Nick Bentley
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This is really two questions:

1. Do games at least as deep as Hex but with simpler rules already exist? A couple of games, like Sprouts, or a certain variant of The Dots-and-Boxes Game: Sophisticated Child's Play that I know, seem like almost-contenders, but not really.

2. If not, how could such a thing be designed? I have been sitting with this question for years, and I still I can't begin to imagine how it could be done.

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Clark Rodeffer
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"Simpler than, yet as deep as Hex" would be a fine trick, indeed, at least for a game that has complete, fixed rules. Maybe define an area and give two players a supply of equally sized stones. On your turn, play a stone anywhere within the area. The last player able to do so wins?

Clark
 
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David Bush
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Simplicity is purely subjective. But if you have a definition for "simpler", I'd like to see it.

As far as I can tell, no, Hex is it. Clark's suggestion reminds me of a puzzle the old "Problematical Recreations" series. In the game "Stogie", two players alternate placing cigars on a square region without touching other cigars or playing off the edge. The last player to move wins. The trick was to play the first cigar in the center, and henceforth respond with the symmetric strategy. So, if the region defined is not symmetric, its shape is arguably part of the rules, rendering the game more complicated than Hex. There are also all sorts of details that a rules lawyer would demand. Hex is bulletproof against such an assault.
 
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Nick Bentley
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I have no particular definition in mind, because I'd like everybody to use their own idea (and try to be explicit about it).

You *might* be able to have some kind of formal definition for the sake of objective comparisons, like komolgorov (sp?) complexity of the complete game specification, but I'm not interested in that kind of thing at the moment. I'd rather just everyone be subjective.

If the rules are somehow embodied in the geometry of the board itself, that seems like a clever way of allowing game play to be understood easily/intuitive, which is the kind of simplicity that, I confess, i had in mind when posting. But we don't have to limit ourselves to that, in particular because I'm interested in finding out what kinds of simplicity matter to other people.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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No.
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Nick Bentley
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Here's one way it might happen: if it were possible to find game where the goal is to make a simple YMMV pattern as in Hex, but in this case, a player can play a piece of *any* color on his turn instead of *his* color. This could double the branch factor without any cost in rules complexity.

I have designed a game that is a little like this, but still too complicated to be a candidate in this conversation. It's called Odd, and the goal of one player is to make sure that when the board is full, there is an odd number of connected groups of some minimum size, where a group can be of any color (and the other player wants an even number, naturally). This game is also my favorite Mind Ninja pattern. But the pattern is too complicated, and not even YMMV.

Is it possible to construct a board, such that, when the board is full of stones, the pattern is either right-handed or left-handed? This might be a promising avenue.

The problem though is that the Hex YMMV pattern is not just any YMMV pattern, it is an extremely easy one for the human brain to comprehend. Connecting things is very natural to us.
 
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Nick Bentley
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Geosphere wrote:
No.


Why? This answer is a bit boring.
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milomilo122 wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
No.


Why? This answer is a bit boring.


You asked no explanation. An answer being boring does not determine its value.

There can be no simpler rules. Once you hand someone a board and pieces (this removes "creation of the components" being part of the complexity) all you have is one rule.

The rule:
Opponents alternate placing their stones in unoccupied spaces attempting to create a chain of their adjacent stones connecting their designated sides.

Dots has a far more complex ruleset. Even Sprouts would probably take longer to explain, maybe 2 full sentences, since you have to describe a legal draw properly and define crossing a line. TicTacToe might be possible to describe properly in as few words.

Opponents alternate marking symbols in unoccupied spaces attmepting to create a straight line of 3 symbols horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

No. I believe there can be no way to describe a proper ruleset in less space, and even here the rules might not be perfect.

Hex has 1 rule (alternate placing stones in unoccupied spaces) and 1 goal (creat a chain of adjacent stones connecting your sides).

No matter what, you cannot get simpler than 1 rule and 1 goal. It wouldn't be a game. With no goal, there is no winner, with no rule ther is no game.

By definition, you cannot get simpler and even be a game.
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Greg Aleknevicus
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milomilo122 wrote:
Why? This answer is a bit boring.

I think you would be hard-pressed to come up with a game as simple as Hex (leaving aside the common "pie-splitting" rule), let alone one that is as deep.

The answer may be boring, but I think it's correct.
 
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Matthew Jones
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CDRodeffer wrote:
"Simpler than, yet as deep as Hex" would be a fine trick, indeed, at least for a game that has complete, fixed rules. Maybe define an area and give two players a supply of equally sized stones. On your turn, play a stone anywhere within the area. The last player able to do so wins?

Clark


Okay, maybe I'm missing something here. If you gave a player equal-sized stones and space to play the stones, wouldn't the first player always lose? 'Cause he'd be the one to run out of space first? Okay in thinking this over it's maybe not necessarily true.

At the very least, though, the winner would be predetermined, given the size of the stones and the size of the area? That would make this an exercise like a Labyrinth where there's one path to the center and one path out and you can't get lost even for all the twists and turns. Your end is predetermined.

Shouldn't a game be more like a Maze, where you can take wrong turns and get lost and have to re-find yourself? And hope that you re-find yourself before the opponent re-finds themselves?

Like I said, I could easily be missing something. I'm not the world's greatest thinker
 
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Russ Williams
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Geosphere wrote:
No matter what, you cannot get simpler than 1 rule and 1 goal. It wouldn't be a game. With no goal, there is no winner, with no rule ther is no game.

By definition, you cannot get simpler and even be a game.


Ok; a closely related question: can there be a game as simple as Hex, yet deeper?
 
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Sigrdrifa wrote:
CDRodeffer wrote:
"Simpler than, yet as deep as Hex" would be a fine trick, indeed, at least for a game that has complete, fixed rules. Maybe define an area and give two players a supply of equally sized stones. On your turn, play a stone anywhere within the area. The last player able to do so wins?

Clark


Okay, maybe I'm missing something here. If you gave a player equal-sized stones and space to play the stones, wouldn't the first player always lose? 'Cause he'd be the one to run out of space first? Okay in thinking this over it's maybe not necessarily true.

Obviously not, e.g. if the space was only big enough to hold one stone.

Quote:
At the very least, though, the winner would be predetermined, given the size of the stones and the size of the area?

I think Clark meant that the game is played in continuous space, not on a board with discrete locations for stones. (The latter of course is trivial, and the winner only depends on whether the number of locations is even or odd.)

 
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Sigrdrifa wrote:
Like I said, I could easily be missing something. I'm not the world's greatest thinker


It might be interesting if the board has discrete spaces and the stones occupy two or more spaces.
 
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Friendless wrote:
It might be interesting if the board has discrete spaces and the stones occupy two or more spaces.

Part of Hepta is like that, if I recall correctly. I believe it has L shaped pieces (or maybe differently sized, I can't remember).

It basically boils down to a complicated Nim variant.
 
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Friendless wrote:
It might be interesting if the board has discrete spaces and the stones occupy two or more spaces.

Ah yes, I didn't think about different sized stones for a discrete board. There are lots of such placement games that are interesting, e.g.:
Pentominoes
Stop-Gate (aka Domineering in Combinatorial Game Theory)

Pentominoes is impartial (either player can place any of the 12 pieces on their turn), and Domineering is partizan (one player places the 1x2 blocks horizontally while the other places them vertically).

There are various famous popular published commercial games in this vein which are in the BGG database, e.g. Blokus and its variants, Cathedral, and (going three-dimensional) Blokus 3D.
 
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Russ Williams
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Malachi wrote:
It basically boils down to a complicated Nim variant.

So does every impartial combinatorial game.
 
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Dave Dyer
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Have a look at Spangles. No board, pieces are two colors
of triangle, try to form a bigger triangle.
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Matthew Jones
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russ wrote:
Malachi wrote:

So does every impartial combinatorial game.



Gesundheit!



Yes. Sadly I had to edit this post...
 
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