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Subject: Placement-Capture cycles rss

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I’ve been following with great interest the development of Blooms, the thread about the cycles and the new reformulation of the rules.

Thanks to it I’ve decided to give Go a go to become familiar with the rules and the terms of territory, eye, ko and such. So forgive me if the following question sounds naive because I am very new in this field.

I’ve got the impression that, when trying to avoid cycles, some rules are added and very often the placement rule suffers from a modification or and exception like: ‘you should not place the stone here’.

I was wondering if in those games a modification of the capture rule should work instead. Something along the lines of ‘you should not capture this stone’ or ‘the stone involved in the cycle becomes uncapturable for the rest of the game’.

Do you know about some game that do it this way? Will it work for some other established games?
 
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christian freeling
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It made me aware of a notion that cycles in movement games and in placement games differ. Also of a notion that it would maybe be a good idea for an essay of sorts about the differences (I'm not sure if these can be put in a general context) and the ways to handle them, not so much as a player but from a design point of view.
Blooms has a new kind of somewhat exotic cycles. Nick and Luis' fundamentally new way of treating them raises the question if such a way is possible in other and particularly already existing games that have cycles.
But it also raises the question of 'readability' for the players. There have been more questions about the outcome of certain types of cycles than normally would be associated with 'simplification'.
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Russ Williams
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7isprime wrote:
I’ve been following with great interest the development of Blooms, the thread about the cycles and the new reformulation of the rules.

Thanks to it I’ve decided to give Go a go to become familiar with the rules and the terms of territory, eye, ko and such. So forgive me if the following question sounds naive because I am very new in this field.

I’ve got the impression that, when trying to avoid cycles, some rules are added

Well, one rule is added.
(I.e. "you can't make a move which repeats the previous board position" (simple ko) or "you can't make a move which repeats any earlier board position" (superko).)

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I was wondering if in those games a modification of the capture rule should work instead. Something along the lines of ‘you should not capture this stone’ or ‘the stone involved in the cycle becomes uncapturable for the rest of the game’.

Do you know about some game that do it this way? Will it work for some other established games?

I don't remember details, but FWIW certainly I've seen various Go variants with stones becoming permanent/uncapturable for various reasons.

(But honestly these seem like "fixing" a "problem" which isn't a problem.)
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Luis Bolaños Mures
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7isprime wrote:
I was wondering if in those games a modification of the capture rule should work instead. Something along the lines of ‘you should not capture this stone’ or ‘the stone involved in the cycle becomes uncapturable for the rest of the game’.

Do you know about some game that do it this way? Will it work for some other established games?

Yes, Yugo and Redstone work that way. Stoical Go avoids forced cycles by forbidding capturing immediately after a capture by the opponent.
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Nathan James
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Yugo is one example of using un-capture-able stones in a Go variant.
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luigi87 wrote:
Yes, Yugo and Redstone work that way.

I see, Yugo an Redstone add a new piece to the set that cannot be captured and remains on the board until the end of the game.

luigi87 wrote:
Stoical Go avoids forced cycles by forbidding capturing immediately after a capture by the opponent.

But as I understand this prohibition to capture can be done in two ways:

- Forbidding to place a new stone if such capture occurs.

OR

- Allowing to place the new stone but forbidding the stone on the board to be retired.

I know that the last rule could lead to other design problems but I was curious to know your thoughts about it.
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7isprime wrote:
- Allowing to place the new stone but forbidding the stone on the board to be retired.

I know that the last rule could lead to other design problems but I was curious to know your thoughts about it.

Incidentally, I thought of one such rule when trying to come up with an alternative to the ko rule for Free Go (a Go variant mentioned in the latest Blooms article by Nick Bentley):

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On your turn, you must pass or place a stone of your color on an empty point such that one of the following is true:

- The placement doesn't increase the number of surrounded groups of any color.

- The placement increases the number of surrounded enemy groups but not the number of surrounded friendly groups. In this case, all surrounded enemy groups are removed.

- The placement increases the number of surrounded groups of both colors. In this case, all surrounded enemy groups are removed only if there are at least two of them on the board.

Unlike Go and Stoical Go, this makes all known forced Go cycles impossible without off-board information and without adding placement restrictions.
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luigi87 wrote:
Incidentally, I thought of one such rule when trying to come up with an alternative to the ko rule for Free Go (a Go variant mentioned in the latest Blooms article by Nick Bentley):

Quote:
On your turn, you must pass or place a stone of your color on an empty point such that one of the following is true:

- The placement doesn't increase the number of surrounded groups of any color.

- The placement increases the number of surrounded enemy groups but not the number of surrounded friendly groups. In this case, all surrounded enemy groups are removed.

- The placement increases the number of surrounded groups of both colors. In this case, all surrounded enemy groups are removed only if there are at least two of them on the board.

Unlike Go and Stoical Go, this makes all known forced Go cycles impossible without off-board information and without adding placement restrictions.

For the record, this can be formulated more succintly as follows:

After a placement, remove all surrounded enemy groups, except if there is exactly one surrounded group of each color on the board. At the end of your turn, all your groups that aren't adjacent to surrounded enemy groups must have liberties. Otherwise, your placement is illegal.
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christianF wrote:
Also of a notion that it would maybe be a good idea for an essay of sorts about the differences (I'm not sure if these can be put in a general context) and the ways to handle them, not so much as a player but from a design point of view.

I'd like to read that. If you look at the bottom of this post, in the "Lessons Learned" section, you'll see I listed some questions to ask should cycles arise. That might be a good jumping off point. These are the questions I focused on when contemplating Blooms cycles.

I'll paste 'em here so you don't have to go hunting:

Quote:
When faced with a cycle in a game, I recommend asking four questions:

Why do cycles happen? The more fundamental your answer, the better equipped you are to address the issue. It gives you a chance to eliminate cycles not by adding rules to address them, but by changing or removing rules so there are no cycles in the first place. This could change the game for the worse or for the better, but if for the better, it’s the best solution. Try pursuing this question through The 5 Whys, which is a great technique for getting at the fundamentals of any problem.

Are cyclical positions completely cyclical? Hint: the answer is always no. At the very least, the number of turns each player has taken keeps rising. Often there are other non-cyclical dimensions of cyclical play. For example, in Blooms, the number of both placed and captured stones only rises during cycles. If you can identify non-cyclical aspects of cycles, you might be able to use them to create natural game-end conditions.

How rare are cycles likely to be at all skill levels? This can be hard to do because it’s hard to anticipate the details of high-level play, but it’s a worthy exercise because the rarity of cycles makes a major difference to the best way to deal with them. For example, if cycles are rare, declaring them a draw is much more likely to be a good solution than if cycles are common.

How easy it is for players to see a cycle? If cycles are hard to see (which can happen if long, complicated cycles are possible), you should look for a solution that doesn’t require players to recognize they’re happening.

Another thing I absolutely recommend is to entertain a variety of solutions before honing in on any. I think I contemplated around 20 for Blooms before discovering the one we ended up with. I listed all the strengths and weaknesses of each, in as much detail as I could. Then, through the contemplation of those strengths and weaknesses, I was able to make progress.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:
Also of a notion that it would maybe be a good idea for an essay of sorts about the differences (I'm not sure if these can be put in a general context) and the ways to handle them, not so much as a player but from a design point of view.

I'd like to read that.

I'm sure it's a difficult subject to cover in its entirity. If it were an obsession I'd tackle it. But I'm not the one to decide, my mind is, and it has a mind of its own.
I experience an unfamiliar lack of obsessions, which makes it kind of hard to decide what to do all day. But it's less of a problem than I anticipated, I simply don't do anything beyond taking care of the animals and getting the groceries. I also didn't book a december depression early and now they're all out of them. Coming Friday 23.23 CET the sun will be on its way back north, an event I will celebrate by quietly letting it pass, knowing that everything can only get better from now on. At least for a while and at least in the Netherlands.
Meanwhile I looked carefully but there's no inclination to dive into cycles anywhere at all. It was fun to help design Chesstiny, of which the community doesn't yet know the outcome or even that there is one, but now my mind has gone into hibernation. See you next spring and all that.
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Nick Bentley
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christianF wrote:
I also didn't book a december depression early and now they're all out of them.

Great news!

christianF wrote:
It was fun to help design Chesstiny, of which the community doesn't yet know the outcome or even that there is one

I know I still gotta carve some time to post it. Don't know when, but it will happen.
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