Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
22 Posts

Abstract Games» Forums » General

Subject: New game: Escabel rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Luis Bolaños Mures
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ESCABEL

Introduction

Escabel is a drawless connection game for two players: Black and White. It's played on the intersections (points) of an initially empty square board. The top and bottom edges of the board are colored black; the left and right edges are colored white.

Definitions

A stack is a set of one or more pieces piled onto each other on the same point. The color of a stack is the color of its topmost piece, which denotes its owner. A stack's height is the number of pieces in it.

Two like-colored stacks are considered connected in the following cases:

a) They are orthogonally or diagonally adjacent to each other and not part of the same crosscut.

b) They are part of the same crosscut and higher than the lower enemy stack in it.

c) They are part of the same crosscut, the lower of them is the same height as the lower enemy stack in the crosscut and the higher of them is higher than the higher enemy stack in the crosscut.

Play

Black plays first, then turns alternate. On your turn, you must perform exactly one of the following actions:

a) Place a piece of your color on an empty point.

b) Place a piece of your color onto a stack of your color whose height, before the placement, is the same as the height of an orthogonally adjacent stack of any color.

c) Move the topmost piece of a stack of your color onto an orthogonally adjacent enemy stack, provided that, before the move, the heights of both stacks are the same. Then, place a piece of your opponent's color onto the stack from which you just moved your piece.

If, at the start of a player's turn, there's a chain of connected stacks of their color touching the two opposite board edges of their color, that player wins. Draws are not possible.

Notes

Here is a sample 7x7 game won by Black, with full board pictures for all moves.

Escabel was inspired by Matteo Perlini's Consta.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have a criticism:

One of the greatest strengths of connection games (so great that it's perhaps their defining strength imo) is that a connection is a profoundly visually intuitive thing. In a traditional connection game, I can see connections at a glance, with almost no cognitive overhead. This intuitiveness allows me to richly imagine future board states in a wholistic way, which makes it possible to think deeply about my play.

It seems to me, much of that is lost here! It seems like a clever mechanism that doesn't fit so well with human psychology, at least by connection game standards.

Rebuttal?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luis Bolaños Mures
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You're right that connections are harder to see here than in traditional connection games, which is a downside. In my experience, however, it's still quite easy, as you can see at a glance (or mild squint at worst) which stack in a crosscut is the lowest and, if need be, which one is the highest.

Because of dynamic connections, the game can be quite tactical, but I think I managed to keep it nice and manageable by making movement as simple as possible: one orthogonal step at a time, one piece at a time, one level up at a time.

(The rule about adding an enemy piece to the original stack after moving onto an enemy stack is meant to keep material balance at all times: it's equivalent to stacking onto your color and then swapping the stack with an adjacent enemy stack.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph DiMuro
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I looked at the sample game, and I must not be understanding the rules properly. It looks like Black won on his 17th move, when he played on D1; he has the chain A7-B6-A5-A4-A3-B3-C3-C2-D1. Why is that not a win?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luis Bolaños Mures
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TrojH wrote:
I looked at the sample game, and I must not be understanding the rules properly. It looks like Black won on his 17th move, when he played on D1; he has the chain A7-B6-A5-A4-A3-B3-C3-C2-D1. Why is that not a win?

Oops, I made a mistake in the rules. The win condition is checked for a player only at the start of their turn, so that the opponent has a chance to cut the winning chain. I just fixed that in my original post.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph DiMuro
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Okay, that takes care of that problem. But there's another problem: it looks like Black should've won after White's move 19. Here's the position:

B1 -- -- -- -- -- --
W1 B2 W1 -- -- -- --
B2 W3 -- W1 -- -- --
B1 B3 W2 W1 -- -- --
B2 B2 B1 W1 -- -- --
W1 W3 B2 B2 -- -- --
-- W1 W3 W1 B1 -- --


White just placed on D3 (which I marked in bold). Doesn't Black have a connection now, and it's the start of Black's turn, so he wins? I'm still confused...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luis Bolaños Mures
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TrojH wrote:
Okay, that takes care of that problem. But there's another problem: it looks like Black should've won after White's move 19. Here's the position:

B1 -- -- -- -- -- --
W1 B2 W1 -- -- -- --
B2 W3 -- W1 -- -- --
B1 B3 W2 W1 -- -- --
B2 B2 B1 W1 -- -- --
W1 W3 B2 B2 -- -- --
-- W1 W3 W1 B1 -- --


White just placed on D3 (which I marked in bold). Doesn't Black have a connection now, and it's the start of Black's turn, so he wins? I'm still confused...

You're right! Embarrassingly enough, neither I nor my opponent noticed this, so we kept playing...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rio Malaschitz
Slovakia
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
One more idea. Connection game where players have set of stones with prime numbers. Winner of cross connection is player with larger multiple. Distribution of numbers between players could be well balanced.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luis Bolaños Mures
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Malaschitz wrote:
One more idea. Connection game where players have set of stones with prime numbers. Winner of cross connection is player with larger multiple. Distribution of numbers between players could be well balanced.


That's a really cool idea!

That said, in practice it will be more convenient to just use consecutive natural numbers (same set for both players), resolve connections in crosscuts by comparing numbers in them (instead of multiplying them) and forbid the creation of tied crosscuts. Come to think of it, it would be a great secondary use for your Myriades set.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph DiMuro
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
luigi87 wrote:
You're right! Embarrassingly enough, neither I nor my opponent noticed this, so we kept playing...


Nick, I think you just won the argument.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luis Bolaños Mures
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TrojH wrote:
luigi87 wrote:
You're right! Embarrassingly enough, neither I nor my opponent noticed this, so we kept playing... :(


Nick, I think you just won the argument. ;)

I think this only proves Christian Freeling's adage that designers don't make good players. By force of habit, we were unconsciously waiting for a Hex-like unbreakable chain to appear on the board to declare a winner.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
luigi87 wrote:
TrojH wrote:
luigi87 wrote:
You're right! Embarrassingly enough, neither I nor my opponent noticed this, so we kept playing...


Nick, I think you just won the argument.

I think this only proves Christian Freeling's adage that designers don't make good players. By force of habit, we were unconsciously waiting for a Hex-like unbreakable chain to appear on the board to declare a winner.

I'm the living proof
1 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
luigi87 wrote:
TrojH wrote:
luigi87 wrote:
You're right! Embarrassingly enough, neither I nor my opponent noticed this, so we kept playing...


Nick, I think you just won the argument.

I think this only proves Christian Freeling's adage that designers don't make good players. By force of habit, we were unconsciously waiting for a Hex-like unbreakable chain to appear on the board to declare a winner.


You don't think it has *anything* to do with the possibility that the game state is hard to read?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
milomilo122 wrote:
You don't think it has *anything* to do with the possibility that the game state is hard to read?

Just to let know that I read the thread, I feel you're right. At the same time Luis is right in that familiarity with reading positions in almost any abstract usually makes this less of a problem further down the line.

My idea is more that Luis has somehow been put under a spell that forces him to design square connection games forever. And you just can't go up and up in quality. Build-in bummer!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
You don't think it has *anything* to do with the possibility that the game state is hard to read?

Just to let know that I read the thread, I feel you're right. At the same time Luis is right in that familiarity with reading positions in almost any abstract usually makes this less of a problem further down the line.

My idea is more that Luis has somehow been put under a spell that forces him to design square connection games forever. And you just can't go up and up in quality. Build-in bummer!


No argument on either point. Best connection game designer alive!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
I miss the good old days, though, when Luis's games typically only needed Go stones as pieces, instead of stacking disks, or some special markers to indicate horizontal vs vertical orientation of groups or territories (at least in territories I could use matchsticks), etc!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
I miss the good old days, though, when Luis's games typically only needed Go stones as pieces, instead of stacking disks, or some special markers to indicate horizontal vs vertical orientation of groups or territories (at least in territories I could use matchsticks), etc!


I *like* special pieces, but only if they create a meaningfully new experience that I couldn't have (or as easily have had), with simpler pieces. This is a pretty high bar to clear, but it is clearable.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luis Bolaños Mures
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
milomilo122 wrote:
luigi87 wrote:
I think this only proves Christian Freeling's adage that designers don't make good players. By force of habit, we were unconsciously waiting for a Hex-like unbreakable chain to appear on the board to declare a winner.


You don't think it has *anything* to do with the possibility that the game state is hard to read?

Well, we had just tried a different connection game with the same win condition and had the same instinct to keep playing till the connection was unbreakable. We even discussed it as an alternative for that game. So that might have added to our confusion.

But I guess we might have gotten further distracted by squinting at crosscuts and trying to grasp stacktics.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matteo Perlini
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
luigi87 wrote:
You're right that connections are harder to see here than in traditional connection games, which is a downside. In my experience, however, it's still quite easy, as you can see at a glance (or mild squint at worst) which stack in a crosscut is the lowest and, if need be, which one is the highest.

I agree that the cognitive difficulty here is manageable, this because the board is very small. Of course with a bigger board would be very annoying, but Escabel is perfect on 7x7.

As Luis said, the game is very tactical, so playing it on bigger boards would be way too long and strenuous.

Luis designed a very compact and tactical game with original mechanics. I'm very glad my Consta was the source of inspiration for Luis and his new game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matteo Perlini
Italy
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Malaschitz wrote:
One more idea. Connection game where players have set of stones with prime numbers. Winner of cross connection is player with larger multiple. Distribution of numbers between players could be well balanced.


Happy to see thoughts on valued piece games.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luis Bolaños Mures
Spain
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
I miss the good old days, though, when Luis's games typically only needed Go stones as pieces, instead of stacking disks, or some special markers to indicate horizontal vs vertical orientation of groups or territories (at least in territories I could use matchsticks), etc!

Well, it doesn't get much more minimalistic than Linage, does it? You don't even need white stones, so you can fill 3-in-a-rows with them to mark ownership of regions.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
luigi87 wrote:
russ wrote:
I miss the good old days, though, when Luis's games typically only needed Go stones as pieces, instead of stacking disks, or some special markers to indicate horizontal vs vertical orientation of groups or territories (at least in territories I could use matchsticks), etc!

Well, it doesn't get much more minimalistic than Linage, does it? You don't even need white stones, so you can fill 3-in-a-rows with them to mark ownership of regions.

True, although for some reason we found matchsticks more natural to indicate the direction of a region!
 
 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.