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   Author  Topic: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games  (Read 489967 times)
christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #120 on: Dec 15th, 2009, 6:02am »

@ Omar,
 
I'd gladly sign one if I had one Smiley
 
Meanwhile YvY may have been my final whisper, but not my final breath, nor my departure from the world of games (frankly, I expect those two to coincide).
 
So I'm going to stretch my hardly accepted point - hardly so despite HanniBall and YvY - to the limit with an epic abstract game that has been dormant for a quarter of a century because the conditions for its launch were less than favorable. Its name is Mu.
 
Now things are different, because Ed considers the multi player applet required as a challenge, which gives me a good hope that it will take shape in 'the not too distant future', considering that Ed has a steady supply of other priorities.
 
The applet will impicitly be fit for at least two other games, Chinese Checkers (at  Vegard Krog Petersen' excellent site, and playable here, here and here) and my own multiplayer abstract Phalanx, which may be considered Mu's support act.
 
A delicate point is - again - that it has been playtested only once, early eighties, against Anneke Treep who was to become the mother of my son Falco, a decade later.
 
She won. Like Muldoon I say "clever girl".
 
It's introduction at  the games club Fanaat couldn't have been at a less promising time, because almost everyone had started climbing Martin Medema's previously developed 'Atlantis', and shortly after it was all Dungeons and Trolls - and abstracts all but disappeared from the scene.
 
So it remained on the shelf and for its only change I didn't even have to dust it off: when Phalanx became a 'segmented game', in my mind I took note that this would improve Mu too.
 
So shortly you can have a go at my claims again, and this time the organism/mechanism covers several themes within its territorial object, with ample opportunity for "advantageous sub-goals to be achieved as calculable signposts along the way".
« Last Edit: Dec 15th, 2009, 2:31pm by christianF » IP Logged
christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #121 on: Dec 17th, 2009, 9:43am »


 
 
christian freeling
game whisperer  Kiss
 
"The reason I could conceive Mu without so much as a checker, is the same that made me unable to forget it: it's a self explanatory organism with will, intent and logic, rather than a bag of assorted rules and restrictions. It would always explain itself."
« Last Edit: Dec 17th, 2009, 1:46pm by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #122 on: Dec 25th, 2009, 6:06pm »

Wow, looking forward to seeing the rules of Mu. I think Havannah is still your best creation. It will be interesting to see if Mu tops that.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #123 on: Dec 26th, 2009, 7:45am »

Hi Omar, thanks for the reply. I was wondering if anyone would.
 
You can click on the logo to see the rules. What's missing is the applet, and that's not an easy one compared to our usual ones. Ed will make it, but he's also in the process of finding a new house, and if he finds one ... well you know what moving is like.
 
So not only has Mu been playtested only once, it won't be playtested for some time. Good case regarding my claim that an organism can be self-explanatory.
 
Mu is not like anything the abstract game world has seen, and comparisons are therefore hard. An 'abstract perfect information Risk' may be a workable way of putting it.
 
I wish you a very happy new year and an ever expanding Arimaa  Smiley
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #124 on: Dec 26th, 2009, 6:20pm »

I didn't notice the image was a link to the rules. Thanks. I just read the rules. I think I still like Havannah Smiley Just because it's so simple and pure. I didn't realize until I read the rules that Mu was a multi-player game; actually you did mention that, but I missed it the first time. I am not much into playing multi-player games and I remember Karl mentioned to me that he also didn't like multi-player games even if there is no element of chance or hidden information because there can always be collusion among a group of players and so a single player does not have full control of the outcome. I don't like mulit-player games because I hate waiting for all the other players to go before taking a turn again Smiley
 
I don't mean to be negative about Mu in any way; it might well be a great multi-player game. It's just that I know even less about multi-player games than I do about two players games.
 
One think I do admire about you is your ability to keep inventing and thinking out of the box. Keep'em coming Smiley
 
« Last Edit: Dec 26th, 2009, 10:31pm by omar » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #125 on: Jan 16th, 2010, 10:12am »

Hi Omar,
 
Thanks, but no thanks, I stopped. There's no shortage of inventors, lately, and I prefer a place along the sidelines. Mu is not new, I just never got around to publish it.
 
Arty of iGGC told me that a Russian proverb is "Moving is worse than fire". Ed, responsible for the MindSports applets, will be moving shortly to another town, another province, same old country.
 
That means that a Mu applet and/or improvements in the current applets will likely come later than sooner.
 
All else being the same of course - anyone wanting to playtest Mu manually before anyone else, in particular the inventor, can find the rules under the logo above. Take white draughtsmen for Virginity, black ones for the Wall, plastic chips for pieces and a number of cardboard segments and you can easily beat us to it. Smiley
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #126 on: Mar 26th, 2010, 2:05am »

I wouldn't deny you Omar's four out of four win in a Hanannah Tournament at Little Golem, counting yours truly among his victims! Shocked  
 
Another pleasant message is that Ed van Zon managed to buy a very nice house in the countryside. Another couple of months and he'll be settled in and MindSports will be set to proceed with new and better applets and a more 'player friendly' structure.
 
And above all: hey guys, it's spring! Grin
« Last Edit: Mar 26th, 2010, 2:06am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #127 on: Mar 27th, 2010, 7:50am »

I got very lucky. I seem to have a lot of beginners luck and this was the first time I tried a tournament on LG Smiley
 
Thanks for sharing the good news with us. I'm looking forward to see the new MindSports site. I've played a lot of Havannah there in the past. I hope one of the features in the new site will be to permanently save the games.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #128 on: Apr 23rd, 2010, 2:38am »

Hi Omar,
 
At the moment we already keep them longer (a year if I'm not mistaken) and in the coming update we'll reconsider it, among many other things.
 
Because David and I wanted to play on a smaller YvY board - to figure out how it's ticking strategically - Ed has implemented the base-23 (two-three, not twentythree Tongue )and base-34 applet, so if you challenge someone for a game, you get the choice between three different sizes.
 
YvY's opaque strategy is due to the combination of an absolute and a relative object, and the way they interact. This is rather new and feels a bit weird.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #129 on: May 14th, 2010, 5:19am »

HanniBall, which was the theme of this thread about a year ago, has now been implemented at iGGameCenter. Have fun Smiley
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #130 on: May 14th, 2010, 6:18am »

Cool. This will make trying it out much easier. Thanks for letting us know.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #131 on: May 19th, 2010, 10:43am »

After six days @ iGGC, here are HanniBall's stats.
It's not unusual for a new game to be played fairly frequently, so let's see how it develops.
This is the playtesting that according to common sense should have been done before the game's launch.
Till now the game behaves as expected - that is: the way described a year ago, though now my view is indeed more crystallized by actually playing it.
A couple of games ended in a draw by lack of plan caused by unrealized tactics. That'll pass.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #132 on: May 24th, 2010, 5:33am »

So where's Hanniball at the moment? There have been three modifications since its genesis:
 
1. The boardsize has been slightly reduced (9x15 -> 9x13 for the field).
2. JDB's stroke of brilliance simplified the shots at the keeper rule and it works perfectly.
3. Greg Magne defined 'obstruction' and the rule is implemented in both iGGC and the Zillions machine in the 'smart' version: if a player has only horses left in the field, the systems will notice if an open narrow passage causes obstruction.
 
There has been a slight modification of the penalty on obstruction, because it simplified Arty's algorithm: in case of obstruction, the victim can choose to remove any opponent's piece, and is thus not restricted to removing a blocking piece. If the obstruction is still there at the beginning of the next turn of the player who caused it, it is up to him to undo it or to risk having another piece sent off.
 
Obstruction is far from being the 'exception' I suggested it would be. I'm a (cautiously) attacking player and building a fortress around the ball is not the first thing that comes to my mind. But it should have.
 
Arty Sandler was the first to explicitly formulate a strategy based on 'near obstruction':
 
Get the ball (black can get to it first), bring it to the left or right backfield and build a 'narrow passage' along the b- or h-column where you keep the ball save from invasion by a knight's move.
To get in the opponent would need a Lion or an Elephant, and a lone invader runs the risk of being captured.
Now here's the puzzle: move the whole narrow passage towards the opponent's side, taking the ball along, till you're close enough to the opponent's goal to make a break for it with a Lion and the ball.
 
That's it in a nutshell. It has been coined catenaccio.
 
But in actual play it is complicated. Black can get to the ball first, but he cannot keep it in possesion because of the approaching pieces of the opponent, so he can only drop it one square off center.
 
The one who eventually gets away with it doesn't have all that much time to make his narrow passage and may be forced to retreat to somewhere near his own backrow.
 
Near the goal area anything might happen:
 
a. The opponent's goal is a freezone for capture: to capture a piece in his own goal, the player would have to shoot the ball into his own goal.
b. The jump from a cornersquare of the goal to the backrow is always possible because there are no two intermediate squares, so a piece in the opponent's goal often has this option (and the systems won't signal obstruction if this route is open).
A Lion on the cornersquare of the goal may jump to the backrow, jump to the ball, jump back with the ball and jump back into the goal: end of game.
c. Both players may have the option to use a ricochet to free the ball and totally alter the nature of the position.
 
So you won't want to be too far back while building your narrow passage, but less far back you need more time and the opponent's pieces can cooperate better to frustrate the attempts.
 
And always, always there's the risk of a piece, usually a Lion, breaking away with the ball and dropping it in too thinly spread a defense, ready to score next turn (or even the same turn, sudden death happens).
 
As I said it's very complicated, but grinding over it, I got a taste of possible gridlock anyway. Where did it come from.
 
Implicit restrictions shape the nature of a game, but an 'organism' should preferably not explicitly hamper itself. It's not a law, but rather an intuition.
It didn't take me too long to realize that the restriction on the knight's move, based on the 'visual' that a player can pass one, but not two players, was somewhat funny, because it implied that the player is hindered as much by his own as by his opponent's piece. And the consequences showed when trying to invade an opponent's fortress.
 
So I changed the rule from "the knight's move is not possible if both intermediate squares are occupied by pieces" to:
 
4. "The knight's move is not possible if both intermediate squares are occupied by opponent's pieces".
 
My critics were right: playtesting is a must. Yet I don't feel I was far off the mark for a game this complicated.
 
Anyway, what does the rule change imply?
 
For the catenaccio player, aka the defender, aka the ballkeeper not much changes. He can jump over his own wall into or out of his fortress and 'organize' the required moves to get the whole thing forward somewhat easier.
The latter is the more important. There's not much 'jumping in and out' of one's own fortress. A piece of the wall that moves to the ball inside, leaves it's own hole to exit, and Lions and Elephants can also shoot the ball over pieces without restrictions.
 
For the attacking player, aka the ballhunter, things do change: any piece he manages to get in between the opponent's pieces that make up the enclosure can act as a 'bridge' for another piece to jump over, so the coordination as wel as the effectivenes of his pieces increases.
 
The implementation of the rulechange was far from applauded by Hanniball players at iGGC, and they pointed mainly at the advantages for the catenaccio player: hey, now Arty gets even stronger, if not unstoppable.
 
So it was kind of a relief that I won my first game new style against him, and against a clear catenaccio I might add.
But it was a close call.
 
Let's see how it works out  Smiley
« Last Edit: May 24th, 2010, 6:15am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #133 on: May 24th, 2010, 7:46am »

on Mar 27th, 2009, 8:36am, Fritzlein wrote:
We have seen occasional positions that tended toward stalemate and piece shuffling, although only two or three I am aware of in the whole history of Arimaa, and none that were completely blocked.  I consider it unlikely that playing to win at Arimaa will drive us toward such corners of the position space,

Wrong.  That's exactly what will happen.  
 
1. Game X has only been played seriously for a couple years.
2. Drawish play almost never happened.
3. Therefore, so what??
 
Good luck with your planned grandmaster community.  With all this prophecy going on, in the coming centuries finite games such as Oust will leave infinite games such as Arimaa in the dust.  Of course I don't expect anyone to believe that.  Not this century.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #134 on: May 24th, 2010, 9:16am »

on May 24th, 2010, 7:46am, MarkSteere wrote:

Wrong.  That's exactly what will happen.  
 
1. Game X has only been played seriously for a couple years.
2. Drawish play almost never happened.
3. Therefore, so what??
 
Good luck with your planned grandmaster community.  With all this prophecy going on, in the coming centuries finite games such as Oust will leave infinite games such as Arimaa in the dust.  Of course I don't expect anyone to believe that.  Not this century.

Who the hell are you!?
 
[A Google search later...]
 
Oh good grief. The fact that you're the inventor of Oust has nothing to do with your observations, does it? No-o of course not. Heaven forbid.  
 
I mean what is the point? Why did you waste your time signing up here and browsing the forum if all you're gonna do is find some obnoxious way of saying "My games are better than yo-our game! Ner ner ner ner ne-er ner!"?
 
Excuse me if I ignore your self-serving claptrap and keep on enjoying myself. Why don't you go off and invent hex Ludo or something.
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