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2 de Mayo» Forums » Sessions

Subject: A chess-like endgame puzzle, for those who love puzzles :) rss

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Lawrence Low
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Played 28 games so far, unbeaten as Spanish, lost 3 times as French, once while learning, once at turn 10 to an expert wargamer, and yesterday to the brilliant Dana. I had just taught her the game and this was the 3rd game. She was determined to win, having lost in turns 6 & 9 the 2 previous games. She is really hooked on the game now, and intends to get a set (you're welcome Daniel).

This was how it stood at beginning of turn 10 :

I was French, she was Spanish.

I had used up Murat & Cavalry earlier in turn 8, which was supposed to have been the killer pincer move, but amazingly, some of her groups escaped.

So, now all that remained for Spain is 1 red cube in Zone 17 & 3 red cubes in Zone 15, pinned down by my 1 blue cube there. I had 3 blue in Zone 20, and easily can move 3 blue into 15. She had a "cancel own move" card left, and I had the "double resolution" & "cancel a Spanish move in turn 10" card left. I had 3 blues each in Zones 14 & 16. Zone 18 was empty. Other Zones were more or less French controlled. I held all 4 gates.

If you really analyze it, she had one unbeatable endgame move. Any other move and I win. A poor player might not have seen it and lost, but she was THAT good. (Or I was THAT good a teacher devil)

You are Spanish. What's your winning move? I'm French, I'm not telling
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Russ Williams
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Hmm, non-obvious!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Obvious stuff like:
17 to 10.
15 to 9 or to 12 or to 18

seems promising, as it forces France to use the "cancel a Spanish move" on the move 17 to 10 and move all cubes (not just 2, since a 2nd red cube could arrive in 17 from 15) from 20 to 17. But I was somewhat surprised to find I could refute all these with the French by ordering moves including:
14 to 9
14 or 16 to 12
16 to 18
to cover possible Spanish escapes from 15: In such a case, France can move 2 blues to intercept the red cube escaping from 15 while diverting only 1 each to the other 2 escape regions, and meanwhile get 3 into 15, enough to kill the 2 reds there in 2 battles. (And if red escapes from 15 to 17, no problem: the French get 4 cubes vs 2 in 15 and have 3 vs 2 in 17, winning in 2 battles there.)

However those French orders mean that one of 14 or 16 will have 2 divert 2 cubes other than into 15, so either 14 or 16 is sending only 1 into 15. And thus Spain can order:
15 to 14
or
15 or 16
If Spain guesses correctly then in case of player orders bumping into each other like that, one red cube from 15 to 14 vs one blue cube from 14 to 15, the red cube wins, so if Spain guesses correctly, they'll end up with 1 red and 1 blue in 14 (or in 16).

But they have to guess correctly.
If France orders:
14 to 9
14 or 12
16 to 18
then Spain must order 15 to 14.
If France orders:
14 to 9
16 or 12
16 to 18
then Spain must order 15 to 16.

So this is the only approach I find which can work for Spain, but it's still only a 50% probability of success, as Spain must guess correctly which of 14 or 16 will be sending only 1 cube to 15.

Is this what happened, or was it something else I'm not seeing which 100% guaranteed works for Spain?
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Lawrence Low
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Excellent analysis, Russ, but let me clarify further :

Any escape by 1 red into 9 or 12 is suicidal, (from frying pan into the fire) - those areas already have 2 or more blue cubes, so eliminate those options. That simplifies things tremendously.

I will wait a bit before providing a solution, just in case another beautiful mind comes up with a completely different solution which I might not have foreseen.

BTW - I'm curious, which games did you play in April? (April = games with balls)
And how did you do the hidden mouseover thingy?
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Russ Williams
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buylower wrote:
Let me clarify further, Russ :

Any escape by 1 red into 9 or 12 is suicidal, (from frying pan into the fire) - those areas already have 2 or more blue cubes, so eliminate those options. That simplifies things tremendously.

Ah, OK, so I will ponder further with that information... definitely I am overlooking something.

Quote:
BTW - I'm curious, which games did you play in April? (April = games with balls)

Pylos, ZÈRTZ, Cubulus, Pentago, and a whole lot of different Shibumi games!

Quote:
And how did you do the hidden mouseover thingy?

Via the "SP" (spoiler) button.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Like this.
In general you can always quote-reply a post to see how formatting was done, or see the BGG wiki page Forum formatting.
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Lawrence Low
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Ah interesting! Shibumi sounds like an intriguing system.

I noticed there weren't any dexterity games in there?

Did you ever try Saturn? balls of many colors, small, medium & large balls, a ball lover's dream! (and also a very pretty game!)

Does table soccer count? lol

BTW I have the 4-player version of Pentago, and it's ball-less, replaced by cute seeds in 4 colors, much like the ones in Go.
 
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Russ Williams
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buylower wrote:
Ah interesting! Shibumi sounds like an intriguing system.

It is cool, permitting a variety of clever short games, and the better quality set (with heavy clacky billiard-like balls) is really nice to play with!

Quote:
I noticed there weren't any dexterity games in there?

This is true. Neither Anna nor I is very interested in dexterity games, and we rarely play them... The main exception is playing Jenga every new year's for some reason, just because it's usually at new year events we attend, and so it became a tradition...

Quote:
Did you ever try Saturn? balls of many colors, small, medium & large balls, a ball lover's dream! (and also a very pretty game!)

Never tried it! Looks pretty indeed... but not like a game I would want to own.

Quote:
Does table soccer count? lol

I'm not sure... luckily the question didn't arise in April.

Quote:
BTW I have the 4-player version of Pentago, and it's ball-less, replaced by cute seeds in 4 colors, much like the ones in Go.

I've not played it but suppose (and have read) that it's not as pleasing as 2-player, due to too much multi-player chaos and lack of ability to do much meaningful strategic planning. Have you played both versions? If so, what is your take on that?
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Lawrence Low
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I guess you're right, 2 player is more chess-like.
4 player sometimes results in kingmaking, or forcing a player to block the winning move of another player, instead of making his own winning move. Mechanics wise, the 4 player can easily be adapted for 2 player without any trouble, so I don't need to buy the 2 player again.

I actually collect Gigamic abstracts too, but in reality never find good opponents amongst my regular gamers.
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