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Subject: Comparing Hex and The Game of Y rss

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Craig Duncan
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I've played just a little of both Hex and The Game of Y -- enough to know that both are fascinating games. But I'm curious to hear from others about the following.

In your view, are there features / aspects of Y that you like better than Hex? Are there features / aspects of Hex that you like better than Y?

Overall, of the two games, which is your favorite to play, and why?

And of course, any other points of comparison / contrast are welcome.
 
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Russ Williams
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For me, the regular grid of Hex is much clearer and pleasing. I'm more naturally drawn to games where I can "read" the map/topology clearly... so much so that I've played Hex many times but still haven't even tried Y. :/
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ARTHUR REILLY
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russ wrote:
For me, the regular grid of Hex is much clearer and pleasing. I'm more naturally drawn to games where I can "read" the map/topology clearly... so much so that I've played Hex many times but still haven't even tried Y. :/


I have had the game of "Y" for quite a few years now. I use regular "GO" stones when playing, which fit perfectly fine on the board. In spite of it's shape, I've never had any problems trying to see the over all map. On the plus side the board is a nice thick wooden board and comes in a nice thick corduroy bag with handles. I love this game so much, I've never felt the need to even try a regular hex game. I don't even own a hex game. But I'm guessing they're both close enough to not really make much of a different, other than the quality of the components.

Have fun,

Arthur Reilly
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David Bush
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The Kadon Y board looks cool, but for me the game is not very interesting. The swap rule is not enough to balance the game. I believe a swap map of the Kadon board, if a computer ever builds one, would show that every initial move should be swapped, even one in the corner, which has three neighbors instead of the two you would get on a plain triangular grid. In 2006 I played Wayne Schmittberger, editor of Games magazine, who is renowned for his ability to quickly learn and play well obscure abstracts, a game of Kadon Y where I told him ahead of time that I would swap any initial move he made. He played in a corner, I swapped it, and I won without any trouble. That's hardly a proof, but it's the best I've got. Here are three suggested workarounds:

1. If you want to play Kadon Y, use three move equalization. One player puts two black stones and one white stone on the board, producing a position with white to move. The other player decides which side to play.

2. Play on a plain triangular grid. I regard this as a much better game. The pie rule should work just fine on this grid.

3. If you want to play a good game on a cool looking board invented by Ea Ea, try *Star, or Star Y, a variant mentioned in the rule book for *Star. Both of these are excellent games. Wayne Schmittberger can crush me at *Star BTW :-)

Hex is even better than all of these games IMO. If you visit the server at Little Golem, you will find a lot of dedicated players who apparently agree with me :-) There's just an amazing depth to this game, and for me there are always new things to learn. The learning curve is steep, but never impossibly so. A beautiful game.
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ARTHUR REILLY
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twixter wrote:
The Kadon Y board looks cool, but for me the game is not very interesting. The swap rule is not enough to balance the game. I believe a swap map of the Kadon board, if a computer ever builds one, would show that every initial move should be swapped, even one in the corner, which has three neighbors instead of the two you would get on a plain triangular grid. In 2006 I even played Wayne Schmittberger, editor of Games magazine, who is renowned for his ability to quickly learn and play well obscure abstracts, a game of Kadon Y where I told him ahead of time that I would swap any initial move he made. He played in a corner, I swapped it, and I won without any trouble. That's hardly a proof, but it's the best I've got. Here are three suggested workarounds:

1. If you want to play Kadon Y, use three move equalization. One player puts two black stones and one white stone on the board, producing a position with white to move. The other player decides which side to play.

2. Play on a plain triangular grid. I regard this as a much better game. The pie rule should work just fine on this grid.

3. If you want to play a good game on a cool looking board invented by Ea Ea, try *Star, or Star Y, a variant mentioned in the rule book for *Star. Both of these are excellent games. Wayne Schmittberger can crush me at *Star BTW :-)

Hex is even better than all of these games IMO. If you visit the server at Little Golem, you will find a lot of dedicated players who apparently agree with me :-) There's just an amazing depth to this game, and for me there are always new things to learn. The learning curve is steep, but never impossibly so. A beautiful game.


After reading your post, I immediately went to the Kadon Website to look up the rules to the game of "Y", where you must connect three sides. I didn't see one mention of what you're calling a swap rule. Unless you're referring to them suggesting that the first player places a stone and the second player gets to decide if they want to be white or black. Is it possible you were playing the game incorrectly?

Just a thought,

Arthur Reilly
 
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David Bush
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MENAREUS2000 wrote:
After reading your post, I immediately went to the Kadon Website to look up the rules to the game of "Y", where you must connect three sides. I didn't see one mention of what you're calling a swap rule. Unless you're referring to them suggesting that the first player places a stone and the second player gets to decide if they want to be white or black. Is it possible you were playing the game incorrectly?

Just a thought,

Arthur Reilly

The first player places a stone and the second player chooses whether to respond as the other color, or swap sides. That's the swap rule, also known as the pie rule, or one move equalization. Here's a Wikipedia link. This rule is part of many two player abstracts, such as Hex, Star Y, and Twixt. It makes these games much more fair and thereby much more interesting. If you play any of those three games without it, you are playing a handicap game, where the player who moves first has a winning advantage. My claim is, even with the pie rule, Kadon Y is still an imbalanced and therefore not very deep game.
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ARTHUR REILLY
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twixter wrote:
MENAREUS2000 wrote:
After reading your post, I immediately went to the Kadon Website to look up the rules to the game of "Y", where you must connect three sides. I didn't see one mention of what you're calling a swap rule. Unless you're referring to them suggesting that the first player places a stone and the second player gets to decide if they want to be white or black. Is it possible you were playing the game incorrectly?

Just a thought,

Arthur Reilly

The first player places a stone and the second player chooses whether to respond as the other color, or swap sides. That's the swap rule, also known as the pie rule, or one move equalization. Here's a Wikipedia link. This rule is part of many two player abstracts, such as Hex, Star Y, and Twixt. It makes these games much more fair and thereby much more interesting. If you play any of those three games without it, you are playing a handicap game, where the player who moves first has a winning advantage. My claim is, even with the pie rule, Kadon Y is still an imbalanced and therefore not very deep game.


Thanks for the link and explaining that the Pie rule is also called the swap rule. I actually agree with you totally now for what to me is a simple but obvious reason. By always swapping the initial move, you always become the first player and the first player always has the advantage. Your #1 Suggestion above would solve all that and would seem to be the best way to play the game.

Thanks for sharing that, I'll try it next time.

Arthur Reilly
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Craig Duncan
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twixter wrote:
Hex is even better than all of these games IMO. If you visit the server at Little Golem, you will find a lot of dedicated players who apparently agree with me :-) There's just an amazing depth to this game, and for me there are always new things to learn. The learning curve is steep, but never impossibly so. A beautiful game.


Thanks for the input, David. I'm curious: What is it about Hex that makes it better in your view than these other games (including Y played on a regular triangular grid with the pie rule)? The greater clarity that comes with the aim of connecting two sides rather than three (as Russ mentioned)? Or something else?
 
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ARTHUR REILLY
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cdunc123 wrote:
twixter wrote:
Hex is even better than all of these games IMO. If you visit the server at Little Golem, you will find a lot of dedicated players who apparently agree with me :-) There's just an amazing depth to this game, and for me there are always new things to learn. The learning curve is steep, but never impossibly so. A beautiful game.


Thanks for the input, David. I'm curious: What is it about Hex that makes it better in your view than these other games (including Y played on a regular triangular grid with the pie rule)? The greater clarity that comes with the aim of connecting two sides rather than three (as Russ mentioned)? Or something else?


Before David has a chance to respond, I just wanted to mention that David and I both agree that the Pie Rule/Swap Rule doesn't work very well. David's #1 suggestion of having a player places 2 black stones and 1 white stone on the board with white to move. Then the 2nd player can decide if they want to play black or white. So if you want to accurately compare this to Hex, keep the corrected rule, as David has explained, in mind.

I'll be curious to see what David has to say myself.

Arthur Reilly
 
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David Bush
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I haven't played many games of Y, probably less than 50, and most of those were on the email server Gamerz (which offers graphic web pages of many of its games.) All of my online games have used a plain triangular grid, of many sizes up to 19 and possibly higher. By comparison, I have played thousands of online Hex games. So my preference might be mercenary in nature, since I can easily find Hex opponents, enter Hex tournaments, and I am strong at the game, etc. I get the sense that you need a rather large plain triangular Y board for an interesting game. Size 19 triangular Y is 190 cells, and to me a 13x13 Hex game, 169 cells, seems deeper. Y seems more "awkward," but likely I'm the one who is awkward. Maybe I just need to get trounced by a stronger player at triangular Y several times to appreciate its true depth.

BTW I just want to reiterate we are talking about plain triangular Y here, which, as I stated in my first post to this thread, works well with the pie rule.

Also I should mention that this sense that the board is not used very efficiently was, according to Ea Ea, a motivating factor in creating the Kadon Y board. He wanted a board where all regions of the board are used. Unfortunately, IMO he paid a price in terms of game balance.
 
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Craig Duncan
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Just want to chime in and recommend this Y board as one that avoids the "weak corners" problem in a distinct manner than the Kadon board. Each color is a distinct "side"; win by connecting three colors.



I should think there are lots of viable opening moves on this board, i.e. I'd be surprised if nearly every first move turned out to be "swap-worthy".
 
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