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Subject: New game: Kopano rss

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Luis Bolaños Mures
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I have recently added Kopano to the database. It's a square board connection game with great clarity and a touch of coldness. It's also the down-to-earth brother of the somewhat baroque Konobi.

Enjoy.
 
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Nick Bentley
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*lovely* idea. I'm not sure anyone has ever investigated connection games as intensely as you. I nominate you for king of connection games.
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Bennett Gardiner
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Oh wow. I get it. Very very nice. I think I prefer this idea to Slither, although I haven't played either. That weakly/strongly connected rule is very ingenious. I like how you can reserve spots based on the cross-cut rule as well. In the example game, this 'reserving' means that white can win just by filling in strong connections, black is powerless to stop it. I wonder if having weak connection between sides is even necessary? Or does it just prevent this boring "filling in" period?
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Luis Bolaños Mures
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dispatch134711 wrote:
Oh wow. I get it. Very very nice. I think I prefer this idea to Slither, although I haven't played either. That weakly/strongly connected rule is very ingenious. I like how you can reserve spots based on the cross-cut rule as well. In the example game, this 'reserving' means that white can win just by filling in strong connections, black is powerless to stop it. I wonder if having weak connection between sides is even necessary? Or does it just prevent this boring "filling in" period?
Weak connections are necessary because of this:

From gallery of luigi87

Here, neither player can play at a because that would form a crosscut.

On a different note, the banned crosscut rule (first used in Crossway) is necessary to enforce the Hex property that only one player will be able to form a winning chain, but it has another interesting function as well. This applies to both Kopano and Konobi.

Consider the following two patterns:

From gallery of luigi87

From gallery of luigi87

In Konobi and Kopano, the central 2x2 area in the first diagram is cold for both players, which means whoever plays first in it will give the opponent the chance to connect his stones. In Kopano, this is true for the second diagram as well.

It's unlikely that any one of these patterns will be formed in a particular session, but when it is, it will lead to a cold war if both players need to connect through it in order to win. In that case, they will take turns filling the rest of the board, and whoever is forced to play in the cold area first will lose. In general, cold wars are a problem if their outcome can't be determined beforehand or even if it depends on the mere parity of the remaining empty points, since that makes it hard to accommodate them into one's strategic planning.

However, this is not the case in Konobi and Kopano. As you observed, the banned crosscut rule provides a convenient way of reserving empty points, and, if a cold war arises, whoever has reserved more spots will win.

From gallery of luigi87

In this 6x6 Kopano or Konobi game, neither player wants to be the first to play in the 2x2 empty area, but both of them need to connect there in order to win, so a cold war starts. White wins by having 4 free moves to Black's 2.
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Bennett Gardiner
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Brilliant explanation, thank you. This is becoming my favourite post in quite a while.

It took me a while to work out what you meant by those 2x2 patterns, because I kept forgetting the weak connection exclusion rule.

The last part makes perfect sense. Reminds me somewhat of a late stage game of Yavalath (when the whole board is full).

This is definitely one of the best connection games I've ever seen.
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Russ Williams
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dispatch134711 wrote:
This is definitely one of the best connection games I've ever seen.
Do check out Vimbre & Quentin also, if you haven't already.
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Rio Malaschitz
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I suggest a new similar game KOMINO, with similar, but simpler rules:

1. Exists only strong connections.

2. Crosscut for 2x2 is illegal.

3. Before your move, you can remove any your stone or stones.

There is no draw (I hope) and there are not cold wars.
 
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Luis Bolaños Mures
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Malaschitz wrote:
I suggest a new similar game KOMINO, with similar, but simpler rules:

1. Exists only strong connections.

2. Crosscut for 2x2 is illegal.

3. Before your move, you can remove any your stone or stones.

There is no draw (I hope) and there are not cold wars.
That would be almost equivalent to Crossway in practice, with the following main differences:

a) There would be a boring phase at the end of the game in which the winning player will have to fix all the weak connections in his winning chain.

b) Cooperative cycles would be possible.

c) The fact that there are no illegal placements at all would make for slightly different tactics sometimes.
 
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Benedikt Rosenau
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luigi87 wrote:
That would be almost equivalent to Crossway in practice, with the following main differences:
..
b) Cooperative cycles would be possible.
..
So what?

Luigi, you are a designer of fascinating rulesets, but this discussion shows where the problems in game design come from. It does not matter at all, if cooperative cycles are possible in a game, unless one is a purist with regard to rulesets being draw proof. Crossway has another problem, namely that it rewards far too direct play, sacrificing much of the subtility and complexity of other connection games. I'd expect somebody who considers himself a game designer to address that.
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Luis Bolaños Mures
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Zickzack wrote:
luigi87 wrote:
That would be almost equivalent to Crossway in practice, with the following main differences:
..
b) Cooperative cycles would be possible.
..
So what?

Luigi, you are a designer of fascinating rulesets, but this discussion shows where the problems in game design come from. It does not matter at all, if cooperative cycles are possible in a game, unless one is a purist with regard to rulesets being draw proof. Crossway has another problem, namely that it rewards far too direct play, sacrificing much of the subtility and complexity of other connection games. I'd expect somebody who considers himself a game designer to address that.


a) I never said Komino was bad because of cooperative cycles. What I said is that they are possible and that Komino is almost equivalent to Crossway. I don't think it's unreasonable to prefer Crossway, a finite game, to an almost equivalent game with cooperative cycles and more complicated rules. Also, if we compared Komino to Quickway instead, the practical differences would be even closer to zero. (Quickway, in turn, is almost equivalent to Crossway as well.)

b) I agree that cooperative cycles are generally not a problem and have been elaborating on why for a few days now in a thread about ko-less Go variants. Also, you already know my Stoical Go variant, which makes all known forced Go cycles impossible while keeping cooperative cycles. I wouldn't have designed it if I thought cooperative cycles were a big problem. Lastly, my game Ayu also has cooperative cycles (although to this day nobody knows how to produce one from the starting position).

c) Although Crossway is an interesting game, I'm fully aware that it rewards far too direct play and I agree that this is not desirable. In fact, addressing that problem was my one and only motivation to design Konobi and Kopano, which are both Crossway with an extra rule to make play less direct. As a result, the average length of a 19x19 Crossway game is similar to the average length of an 11x11 Konobi or Kopano game, which is in turn higher than the average length of an 11x11 Hex game.
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christian freeling
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Zickzack wrote:
Luigi, you are a designer of fascinating rulesets, but this discussion shows where the problems in game design come from. It does not matter at all, if cooperative cycles are possible in a game, unless one is a purist with regard to rulesets being draw proof. Crossway has another problem, namely that it rewards far too direct play, sacrificing much of the subtility and complexity of other connection games. I'd expect somebody who considers himself a game designer to address that.
You seem to imply a difference between a 'ruleset' and a 'game'. There are some conventions regarding rulesets. They should be as simple as possible, that is: if two rulesets lead to very similar games, the simpler one is likely preferable. Occam's Razor comes to mind, for the occasion: don't introduce what you don't need.

But there's also a subjective aspect. Crossway is as simple as it gets, and it has defenders as well as critics, you among them by implication of the above. So there are questionable games with minimal rulesets. But there are also excellent games with less than minimal rulesets. This brings us bach to the question of what makes a good game, and the subjectivity involved.

So what exactly do you mean when you say Luigi is a designer of fascinating rulesets? It appears to imply some objective sort of shortcoming. I seem to remember you mentioning Ayu as 'a good ruleset' in the same spirit, and I, in my subjective opinion, dare to call it a great game.
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Nick Bentley
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Quote:

Luigi, you are a designer of fascinating rulesets
I think understand what the accusation is supposed to mean - i.e. rulesets that look really interesting on paper but which don't lead to particularly notable gameplay - Mark Steere is the biggest offender of this kind - but in defense of Luis, the criticism totally, totally doesn't apply to his games.

In fact, the thing that makes Luis' games so interesting to me is that he pays a *ton* of attention to gameplay, and still manages to produce games with simple, conceptually unified rules. The game that started this thread appears to me to be an express attempt to solve the gameplay problems of Crossway that you yourself describe!
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
I think understand what the accusation is supposed to mean - i.e. rulesets that look really interesting on paper but which don't lead to particularly notable gameplay.
I understood it in a similar way, but the premiss then seems to be the existence of an objective set of criteria to describe "notable gameplay".

Even accepting the premiss, what does it mean if a beginner qualifies a new strategy game, any new strategy game, as having or lacking "notable gameplay"?
 
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
I think understand what the accusation is supposed to mean - i.e. rulesets that look really interesting on paper but which don't lead to particularly notable gameplay.
I understood it in a similar way, but the premiss then seems to be the existence of an objective set of criteria to describe "notable gameplay".

Even accepting the premiss, what does it mean if a beginner qualifies a new strategy game, any new strategy game, as having or lacking "notable gameplay"?
I didn't mean to imply anything objective about games with that phrase. I'm referring merely to the tendency for people to find a game exciting/thrilling/whatever it is they like about playing a board game.

So although taste in games is subjective, some games are more enjoyable to more people than others, and games that many people love playing are, by my definition here, games with "notable gameplay". People who play Luis games tend to enjoy them greatly, in my experience, and Luis tries hard to design games so that will be the case.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
So although taste in games is subjective, some games are more enjoyable to more people than others, and games that many people love playing are, by my definition here, games with "notable gameplay".
That would include a number of hypes that no-one cares about anymore (Abalone and Ploy come to mind), showing that notions of "notable gameplay" by beginners can be deceptive. There are new games being invented on a daily basis. What criteria should one have to invest the time and effort that is inherent in learning any of them? How does one choose?
 
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Nick Bentley
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
So although taste in games is subjective, some games are more enjoyable to more people than others, and games that many people love playing are, by my definition here, games with "notable gameplay".
That would include a number of hypes that no-one cares about anymore (Abalone and Ploy come to mind), showing that notions of "notable gameplay" by beginners can be deceptive. There are new games being invented on a daily basis. What criteria should one have to invest the time and effort that is inherent in learning any of them? How does one choose?
That's a fantastic question, isn't it? Because games have emergent properties, to some extent, you *can't* know about a game's durability until someone actually goes and explores it.

My own personal answer is that I don't typically invest much in a game until I've heard other people I respect with similar taste sing its praises, and on top of that I wait until some time has gone by so that the shine of novelty has worn off. But someone has to be the early adopter for my system to work. How should do they decide?
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
But someone has to be the early adopter for my system to work. How should do they decide?
How indeed
 
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Russ Williams
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milomilo122 wrote:
But someone has to be the early adopter for my system to work. How should do they decide?
Some marketing theories I've read about class people into different groups for quickly they adopt. So simply some people like to try new games more than other people like yourself.

As for which games they try: probably intuition based on past experience, trusting or liking the particular designer, liking that particular type of game, good short clear easy to understand rules, ease of creating the game or playing online, having friends interested in trying it, and various other such factors...
 
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Bennett Gardiner
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russ wrote:
good short clear easy to understand rules, ease of... playing online
For me, these are the two most important ones. The others obviously apply as well, but if I can understand the rules at a glance and they sound interesting, I will try it even if it's from an unknown designer or not the type of game I usually like, as I know that I'm adding new genres/mechanics to my list of 'likes' all the time. But I have to have somewhere to try it, someone or something to try it with.
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