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Subject: New game: Carteso rss

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Luis Bolaños Mures
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CARTESO

Introduction

Carteso is a territory game for two players: Vertical and Horizontal. It's played on the intersections (points) of an initially empty square board. The suggested board sizes are between 9x9 and 13x13 points. Both players must have access to a sufficient number of black and white stones.

Carteso was designed by Luis Bolaños Mures and Corey L. Clark.

Definitions

A group is a set of like-colored, orthogonally adjacent stones.

A group's value is the size of the smallest rectangle in which it fits, i.e. the product of the number of rows and the number of columns that it spans.

A group, regardless of color, is owned by Vertical if it spans more rows than columns, and by Horizontal if it spans more columns than rows. If a group spans exactly as many rows as columns, it's owned by neither player.

Play

Vertical plays first, then turns alternate.

On their turn, a player must either pass or place one stone of any color on an empty point. Both players can use both stone colors.

The game ends when both players pass consecutively.

A player's score is the sum of the values of the groups that they own in the final position, plus 0.5 points in the case of Vertical. The player with the highest score wins.
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Nick Bentley
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Looks great. I'll try to give this a try this week.
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christian freeling
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Simple and original! thumbsup
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Corey Clark
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I should probably come clean that there is a significant disparity in the designership of this game, like 70/30 in terms of the rules and 99/1 in terms of the gameplay. Actually it was a rather torrid affair settling the matter of accreditation and I could almost describe my share as being "the wages of sin" for Luis. I say this in a jesting way and don't mean to impugn Luis by this- he did nothing wrong- but it was kind of inevitable that I would be taking something. I suppose I'll just try to explain how this game came about and all will be revealed.

I had been mulling over the concept of a game where players would be distinguished by a dimension rather than a color for some time. I was on iggc one day casually tinkering with a terrible n-in-a-row concept in this vein which had an equally terrible name where players would score vertically or horizontally oriented lines when Luis popped in to my sandbox. We discussed what I was "working on" and then Luis promptly came up with the EUREKA which resulted in the Carteso we know and love today. That being the idea of scoring groups based on the orientation of their bounding boxes. As a final desperate tactic I got my hooks deep into this by piling on the area scoring mechanism to mitigate quasi-draws and keep more of the unplayed area interesting. Carteso was a bloody blitz match of Find The Mechanic, which if you aren't aware is the metagame two rival designers play between eachother. And unquestionably I lost in the case of Carteso because the real brilliance is the core mechanism, which is Luis' fantastic contribution. At any rate, if you fancy getting into your own game design rivalry, be wary that you can't just say "I'm working on a game like this" and expect to own that territory outright, you need to establish a convincing framework there first. This is the lesson I learned (or didn't learn) from Carteso.

After we got this dirty back-alley brawl out of the way we agreed to a simple protocol regarding further incidental collaborations which I think allows an exchange of ideas while appeasing the egos involved. The idea is that you alert the other designer that you have a solution in mind but you give him time to find it or a different one. If he doesn't discover it within a reasonable amount of time then you work it out from there. Of course this is all mediated by professional courtesy (something I surprisingly enough have a concept of). I think Luis still prefers to keep his stuff under wraps for the most part but as for me, I cannot seem to shut up about new design ideas and the design process in general, whether because I like to hear myself talk (very likely) or because I am just too fascinated by abstract games discussion.

From all this jibberjabbering, I ultimately want to communicate one thing, This is NOT my game! I cannot stress enough that, taking the above into account, its only appropriate for the community to consider Carteso a Luis Bolanos Mures invention. So congrats Luis on this phenomenal design!

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Richard Moxham
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CoreyClark wrote:
I should probably come clean that there is a significant disparity in the designership of this game, like 70/30 in terms of the rules and 99/1 in terms of the gameplay. Actually it was a rather torrid affair settling the matter of accreditation and I could almost describe my share as being "the wages of sin" for Luis. I say this in a jesting way and don't mean to impugn Luis by this- he did nothing wrong- but it was kind of inevitable that I would be taking something. I suppose I'll just try to explain how this game came about and all will be revealed.

I had been mulling over the concept of a game where players would be distinguished by a dimension rather than a color for some time. I was on iggc one day casually tinkering with a terrible n-in-a-row concept in this vein which had an equally terrible name where players would score vertically or horizontally oriented lines when Luis popped in to my sandbox. We discussed what I was "working on" and then Luis promptly came up with the EUREKA which resulted in the Carteso we know and love today. That being the idea of scoring groups based on the orientation of their bounding boxes. As a final desperate tactic I got my hooks deep into this by piling on the area scoring mechanism to mitigate quasi-draws and keep more of the unplayed area interesting. Carteso was a bloody blitz match of Find The Mechanic, which if you aren't aware is the metagame two rival designers play between eachother. And unquestionably I lost in the case of Carteso because the real brilliance is the core mechanism, which is Luis' fantastic contribution. At any rate, if you fancy getting into your own game design rivalry, be wary that you can't just say "I'm working on a game like this" and expect to own that territory outright, you need to establish a convincing framework there first. This is the lesson I learned (or didn't learn) from Carteso.

After we got this dirty back-alley brawl out of the way we agreed to a simple protocol regarding further incidental collaborations which I think allows an exchange of ideas while appeasing the egos involved. The idea is that you alert the other designer that you have a solution in mind but you give him time to find it or a different one. If he doesn't discover it within a reasonable amount of time then you work it out from there. Of course this is all mediated by professional courtesy (something I surprisingly enough have a concept of). I think Luis still prefers to keep his stuff under wraps for the most part but as for me, I cannot seem to shut up about new design ideas and the design process in general, whether because I like to hear myself talk (very likely) or because I am just too fascinated by abstract games discussion.

From all this jibberjabbering, I ultimately want to communicate one thing, This is NOT my game! I cannot stress enough that, taking the above into account, its only appropriate for the community to consider Carteso a Luis Bolanos Mures invention. So congrats Luis on this phenomenal design!

Well, whatever the proportional inspiration it looks a most interesting end-product - and welcome proof that truly original concepts are still (and always will be) out there to be found. I really hope the play turns out to fulfil the promise.

As a grace note, I remember being struck by something I read once - I think it may have been in Ian MacDonald's magisterial Revolution in the Head (which, if the music of the Beatles interests you even slightly, you owe it to yourself to acquire the day before yesterday). Anyway, the topic was the collaboration between Lennon and McCartney, and in particular the well-known fact that very few of their songs could plausibly be described as 50/50 compositions. This gave rise to the dictum that whatever the balance of input in such cases, the apportionment of credit (and, by extension, of profit) must always be equal. "Any other arrangement," the author warned, "will lead sooner or later to the breakup of the partnership."

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Dieter Stein
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Refreshingly new concept. Just thinking about the implications, it already shines! I see hard fights. I also like how you are using a well justified limit (the number 2) as the obligatory minimum to create separation and, at the same time, as a maximizer in the tactical and strategical scope, very nice!
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Luis Bolaños Mures
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Thanks for the heart-warming response.

Regarding designer credit, I also have to say that I shouldn't have spoilt the fun for Corey. I feel bad about that. The idea for Carteso was just the first thing that popped up in my mind when he told me about his endeavors with the vertical vs horizontal theme, and I carelessly dropped it in the context of our discussion on how to make a functional game out of it. I expected to hear that my idea didn't work for some obvious reason, as is usually the case with such things. I think he would have come up with it himself at some point, and I wouldn't have if he hadn't shown me his example prototype. Also, I don't know any other game where the moves available to both players are exactly the same and where orientation on the plane is the only distinguishing feature in their respective goals, so I think it's only fair to credit him for bringing that notion to the table.
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Quinn Swanger
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CoreyClark wrote:


I had been mulling over the concept of a game where players would be distinguished by a dimension rather than a color ...



This does look like an interesting game! The only thing remotely close to it I can think of that some here may not have heard of before but may find noteworthy nonetheless is Ta Yü. In it one player plays vertical and the other plays horizontal. Scoring is based on products and the pieces are played from a common pool. The differences are obvious -- instead of laying single binary stones, you're drawing and laying different 3x1 tiles (of 28 possible lined patterns) in order to terminate lines on your assigned sides and score points (mostly one point per line terminated, though there are 3 or 4 spots on each side that are worth 2 points each, depending on the edition). It's a rather good game, even with the random element, though this can be mitigated somewhat with the common variant of keeping a small, open hand-size.

Following developments ...
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I J
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Does horizontal have a perceived advantage going second (presumably the reason vertical has 0.5 points added to their score)? If so, isn't the pie rule mandatory in this game to stop vertical passing as the first go, forcing horizontal to play the first stone, losing said advantage?
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David Buckley
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ijen wrote:
Does horizontal have a perceived advantage going second (presumably the reason vertical has 0.5 points added to their score)? If so, isn't the pie rule mandatory in this game to stop vertical passing as the first go, forcing horizontal to play the first stone, losing said advantage?


Related question: Why are players allowed to pass?
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Corey Clark
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The resolution after two passes, while I don't recall that we discussed it, is a perfectly sensible addition. Eventually all the remaining points will be "dame" and players will naturally want to call the game and see what the score is. Additionally it will prevent any sort of Zugzwang from causing these dame points to be played out in a tedious fashion. Luis is COLD to Zugzwang whereas I embrace it within a certain tolerance but I would hardly call it a structural element in Carteso and I would agree that its preferable players not be forced to play any undesireable moves and that the game resolves in a tidy and elegant way.

In fact I would say if any game should not involve Zugzwang its Carteso. When I envisioned an X vs Y game I wasn't even entertaining a novelty, I was thinking about balance. Whereas most games involve tangible "material" and therefore can become quite lopsided in the absence of metarules to balance them, impartial games are opaque or else aggressively nimlike and formulaic (ot to mention a bit too prosaic).My thinking was that "X vs. Y" would reconcile these two categories nicely, giving players a distinguishing identity to strategize around while providing only the possibility of a subtle positional advantage instead of a clear material one. Only hard data can prove me right or wrong but I would say for a game like Carteso, being as tactical as it is, it seems distinctly unbiased and forgiving.

The second query reminds me that I have some unfinished business. I'm not quite done with this game. Luis apparently has a definite aversion to opening arrangements in stone placement games but I think that in this case it may be a necessary "evil" if Carteso is to reach its full potential. Our thinking in awarding the komi to player 1 was that the first move doesn't really orient a group in any particular direction so the second player probably has the advantage. However the first move can be played against an edge limiting its potential in one of the opponent's directions. And incidentally I find this to be a nuisance tactic which seems to cause a lot of tactical glomming. I'm a bit more of a game player than Luis, who is having faith in the mechanism, but also, by now I know better than to trust the stones to really do anything you want of them and in this case I think the fix is simple enough. Just place two stones, (one of each color) a knight's move away from the midpoint cell of each edge. my intuition is that this will help orient play more perpendicular to the edges. on a large enough scale something more sophisticated is probably required. Anyway I'll just illustrate a "snapshot" here and you can work out the rest by turning the configuration 90 degrees for each edge.Just for the record my colleague said he was fine with me publicly making this suggestion.

limecamelblankblankE
blankblankblankEM
orangecamelblankblankE

"E" is for "edge"
"M" is for "midpoint"
you don't need to play with pastel camels but hey, to each his own

Anyway on the matter of the komi, I think its more just a formality than anything. I don't think its likely to come up. Though in the case of the variation with the opening arrrangement I suggested, it should go to player 2.

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Andrew Watson
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CoreyClark wrote:

you don't need to play with pastel camels


and some may be tragically deprived of the chance to do so by the continued and criminal out-of-printness of Through the Desert.

Plastic camels, Go stones, whatever... this is an ingenious design.
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Corey Clark
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AndAgainMA wrote:
CoreyClark wrote:

you don't need to play with pastel camels


and some may be tragically deprived of the chance to do so by the continued and criminal out-of-printness of Through the Desert.

Plastic camels, Go stones, whatever... this is an ingenious design.



hopefully with the advent of affordable 3D printing (which is certainly taking its sweet time isn't it) all of us can have whatever equipment we want and us designers wont have to spend all our time getting stoned. laugh
 
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Luis Bolaños Mures
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ijen wrote:
Does horizontal have a perceived advantage going second (presumably the reason vertical has 0.5 points added to their score)? If so, isn't the pie rule mandatory in this game to stop vertical passing as the first go, forcing horizontal to play the first stone, losing said advantage?

Good catch! Negative komi does interfere with passing indeed. Vertical needs to be banned from passing on their first turn to avoid that.

This said, the proper komi value is still unknown, so players should feel free to experiment with different (preferably small) ones. That the second player has a slight advantage by virtue of being the first who can extend a group in their own direction is just an educated guess on our part.

CoreyClark wrote:
The resolution after two passes, while I don't recall that we discussed it, is a perfectly sensible addition.

Oh, we discussed it. It was actually your suggestion. But that was back around August last year. Time flies...
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Corey Clark
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ijen wrote:
Does horizontal have a perceived advantage going second (presumably the reason vertical has 0.5 points added to their score)? If so, isn't the pie rule mandatory in this game to stop vertical passing as the first go, forcing horizontal to play the first stone, losing said advantage?


I found this scenario (not comment) kind of hilarious. Just the idea of someone passing on their first turn and then his opponent passing in kind as an "f you" and ending the game. Its a valid concern because it would be disastrous for serious tournament play but to me it feels like in a casual setting player 1 would effectively just be declining a game of Carteso by passing on his first move. Luis just wants to disallow passing on the first move and that's fine.
 
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christian freeling
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Gaddou wrote:
christianF wrote:
Simple and original! thumbsup


Sorry to tell you that this is not original at all.

Here you can read what I wrote in September 2014

Quote of my post :

Here is the story.
I was working on a big abstract game. When I say big I mean very deep with an almost infinite tree but with easy rules. I still did not find which victory condition will be optimal. The game is based on the concept that one player "act" horizontaly and his opponent verticaly. Maybe the concept is not new (I did not try to search on google if it is the case). If it is the case I have to tell it to everyone even if I did know before.
And suddenly I saw the knight with 4 cases controlled horizontaly and 4 verticaly. And after that I saw the rooks. Why not checkers or tokens? and so on. It is like the idea of half-stone but I was really angry because not one of you understood my goal. When you play hex (or go) you just drop stone or token. It costs you nothing! So what if we use half-stone keeping in mind that there is cost to pay to make the complete stone will be finaly yours if some conditions are fullfilled. It did not change the hex game but it will add a sort of fight for some cell. If your opponent succeed then the cell will belong will to him.



https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.abstract/t...

Luis and Clark are nothing more than plagiarizers.
I needed to intervene to show you that.
Good bye now!

Ah, well I apologise then for voicing what was inherently an opinion, not an attempt at truth. I used to visit rec.games but haven't for at least two years now. Even then I tried to avoid Mark Trump. So I hadn't read it.
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Nick Bentley
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When every last person seems wrong to you, it might be time for some self-reflection. You *could* be a lone, misunderstood genius, but you could also be a doof with a persecution complex.
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Luis Bolaños Mures
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Update: the game has now undergone a major revision.

The version described in my original post is vulnerable to reflectional diagonal mirroring, a fact recently pointed out by Lear Bahack. This is somewhat remarkable in itself as I know no other game where that type of mirroring is a problem.

Apart from that, I'm not quite comfortable with the fact that more than half of all groups often end up tied under those rules. It feels anticlimactic to fight over a group only to find out that neither player will be able to claim it.

For those reasons, I've decided to change the game in a substantial way. In the new version, all groups are provisionally owned by one player or the other at all times. This is implemented by marking the group of the last placement as owned by the opponent if it's currently tied. This also solves the mirroring problem.

Also, for a lesser change, a player's score is now simply the number of stones in the groups that they own. The former scoring system compounded the natural incentive to keep growing a big group that you already own.

All in all, the first version is still a good game if players agree not to mirror, but I like the greater tension in the new version better. The fact that one player or the other will claim every single group on the board makes for tougher decisions and more dramatic turns of fortune.

Detailed rules are up in the game's entry.

Note that you can always prevent mirroring in the first version by using the starting setup suggested by Corey a few posts above instead. If anyone takes the time to try both versions (or to think about them), I'll be glad to read their impressions.
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HU MAN BIN
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This game had received 18 thumbs up!!!
When this game was published I told to the designers to name it Cartezero.
I challenge all those who thumbed up this game to come with sincere comment.
What in this game is somewhat a + ?
No one here is able to tell the truth. No one!
I know for sure that even if this game is revised it will end on the garbage.
Instead of major revision this game needs to be thrown in the garbage because the vertical-horizontal concept was created by myself for some kinds of games.

 
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christian freeling
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hu man bin wrote:
Instead of major revision this game needs to be thrown in the garbage because the vertical-horizontal concept was created by myself for some kinds of games.


The implication being that anything you 'created' needs to be thrown in the garbage?
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HU MAN BIN
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christianF wrote:
hu man bin wrote:
Instead of major revision this game needs to be thrown in the garbage because the vertical-horizontal concept was created by myself for some kinds of games.


The implication being that anything you 'created' needs to be thrown in the garbage?

You need to take logic courses.
When you invent any concept you can not just use it dumbly. The 2 "designers" plagiarized my concept and applied it dumbly to a game Carteso. So the result was Cartezero.


 
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HU MAN BIN
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christianF wrote:
hu man bin wrote:
Instead of major revision this game needs to be thrown in the garbage because the vertical-horizontal concept was created by myself for some kinds of games.


The implication being that anything you 'created' needs to be thrown in the garbage?

Anyway anything I created feel free to throw it on the garbage. If you do it will not change the real value of what I invented.
Why I say a game is just good for the garbage?
Take Slither as example : it is good for the garbage no matter what his designer say. The history showed that I was right to say it.
If the concept vertical-horizontal or all its avatars (diagonal-orthogonal, up-down, west-east, etc....) is not used anymore then it will be thrown to the garbage.
I can create 1000 games based on the concept of V-H
There are other concepts I created each one could generate 100000 games.


 
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christian freeling
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hu man bin wrote:
You need to take logic courses.

When you invent any concept you can not just use it dumbly. The 2 "designers" plagiarized my concept and applied it dumbly to a game Carteso. So the result was Cartezero.


I thought the original concept was nice and it's a pity it turned out flawed. But it's a rule agreement concerning group ownership. If you came up with it first, then I congratulate you with it because it's an original idea and I'm sure there is a game there somewhere. But you can't own a concept like that, or no-one could invent another chess variant. The concept is a rule agreement called 'checkmate'.
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HU MAN BIN
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Go to rec games abstract you will find first the game "Half-stone" then the game "Half-Knight".
All those games originated from the idea of what if a player A capture and/or move in one dimension of the "space" and the other player on the opposite.
You can not apply the concept vertical-horizontal to the checkers unless you modify the "nature" of the checkers.
I invented Sudoku to be played on the same board with 4 "sudokus" (40*40).
I invented a chess variant to be played on the same board by 2 players each playing on his white and black etc...

 
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HU MAN BIN
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No one will play Slither, Carteso, Meander, and other games in the next 3 years.
Why?
Because there is nothing of value behind the design of those games.
The concept must be intimately linked to some games.
Not any concept could be applied to any game.
Not any game could be played based on any concept.
 
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