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Ponte del Diavolo» Forums » Variants

Subject: Ponte rss

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Ralf Gering
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The original rules are clumsy and artificial, they lack elegance.

I therefore suggest to change them:

* The game is always played on a 12x12 board.
* A move consists of either placing stones or a bridge. The placement is similar to Ponte del Diavolo, but it is also permitted to place just one or zero stones (i.e. to pass a move). The bridges are built as in Ponte del Diavolo.
* The game ends when both players pass.
* There are no tie-breaking rules (they are particularly artificial and against the spirit of the game).
* The other rules of Ponte del Diavolo are also used in Ponte.

I call the variant Ponte and avoid the "devil" because some people expressed dismay over this dark part of the name.
 
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David Molnar
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This is more elegant how?
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Quinn Swanger
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FiveStars wrote:
The original rules are clumsy and artificial, they lack elegance.

I therefore suggest to change them:

* The game is always played on a 12x12 board.
* A move consists of either placing stones or a bridge. The placement is similar to Ponte del Diavolo, but it is also permitted to place just one or zero stones (i.e. to pass a move). The bridges built as in Ponte del Diavolo.
* The game ends when both players pass.
* There are no tie-breaking rules (they are particularly artificial and against the spirit of the game).
* The other rules of Ponte del Diavolo are also used in Ponte.

I call the variant Ponte and avoid the "devil" because some people expressed dismay over this dark part of the name.


I think the tie-breaking rules have an inner logic that are not immediately apparent. I'm confident they were honed through play-testing and they certainly coincide with my experience. Playing two tiles is the riskier move than playing a lone bridge because it involves a commitment to somehow turn those tiles into points or else erase the existing "flexibility" of previous tiles by making them into static islands. Playing a bridge, on the other hand, is like "cashing out" (akin to grabbing territory in Go as opposed to the vagueness, but potentially larger payoff of influence), or nearly so, with the added benefit of not revealing information to your opponent, hence giving him information as to how to direct his next play.

It simply takes more effort and risk to complete 3 islands than it does 2 islands with a bridge (both are worth 3 points), so if at the end of the game you find yourself tied with your opponent but one of you has more actual islands, then the player with more islands ought to be rewarded for his riskier play by being given a tie break! I've observed and deduced similar logic in the tie breaks for many multiplayer Euros.

Regarding the second level tie-breaks going to the player with the most bridges, this involves an added layer of strategic thought at higher levels of play. You want to make sure that you consider the possible future ramifications of the placement of your tiles and bridges in order to potentially have to maximize their number at the end of a close game.

Therefore, I think the rules are fine as they are. However, I do agree with you regarding 12x12. That is the superior game and in discussions with Martin, that was apparently his original design before being talked into a quicker, more palatable (i.e., sellable) smaller board.

And I tend to just naturally shorten this game's name to "Ponte" anyway when casually referring to it.
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Martin Ebel
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Thank you Quinn,
You explain it better then i can.
The "dark" side of the name of the game is no dark side, but just the name of a little bridge in Venice.
But there are some player of my game, who play this game very aggressive.
So the player, who play it more intuitive and defensive, may name it just "Ponte"
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Ralf Gering
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I am the highest ranked Ponte del Diavolo player at Brettspielnetz for the last 539 days. So I can tell you that the game is not about the number of islands or bridges. It is never a strategic concept during the actual game play. The game is about territorial influence, splitting the board to your advantage and effectiveness (not wasting moves). Therefore the tie-breaking rules are artificial and avoiding them is more elegant. Even the normal endgame lacks elegance, because you are either forced to make meaningless moves or you are not permitted to make moves that score (that is because the game has ended before it actually is finished). PdD has a lot in common with Go and a little bit with Hex. There are even Ko fights in spirit, but not a repetition of board positions. That is you can be forced to delay an important move (which is always a bridge) because you have to respond to a threat elsewhere first. The player who got more of these threats is able to make the move that has been delayed.
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Quinn Swanger
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The number of islands and bridges is a strategic concept during my actual game play. And I better pay attention to them because they break ties.
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Martin Ebel
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Best wishes ,Quinn, to your greast fight in the PdD tournament on yourturnmyturn.com against mave. The giants of PdD islandbuilder mave and zugzwang are now in the semi finals. So i hope i will see them as opponents in the final.
The best PdD gamer i know one against the other.
 
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Ralf Gering
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qswanger wrote:
The number of islands and bridges is a strategic concept during my actual game play. And I better pay attention to them because they break ties.


In fact, I am just playing a game which will end in a draw in about 10 moves because even the number of bridges will be equal. The game does not need any tie-breaking rules because they are exceedingly rare anyway. The strategic concept which leads to victory is not about having the largest number of bridges or islands. It is about making effective moves. That is to achieve the largest point score with the fewest moves. In other words, you try to connect as many islands as you can with the fewest bridges. Obviously you do not understand the basic strategic concept of the game which is about not wasting moves e.g. by making unnecessary bridges (which loses each time 2 tempi) or by placing stones that cannot develop into islands (these makes your opponent to have more dead stones or dead bridges). BTW, I am number one of the Ponte del Diavolo ranking list of Brettspielnetz for the last 658 days, and have won 81% out of 145 tournament games.
 
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Quinn Swanger
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Obviously
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High rollers encounter!? And YTMT hasn't deleted them yet, woo! Best of all, Zugs finally met his match! (though granted, he might be a bit rusty).

*/me pops some popcorn*

And would you look at that, a tie broken by a single bridge! How very appropriate (obviously!)

Lucky I just got back from the Old Fortress, with a brief stint at guess what bridge...



...and took a look at the forums (sorry, missed the devil's barge by a goat's hair).

Martin, when is the next world championship? Make sure to invite Ralf, so things can be settled the old fashioned way, since eloquence can't win him over. ;)
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Quinn Swanger
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Yeah, that was a pretty thrilling game Chem Tox! Truth be told, it was the only one of the four final games against Mave in the YTMT tournament I was ever truly in beyond the early middlegame. I indeed lost by one bridge, and I can directly attribute that to inefficient moves made earlier that while unable to force an increase in my score would have nonetheless prepared me better for the looming endgame bridge-fest tiebreak. I do confess to being rusty as I had barely played at all the previous three years before joining that last tournament with the then 2nd highest rated player. But I cannot take anything away from Mave. He played brilliantly and his games (particularly our final games) ought to be studied.
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Martin Ebel
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WOW ! What a wunderful picture. Nearly better then the cover painting of Ponte. And you wear my selfmade amateur - silk - painted tie (and you didn´t mind, that other will see you with that tiemodest).
i am sorry to say, that i will not organize a new best - off championchip.
I feel tired.
I see that it runs well with tournaments and yearly championships on jibent.nl , yourturnmyturn.com and brettspielnetz.de
Perhaps the best of you PdD Gamer will meet on one of these platforms.
There is one PdD shawl i could hand over to the next winner.
 
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Martin Ebel
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Dear Quinn,
every day i had a look on the games an i was so disapointed that you lost. But Mave is realy brilliant (as you say). But i had the feeling, that you did not play anbitious (perhaps too much games you won before in this tournament?).
Anyway: it is heart warming to see so much good player like my game. Thank you to all of you!
 
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Chem Tox
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qswanger wrote:
Yeah, that was a pretty thrilling game Chem Tox!

Aaaamen brotha! Do you recall when did you realize you were going to bridgefest 2k? I'm guessing Mave gave it away with 29. a11=a9. And then the scoundrel let you do 33.. j10=l12. Slapity slap!

qswanger wrote:
Mave [...] played brilliantly and his games (particularly our final games) ought to be studied.


We can safely assume he was taking more than his usual brief seconds of thinking time. I got my copy stashed for posterity already!

Do you write game stuff anywhere? You should! At the very least, you could copy-paste your forum and email analyzes to a blog, would make a good read--particularly for those of us struggling to vocalize the "feelings" of the game, something you do with practised mastery.

 
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Chem Tox
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gdotambler wrote:
And you didn´t mind, that other will see you with that tie:modest:).

It's the first tie I ever owned--and the only one I would ever wear. ;)

It was a pleasure to meet you from the very first Ponte--I still distinctly remember our (and my very!) first game, building pyramids over venetian belltowers. Counter-colonization! ;)


gdotambler wrote:
i am sorry to say, that i will not organize a new best - off championchip.
I feel tired.

Awww, come on now Martin, no quitting before the show is over. The best way to not feel tired is to get really tired on purpose! ;) Do you practice some kind of physical activity? My friends had great fun doing T'ai chi in das Vaterland, you've got some great groups and very nice people there.

Still, I'll start Ponting again if only I can steal some time to work. If Zugs wants to get in shape too, we could do a big tourney--I'm sure Mave would love a rematch. ;)
 
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Ralf Gering
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I played 157 games, won 128, but lost 28. There was 1 draw. There was never a game that was decided by the two artificial tie-breaking rules, although there was one game which would have made use of them if my opponent hadn't made a mistake about 10 moves before the game ended. The draw rate of Ponte del Diavolo might be approximately 0.5% to 1.5%, of Ponte about 1% more. Two rules for reducing a minor draw rate by about 1% could be called an overkill, it is certainly unnecessary.

Of course Mr Ebel made the tie-breaking rules before he had much experience with his game and obviously he expected many more draws to occur.
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Martin Ebel
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You are right, FiveStars:
When PdD was published, testgamer and publisher supposed, that with more experience draws would occur.
One gamer also told me with emotion, that a draw was a lost game for him, not worth to beginn.
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