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Subject: End game conditions? rss

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The slide shows state that the game ends when both players pass. Can a losing player delay the end of the game forever by not passing? For example, if black has a single stone in the interior of a closed region, and there are no other stones in the interior of the region, then black could just move the stone back and forth by 1 millimeter each turn, and white could do nothing to stop this. Would this game be a draw?
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Jeromie Rand
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I'm not the designer, but I'd say that's certainly against the intent of the rules. From the example in the slide show, it seems clear that the idea of the "pass" rule is that your opponent gets a chance to modify the board in such a way that the victory conditions are no longer met. When explaining the rules, you could say something like "after making a move that connects your sections of the perimeter, you only win if your zones are still connected at the beginning of your next turn."
 
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So after you form a connection, your opponent has only one move to break the connection?

Then I propose a simple winning strategy for black (the first player) for most board/piece shapes:

Black pushes the first stone so it touches the edge of the board, like so:


White pushes a stone somewhere. It doesn't really matter where; black can't be stopped.


Now black pushes a stone so it touches both the edge of the board and the first black stone. This creates two closed regions which are both controlled by black. The larger of the two regions creates a winning connection for black which cannot be broken by white in one move.


How can white counter this simple strategy?
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Russ Williams
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At first I thought that a "closed area" (which is nowhere actually defined as far as I can tell) has no other stones within it (vaguely analogous to a closed area in Through The Desert), so in your example, the very small area upper right area is indeed black, but the very large one lower right one is still contested.

However, rereading the rules (page 19 specifically, with a white stone inside a "closed area" moving to further partition the closed area). So it looks like you are right that the very large lower left closed area is also black's. And it does indeed seem like there's nothing white can do now.

And if white's first move tried countering black's first move by various other types of first white moves:

1. On the edge and touching black, it would be illegal, since then the big area would be bordered by equal numbers of black and white stones.

2. On the edge and far from black, then black plays his second stone as in your general case and wins.

3. On the edge exactly one stone's distance from black, black can play on the in-between space, connecting them into a chain of 3, or simply on the other side of his first stone, and again winning either way.

Hmm! I await enlightenment from a more experienced player, or the designer Gord!

If the game is broken (as your post seems to suggest), I can imagine a fix being a rule change such that a "closed area" is an area with no non-perimeter stones inside it.
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The fix I would suggest is this: You can include the edge of the board in the border of a closed section, but not if that edge includes a transition between a black section and a white section. So in the examples above, the small closed area would be valid, but the larger closed area would not be valid.
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Dr. Gordon Hamilton
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Hello everyone,

Let's solve this together. I think the most obvious solution, and the one I intended is that a player can have many moves to solve an opponent's "winning position" as long as the moves are doing something useful. We could define that rigidly.

There are 4 transition points on the edge of the board where black meets white. My second solution (actually the one that I used to use) said that a region does not turn "black" or "white" if it contains more than two or the four transition points.

Gord!
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