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Subject: New game: Io rss

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christian freeling
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I had no intention to find another game, but failed. I'm working on games in that I'm making actual boards and pieces for a youtube presentation.

Like this one:


Or this one:


In that process, this new game landed out of the blue. I didn't test it, just thought it through for a couple of days.
Quote:
Io

Material
A 7x7 or 9x9 square board and 49 (81) Othello men.

Rules
One player plays white, the other black. The board is initially empty. 'Adjacent' will mean orthogonally adjacent.

White starts by placing one man. From that point on players take turns to place one man adjacent to the last man placed by the opponent and one man on a square that has only vacant adjacencies. Placements are in that order and compulsory. In this phase cornersquares are excluded from the second placement.

When the player to move can no longer make the second placement, this phase ends and his opponent must start the second phase in which corners are available and players in turn must place one man on an empty square.

Capture
Capture is custodian, orthogonal only, and applies to both phases: if a placement results in the horizontal or vertical entrapment of an opponent's man or row of men, between the placed man and a like colored man at the other end, then this man or these men are reversed to show the moving player's color.

Object
When the board is full the winner is the player with the majority of men.
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Rey Alicea
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He's Baaack!!
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christian freeling
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reyalicea wrote:
He's Baaack!!

Despite all good intentions, yes, quite embarrassing.

To make it worse, it seems a nice game, but not of the weight of Pit of Pillars. In favor of it, it seems less mechanical/more organic than Othello in that it knows neither compusory capture (in the sense of the Othello protocol) nor compulsory passes, or any passes for that matter. It feels more free.
A redeeming property is that by the moment it allows access to corners, the board is already filled with a position that will hold other subgoals to compete with taking them.

Edit: Of course a corner may be occupied in the first stage, but not with a 'free' move, only with a 'bound' one. And that requires, whether voluntary or not, the opponent's cooperation. It's also inherent in the protocol that a capture in the first phase can only be the result of a 'bound' move.
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Nick Bentley
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One question about this sucker: in trying to invent my own Othello-like games (example), with an aim to make them feel more 'free' than Othello itself, I've noticed it's hard to contrive rules that keep the early game from being passive. In many of the variants I've come up with, the players take a cautious, spread-out-before-engaging approach, which to me feels boring, if strategically sound.

How does iO do in this regard, and why?
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:

One question about this sucker: in trying to invent my own Othello-like games (example), with an aim to trying to make them more free than Othello itself, I've noticed it's hard to contrive rules that keep the early game from being passive. In many of the variants I've come up with, the players take a cautious, spread-out-before-engaging approach, which to me feels boring, if strategically sound.

How does iO do in this regard, and why?

This touches on the key issue, which is the 'one-bound-one-free' opening protocol. You were indeed one of the few who did comment on it, but I tend to feel the significance is generrally underexposed.

Finding a specific move protocol for a specific game is not uncommon. Finding a generic protocol to suit a certain category of games, like the Symple protocol and one-bound-one-free, is quite another matter. How many of these protocols are there? 1-2-2- … springs to mind, and there may be a few others, but not many. So such protocols would seem a matter of interest.

To emphasize the generic character, I have made a couple of games using one-bound-one-free: Inertia and Pit of Pillars in the ArenA, Multiplicity, Triccs, Argon and indeed this latest one in the Pit.

What struck me most about the protocol is that it adapts to the game. The considerations in Pit of Pillars differ from those in Inertia and both differ from Multiplicitry. That is a remarkable quality. How would it adapt to Io you ask? Well, for one thing it will create an explosive field because of the one-bound moves. That's why I excluded corners from free move in the first phase. Corners may be less prominent because unlike in Othello, they can be taken without capture, but they're the only squares absolutely safe from capture nonetheless, so there an incentive to take them. I wanted this incentive at the beginning of the second phase, in the context of an already explosive situation, rather than at the start of the game.

But to answer your question, the protocol keeps the early stages of the game from being passive.
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Nick Bentley
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christianF wrote:

This touches on the key issue, which is the 'one-bound-one-free' opening protocol. You were indeed one of the few who did comment on it, but I tend to feel the significance is generrally underexposed.


Agreed. That was a fantastic find.

Quote:
What struck me most about the protocol is that it adapts to the game. The considerations in Pit of Pillars differ from those in Inertia and both differ from Multiplicitry. That is a remarkable quality. How would it adapt to Io you ask? Well, for one thing it will create an explosive field because of the one-bound moves. That's why I excluded corners from free move in the first phase. Corners may be less prominent because unlike in Othello, they can be taken without capture, but they're the only squares absolutely safe from capture nonetheless, so there an incentive to take them. I wanted this incentive at the beginning of the second phase, in the context of an already explosive situation, rather than at the start of the game.

But to answer your question, the protocol keeps the early stages of the game from being passive.


I *think* I see how it will do that. I'll try to run through a game later to make sure I understand.

At the beginning of the second phase, will players lunge for the available corners most of the time? If so, it seems the dominant goal in the first phase could be to set oneself up for a corner placement in the second phase, given how powerful the corners are. Is this something you think will happen?

Oh great. I'm getting some ideas for further othelloish games. Now I will struggle to do my work for the rest of the day. Thanks for nothing.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:

This touches on the key issue, which is the 'one-bound-one-free' opening protocol. You were indeed one of the few who did comment on it, but I tend to feel the significance is generrally underexposed.


Agreed. That was a fantastic find.

Quote:
What struck me most about the protocol is that it adapts to the game. The considerations in Pit of Pillars differ from those in Inertia and both differ from Multiplicitry. That is a remarkable quality. How would it adapt to Io you ask? Well, for one thing it will create an explosive field because of the one-bound moves. That's why I excluded corners from free move in the first phase. Corners may be less prominent because unlike in Othello, they can be taken without capture, but they're the only squares absolutely safe from capture nonetheless, so there an incentive to take them. I wanted this incentive at the beginning of the second phase, in the context of an already explosive situation, rather than at the start of the game.

But to answer your question, the protocol keeps the early stages of the game from being passive.


I *think* I see how it will do that. I'll try to run through a game later to make sure I understand.

At the beginning of the second phase, will players lunge for the available corners most of the time? If so, it seems the dominant goal in the first phase could be to set oneself up for a corner placement in the second phase, given how powerful the corners are. Is this something you think will happen?

Oh great. I'm getting some ideas for further othelloish games. Now I will struggle to do my work for the rest of the day. Thanks for nothing.

Triccs, the game that triggered the emergence of the protocol, is Othelloanian too. But I mainly used it for 'storing' it.

Io, as you will have noticed, is an 'orthogonal adjacencies' game, no diagonal capture as in Othello. If diagonal capture were allowed in this context, then you could capture with a 'free' move, which would imo. make a mess of tactics, not to mention the necssity of additional rules to explain the procedures.

However, Io can be played with orthogonal and diagonal adjacencies, provided the switch is total. So in that case the first phase would also allow diagonally 'bound' placements, but free moves would be less abundant because they would of course not allow a diagonal adjacency. So the positions at the end of the first phase would be less dense.
These two variants are the same in every respect, except for the difference that defines them. I got no idea which one to prefer, and if at all of interest, it may be a matter of taste.

As for corners, I don't feel their role is quite that prominent as in Othello. If neither player has been forced to play next to a corner in the first phase (orthogonally or orthogonally/diagonally, depending on the variant), allowing his opponent to take a corner with a 'bound' placement, then the four corners are free at the beginning of the second phase. That means that both can have at least two corners if they want to. Whether they would want to, depends on the position on the board. There may be more pressing issues to address.
 
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Nick Bentley
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christianF wrote:
However, Io can be played with orthogonal and diagonal adjacencies, provided the switch is total. So in that case the first phase would also allow diagonally 'bound' placements, but free moves would be less abundant because they would of course not allow a diagonal adjacency. So the positions at the end of the first phase would be less dense.

These two variants are the same in every respect, except for the difference that defines them. I got no idea which one to prefer, and if at all of interest, it may be a matter of taste.


My initial gut reaction is to prefer the orthogonal.

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If neither player has been forced to play next to a corner in the first phase...


Right. This is my question. The way I'm imagining it, players *will* be forced to play next to a corner during the first phase, probably with their "free" placements. I'm I seeing this wrong? Apologies ahead of time if I'm being dense.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:
However, Io can be played with orthogonal and diagonal adjacencies, provided the switch is total. So in that case the first phase would also allow diagonally 'bound' placements, but free moves would be less abundant because they would of course not allow a diagonal adjacency. So the positions at the end of the first phase would be less dense.

These two variants are the same in every respect, except for the difference that defines them. I got no idea which one to prefer, and if at all of interest, it may be a matter of taste.


My initial gut reaction is to prefer the orthogonal.

Quote:
If neither player has been forced to play next to a corner in the first phase...


Right. This is my question. The way I'm imagining it, players *will* be forced to play next to a corner during the first phase, probably with their "free" placements. I'm I seeing this wrong? Apologies ahead of time if I'm being dense.

There should be no other free placements available, or pressing reasons to avoid them. I've never played the game (actually I have no Othello men … yet - it's on the list), but my experience with the protocol in PoP, Inertia and Multiplicity would suggest that it will be an issue that presents itself from time to time, but not in every game. Players would take precautions to avoid it (in that sense it will indeed play in every game), and if a player would take a corner on the last bound move, then his opponent may move first in the subsequent phase and thus still be able to get two corners. I think it makes an interesting strategic issue that competes with another 'regular' issue in the protocol, namely whether or not to play for the first move in the second phase.
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Martijn Althuizen
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milomilo122 wrote:

Oh great. I'm getting some ideas for further othelloish games. Now I will struggle to do my work for the rest of the day. Thanks for nothing.


A bit off-topic perhaps but now that you're mention othelloish games, do you know about the 2014 game Pathwayz? Also, I'm having a bit a of a déjà vu here. Did I already mention this to you somewhere else? I can't remember...! shake
 
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Michael Howe
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christianF wrote:

However, Io can be played with orthogonal and diagonal adjacencies, provided the switch is total. So in that case the first phase would also allow diagonally 'bound' placements, but free moves would be less abundant because they would of course not allow a diagonal adjacency. So the positions at the end of the first phase would be less dense.
These two variants are the same in every respect, except for the difference that defines them. I got no idea which one to prefer, and if at all of interest, it may be a matter of taste.


Hmmm, maybe hex-hex is the actual sweet spot? More "corners" to fight for and phase 2 would start less dense than orthogonal but more dense than radial?

 
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christian freeling
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mhowe wrote:
christianF wrote:

However, Io can be played with orthogonal and diagonal adjacencies, provided the switch is total. So in that case the first phase would also allow diagonally 'bound' placements, but free moves would be less abundant because they would of course not allow a diagonal adjacency. So the positions at the end of the first phase would be less dense.
These two variants are the same in every respect, except for the difference that defines them. I got no idea which one to prefer, and if at all of interest, it may be a matter of taste.


Hmmm, maybe hex-hex is the actual sweet spot? More "corners" to fight for and phase 2 would start less dense than orthogonal but more dense than radial?


Yes, Io can be translated to the hex hex grid. The choice then would be the 'orthogonal' variant because capture in 12 directions would be too much of a good thing. But I've grown out of the habit to translate each and every game that would allow it. Triccs and MacBeth are both 'hexothelloanian', that's enough for me. For the same reason Multiplicity is hex only. There's no orthogonal/diagonal ambivalence and it is wholly clear what a group is and what constitutes a connection.

Your density observation may be about right. Surely the position at the end of the first phase will be less dense in the square adjacency-8 version than in the adjacency-4 version. That means the first phase is shorter, the second longer. From my less than experienced point of view I can't quite figure out what the consequence would be for the 'feel' of the game. I tend to agree with Nick that the adjacency-4 version may be the more interesting, the more 'strategic' so to say, and less prone to tactical oversight. But I can't tell, really.
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Benedikt Rosenau
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By the way, thank you for the pictures. I scribbles notes always wondered how your laboratory looks like.
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christian freeling
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Zickzack wrote:
By the way, thank you for the pictures. I scribbles notes always wondered how your laboratory looks like.

The tools are for making the actual games though. Since the explosion at SE Fireworks in 2000 I had no material except (Grand) Chess, Draughts, Go and Havannah. Fortunately my 'laboratory' has always been in my head. I never lose anything that way, except if I can't find it.
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Nick Bentley
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Martinus wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:

Oh great. I'm getting some ideas for further othelloish games. Now I will struggle to do my work for the rest of the day. Thanks for nothing.


A bit off-topic perhaps but now that you're mention othelloish games, do you know about the 2014 game Pathwayz? Also, I'm having a bit a of a déjà vu here. Did I already mention this to you somewhere else? I can't remember...! shake


You did mention it to me! And I've looked at it. Looks interesting. Have you played it? Where?
 
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Martijn Althuizen
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milomilo122 wrote:
Martinus wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:

Oh great. I'm getting some ideas for further othelloish games. Now I will struggle to do my work for the rest of the day. Thanks for nothing.


A bit off-topic perhaps but now that you're mention othelloish games, do you know about the 2014 game Pathwayz? Also, I'm having a bit a of a déjà vu here. Did I already mention this to you somewhere else? I can't remember...! shake


You did mention it to me! And I've looked at it. Looks interesting. Have you played it? Where?


Nope, haven't played it yet...
 
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christian freeling
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I've published Io at mindsports. I'll enter it in the 2014 contest later.

Edit:
Doing so would appear easier if the game is in the database.
 
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Old & Chaotic Evil Bob
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cross posted to the game entry .. Io, General
 
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