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Subject: Six strategy tips from Gord! rss

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Dr. Gordon Hamilton
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When playing an atheist game (no gods), here are a few strategy tips:

1) The second player should keep close to the first player for the first few turns.

2) After A and B have moved, the first position is stronger for player B than the second position. This is because player B controls the flow of men more in the first diagram.

- 2 - - -
- B A - -
- - A B -
- - - - -
- - - - -

- - 2 - -
- B A - -
- - A B -
- - - - -
- - - - -

3) An excellent position for A at the start of his turn. The upper "A" will be more active while the lower A will block B's access to the corner.

1 A - - -
1 A B - -
1 B - - -
- - 1 - -
- - - - -

4) If you are given the opportunity to step up, do it. (80% of the time it will be the best move).

5) Position your men in the centre of an island. Imagine this island is all of height 1 or all of height 2 and one of your men and one of your opponent’s men are sharing it. then the best place to be is R or U. You would like to see your opponent on S.

QRS
TU

This is even more true if one of your men shares the island with both an opponents men. In this case a good position on the island effectively neutralizes both opponents pieces. This allows you time to get your remaining man into a great position.

6) Later in the game many winning combinations start with jumping down with one of your men. Don't hesitate - jump!
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Stephen Tavener
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Thanks for the tips. So, what would you choose for the opening positions if you were playing first (and, subsequently, second)? As first player, I'm currently favouring maximum coverage of the board:

- - - - -
- X - - -
- - - - -
- - - X -
- - - - -


... leaves only 4 places I can't reach. Would you prefer to keep both your pieces together?
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Dr. Gordon Hamilton
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I keep my pieces together. When I played against myself on lonely evenings before marriage, this was the most common starting position (with A going first; B second)

_ _ _ _ _
_ B _ _ _
_ A A _ _
_ _ B _ _
_ _ _ _ _

... and these are my two most common first moves with A

_ _ _ _ _
_ B _ _ _
_ A _ _ _
1 A B _ _
_ _ _ _ _



_ _ _ 1 _
_ B A _ _
_ _ A _ _
_ _ B _ _
_ _ _ _ _
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