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Subject: Is the 2-player Pirka map an easy win for 1st player? rss

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Russ Williams
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The Pirka map for 2 players seems to have an unbeatable opening for the 1st player, using his 2x2 square piece standing upright:
......
......
...##.
...
...
...
...
...

The 2nd player gets shut out of one of the 2 parts of the board, thus giving roughly 15 points to the 1st player and making a battle between the 2 players for the other roughly 15 points. Or if the 2nd player tries to lay a long piece to get access to both parts, the 1st player can lay a piece on top of that long piece to get a big point advantage from the start.

I am curious if others can win as the 2nd player against a competent 1st player who opens this way. Anyone have a good response to this opening?
 
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Sam Healey
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I don't think that this is an unstoppable opening move. I will say that it does seem formidable, and I haven't actually tried it out (I probably will today). I do think that the long piece for the 2nd players first move wouldn't be the best choice. One of the smaller/shorter ones would be better, I think, in combating this opener. The rules state that your plays must touch "a/one face" of one of its own color, it doesn't necessarily have to be one of the top faces. So, while it will still be difficult, I think that this opening move can be beaten (or at least countered well) with some clever play.

I just picked up this game yesterday at a board game con here in Korea, and I played it yesterday four times, with one of the plays being with the Pirka map. I'll let you know what happens when I try this out.

Until Next time...Sam.
 
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Russ Williams
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Update: My partner and I have tried this opening a lot against each other. So far the strongest response seems to be playing the T-shaped piece with the 2-high part touching the 2x2 square. I.e.
...... 1 2
.....O ## O
...##O ## OO
..O O
...
...
...
...

where the top and bottom "0" has one level, and the middle "O" has two.

This resulted in a tie-game once. It has the advantage that the first player can't simply lay the matching piece on top of it, unlike other long pieces that try to grow in both directions from the 2x2 square. But it still seems fairly containable by the first player.

Any other proposals for a good first response by the 2nd player?
 
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Sam Healey
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I'm confident now that this opening move is formidable, but not unbeatable. My wife and I took two cracks at it tonight from both ways, and I beat her worse when she used this opening move than when I did. If played right, this first move for the second player that you have diagramed here will shut the first player down rather quickly. Interesting question, though...

Until next time...Sam.
 
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Tony Chen
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Is that opening legal? I thought the first piece has to be touching a border.
 
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Russ Williams
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drunkenKOALA wrote:
Is that opening legal? I thought the first piece has to be touching a border.
I don't recall ever seeing any restriction like that on the opening move (nor hearing anyone else say it when playing with others).

Looking at my rules now, the only rule about the opening move is "The stone must stay within the perimeter of the building plan and not exceed the height limitation of the structure."

Do your rules say otherwise?
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Tony Chen
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I don't have the game. Either I played with a different version, or misread that line to mean "must stay within the perimeter spaces."
 
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