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Subject: Views welcomed on Trig rss

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Richard Moxham
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Not by any means a new game, but a newly-posted one, Trig is hereby offered for comment. Alas, it can't actually be played for the moment except on a board of your own making (you're welcome, by the way), but I'd be interested in any views.

(I'd also be extremely grapefruit if anyone could tell me what you have to do to associate an image with a game in such a way that it appears alongside the name at the head of the page or in a search. I'm rubbish at these things.)
 
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Clark Rodeffer
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mocko wrote:
Alas, it can't actually be played for the moment except on a board of your own making (you're welcome, by the way), but I'd be interested in any views.

As it turns out, now you can! I added a Trig page to Scientific Click's HexHex4 Google Presentation where anyone can play. Scroll down to the slide with Trig (so far no Trigger or Triggest), copy that slide, and play.
 
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Richard Moxham
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CDRodeffer wrote:
mocko wrote:
Alas, it can't actually be played for the moment except on a board of your own making (you're welcome, by the way), but I'd be interested in any views.

As it turns out, now you can! I added a Trig page to Scientific Click's HexHex4 Google Presentation where anyone can play. Scroll down to the slide with Trig (so far no Trigger or Triggest), copy that slide, and play.


Clark, you are a citizen of the worthiest stripe. Thank you so much.
 
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Soh-cah-toa.

What? Oh! Never mind then.

 
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Michael Howe
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I have a generally favorable first impression with two reservations. First, I would be concerned that first move would be a large advantage, given that the game is very much a race and that a relatively small number of ideal moves are needed to win that race. I think you need a balancing rule. Second is clarity: I would never personally try to play the game using all those large capturing triangles. Too much work each turn to try to check them all, and pretty hopeless, I think, to plan multiple moves ahead and hope to see all the capturing possibilities. I would probably use a house rule restricting capturing to two or three of the smallest possible triangles.
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Richard Moxham
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mhowe wrote:
I have a generally favorable first impression with two reservations. First, I would be concerned that first move would be a large advantage, given that the game is very much a race and that a relatively small number of ideal moves are needed to win that race. I think you need a balancing rule. Second is clarity: I would never personally try to play the game using all those large capturing triangles. Too much work each turn to try to check them all, and pretty hopeless, I think, to plan multiple moves ahead and hope to see all the capturing possibilities. I would probably use a house rule restricting capturing to two or three of the smallest possible triangles.


Thank you, Michael, for your encouraging opening remark. As for your reservations, they seem to me perfectly natural. Having lived with the game for over 25 years in its evolving incarnations, I do have observations to offer in reply, but I think the best advice would be to give it a try (Clark Rodeffer has kindly provided the means to do this), and see how you find it in actual play. Do please bear in mind, though, that, like Morelli, it was intended from the outset to be a whitewater game.
 
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Michael Howe
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If I try it, it will be with house rules. For me, the clarity issue that goes with the large triangles is a non-starter. Thanks.
 
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Clark Rodeffer
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I finally got a chance to play Trig today, and my oldest daughter defeated me in our first game. I initially tried racing for an edge, but due to the board geometry, she was able to stop me easily. Next, I spent some time trying to make triangles to capture her blocking pieces that would then allow me to connect on the inside. Meanwhile, she inched toward a corner. I knew if either of us got a connected line to the space just inside a corner, that player would have a fork. She approached first, and I blocked that key space with my piece. However, my daughter already had one piece along the edge from blocking my earlier run toward the edge, and when she played in the corresponding spot on the other edge, it captured my blocking piece and allowed her to reconnect the pillar to the side. I was one move away from a fork in another corner, so the game was very close.

This is one that I think is worth building a physical copy for future use at my annual tournament. While I agree that trying to capture with large triangles may not be clear, I don't think the rules need to be modified to limit captures to small triangles. I like them the way they are. However, I do think the loop around the pillar is a harder goal than reaching an edge with the default Trig board size, but adding three more rows (so the neutral spaces remain in the corners while leaving the pillar fully connected) may tip it too far the other way. How did you determine the optimum board size?

Here are my daughter's thoughts on our game:

"I think that Trig is a wonderful game, and I love that it so different. When I was about to win, Papa took my winning move, and then I found a way to make a triangle to replace his piece to win. I made a little connector between the pillar and one of the sides. At first I wanted to make a little loop around the pillar, and then I gave up on that. Instead I started to go for the edge. Personally, I wasn't really trying to capture, and only did so when it happened to fit my plans to move toward the edge. I loved it, and look forward to playing again sometime. Trig is one of my favorite games now. "
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Richard Moxham
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CDRodeffer wrote:
I finally got a chance to play Trig today, and my oldest daughter defeated me in our first game.


Clark, I'm so pleased you and your daughter enjoyed your first experience of Trig. It sounds like you already encountered some of its subtleties - and there are more of those than might at first be imagined of a game so apparently simple.

I'm glad, too, that you came down in favour of leaving the rules as they are. After twenty years of playing the game, I'm pretty sure it needs no adjustment. It may well be true that the loop is harder to achieve than a chain - or (more exactly, perhaps) easier to block - but we need to remember two things. The first is that these are not opposing player-goals in an asymmetric game, but alternatives available to both players. And the second is that, after (let's say) an initial attempt at a loop has been foiled and attention has turned elsewhere, the reanimation of the loop-threat by a capture or two is always a live possibility - and that consideration in itself often plays its part in determining the course of play.

As for the optimum board size, I don't think I ever looked beyond the criterion of wanting the minimum loop-length and chain-length to be the same - i.e. six cells. (Which is odd, come to think of it, because the development phase of Trig was ten years long, as compared with Morelli's ten minutes!) Nothing I've seen in play, though, has ever suggested to me that I got that one wrong, even if more luck than judgement was involved.

And finally, be patient with the big triangles - you'll end up using 'em without a second thought. Remember that you don't need to see all that there are on the board. What happens in practice is that at any given moment you're identifying a key piece (one, that is, which either you need to capture or you fear your opponent wishes to), and then checking for a triangle which centres upon it, with a view to completing that triangle or preventing its completion, as the case may be.

Anyway, I think you'll enjoy exploring the possibilities further - and I hope you do end up thinking it worth taking to the 2013 tournament.
 
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