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Ard Ri» Forums » General

Subject: Reduced movement- who does that favour? rss

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Darren Mac
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This is an aggressive game. If I am playing it correctly (and I may not be ), the throne and corners are both out of bounds (except for the king), and hostile (even for the king).


Because the board is so congested, and there are so many hostile squares, the single space movement, and it's reduced mobility, are a huge, important departure from similar games.

So my question is: does the reduced mobility help the defender or the attacker? The defender already has a difficult challenge.
I guess I have 2 questions:

Do you think the reduced mobility is meant to balance the game more to help the defender?

DOES the reduced mobility ACTUALLY help the defender in practice?

I'm asking these questions, because as a complete novice, I am having trouble ever winning with the defender.

Thanks in advance for any reply!
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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It strengthens the attackers' already sizable advantage to nearly overwhelming in my experience.
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Jon
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Traditional games that have survived the test of time and ancient games that have not are a part of our heritage.
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m'n - the Egyptian hieroglyph for board game, also signifying "stability" and used phonetically as in the last syllable of "Tutankhamun"
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On a 7 x 7 board, I prefer playing hnefatafl with 8 attackers versus 4 defenders (plus the king). This variant of hnefatafl makes for a faster moving, less congested game. It is in the BGG database as Brandubh. How balanced it is would depend on the players' playing strength but it definitely favours the defenders compared to 16 attackers versus 8 defenders.
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Darren Mac
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Thanks so much for the quick replies! I'm glad to hear that the reduced mobility plays in favour of the attacker - not because I want an impossible challenge, but rather to verify what I was finding.

Have either of you tried Ard Ri with traditional movement? Does that give the defender a chance?
 
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Darren Mac
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Actually, now that I think about it, have either of you (or anyone) seen a 'player aid' for the various incarnations of Tafl games? Not to dumb it down, and I suppose the research is part of the allure, but it seems, beyond a standard setup and board size associated with each 'name', the following can vary for each type:

Liberties to capture King - 2 or 4
Throne - out of bounds and/or hostile
Corners - out of bound and/or hostile
Initial move - attacker or defender
Victory condition - edge or corner
Can King participate in Capture
Pieces move- 1 or unlimited

I'm sure there's more, but that's what jumps to mind.

Anyone seen these summarized in a chart or aid?

I know the other problem with this is that these options aren't unanimously agreed upon, but perhaps a 'most common' entry for each.

I think it would be interesting to see this, followed by perhaps an 'opinion' entry....who, given these conditions, does the game seem to favour. I.e. Strongly attacker, or weakly attacker, etc.

Given the historical nature of these games, and the fact that there is debate over these very things for each game, this is probably just me trying to inappropriately force a clockwork on an historical orange as it were, but I thought I would ask, for discussion's sake.
 
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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I think that my Geeklist of reviews might be what you mean.
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Darren Mac
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Boardgamegeek is one of my favourite sites. On this site, your geeklist is probably the single most informative, 'game-applicable' thing I've read. Not to embarrass you, but when non-gaming friends of mine see this site, and think its a collection of summarized Monopoly sessions, I show them your list. It radiates credibility.

I think I lazily wondered if, in your research ( or anyone's), you had come across a summary or chart of sorts.

I think it would make the family of games more accessible to the rookie, but really, given all of your work on that list, creating my own would be easy - you've done all of the heavy lifting.
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Damian Walker
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My experience with ard ri differs slightly from Moshe's. I find that, where pieces move like rooks, the attackers will win the game in a very short time. Only four moves are required to form a complete blockade, and the defenders have no opportunity to stop this, even if they move first. It's irrelevant whether the king wins at the edge or the corner, or how he's captured--he never has the opportunity to get anywhere.

With pieces limited to adjacent squares, the attackers still win, but it takes a little longer. The defenders being similarly limited, still have immense trouble breaking out. It's for this reason, along with the lack of any contemporary mention of a game called "ard ri", that I think this is just a modern made-up thing.

The first appearance I know of for this board layout is David Parlett's 1999 book The Oxford History of Board Games, where it's described as "conjectural" and probably wasn't play-tested. He doesn't mention a game of "ard ri" at all, and I can't find any historical reference to the name.

If you've spent time or money acquiring a nice board for the game, the only suggestion I can give is to echo Jon: put away half of the pieces and play brandub on it! If a Scottish heritage is a requirement for your playing pleasure, then I have a suggestion here. I've only play-tested it enough to verify that it's more balanced than the 25-piece ard ri, but I'm not sure if it's as well-balanced as brandub.
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