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   Author  Topic: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games  (Read 489847 times)
christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #360 on: Nov 11th, 2010, 11:47am »

Benedikt Rosenau, a well known expert on abstract games, characterized Symple as "Go on speed".
 
He was wrong: this is Go on speed.
 
It is also my entry at the Official Abstract Game Design Contest at Recre.Games.Combinatorial.
 
As anyone following the invention proces that started with Symple can check: after I realized I had failed to apply the Symple mechanism to the most important candidate in the field of territorial games, the game took me a day.
 
No fumbling with pieces and boards involved. That's not provocative, that's how it happened Cool .
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #361 on: Nov 11th, 2010, 12:25pm »

on Nov 11th, 2010, 11:47am, christianF wrote:

No fumbling with pieces and boards involved.

Welcome to my world, Christian.
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #362 on: Nov 27th, 2010, 8:09am »

Sygo is up and running @ Mindsports.
 
To play: Mindsports Players Section.
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #363 on: Nov 30th, 2010, 4:21am »

So it's once again time to call it a thread. In the preface of "How I invented games and why not" it says:
Quote:
I was only gradually to find out that knowing how some games will behave on the highest level is not a frequent quality, even among dedicated players. Moreover, the kind of identification involved is limited to a small class of games that I would label 'organisms' rather than mechanisms. Chess games in particular lack these qualities.

 
Of my subsequent games, Hanniball is part organism and part construction - the latter aspect made it somewhat difficult to spot the main bug.
 
YvY wasn't thought trough properly and ended up consistent, and even 'new' in that it combines a relative theme (counting points) with an absolute one (sudden death), but somewhat forced and 'artificial'.
 
Query is number whatever in a large family of square connection games, so who cares.
 
The latest wave consisted of Symple (square & hex), Lhexhus (inconsequential), Charybdid (hex & square) and Sygo.
 
All of them were based on the meta-mechanism that came to me one night while dropping of to sleep, and found it's way into Symple. The realization that it was indeed a meta-mechanism with a range of applications came sometime later.
 
All of them were simply conceived without the help of boards, pieces or testplaying. Barring setting the 'group penalty parameter' in Symple to '4', none of them underwent any change.
 
My prediction:
Symple is a true strategy game for the thoughtful planner, but lacks what Mark J. Thompson in his leading article calls 'drama'. It's like a big ship, slowly heeling one side or the other, with little tactical leverage to turn the tables, once the hard to spot tipping point has been passed.
Symple is very much a square game - the hexversion's tactical means are even less decisive.
 
Lhexus is ornamental.
 
In Charybdis the 'symple mechanism' has been aplied to an 'othelloish' theme. There are two different square versions, but hexversion is the main one here. The 'wild' nature of Othello has been reigned in her by the 'no capture by placement' rule, and the negative feedback of capture: capture means less groups which means less growth in the subsequent turn. More of a strategy game than Othello itself.
 
Sygo was what it was all about, in retrospect. It is the symple mechanism applied to the 'othelloanian' form of Go that I already used in Medusa and Lotus.
It is my first game that means anything since Dameo in 2000.
 
And the last game I have posted about in this thread. Don't bother about my predictions and have a good life Wink .
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #364 on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:12pm »

Christian, thanks for sharing your game design process with us in real-time. I've quite enjoyed reading this. It's quite rare to be able to experience the thought process of the game designer while the game is being designed. Many times I was reminded of when I was working on the Arimaa rules. I too would have some idea strike me just as I was about to fall asleep and would excitedly jump out of bed to go test it. I'm glad this thread could preserve some of the thought process that went into designing your latest games. Perhaps they will go on to become as popular as Havannah; only time will tell.
 
I'm sure you will continue to design more games and I hope you will continue to share your experiences with us. But please start another thread so we don't hit the max message limit on this one Smiley
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #365 on: Dec 4th, 2010, 3:46am »

on Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:12pm, omar wrote:
I'm glad this thread could preserve some of the thought process that went into designing your latest games. Perhaps they will go on to become as popular as Havannah; only time will tell.
 
I'm sure you will continue to design more games and I hope you will continue to share your experiences with us. But please start another thread so we don't hit the max message limit on this one Smiley

 
Hi Omar, thanks, but I fear I'm quite empty at the moment. This latest wave was all about Sygo, in the end, although Charybdis may be a fun game.
 
I got two Sygo games running at mindsports at the moment:
christian freeling - Benedikt Rosenau
christian freeling - Tristan Parker
 
I'm glad I could write down the rules in a couple of minutes, without so much as touching a stone, and see the games running without any bugs in sight.
 
I predict Sygo will be a lasting game: it is simple, deep, and has a good balance between strategy and tactics - unlike Symple, that is heavy on the strategic side, but light on the tactical one.
 
But then, time will tell indeed: I wouldn't rob Fritzlein of an argument. My audience was keen enough to criticize my claims when Hanniball needed a fix and there's no need to acknowledge anything now, despite the number of games that emerged in a couple of weeks and their quality.
 
You see, I can't prove anything, can I? And if one tries very hard, it is possible to fail to see that Sygo is a great game. So I'm glad you at least answered in a friendly way, and frankly, I had not expected anything but silence  from my critics. You go for the kill when the prey is wounded, every pack animal knows that.
 
Besides, anyone can be a game inventor and know precisely how it is done - and my way is clearly impossible.
And my predictions mean nothing, because "who can predict the future" Wink .
 
I certainly won't be starting any new threads: I'm quite done with fora for the time being Tongue .
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #366 on: Dec 9th, 2010, 7:03am »

Oh well, this one rolled out accidentally. It's not a strategy game, rather a tactical funny Grin
 
Monkey Trap has an obvious affinity with Walter Zamkauskas' Amazons, but the board is 8x8, it has half the number of pieces and less 'dropping' options, because in Amazons the number of combinations of a move and a 'shot' largely exceeds the number of combinations of a (move and) 'drop' and move in Monkey Trap.
It is designed to be a fast fun game for the younger ones.
 

 
Here is the board with the pieces in the initial position. White begins. Turns alternate. On his move a player must move one of his monkeys, queenwise.
 
A monkey may not move onto or over a square that is occupied by another piece or a coconut ...
 

a coconut

 
... and must leave a coconut on the square it starts from or any intermediate square.
 
First player to get stuck loses.
 
Monkey Trap MindSports
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #367 on: Dec 9th, 2010, 7:08am »

The coconut bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor token.   Cheesy
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #368 on: Jan 11th, 2011, 7:00am »

InSight
InSight is a combinatorial quickie between two players, here called Player One and Player Two.
 

 
Rules
The game is played on a square 7x7 board. Player One makes an initial position, using 4 white and 3 black (red) men, satisfying the condition that no two men occupy a same row or column. The diagram shows one possible position. It is now black's turn.
 
Player Two next decides whether he will play white or black. If he chooses white, then it's Player One's turn to move, if he chooses black, then it's his turn to move. Turns alternate and moving is compulsory. On his turn a player must place a new man satisfying the following conditions:
 
1. The man may not be placed orthogonally adjacent to a like colored man.
2. The man must have at least one like colored man horizontally or vertically 'in sight' (i.e. 'having an unobstructed view of').
 
Object
If a player cannot make a legal move he loses the game.
 
InSight MindSports
The process of invention.
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #369 on: Jan 20th, 2011, 7:16am »

I've developed a liking for combinatorial quickies. So here's another one, actually my entry in the R.G.A. Stacking Games Contest.
 
The charm of these games is that they're immediately accessible in terms of mechanics and object. If they're fun to play and intruiging for combinatorial games theorists, and spawning a few puzzles maybe, they may last.
 
So I hope this one will last at least as long as there are checkerboards and checkers.
 
Grabber
 
 
Grabber MindSports
The process of invention (or lack thereof Wink ).
 
Other games I've invented since Monkey Trap and InSight:
Trounce  
Jump Sturdy  
 
« Last Edit: Jan 20th, 2011, 7:18am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #370 on: Jan 21st, 2011, 2:11pm »

Wow, your pace of inventing is really picking up steam Smiley
 
Thomas Foy had mentioned a stacking variant of Arimaa a while back. Here is the thread:
 
http://arimaa.com/arimaa/forum/cgi/YaBB.cgi?board=talk;action=display;nu m=1273854806;start=12#12
 
Combining some of the ideas I like from this without ever play testing any of it here is a stackable Arimaa variant you can enter in the contest.
 
Gold player starts with 37 gold checkers and Silver player starts with 37 silver checkers. Gold places his checkers on the first two rows. Checkers may be stacked on each other. Some squares may be left empty. There is no limit to the height of a stack. At least one square must have a single checker. Single checkers are like the rabbits in Arimaa. The stacked checkers are like the stronger pieces with their strength determined by stack size. Silver then places the silver checkers in the two closest rows. All the usual rules of Arimaa apply. There is one additional rule. A single checker can jump on to an orthogonally adjacent stack (one or more) of friendly checkers to create a taller stack. Doing so requires all 4 steps of a turn.
 
Lets call it "Arimaa Stack" Smiley
« Last Edit: Jan 21st, 2011, 2:12pm by omar » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #371 on: Jan 21st, 2011, 2:48pm »

on Jan 21st, 2011, 2:11pm, omar wrote:
Combining some of the ideas I like from this without ever play testing any of it

Gosh, inventing games is so easy!  Wink
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #372 on: Jan 22nd, 2011, 8:43am »

on Jan 21st, 2011, 2:11pm, omar wrote:
Wow, your pace of inventing is really picking up steam Smiley

I believe I've just run out of steam. Looking around in my head there's a peasant lack of stimulus. Grabber's 5 seconds invention was an unsolicited cherry on the cake Smiley
 
on Jan 21st, 2011, 2:11pm, omar wrote:
Thomas Foy had mentioned a stacking variant of Arimaa a while back. Here is the thread:
 
http://arimaa.com/arimaa/forum/cgi/YaBB.cgi?board=talk;action=display;nu m=1273854806;start=12#12
 
Combining some of the ideas I like from this without ever play testing any of it here is a stackable Arimaa variant you can enter in the contest.
 
Gold player starts with 37 gold checkers and Silver player starts with 37 silver checkers. Gold places his checkers on the first two rows. Checkers may be stacked on each other. Some squares may be left empty. There is no limit to the height of a stack. At least one square must have a single checker. Single checkers are like the rabbits in Arimaa. The stacked checkers are like the stronger pieces with their strength determined by stack size. Silver then places the silver checkers in the two closest rows. All the usual rules of Arimaa apply. There is one additional rule. A single checker can jump on to an orthogonally adjacent stack (one or more) of friendly checkers to create a taller stack. Doing so requires all 4 steps of a turn.
 
Lets call it "Arimaa Stack" Smiley

Generalized Arimaa - Thomas has suggested a very valid idea that should be considered carefully I think. I like the initial dilemma of how many singles to use, and the number and the size of the stacks, and how to adapt to the first players choice when you're second.  
 
A word of caution: always consider an idea outside the context in which it emerged. Arimaa may put demands on its generilazation, but the reverse may also be true.  
 
The step up rule for instance is only for singles, so only a single can save the day for a piece in need of reinforcement. And at a fairly heavy price: not only does the player lose one potential winner, but he does so at the cost of a full term.
Obviously a 'step down' rule would enable a player to spawn singles in unlikely places, so I'm all for the step up, but it feels as if non-singles might want to come to each other rescue in a like manner.
Of course that could also spawn singles in unlikely places (left behind ones) and maybe that should be disallowed. But it is a bit stange that only singles should be allowed to enforce a piece, not another piece.
 
Finally I feel I must quote Mark with regard to another entry:
 
Quote:
I'm calling for a little designer effort in this case and for all entries. I want to see a decent rule sheet with some graphics and some examples. And a brief outline of what to expect from the gameplay.
If you expect a bunch of people to invest their time evaluating your game, you have an obligation to invest some time in the game yourself up front.

 
I'd be very pleased if you did, and I hope you can put it up somewhere in the Arimaa site before February 9th.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #373 on: Jan 22nd, 2011, 9:09am »

on Jan 21st, 2011, 2:48pm, Fritzlein wrote:

Gosh, inventing games is so easy! Wink

 
LOL; yes it's quite easy to invent rules; not quite the same as inventing a game Smiley
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #374 on: Jan 22nd, 2011, 9:39am »

Thanks for the additional info Christian. I'm glad Mark added those requirements; otherwise it would be very hard to evaluate the entries and you could get too many untested entries.
 
Although it is very tempting for me to play test this, I won't have much time to do it right now. It's easy to make up rules based on gut feel, but that doesn't mean the game is any good. For me the only real way to tell is by playing it. I'd like to open it up to the Arimaa community to try it out and give feedback on how this plays out. It would probably require some tweaks. Maybe it would be OK to allow non-single pieces to jump on adjacent stacks or to allow stacks to split. If anyone is interested feel free to make a stackable variant of Arimaa and submit it to the contest.
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