunday silence
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yes I'll restart the thread as another, give me a day or two..
 
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Harald Korneliussen
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Hmm, this one looks interesting. Just a quick clarification: You write that one may grow "any or all" groups by one stone. Does that mean I can grow two of my three groups, or is it either one or all? I'm guessing the first but it's a bit ambiguous as written.
 
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Benedikt Rosenau
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If you do not start a new group, you can grow each of your groups by one stone. But connecting groups counts as growing all groups involved..
 
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