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Subject: Basic Movement Patterns rss

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Carlos Luna
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I always have hard time wrapping my mind around games like Lines of Action or Linja because it is quite difficult to see what moves are available each turn (let alone decide which of these moves is the best one!). You will, eventually, overcome this opaqueness but, from my point of view, it will be very helpful if the rules of this kind of games include some basic tricks to point you to the right direction from minute zero.

When I read the rules of 27 I had the same sensation so I started to play around with just one color in order to develop some intuition about what can be done (once you have a clear idea about what can be done you can focus on what you want to do). Rather quickly four basic monochromatic patterns arose so lets talk about them and how you can combine them to create more complex movements:




The Walker

Obviously, you can simply advance a whole single tower one step at a time:

9 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

_ 9 _ _ _ _ _ _ _

_ _ 9 _ _ _ _ _ _

_ _ _ 9 _ _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ 9 _ _ _ _

This is probably the fastest way to make all your pieces cross the whole board, but it is a quite vulnerable formation also (you are putting all your eggs pieces in the same basket column...




The Shooter

So you probably want to spread your pieces into several columns... Well, this is rather easy, you could, for example, lay a carpet of pieces in front of your initial tower by shooting one at a time:

9 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

8 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _

7 1 1 _ _ _ _ _ _

6 1 1 1 _ _ _ _ _

5 1 1 1 1 _ _ _ _

Indeed, towers of different sizes can be shoot using this method (which will prove useful later):

9 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

8 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _

6 1 2 _ _ _ _ _ _

5 1 2 1 _ _ _ _ _

1 1 2 1 4 _ _ _ _




The Crawler

Apart of spreading them, you want to make your towers advance. If all of them are in a contiguous row you can make them crawl:

4 3 2 _ _ _ _ _ _

_ 3 2 4 _ _ _ _ _

_ _ 2 4 3 _ _ _ _

_ _ _ 4 3 2 _ _ _

_ _ _ _ 3 2 4 _ _

More in general, when you have N contiguous towers you have broken the board into N independent tracks so you can split the row of towers if you want because they all move over their own track now:

A B C A B C A B C

4 3 2 _ _ _ _ _ _

4 3 _ _ _ 2 _ _ _

_ 3 _ 4 _ 2 _ _ _

_ 3 _ _ _ 2 4 _ _

_ _ _ _ 3 2 4 _ _

This means that, unless something else happens, only one of them will be able to reach the last column of the board, though!




The Meeting Point

The previous observation may suggest that the only way to reduce the amount of towers of your color is to interact with the opponent pieces, however, there is a simple pattern (a row of towers, a gap & a single additional tower) that let you join your pieces again:

5 1 1 1 _ 1 _ _ _

_ 1 1 1 _ 6 _ _ _

_ _ 1 1 _ 7 _ _ _

_ _ _ 1 _ 8 _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ 9 _ _ _

This formation basically reverts The Shooter and can be adapted to let you reduce the number of towers of your color without joining them all. The basic idea is always the same: to shoot a meeting point forward and then make advance your towers (in order!) over it (so you have to increase your number of towers in order to be able to decrease it!).

If you shoot from your first tower you are just shooting a new tower but in any other case you will end up with fewer towers:

2 2 3 2 _ _ _ _ _

2 2 2 2 _ _ 1 _ _

_ 2 2 2 _ 2 1 _ _

_ _ 2 2 _ 2 3 _ _

_ _ _ 2 _ 2 5 _ _

_ _ _ _ _ 2 7 _ _


Altering the order you use to make them advance will also modify the final result:

2 2 3 2 _ _ _ _ _

2 2 2 2 _ _ 1 _ _

2 _ 2 2 _ _ 3 _ _

_ _ 2 2 2 _ 3 _ _

_ _ 2 2 2 _ 3 _ _

_ _ 2 _ 2 _ 3 2 _

_ _ _ _ 2 _ 5 2 _

_ _ _ _ _ _ 5 4 _




Complex Patterns:

I hope you all have a better understanding of what can be done and how to move towers around and I encourage you to combine the four simple patterns explained above to create more complex patterns such as this Inchworm:

9 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

6 3 _ _ _ _ _ _ _

3 3 3 _ _ _ _ _ _

3 _ 3 _ 3 _ _ _ _

_ _ 3 3 3 _ _ _ _

_ _ 3 _ 3 _ 3 _ _

_ _ _ _ 3 3 3 _ _

_ _ _ _ 3 2 3 _ 1

_ _ _ _ _ 2 3 _ 4

_ _ _ _ _ _ 3 _ 6

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 9




PS: Have you found any other simple (or complex) movement pattern that you consider worth sharing? I would like to take a look at it!
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