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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #255 on: Oct 17th, 2010, 12:05pm »

on Oct 15th, 2010, 12:13pm, christianF wrote:
Anyway, I'm surprised at the lack of comments (barring the one by Mark who feels that stories are his prerogative).
Too symple perhaps Huh .

 
Don't be discouraged for not getting comments. This is quite a small community after all, and the timing of post might have affected that also.
 
Sure it's hard to say anything without playing. There is not much rules to discuss so it is quite abstract.
 
Personally, these kind of games are what I value most. The emergent properties that stem up from trivial rules make the game feel universal. Unfortunately I'm not very good at getting involved in a new game, and have lately been fascinated by Arimaa, shogi and restarted playing go, not to mention reading the book on checkers AI, Chinook, history.
 
It was crucial that you have the game as playable now. I hope people will try it out. Even if they won't, know that there are people that have huge respect for designers such as yourself. I also like to read how the games evolve, as in this thread. Thank you for those valuable posts.
 
[offtopic] Personally, one type of game that I might myself someday innovate, is a game which main purpose is to modify its rules. A combination of stack based programming language (higher-order combinators) + self-modification of the stack. Though queue might fit better.[/offtopic]
« Last Edit: Oct 17th, 2010, 12:06pm by clojure » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #256 on: Oct 17th, 2010, 2:43pm »

on Oct 15th, 2010, 12:13pm, christianF wrote:
Now here's the thing. This thread is about my claim to, sometimes, be able to predict a game's behaviour. You can read...

Someone please douse me in gasoline and take away the pain.
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cable to any odd sized grid
« Reply #257 on: Oct 17th, 2010, 3:19pm »

on Oct 17th, 2010, 2:43pm, MarkSteere wrote:

Someone please douse me in gasoline and take away the pain.

Then who would be out there in the woods, chasing games, while I'm sitting on the porch enjoying the occasional one that comes to me? Wink  
 
Now there's a thread at BGG, no Mark, not started by me (and neither was this one for that matter) where players interested in something new under the sun discuss Symple and Byg (by Nicholas Bentley).
Something really new in terms of mechanics, applicable to any odd sized grid.
 
It's called Byg (P)review of Symplex.
 
Symple was conceived as a hexgame. The hexgame is now called 'Symplex'.
« Last Edit: Oct 17th, 2010, 4:31pm by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #258 on: Oct 17th, 2010, 11:25pm »

on Oct 15th, 2010, 12:13pm, christianF wrote:
Anyway, I'm surprised at the lack of comments

Is the lack of comments from the Arimaa community about Symple any more surprising than your lack of comments about the new Arimaa material evaluation function that was recently proposed, the new Arimaa analysis tool that was recently developed, the Arimaa game that was recently submitted for critique, the Arimaa festival that is currently being planned, the outcome of the recent Arimaa Postal Mixer and Arimaa World League season, or anything else in any of the other Arimaa threads?  I do not take it amiss that you find nothing in any of dozens of Arimaa threads in the Arimaa forum to be worth your time to read and respond to; do you nevertheless feel slighted by us?
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #259 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 1:05am »

on Oct 17th, 2010, 11:25pm, Fritzlein wrote:

Is the lack of comments from the Arimaa community about Symple any more surprising than your lack of comments about the new Arimaa material evaluation function that was recently proposed,

Yeah Christian.  Way to hijack a forum.
 
Btw guys, congrats on Games magazine Abstract of the Year.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #260 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 2:09am »

To be clear, I am glad that Symple is being discussed and examined.  I have nothing against Symple, and nothing against posting about Symple in the off-topic section of the Arimaa forum.  I was merely asking what Christian meant by expressing surprise at the lack of responses.  Is the relative silence a failure of the community's courtesy?
 
Probably there some other reason he let us know that he expected something different from us; I should have asked what that reason was in a less loaded way.  Instead of asking, "Did you mean this criticism that your words seem to imply?", I could have simply asked, "Why are you surprised?"  Then Christian could have responded without having to dispute any words that I have put in his mouth.
 
It may explain (although perhaps not excuse) the sharpness of my previous post that I haven't recently been spending twenty hours per week on Arimaa as I have done in prior months.  I find it difficult to respond to all the posts that are worthy of a response.  I would like to spend more time on Arimaa, but I have been pulled in other directions.  That makes me rather sensitive to an implication that I have been allocating my attention poorly.
 
On the other hand, I quite likely hold the all-time lead in Arimaa forum posts that have not been responded to.  I understand the disappointment of floating an idea that no one pays any attention to.  I know how short a leap it is from being disappointed to sharing that disappointment along with an implication that I had hoped for better.  Having gone down that path many times myself, the wisest thing I could have done was probably to silently learn from Christian's comment without responding to it at all.
« Last Edit: Oct 18th, 2010, 2:26am by Fritzlein » IP Logged

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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #261 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 5:20am »

on Oct 18th, 2010, 1:05am, MarkSteere wrote:

Yeah Christian.  Way to hijack a forum.

Hijacking a thread titled "Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games"?
A clear example of misdirected 'Markasm' I'd say. Don't worry, I know you're far too intelligent to mean what you say. Wink  
So am I, sometimes.
 
on Oct 18th, 2010, 2:09am, Fritzlein wrote:
To be clear, I am glad that Symple is being discussed and examined.  I have nothing against Symple, and nothing against posting about Symple in the off-topic section of the Arimaa forum.  I was merely asking what Christian meant by expressing surprise at the lack of responses.  Is the relative silence a failure of the community's courtesy?
 
Probably there some other reason he let us know that he expected something different from us; I should have asked what that reason was in a less loaded way.  Instead of asking, "Did you mean this criticism that your words seem to imply?", I could have simply asked, "Why are you surprised?"  Then Christian could have responded without having to dispute any words that I have put in his mouth.
 
It may explain (although perhaps not excuse) the sharpness of my previous post that I haven't recently been spending twenty hours per week on Arimaa as I have done in prior months.  I find it difficult to respond to all the posts that are worthy of a response.  I would like to spend more time on Arimaa, but I have been pulled in other directions.  That makes me rather sensitive to an implication that I have been allocating my attention poorly.
 
On the other hand, I quite likely hold the all-time lead in Arimaa forum posts that have not been responded to.  I understand the disappointment of floating an idea that no one pays any attention to.  I know how short a leap it is from being disappointed to sharing that disappointment along with an implication that I had hoped for better.  Having gone down that path many times myself, the wisest thing I could have done was probably to silently learn from Christian's comment without responding to it at all.

 
Fritzlein, you're excused for the sharpness of your first post regarding this subject. Let me assure you I didn't mean to criticize anyone. Why should I? I usually have an excellent time here, not in the last place because of your comments that have always been serious and insightful.  
 
No I was surprised. Symple appears to be the quintessential implementation of a somewhat obscure theme first embodied in Star. I use quitessential for games of which the basic idea can implemented without any diversions from it: Go, Hex, Y, Checkers, Emergo, to name a few.
It's not a value judgement, but it is a significant feature.
 
Symple doesn't have the 'special cells' that Zick presumed (i.e. the edges in Star).
Symple is applicable to any odd-sized grid, even a single line.
Symple has new mechanics, a new dilemma, and basically has but one rule.
As a bonus that may appeal to Mark, it's finite. It's also fast, ending between 20 and 30 moves or so, depending on boardsize.
The minimum number of stones to completely fill a board with one color, following the rules, isn't trivial and shows something of the dilemma the game raises.
 
Symple is not a construction like Chess variants or Arimaa (again: no value judgement implied), it's an organism. A new simple organism with deep implications. Like finding a new species.
 
The rules where perceived as described. The 'hanging matter' of balancing the first move advantage has been resolved.
 
Now did I or did I not publish this game, for you all to enjoy, and describe it's nature, before playing it?
Did I need to playtest it? No, because I can see the game's fundamental simplicity and the dilemma emerging from it.
I trust simplicity.
 
Did I worry about the first move advantage?
I did mention possible solutions like a swap, which Zick was doubtful about, a 3-move swap, which Ed was doubtful about, and komi, which I was doubtful about. But I wasn't worried because I go from the premiss that if the system is sound, the rule will be there. Remember that Mark, next time you 'can't find the rule' Wink .
And the rule, when it came, was none of the above.
 
I would expect players to be glad that game inventors do what they do, even if they cannot understand the way they do it. Or don't believe it.
« Last Edit: Oct 18th, 2010, 5:46am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #262 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 8:32am »

on Oct 18th, 2010, 1:05am, MarkSteere wrote:
Btw guys, congrats on Games magazine Abstract of the Year.

 
Whoa, I must have missed something. Did Arimaa win Games Magazine abstract of the year (this year)?  Huh  My subscription ran out and so I don't remember the timeline for their awards anymore.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #263 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 10:54am »

on Oct 18th, 2010, 5:20am, christianF wrote:

Hijacking a thread titled "Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games"?

No, Christian.  Hijacking a forum entitled "Arimaa" with a thread entitled "Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games."
 
on Oct 18th, 2010, 5:20am, christianF wrote:

No I was surprised [that nobody cares about Symple].

Christian, I didn't want to critique your game for two reasons: 1) I already pick on you too much, and 2) I didn't want to subject myself to the Symple rule sheet.  But now you've forced my hand.
 
on Oct 18th, 2010, 5:20am, christianF wrote:

Symple has new mechanics, a new dilemma, and basically has but one rule.

This is your idea of "but one rule" Huh:
 
"A short clarification: top-left black has grown one group (the marked stone). Now he may not grow the leftmost group at the cell marked 'X', because the other group would have two new adjacent stones.
Top-right a similar situation, but now black may still grow the rightmost group at the cell marked with a white spot. He connects to an already grown group, true, but no original group has grown more than one stone.
In the center, the marked white stone connects three groups, turning the 'local score' from -3 to +2 (see: object). No further stones may be added to the resulting group in this turn, and of course he now may only grow one stone at it in his next turn.
At the bottom white has grown the marked stone. Now cells marked 'X' are off limits, and the cell marked with a white dot is still optional for growth."
 
Hex has one rule.  Tic-Tac-Toe has one rule.  Complycated has way more than one rule.
 
on Oct 18th, 2010, 5:20am, christianF wrote:

As a bonus that may appeal to Mark, it's finite.

You've complied with a building standard.  There's no bonus for that.  Cephalopod uses the exact same object but Cephalopod has architecture.
 
http://www.marksteeregames.com/Cephalopod_rules.pdf
 
on Oct 18th, 2010, 5:20am, christianF wrote:

It's also fast, ending between 20 and 30 moves or so, depending on boardsize.

Again, not a bragging point.  Your game is scalable and therefore meets a building standard.  
 
on Oct 18th, 2010, 5:20am, christianF wrote:

Symple [is] an organism. A new simple organism with deep implications. Like finding a new species.

Lean forward slightly so I can christen you with a dense rubber mallet labelled "reality check".
 
As far as quality of play, I'm sure Symple is a lovely game.  My grade for Symple's architecture: F-.  The reasons for the F are innumerable.  The minus is for this:
 
"If, and only if, neither player has grown yet, then black on his turn may use both the above options in the above order: he may place a stone, therewith creating a new group, and he may grow any or all of his other (!) groups."
 
on Oct 18th, 2010, 5:20am, christianF wrote:

Remember that Mark, next time you 'can't find the rule' Wink .

Now I'm being mentored by Christian Freeling.  What next??  Christian, Symple crawled up onto your porch not for fear of getting bagged by big game hunters, but because nobody else wanted it.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #264 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 11:48am »

on Oct 18th, 2010, 10:54am, MarkSteere wrote:

No, Christian.  Hijacking a forum entitled "Arimaa" with a thread entitled "Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games."

You're invariably funny Grin, but for your information, I didn't start this thread, Omar did. That's a reality check.
 
on Oct 18th, 2010, 10:54am, MarkSteere wrote:
This is your idea of "but one rule" Huh:
 
"A short clarification: [...]

"On his turn a player may either put a stone on a vacant cell, not connected to a like colored group, thereby creating a new group, or grow any or all of his existing groups by one stone. A stone connecting two or more different groups is considered to have grown all off them. No group, considered at the beginning of the player's turn, may grow more than one stone in that particular turn."
 
That's the rule. Of course you know the difference between a clarification and a rule.
You may have missed the 'hanging matter' of the first move advantage, but that problem was considered from the very beginning. It became the one exception: as long as no growth has taken place, black is entitled to use both options in one turn.
 
Apart from that, I love you Kiss keep hunting and caging, and if you ever happen to visit the Netherlands, I'd be more than pleased to welcome you on my metaphorical porch.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #265 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 12:33pm »

on Oct 18th, 2010, 11:48am, christianF wrote:
Apart from that, I love you Kiss keep hunting and caging, and if you ever happen to visit the Netherlands, I'd be more than pleased to welcome you on my metaphorical porch.

And I you  Cheesy  I may visit the Netherlands again someday.  It's my favorite country.  If there's an Oust tournament or something, which one can't rule out (since it's the world's best modern game) I'll be there, invited or otherwise.  You'll have to promise not to throw your boa constrictor on me though  Cheesy.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #266 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 12:52pm »

on Oct 18th, 2010, 12:33pm, MarkSteere wrote:

And I you  Cheesy  I may visit the Netherlands again someday.  It's my favorite country.  If there's an Oust tournament or something, which one can't rule out (since it's the world's best modern game) I'll be there, invited or otherwise.  You'll have to promise not to throw your boa constrictor on me though  Cheesy.

It's a Burmese python, and somewhat difficult to throw Grin .  
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #267 on: Oct 18th, 2010, 12:56pm »

Holy [something that would certainly be deemed "vulgar" by the moderators]!!
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #268 on: Oct 20th, 2010, 11:58am »

Those of you who know Zickzack, yours truly included, value his opinions on games highly. Here is his latest post in the thread he started about Byg and Symple at BGG in connection with our current game at mindsports.
 
The first game ended in a win for Zick - he had been playtesting with iGGC's Arty Sandler and some friends, discovering, among other, the importance of the second line.
It was my first game and I'm happy not to be slaughtered completely, but I waited way to long with a 'prevention growth' that would have taken out black's option to both place and grow.
Moreover, my opening stones around the 3rd and 4th line were misguided.
 
The game ended, typically, in the twenty-some moves. I resigned because I had clearly lost.
 
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #269 on: Oct 21st, 2010, 3:17am »

on Oct 20th, 2010, 8:49pm, SpeedRazor wrote:
@ Mark Steere:  
... you wouldn't be able to stop yourself.

Maybe it comes with the territory. Sometimes inventors are so familiar with the implications of their new finds that they tend to forget that players implicitly are not. Mark and I despise the sloppy reading of rules that sometimes shines through in comments. Yet both of us have been known, occasionally, for sloppy writing.
I like to hate Mark, but I don't hate to like him.
 
Sometimes, too, there's misunderstanding, such as Fritzlein's suspicion that my first Symple post implied criticism on the members of this forum, which was not intended. In retrospect I can see it may have given that impression though.
 
That I don't post in other fora at Arimaa isn't because I don't have an interest in the game. I do have an interest in Chess, as an inventor, but I am such a poor player that my contributions to a Chess forum would be a waste of effort and time, both on my side and the readers' side. Same holds for Arimaa and quite a few other games. I'm at my end, offering my contibutions as best I can.
 
I'm copying a summary of sorts I made the BGG forum.
 
- Symple was conceived the 8th of October, as an organism and as the fundamental implementation of the 'Star theme'. It presented itself with the implicit plroblem of the first move advantage, and a strong sugestion that a swap wouldn't solve the problem.
- I found the rule that solves any imbalance resulting from a first move advantage shortly after.
- I played my first game the 17th of October, not to playtest the organism, because I can see it move and it moves well, but to get a feel for it, because I am curious as hell.
- So I did exactly what so seems to upset some posters because they cannot imagine how that can be: find the game and describe its character before making a single move.
 
Here's the summary -  this was October 16.
 
Quote:
Zickzack:
At the moment, I do not think either game can be balanced by the pie rule. Consider the following approach: Swap any first move. Place single stones as long as your opponent does, and start growing when he does. You will start growing from one group more which is a major advantage.

And that was an excellent point. I've always argued that if the system is sound, the rule will be there. Emergo, like Symple a quintessential game, provides a beautiful example: when the idea emerged, all it needed was its entering protocol, and we found its entering protocol. Symple also provides its own opening protocol:
 
Quote:
Christian:
White starts, so he's the one that initially finds a board with an equal number of groups (stones as yet).
For him nothing changes: he may start growing any time he sees fit.
Black on the other hand initially faces positions in which he's one group (stone as yet) behind, so he cannot start growing without having white one group up.
So I've given black (and only black) the right, if he decides to grow first (and only then) to both create a new group and grow all the other (!) ones.
This way if players grow on subsequent turns, they will always start with the same number of groups.

Posted fresh from the brain.
 
Quote:
Zickzack:  
It sounds good. But it  is powerful and I fear it may be more than enough to balance White's first move advantage. In other words, I'd rather play Black now.

That was spotted very good and argued accordingly, but there's a twist Zick initially missed, and noticed shotly thereafter:
 
Quote:
Zickzack:
Assume we are at move 8. Noone has grown so far. So, we have 8 White groups and 7 Black groups on the board. Black grows now and adds the extra-move. After that, White has 8 single stone groups, whereas Black has 7 groups of 2 stones and 1 single stone group. Since Black can still place single stone groups on the board until he has reached the desired number for growing, this is likely in Black's favor.
 
So, White has waited too long. At what move should White grow in order to prevent Black from doing so? At move 1, it is not possible. At move 2, it gives a one double stone group facing an opponent with a single stone group and the right to move. In the discussion of the three move swap protocol, I have argued that this is lost. Likewise, will Black wait until White can pull a growth on him or will Black secure the extra points and the increased options of the groups grown due to the balancing rule?
 
Symple is a double Chicken now. The first is when to grow first for the sake of either using or, well, disabling the balancing rule, and the second is inherent in the game mechanism itself - when do you have generally enough groups to grow from?
 
In any case, we can infer that the balancing rule succeeds at balancing the game. And the result is an extra twist. Since the extra rule "empowers" judgment respectively skill in the growth phase - that is where the result of the first chicken game will show -, I argue it gives an even better game.

So it's not a swap in the traditional sense, but it still offers a similar choice. We go from a white first move advantage which was difficult to compensate, to a black advantage that can implicitly be 'trimmed down to size', forcing black to either cash in early, grabbing the advantage as far as it goes in terms of points, or having it taken it away altogether.
The difficult point being 'how early'.
Not a metarule, but a rule rendering a similar result within the game itself, and every bit as organic as the game itself.
 
It also illustrates that 'placing (an isolated stone) after growing' does indeed occur. In the engame this may also be the case: an isolated stone (adding '-1' to the score), may prevent a connection between two opponent's groups (which would add '+3' to the opponent).
 
P.S. This really is my last game. Half my life embedded between Havannah and Symple feels too satisfactory to risk having "little more than half my life" embedded between Havannah and something ornamental Cool .
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