Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 Hide
25 Posts

Tixel» Forums » Variants

Subject: How many pieces are suggested to play with larger boards? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I appreciate the accessibility of the game though, I think it'd be fun to play the grand Tixel for a change.
So my question is, how many pieces should be used to play with a larger board (7x7 to 11x11 for example) ?
1 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

There is no official 'grand Tixel' at the moment. I also haven't tried a bigger boards with more pieces myself yet. I guess a good idea to start with is to keep the ratio of pieces to boardspaces about the same.

The ratio for the base game is 20/36 which is about 55.55%.

I suggest 14 pieces per player for a 7 by 7 board (~57.14%) and 35 pieces per player on an 11 by 11 grid (~57.85%).

Please do let me know how the games turn out, okay? I guess games on larger boards will take quite a while to play...

I'm currently also having a Tixel AI engine developed. The engine will be able to cope with different board sizes (and board shapes) and variable numbers of pieces (both regular and expansion pieces). One can even vary the number and types of pieces per player.

Thanks,
Martijn
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

One other thing that I think might become relevant and very interesting for Tixel on larger boards is the use of boardspaces that aren't accessible to pieces, but that can have active (and inactive) pieces adjacent to them.

This is something that I already came up with for Tix; in Pancerola's version of that game we included special stones that can be used to mark such boardspaces:



You can place the markers on the board before play begins, but another idea I have is to give each player a certain number of such markers which they can then place (as a move) during normal play. Once placed, the markers stay where they are.

Martijn
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you so much for the answer!
I hope I'd be able to give you my impression of the play in a few days.

Martinus wrote:
I'm currently also having a Tixel AI engine developed. The engine will be able to cope with different board sizes (and board shapes) and variable numbers of pieces (both regular and expansion pieces). One can even vary the number and types of pieces per player.

Cool! I'm looking forward to it.

Martinus wrote:
One other thing that I think might become relevant and very interesting for Tixel on larger boards is the use of boardspaces that aren't accessible to pieces, but that can have active (and inactive) pieces adjacent to them.

Sounds interesting, but where can I get the detailed rules for that?
1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
fuchsundbrunnen wrote:

Martinus wrote:
One other thing that I think might become relevant and very interesting for Tixel on larger boards is the use of boardspaces that aren't accessible to pieces, but that can have active (and inactive) pieces adjacent to them.

Sounds interesting, but where can I get the detailed rules for that?


For Tixel there aren't any 'official' rules for this idea yet. Below is what it says in the Tix rulebook:

VARIANT
-There are six glass pebbles included in the game. They may be used to block some of the board spaces. The blocked spaces are considered as "off-board spaces". It is not allowed to place a cube on them, or to slide through them. It is possible, however, that a corner of an active cube sticks out to one of those spaces.
- You may begin with the boards depicted below. They offer some interesting tactical possibilities not present in the base game.
- Experiment!


And here's a photo of the Dutch rules (but the 'boards depicted below' are there too...):




Like I mentioned earlier I haven't yet really played with larger boards, nor have I experimented much with using these markers in combination with the Tixel pieces. Up to now I focused on getting what I consider to be 'the one base game' as good as can be. And I settled on a 6 by 6 board in order to keep the duration of a single game in check. (EDIT: and a 6 by 6 board can also be divided up into four 3 by 3 boards to maybe allow for Tixel modular boards in the future)

About how to use the markers: The idea with Tix was to place the markers on the board before play begins. You can do the same in Tixel, of course.

But another idea I should look into more (especially when using larger boards and more pieces) is to give each player a certain number of markers at the beginning of the game, which they can then place as a move during normal play. Once placed a marker stays where it is, it's never moved.

Martijn
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you, Martijn.
I'll definitely try this variant during the next gaming session!
1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The AI engine will be able to handle boards that fit inside a 9 by 9 grid. You can make any board within that grid; it'll take a string of 1's and 0's as input. A one indicates a normal boardspace and a zero indicates an inaccessible boardspace (which is essentially the same as a boardspace with a marker on it).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
That's amazing.
But unfortunately, I couldn't use TixelVisualizer for some reason (due to the "no 'input.txt' file found in ~" thing).
Since I'm not really good with computers, I don't know what to do about it (I'm a freakin' board gamer after all).
But it's ok because I was planning to make physical components with some cardboard.

If there would be an iOS app, I'd definitely purchase it though (even if 6x6 board only).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

Ah, right... Well, the visualizer isn't a game as such. It's merely an application that takes an input file (containing 'Tixel Algebraic Notation') and then outputs images of all the moves that are described in the file.

There aren't any actual plans for an iOS or Android app yet. But I hope to be able to get a programmer onboard based on there already being an AI engine game.

I am working with a friend on making a web-based version of the visualizer. We also intend to use that front end interface for making an interactive (read: playable) online version of the game.

Best,
Martijn
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Martinus wrote:
I am working with a friend on making a web-based version of the visualizer. We also intend to use that front end interface for making an interactive (read: playable) online version of the game.

Sorry it's a bit late to reply, but I'm really looking forward to the online version!

By the way, we played 5 games of Tixel during our gaming session the day before yesterday (2 games on a 6x6, 1 game on a 7x7 and 2 games on a 9x9 board).
The standard Tixel (6x6) was entertaining as usual, and I felt that it's getting more and more interesting each time.

We also played a game on 7x7 board though, it seemed that nothing was really different from the standard game.
However I felt that it's more comfortable to play the game on a board with an uneven number of spaces and the center square (maybe because I love Shogi and Go).

Finally we played 2 game with a 9x9 board and 46 pieces (23 per player).

Some details are as follws:
I played the Gote (the second player / white) in all the games of Tixel we played that day and my opponent was fairly (not completely) new to the game.
1st game: Gote won in 112 moves (Sente neither had pieces to drop nor movable pieces on the board) / Playing time: 63 minutes
2nd game: Gote won in 88 moves (Sente had no active pieces on the board) / Playing time: 70 minutes


The end of our first game on my homemade 9x9 board


Obviously the board is larger and it took longer to finish the game though, the feeling of the play was almost exactly the same as the standard game.
The games were tense and intriguing from start to finish and filled with many memorable situations.

We played the first game very tactically and it took more than 100 moves to finish though,
we played the second game a bit more strategically, using time to plan ahead and set traps, and I managed to smash all the enemy pieces in 88 moves.
That was a really great moment and I love the concept of chaining moves.

The game seemed to be more strategic than the standard game, maybe because the increase of the possible moves allowed a novice like me to find (and overlook) some cool moves to set up in any situation.
The game offers the elements I love in board games such as sacrifices, pins, discovered attacks, tenuki, zugzwang, etc and I'd love to play more and more games.

We haven't played with an 11x11 board nor the "glass pebble" variant since we didn't have time to play that day.
Although I felt that the 9x9 board was "just the right size (not for the game, just for me)" and I think 11x11 might be a bit too large, we're going to play the 11x11 Tixel in a few days (I've already made a board anyway).

As for the glass pebble variant though, my mind changed a bit after the session.
As I mentioned above, the 9x9 board seemed to be just the right size for me and I don't think we need any other pieces to block boardspaces since we have an appropriate number of Tixel pieces.
I think it's more strategic and tactical (also elegant) to use our limited amount of Tixel pieces (which can be movable or picked up) to block boardspaces.
Also, it'd be time-consuming to "test" the variant on a 9x9 board and we want to play the standard 9x9 variant more.
So I think I'll try the variant with a 6x6 board first.

That's it for now.
I'll tell you my impresstion of the play on the 11x11 board after the next session.
1 
 Thumb up
10.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

Thanks for you great post! I'm very happy that you are enjoying the game and I think it's great that you're trying it out on larger boards! I am really happy to hear that it scales so well!

I'm also very flattered with you mentioning that you like the game because of the various gameplay elements it offers. That was always a big design goal indeed.

Thank you! This really makes my day! blush
Martijn

EDIT: By the way, did you see this thread: Tixel modular board
Some of the modular boards have holes in them that are equivalent to having squares with glass pebbles on them. I think this idea is somewhere between using squares boards and using glass pebbles that are placed by players during the game...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

I've started a Tixel 7x7 game (with 14 pieces per player) against a friend... Let's see how this goes!



I have a feeling the ratio of number of pieces to board size may have to grow exponentially rather than linearly. The reason for this is that the ratio of 'edge boardspaces' to 'non-edge boardspaces' decreases as boards get larger. This relatively larger number of 'non-edge boardspaces' requires a relatively larger amount of pieces.

At least that's what my gut tells me.. I'm going to try and get someone more mathematically inclined than me to say something about this.. Or maybe you have thoughts on this?

If I look at the images of your games on larger boards, I do feel like there's more 'free room' on the board compared to the standard 6x6 Tixel with 10 pieces per player.

Thanks,
Martijn

EDIT: Some examples for various boardsizes:
Standard 6 by 6 Tixel board;
- 4 corner spaces (each corner spaces has 2 sides that are part of the 'play area', and 2 sides that aren't)
- 16 edge spaces (each edge spaces has 3 sides that are part of the 'play area', and 1 side that isn't)
- 16 center spaces (each center space has 4 sides that are part of the 'play area')

I think any formula for determining the number of pieces needed for a given board must take into account all these types of board spaces (corner, edge, center). And also the fourth possible type of board space (with only 1 side being part of the 'play area'), because these can occur on non-square boards.

So the standard 6 by 6 board can be written up as 16-16-4-0. First digit in this series are the number of board spaces with all 4 sides belonging to the play area, second digit is the number of board spaces with 3 sides belonging to the play area, etc.

Now let's look at a 7 by 7 board. The numbers for such a board are:
- 4 corner spaces
- 20 edge spaces
- 25 center spaces

And for an 11 by 11 board:
- 4 corner spaces
- 36 edge spaces
- 81 center spaces

So that's 16-16-4-0, 25-20-4-0 and 81-36-4-0 respectively. But here's a graph because a picture is worth a thousand digits:



On square boards, the number of center spaces is growing faster than the number of edge spaces. This is why I think the number of pieces needed will grow exponentially as (square) boards become bigger.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

Here's a more accurate calculation of the number of pieces I think are needed for larger boards. The new values have the string 'END' appended to them.

Here's the formula that I used to calculate the new values:

a + (b*2) + (c*3) + (d*4)

where:

a is the number of 'alcove boardspaces'
b is the number of 'corner boardspaces'
c is the number of 'edge boardspaces'
d is the number of 'center boardspaces'

The different types of boardspaces represented visually:


I used the value for a 6 by 6 board as the reference value:

0 + (4*2) + (16*3) + (16*4) = 8 + 48 + 64 = 120

So a value of 120 is equal to 20 pieces. I then calculated the values for the larger boards and expressed those as percentages of the reference value.

And then you end up with this:



So the number of pieces needed have slightly increased. For an 11 by 11 board I suggest using 37 pieces per player instead of the 35 I mentioned earlier. And for a 9 by 9 board it's now 24 (instead of 23).

These numbers are still not final though. Further tweaking of the weight factors may still be needed...

Cheers,
Martijn
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Martinus wrote:
I'm also very flattered with you mentioning that you like the game because of the various gameplay elements it offers. That was always a big design goal indeed.

Hi Martijn, thank you for making a great game! We've had tons of fun with your games.laugh

And thanks for your posts and lots of informations.
There's a lot of things to talk about.

First of all, here's a brief report of our latest gaming session.
We playde several Tixel games including 1 game of 11x11 Tixel, 2 games of standard Txel (with the glass pebble variant) and 6 games of Tix (on my iPad).

Let me talk about the 11x11 game first.
We played the game before reading your posts above, so we used 35 pieces per player.
The game took me (Gote) 75 (150 in total) moves and 74 minutes to win (we were playing fairly fast).
I was trying to smash all the enemy pieces at any moment and I manage to reduce the number of opponent's active pieces on the board to 1 in the middle of the game (and I had 5 active pieces at that point).
However, since there were so many freespaces, the opponent was able to continue placing active pieces on safe spaces.

After all, I couldn't finish the game until the opponent placed his last piece on the board.
At some point during the end game, I felt it was kind of pointless to continue the game because I thought I was obviously winning and the opponent seemed to placing pieces just to use up his pool (we don''t usually resign a game).

But at the same time, I wasn't 100 % sure I could win because the opponent was placing pieces continuously and I was kind of forced to move my pieces to deactivate them.
In fact, when I manage to deactivate opponent's last piece, I had only 1 active piece on the board and no pieces in the pool.

To be honest, the game wasn't as enjoyable as with the smaller boards.
Because I couldn't feel that the opening and the middlegame were really meaningful and I felt that the game dragged a bit.
I only played one game and I can't say anything substantial at this point though.
I think I need to play more games on smaller boards to fully appreciate this big one.
And I think the greatness of the 9x9 game is that it offers deep gameplay and at the same time, it doesn't drag and keep being intriguing till the end.

(Edit before posting: Now that I think about it again, I think I should have considered what the opponent was doing to be a normal and valid way to play. I guess I wasn't in the best mood to play a long game.)


Our first game on my homemade 11x11 board was finished by white's 75th (150th) move: j9j11SW (k11W)


Now let me talk about the modular boards and the glass pebble variant.
We played 2 games with the variant.
We started the first game with discs on four corners, and played the second game with a board with four centre spaces (c3, c4, d3, d4) blocked.

The games were refreshing and fun.
I still don't think I need glass pebbles to drop during the game though, I think this variable setup and the modular boards are great to play the game differently without much thoughts.

That said, I don't think I'd play the variants often because I think the standard game is deep enough to entertain me for the rest of my life and we don't have much time to play games everyday (I really wish you'd make an online version of 9x9 Tixel available).
In other words, I'm happy with just the base game and the bigger boards.

If you make a physical expansion or an option in online version available, I'd be happy to purchase / play though, I'm not planning to make some homemade boards for the moment.
I think I'll print some patterns on paper and play someday.


Next, let's move on to your posts above.
Just amazing. Thanks for sharing many great infomations.
I don't know anything about math though, I really respect your knowledge and efforts.

As I mentioned above, I didn't really enjoy the situation where my opponent had so many pieces in his pool.
But I'd love to play the 9x9 game with 26 (or 24) pieces per player since it seems more appropriate and adding a few pieces wouldn't change the game drastically (at least for an avarage player like me).
I think 80 pieces for the 11x11 game is a bit too much for me (at least for now) though.

Anyway, I hope this post would be somewhat helpful to you.
1 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

Thanks for another great post! Great info!

I'm currently playing a game by email on a 7 by 7 board (with 14 pieces per player) and I can already feel that it's 'working' well. I also think that a 9 by 9 board is as big as the board should get though. An 11 by 11 board is just too much!

We'll continue to work on an online version, but it will be a while yet before that is done. The AI engine is coming along nicely though, and it will be able to support board up to 9 by 9. I don't have anything concrete on iOS and/or Android apps yet, but I'm certainly trying to get those made as well. I'll keep you posted!

Thank you very much for your interest in the game and for your excellent posts here!

Best,
Martijn


1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Martinus wrote:
The AI engine is coming along nicely though, and it will be able to support board up to 9 by 9.

Thanks! I'm really looking forward to it!laugh
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Okay, here's what I currently think are the 'correct' amounts:

6x6 - 10 pieces per player
7x7 - 14 pieces per player (+4 compared to 6x6)
8x8 - 19 pieces per player (+5 compared to 7x7)
9x9 - 25 pieces per player (+6 compared to 8x8)

I am also going to test a bit with using increments of 5 pieces; 10, 15, 20 and 25 for respectively boards of 6x6, 7x7, 8x8 and 9x9. I need to try if 15 and 20 aren't too many pieces on 7x7 and 8x8. And test some more if 25 is really best on 9x9. So basically I still need to test the lot...


Cheers,
Martijn

EDIT: Here are also the amounts for boards up to 11 by 11:
10x10 - 32 pieces per player (+7 compared to 9x9)
11x11 - 40 pieces per player (+8 compared to 10x10)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Martijn, thanks for a information for the correct number of pieces.

There's something I need to tell you.
About a week ago, I was reading the rules of the game and realized that we'd been playing the game incorrectly till then.

The rules say that "a player is allowed to place a new piece only if he has at least one other active and slidable piece on the board ", but we'd been kept placing pieces as long as there was an active piece on the board and a piece in the pool, even if all the active pieces on the board couldn't move.
And we'd been treating an untouchable active piece as a sort of "guranteeed right to place a piece" or "lifeline" which can be acquired fairly easily.

The record of the games posted above is now useless.
If you've ever played a game on a 9x9 board, you might have wondered why those games took so many moves.

So, after realizing it, I decided to play several games to gather data before reporting it to you.

Some data on the 7 games we've played during a few days are as follows;
Note that all the games were played with 26 pieces per player.

The situation of the ending:
A1 = The player lost because his/her last active piece(s) on the board was deactivated by themselves (since there's nothing else they could do on his/her turn)
A2 = The player lost because his/her last active piece(s) on the board was deactivated by the opponent's final blow.
B1 = Same as A1 (but slidable pieces instead of active pieces)
B2 = Same as A2 (his/her last slidable pieces were captured / surrounded by the opponent's final blow)
Inside the brackets is the number of pieces left in the pool of the player who lost.

1st Game: Sente won in 35 (69) moves / B2 (0)
2nd Game: Gote won in 34 (68) moves / B2 (1)
3rd Game: Gote won in 22 (44) moves / B2 (15)
5th Game: Sente won in 33 (65) moves / B2 (8)
4th Game: Sente won in 43 (85) moves / Handicap game (Gote started the game with 3 pieces on the board) / B1 (2)
6th Game: Sente won in 37 (73) moves / Handicap game (Gote started the game with 3 pieces on the board) / A2 (0)
7th Game: Gote won in 37 (74) moves / Handicap game (Sente started the game with 3 pieces on the board) / B2 (1)

Most of the games took about 35 (70) moves and 30 to 40 minutes.
Note that all the games above ended when the end game condition was met and no game was finished by resigning.

Some thoughts on the correct rules;
The game was already great but with the correct rules, it became much better and razor-sharp ("sharp" is a word I use to describe a game that ends before the tension fades away and drags).
When we were playing incorrectly, we could only attack (to completely disable) a piece from the adjacent rank/file, but now we can attack from the same rank/file, which added a new dimention to the game.
Since it allows a player to finish the game almost at any moment by chaining moves, you really need to anticipate the possible threats.
Thus, the game is filled with tension from start to finish and it never drags.
The fog that hides players' strategy became thicker and the excitment of plannning increased.
Also, the importance of the position of the pieces increased.
I'd say that an inactive piece on a good position that can be reactivated later is more valuable than an active piece on a miserable position.


The picture above is the end of the 3rd game which I think is a good example that shows how "razor-sharp" the game is.
In this game, Gote (white) won in only 22 (44) moves after a big sacrifice (after letting Sente to move her piece on e9 to e1 to deactivate 4 white pieces, Gote won by surrounding the black pieces on a9 and i9).
Yes, that was a rare case and could easily be prevented if the opponent was a bit more cautious.
But still, that was a great experience that impressed us how the game can end quickly.

By the way, do you have any thoughts on handicaps?
I won all the games above (because I was playing seriously for the purpose of gathering data. I've lost a lot in casual games though) and we used a slight handicap for some games.
I let the opponents to place 3 pieces on any spaces of the board at the beginning of the game (unlike the fixed placement in Go handicaps).
It might be important to note that the 3 pieces were ones of the opponent's supply and thus they started the game with 23 pieces in the pool.
I think the handicap worked well. The opening games became a bit harder and the games took a little longer to finish.
I'm not sure how using Tix pieces works as a handicap though, I think it'd be a bit different game than a normal Tixel.
Maybe I should try it next time.

Lastly, I'd like to talk about the 11x11 games.
We played 2 games on a 11x11 board by the proper rules.
Unlike when we played incorrectly, the games were much quicker and, more importantly, very enjoyable.
Both games were played in about 60 minutes, one game took 54 (108) moves and the other took 49 (98) moves to win.


The black piece on i1 is actually inactive
(I activated it to show that it could've been reactivated.
And I forgot to reorient it before taking the picture)


Now I'm thinking that the 13x13 Tixel would be enjoyable too (it's not a joke!).
The number of the pieces for this is 59 per player, right?

Anyway, that's pretty much all I wanted to talk about.
I should've posted this a few days earlier but hope it helps you a bit.
1 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

Thanks once more for all your feedback (on larger boards)! It's great to read that you're enjoying the game. And that you're enjoying it even more now that you play by the (correct) rule that you have to have at least 1 active and slidable piece on the board at the beginning of your turn in order to stay in the game.

The reasoning behind that particular rule is that the action is happening on the board. So you have to 'stay alive' there in order to stay in the game. If you're immobile on the board you can't call in extra troops (pieces from your pool), that's the gist of it...

And indeed, if you play the game like I intend it to be played, an inactive piece on a good position that can be reactivated later is indeed more valuable than an active piece on a miserable position!
Do note though that 'an active piece on a miserable position' is valuable too because those are the sort of pieces you'll be wanting to sacrifice in order to reactivate an inactive piece! And you'll also be wanting to make inactive pieces of your opponent 'unreactivatable' while you sacrifice them!

About a 13 by 13 board: I guess 59 pieces per player is probably still okay. The '+1 more than the previous increase' mechanic doesn't hold forever though, as the ratio of pieces to board space creeps up higher and higher the bigger the boards become...

Thanks,
Martijn



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

You also asked me about my thoughts on handicaps...

I quite like your idea of allowing the weaker player to place a certain number of pieces on the board before commencing actual play. I think it's probably more effective (or less 'subtle') than having the stronger player play with a certain amount of Tix pieces instead of regular Tixel pieces.

I do think that if the difference in experience is rather large, the experienced player will very likely be able to recover from the handicap quite quickly. Having more pieces on the board is good in general (especially early on in games), but it also makes you more prone to being attacked. If you don't counter such attacks adequately you might end up in even bigger trouble...

Playing with Tix pieces instead of Tixel pieces is that they limit the stronger player (instead of giving the weaker player a headstart); Tix pieces can't be sacrificed by placing them next to an active piece that's in the same row or column.
Tix pieces can also be trapped (meaning they're not slidable anymore) by active pieces, whereas Tixel pieces can only be trapped by inactive pieces.

I intentionally didn't go 'over the top' with designing handicapping mechanisms that work perfectly to offset the difference in playing strength of two players. The real solution to an imbalance in playing strength is for the weaker player to become stronger. It's nice if a game supports handicaps to bring the 'playing strength' of players a bit closer together. But if the difference is 'too big' I really think the weaker player must become stronger, rather than the game 'bending' to accommodate all possible differences in playing strengths.

I suggested using Tix pieces instead of Tixel pieces because I liked the idea of limiting the stronger player. But your suggestion of giving the weaker player a headstart is also very practical. I think both work, with each of then having their own characteristics. Getting a headstart will help you in the opening and middle game. Playing against an opponent that is forced to use a certain number of Tix pieces might help you out in the end game (if you can keep your opponent from sacrificing all their Tix pieces early in the game...).

Cheers,
Martijn
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Karl Rauch
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the reply.
Your thoughts on hadicaps interested me more in using Tix pieces and I'll definitely give it a try.

Martinus wrote:
The real solution to an imbalance in playing strength is for the weaker player to become stronger.

True.
1 
 Thumb up
0.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Here's a function to calculate the number of pieces needed per player (p) for a square board of a certain width (w):

p = 0.5 w^2 - 2.5 w + 7


This gives the same results as the 'previous increment +1' method mentioned earlier. Do note that this is all still a work in progress but the amounts seem to be working well for boards up to 11 by 11.

And the output for boards smaller than 5 by 5 isn't practical anymore...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Karl,

I've thought and written some more about handicapping mechanics for Tixel. Read all about it here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1265104/possible-handicappi...

Cheers,
Martijn
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi,

Here's some more info on the number of pieces to use for larger boards. The numbers below are still based on the formula mentioned earlier (p = 0.5 w^2 - 2.5 w + 7) but I've now marked certain cells red, indicating that it's probably best not to use boards consisting of the corresponding number of boardspaces.

Cells are marked red if the function result is over 0.2 below or above an integer value. Cells 1 to 35 are (also) marked red for different reasons though.



Please again do note that this is all still a work in progress. In the image above I've gone up to 225 spaces. This is based on the maximum grid that the AI engine will be able to support (15 x 15 = 225 spaces).

Cheers,
Martijn

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martijn Althuizen
Netherlands
Helmond
Noord Brabant
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
badge
@m_a_r_t_ij_n
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've done lots more playtesting on the 7x7 board and I think 14 pieces per player might not be best. I'll be doing more tests with 15 pieces per player. If this turns out to be better, then the amounts for even bigger boards will likely need to be adjusted upwards as well.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.