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Subject: Thanks for ruining everything, Pentalath... rss

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Steven Metzger
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The 61-hex board used to be great. Beautiful, symmetrical, just the right size for a lot of abstracts, and very close to that wonderful number 60.

Then Pentalath came along - or should I say Ndengrod, since Pentalath is really the name of the "dumbed down further for us human types" version - and ruined all of that. Gone are the days when I liked my boards in neat little packages, with symmetry and evenness and equality.

NOW I WANT CHAOS.

19x19 Go is too long, too strategic.
9x9 Go is too short, too tactical.

NOW I WANT 9x19 GO.

Ketchup is so awesome, the gameplay sweet and the size of the board just right for game length. But the early game's kinda boring, right?

NOT ON THIS BOARD:


---

What Connect6 did for abstract game design 5 years ago, Ndengrod is going to do for the next 5 years. Gone are the days when a neat little symmetrical board can be pasted onto an interesting mechanical idea...

I WANT NDENEVERYTHINGROD.
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Nick Bentley
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The problem is that searching through many asymmetrical boards for just the right one is a tedious affair. I would love it if Cameron were to develop an evolution algo just for things like this: to take good games and make them even better by doing stuff which is tedious and uninteresting for humans.

But I'll play Ketchup with you on that board.
 
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Steven Metzger
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milomilo122 wrote:
The problem is that searching through many asymmetrical boards for just the right one is a tedious affair. I would love it if Cameron were to develop an evolution algo just for things like this: to take good games and make them even better by doing stuff which is tedious and uninteresting for humans.

But I'll play Ketchup with you on that board.
I'm trying to make that randomly-generated board a reality, using real-life components...for Ketchup specifically, my goal is 63 hexes, no definitive "tengen," and all spaces border at least three others (I don't see a strong reason for acute corners in Ketchup).

I'll let you know if/when I come up with an idea, and try to let you know if/when I give up
 
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Nick Bentley
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metzgerism wrote:
]I'm trying to make that randomly-generated board a reality, using real-life components...for Ketchup specifically, my goal is 63 hexes, no definitive "tengen," and all spaces border at least three others (I don't see a strong reason for acute corners in Ketchup).

I'll let you know if/when I come up with an idea, and try to let you know if/when I give up


Wow. Thanks.

I agree that acute corners probably shouldn't be a feature. Obtuse corners leave more room for wraparound moves, which are a key part of the game.

If you were to find a really good board, I'd even be interested in making it the (or at least an) official board. Asymmetrical boards are a great way to encode complexity into a game without making the rules anymore complicated.
 
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Russ Williams
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Use tiles with several hexes on them (e.g. from a game like Gipsy King) to assemble a new board each time you play.
 
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Steven Metzger
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russ wrote:
Use tiles with several hexes on them (e.g. from a game like Gipsy King) to assemble a new board each time you play.
I intend to, but the tiles I've made make Gipsy King look like child's play - check my gallery!
 
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Cameron Browne
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Battle Sheep also uses similar tiles, but in a more abstract way. Beautiful! I love this game, so elegant.

Regards,
Cameron

PS. Steven it's interesting that you find the trapezoidal Ndengrod board so intriguing. I've always found it rather ugly and awkward (like the rhombus Hex board), which is why Nestor and I initially remapped the game to the Yavalath (61-HexHex) board for release.

But it turns out the game *is* actually much better on the trapezoidal board! Less symmetry means more variety, as you've discovered.
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Steven Metzger
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camb wrote:
Battle Sheep also uses similar tiles, but in a more abstract way. Beautiful! I love this game, so elegant.

Regards,
Cameron

PS. Steven it's interesting that you find the trapezoidal Ndengrod board so intriguing. I've always found it rather ugly and awkward (like the rhombus Hex board), which is why Nestor and I initially remapped the game to the Yavalath (61-HexHex) board for release.

But it turns out the game *is* actually much better on the trapezoidal board! Less symmetry means more variety, as you've discovered.
It's definitely more about what variety this opens for abstracts in the future, although what I'm working on for an adaptation of Ketchup (modular tiles creating a different board nearly every game) might be blurring the line between abstracts and other games.

If the board is different every game at the start, but everyone knows what it is before turn 1, is it still a combinatorial, perfect info abstract?
 
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Cameron Browne
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metzgerism wrote:
If the board is different every game at the start, but everyone knows what it is before turn 1, is it still a combinatorial, perfect info abstract?
Yes indeed. The characteristics of a combinatorial game are:
- zero sum (-1/0/1 outcome every game)
- discrete moves (turn-based)
- finite length
- two player (usually)
- perfect information
- deterministic

A game played on a reconfigurable board satisfies all of these criteria, it's just that the exact configuration is not know until the start of each game. An extreme way to view it would be to pre-define every possible combination of board pieces, and the first move in the game is to choose one of these configurations to play on.

Also games in which the board changes shape deterministically during the course of play, such as Limit or Zertz, would satisfy these criteria.

As for whether it's still "abstract" then that's a different bowl of squirrels! People have been debating what "abstract" means exactly in this context for years, and there's no sign of any consensus being reached. I personally lean towards a literal interpretation as a "game that can be separated from its theme, if any", but in everyday conversation usually just use the terms "abstract" and "strategy" interchangeably like everyone else. I think Backgammon is a good indicator of which "abstract" camp a person lies in (e.g. I'd say that it's an abstract game but not a combinatorial game).

When I need to be precise I use the terms "combinatorial" or "pure strategy" to describe games that satisfy the criteria above.

Sorry to rant on, but I find such rants useful for sorting out my own thoughts as I type sometimes

Regards,
Cameron
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Néstor Romeral Andrés
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metzgerism wrote:
NOW I WANT CHAOS.


You'll love this, then:



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Aaron Kulkis
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....asymmetrical, chaotic games.

Yes, this is why wargames were invented.
 
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