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jdb
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #30 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 6:55am »

After some reflection about the game, here are some comments.
 
Elephants and Horses move and shoot in opposite ways. I assume this was done so that it takes an individual piece a full turn (ie three moves) to capture an enemy piece.
 
Having a special case rule for the 'Buried Ball' makes it harder for people to learn the game. It would be better if the mechanics of the game made a buried ball impossible. The rules for Elephants and Horses look good, so that leaves the Lion. Modifying its powers, so it has enough mobility to get through a blockade, would eliminate the need for a special case rule.  
 
One way could be to allow the Lion to move like a queen up to three squares (but able to move through any blocking pieces) and have it shoot like a knight. In this way a Lion would need a full turn to make a capture on its own.  
 
If the ball is on the corner squares (a2, i2, etc) it takes the fewest pieces to make a blockade. Maybe removing the 4 corner squares would be effective.  
 
On a separate topic, I like the simplification of the rules regarding shooting the ball at the keeper. It looks like capturing the keeper would be a devastating advantage. What if the ball would bounce off either keeper the same way? In other words, shooting at your own keeper causes the ball to ricochet away. Also make it illegal for the keeper to possess the ball. This way the keeper is immune from capture. This also makes it impossible for the keeper to capture anyone.
 
Looks like an interesting game.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #31 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 9:02am »

on Apr 10th, 2009, 4:37am, christianF wrote:
4. At the end of any player's turn, the ball may not be in an area that is completely separated from the rest of the field by orthogonally connected pieces of either or both colors.
 
In other words, there must be, at the end of any turn, a 'king's move route' out of an area surrounded by pieces, if it contains the ball.
 
With this rule, the restrictions on jumping, for the Horse and the Lion, can remain intact, and therewith the tactics involved, and the affinity with real football in terms of being able to get past one defender, but not past two at the same time.

 
I was thinking about this same issue yesterday after I commuting home last night.  I was going to propose a similar rule, except that a wall would only be illegal if it's impossible for one player to reach the ball with any of his/her remaining pieces (unless one player only has a Keeper, in which case the game is either a forced win or forced draw and the wall rule ceases to apply).
 
For example, if:
(i) White has 9 pieces from a12 to i12  and  
(ii) Black has 8 pieces from b13 to i13
 
then according to my suggestion the position is legal so long as the ball is on row 12-17 (neither team is walled off from the ball).  Neither player can shoot the ball to rows 1-11 until the white wall is broken.
 
However, if I've understood your rule correctly, then the White position is illegal, regardless of ball location, because the white team has created a wall.  Is that correct?
 
If so, suppose we have a different example:  the ball is in the middle of the field and there are 5 pieces forming a wall in one of the corners.  Would that be illegal because part of the field is walled off, or is it OK so long as neither player tries to shoot the ball over the wall?
 
JDB's idea of allowing lions to jump walls simplifies the rules but I think there are 2 problems:
 
(1)  If a player loses both lions, then the opponent can wall off the position and then wait 1000 moves before deciding to free that ball.
 
(2) Leaping a lion over a wall and onto the ball amongst a throng of enemy pieces would be futile -- it would be exposed to capture without being able to accomplish anything useful.
 
I play-tested a few scenarios today, and the opening is far more interesting than I imagined it would be.  Getting to the ball first isn't the major advantage that I expected.  It really takes a re-organization and co-ordination of several pieces to gain a positional advantage.
 
One final question:  had you considered other board sizes when designing the game?  Because pieces move slowly, and have to move in large groups for safety, it seems that it would take a very long time for the action to move from one side of the board to the other.  Perhaps a board with 11 or 13 rows would play better?
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #32 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 9:51am »

on Apr 10th, 2009, 6:55am, jdb wrote:
Modifying its powers, so it has enough mobility to get through a blockade, would eliminate the need for a special case rule.  
 
One way could be to allow the Lion to move like a queen up to three squares (but able to move through any blocking pieces) and have it shoot like a knight. In this way a Lion would need a full turn to make a capture on its own.  
 
If the ball is on the corner squares (a2, i2, etc) it takes the fewest pieces to make a blockade. Maybe removing the 4 corner squares would be effective.

Thanks JDB for your comments.
Regarding the first point, it would not, I think, because one could lose both Lions and the problem would remain. And giving the Lions extra 'jumping power' would also require an extra rule.
Regarding the second, there's some interesting play in the corners and the current shape is a soccerfield.  
 
on Apr 10th, 2009, 6:55am, jdb wrote:
What if the ball would bounce off either keeper the same way? In other words, shooting at your own keeper causes the ball to ricochet away. Also make it illegal for the keeper to possess the ball. This way the keeper is immune from capture. This also makes it impossible for the keeper to capture anyone.
 
Looks like an interesting game.

This suggestion is a good one. I like it because it simplifies the rules and allows some interesting tactics around a player's own goal area.
 
Consider it implemented and thank you Smiley
 
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #33 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 10:01am »

on Apr 10th, 2009, 9:02am, Adanac wrote:
One final question:  had you considered other board sizes when designing the game?  Because pieces move slowly, and have to move in large groups for safety, it seems that it would take a very long time for the action to move from one side of the board to the other.  Perhaps a board with 11 or 13 rows would play better?

Hi Adanac, Thanks too. Allow me some time to look at your other examples, but you may have a point here. The size was chosen rather arbitrarily.
Till now we've had no problems with it, and playing "on the counter" can make a player who has 'escaped' with the ball awfully fast (as long as he's beyond immediate capture and can hold the ball). I lost two times on that scenario, after attacking with too many pieces and just failing to push the advantage home.
I think this can wait till there's a bit more experience around in the game. Fortunately my son has fallen for it Smiley
« Last Edit: Apr 10th, 2009, 10:01am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #34 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 11:48am »

Thats a good point about the Buried Ball and piece captures.  
 
Consider a situation where one side is down to just their 4 Horses and the Keeper. The other side could have the ball on a2 (ie in the corner), and pieces on c3 and b4. The ball is not walled off, and there is no way for a Horse to get to it.
 
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #35 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 12:13pm »

on Apr 10th, 2009, 11:48am, jdb wrote:
Thats a good point about the Buried Ball and piece captures.  
 
Consider a situation where one side is down to just their 4 Horses and the Keeper. The other side could have the ball on a2 (ie in the corner), and pieces on c3 and b4. The ball is not walled off, and there is no way for a Horse to get to it.
 

Very good point, I'll have to reconsider my 'solution'. There should be a generic solution to the 'buried ball' problem. Also, I haven't considered Adanac's input yet. It's late, I'll sleep over it.
« Last Edit: Apr 10th, 2009, 12:16pm by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #36 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 1:45pm »

on Apr 10th, 2009, 9:02am, Adanac wrote:
I was thinking about this same issue yesterday after I commuting home last night.  I was going to propose a similar rule, except that a wall would only be illegal if it's impossible for one player to reach the ball with any of his/her remaining pieces (unless one player only has a Keeper, in which case the game is either a forced win or forced draw and the wall rule ceases to apply).
 
For example, if:
(i) White has 9 pieces from a12 to i12  and  
(ii) Black has 8 pieces from b13 to i13
 
then according to my suggestion the position is legal so long as the ball is on row 12-17 (neither team is walled off from the ball).  Neither player can shoot the ball to rows 1-11 until the white wall is broken.
 
However, if I've understood your rule correctly, then the White position is illegal, regardless of ball location, because the white team has created a wall.  Is that correct?
 
If so, suppose we have a different example:  the ball is in the middle of the field and there are 5 pieces forming a wall in one of the corners.  Would that be illegal because part of the field is walled off, or is it OK so long as neither player tries to shoot the ball over the wall?

You're right, my 'solution' is far from consistent. I'll try to think along your highlighted suggestion. How to formulate it bullseye, that's the problem.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #37 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 2:43pm »

I hadn't checked the forum in a few days and what a nice surprise I had today to read the rules of HanniBall posted by Christian and discussion over the rules. Sure brings back memories from the early days of Arimaa. Thanks Christian for choosing to post the first official rules here. Perhaps we should move the discussion into its own thread so that it will be easier to find in the future.
 
Aamir and I will try it out this weekend and let you know how it feels Smiley
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #38 on: Apr 10th, 2009, 11:38pm »

on Apr 10th, 2009, 2:43pm, omar wrote:
Thanks Christian for choosing to post the first official rules here. Perhaps we should move the discussion into its own thread so that it will be easier to find in the future.
 
Aamir and I will try it out this weekend and let you know how it feels Smiley

Hi Omar, thanks, and I really appreciate the chance to post an unintended invention here, and the valuable comments it has generated. You can even try the game with the modufied rules, because I think I've solved the 'buried ball' problem. Cool
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #39 on: Apr 11th, 2009, 1:07am »

Barring the renaming of the knight as 'Horse', and 3-fold, there has been one modification (in two steps) and one addition to solve the 'buried ball' problem.
 
The first step of the modification was the generalisation of the initial 'shots at the Keeper' rule.
The second step was to make the rule even more simple and generic. This one is courtesy of JDB for which my admiration and thanks.
 
As mentioned in the previous post, I thought I'd solved the 'buried ball' problem in a satisfactory way, and I did inasmuch as it has become a 'red card' offense against the rules.
However, the definition of 'obstruction' that led to the final solution came from Adanac (see: *) for which my admiration and thanks too.
 
 
So here are the modified rules, similar enough to the ones I conceived in my head, to illustrate that I was close, different enough to illustrate that some playtesting is always necessary, even for a 'game whisperer' Wink .
Eventually the modifications went through a process of simplification, which is almost always the right way to go.
 
HanniBall

© mindsports.nl

 
HanniBall is a two-player abstract boardgame invented by Christian Freeling the 6th, 7th and 8th of April 2009, without board or pieces, as a 'mental exercise'. In the days following its invention, some important modifications were suggested by members of this Forum, for which I'd like to thank all posters, in particular Adanac, JDB and Omar.
 
Board
The board is a rectangle of 9x15 squares, with two additional goals of 1x3 squares. There are two 'goal areas' of 2x5 squares. Both players, White and Black, have 11 pieces: 1 Keeper, 2 Lions, 4 Elephants and 4 Horses. The diagram shows the board with the pieces in the initial position. The ball lies in the centersquare.
 
Object
The object of HanniBall is to shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. If a player shoots the ball into his own goal, he has lost.
 
Moving and capturing
On his turn a player is allowed to make up to three moves. A 'move' may be:
1. Moving a piece that does not have the ball.
2. Moving a piece that does have the ball.
3. Shooting the ball.
 
Shooting the ball can only be done by a piece that has the ball in its possesion. The pieces move and shoot as follows:
 
* The Horse moves as the knight in Chess, but may not jump to its target square if both the in between squares are occupied by pieces.
A Horse shoots the ball 'king's move' wise. If a Horse shoots the ball, it lands on a straight or diagonally adjacent square.
 
* The Elephant moves as the king in Chess.
An Elephant shoots the ball 'knight's move' wise. If an Elephant shoots the ball, it lands on a square one knight's move away, no restrictions.
 
* The Lion combines the options of Knight and Elephant, so it moves and shoots either way in any combination.
 
* The Keeper combines the options of the 'Horse' and the queen in Chess, but may not leave the goal area (except for the goal itself).
A Keeper shoots the ball up to five squares away, queenwise. Direction and distance are the shooting player's choice.
 
* Only the Keeper is allowed to enter the goal, the other pieces are not. Inside the goal the Keeper should not have the ball in its possession, because a ball inside the own goal ends the game in a win for the opponent.
 
The Ball
The Ball may land on any square, whether or not occupied.
 
* If a piece moves to a square where the ball is, it takes possession of the ball.
* If the ball lands on a square occupied by a piece, other than a Keeper, the piece takes possesion of the ball.
* If a player is in possesion of the ball, and it is his turn, and he has still one or more move options left, than he can do one of the following.
1. Shoot the ball.
2. Move the piece and take the ball along.
3. Move the piece and leave the ball.
4. Move another piece.
 
* If a player is in possesion of the ball, and it is not his turn, then the piece holding the ball can be captured by the opponent. Capture is by replacement. The captured piece is taken off the board, and the capturing piece takes possession of the ball.
 
Please note that if a player shoots the ball to an opponent's piece, and he has still one or more move options left, he can capture that piece!
 
Shots at the goal or the keeper
* If a player shoots the ball into the opponent's goal, he wins the game. If he shoots it into his own goal he loses.
* If the ball is shot to a square occupied by a Keeper of either side, the ball 'ricochets' off the Keeper, queenwise, upto 5 squares, but not into the goal. Direction and distance are determined by the shooting player, whether the shot is directed at a player's own Keeper or the opponent's Keeper.
 
Note that a Keeper can only take possession of the ball by picking it up in the goal area, or by capturing a piece there, that is in possesion of the ball. A Keeper in possesion of the ball risks capture like any other piece.
 
Obstruction
Obstruction is a 'red card' offense against the rules. It is permitted, but may and usually will be punished.
* If a player on his turn finds a position in which he has at least one piece other than a Keeper, and not one of his pieces can reach the ball in any number of moves, then the opponent has committed obstruction and the player to move may (but is not obliged to) remove one of the blocking pieces from the board as his first move. *
 
3-fold
If a player on his move can for the third time recreate an identical position, he can claim a draw.
 
Swap
The game starts with a 'swap' option for the second player. One player makes up to three moves, the other chooses which side he'll play.
 
cheers,
christian
 
HanniBall © mindsports.nl - Second publication at the Arimaa Forum, April 11, 2009.
 
* Definition of obstruction courtesy of Adanac, suggested in a following post and applied in this version afterwards.
« Last Edit: Apr 11th, 2009, 1:50pm by christianF » IP Logged
christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #40 on: Apr 11th, 2009, 9:11am »

2B fair, with the ball on a2 (corner)
and a white wall of pieces on a4, b2, b3, b4, there's a vacant kingfield, a3, and a vacant knightfield, c3, while black cannot penetrate.
 
So there remains a formal problem, demanding regulation, no doubt, but as far as practical play goes, it doesn't seem easily enforcable.
For starters you must get the ball first and by the time you're back with it, the opponent is all over the place and can prevent any walling off.
 
But it might yet be an option now and again. Any suggestions? A draw?
 
There's still the option to give Horses and Lions the right to jump. The whole problem will then cease to exist, and the rules would be simplfied. But it would lose the tactics involved in blocking Horses and Lions, and those seem nice enough tactics that are in line with soccer, where you can get past one defender easily but not past two.
 
 
 
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #41 on: Apr 11th, 2009, 10:05am »

on Apr 11th, 2009, 9:11am, christianF wrote:
2B fair, with the ball on a2 (corner)
and a white wall of pieces on a4, b2, b3, b4, there's a vacant kingfield, a3, and a vacant knightfield, c3, while black cannot penetrate.
 
So there remains a formal problem, demanding regulation, no doubt, but as far as practical play goes, it doesn't seem easily enforcable.
 
But it might be. Any suggestions?
 
There's still the option to give Horses and Lions the right to jump. The whole problem will then cease to exist, and the rules would be simplfied. But it would lose the tactics involved in blocking Horses and Lions, and those seem nice enough tactics that are in line with soccer, where you can get past one defender easily but not past two.

I think this rule would be easy to understand and prevent all types of obstruction:
 
Suppose white has created a wall and it's black's turn to move:  If black cannot possibly reach the ball with any piece within an infinite number of moves, then white has violated the obstruction rule. **
 
Using the same example I used earlier:
(i) White has 9 pieces from a12 to i12  and  
(ii) Black has 8 pieces from b13 to i13
(iii) the ball is located between rows 2-11
 
If it's black's turn to move then white has clearly violated the obstruction rule as no black piece can possibly reach the ball given an infinite number of moves.  If the ball were in rows 12-16 then it's OK because both teams have access to the ball.
 
** unless black only has a keeper remaining in which case it's a forced win for white and the obstruction rule does not apply.  EDIT: unless the lone keeper is holding the ball against a single enemy horse in which case it's a draw.
« Last Edit: Apr 12th, 2009, 5:31am by Adanac » IP Logged


christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #42 on: Apr 11th, 2009, 10:35am »

on Apr 11th, 2009, 10:05am, Adanac wrote:

I think this rule would be easy to understand and prevent all types of obstruction:
 
Suppose white has created a wall and it's black's turn to move:  If black cannot possibly reach the ball with any piece within an infinite number of moves, then white has violated the obstruction rule.

I think you're right, and it's easily checked too. However, I've also come to like the idea of the 'red card' and the removal of a piece as a penalty, so it may not be necessary to actually forbid obstruction as you define it, just to give the opponent the right to penalize it if it happens by removing one of the obstructing pieces as his first move.
 
Gives more of a 'soccer flavor'. I've even considered "Choccer" as a name, an unlikely mix of Chess and Soccer.
There's also an implication to realize: the definition of obstruction remains the same if a player has only Elephants or Horses left, but the actual type of blockade that causes obstruction changes.
 
In any case you and JDB have earned the right to be mentioned in the credits Smiley
 
The modification discussed here has been introduced in the rules @ post #39 afterwards
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #43 on: Apr 11th, 2009, 2:09pm »

Does anyone want to play a game of HaniBall (or Choccer if you prefer), by e-mail?  Untimed, of course, but I'd like to play at a pace of roughly 1 move per day.  If so, just send your first move to grmagne@yahoo.com
 
For notation how about something like:
 
1w Hb4-c6 Eb3-b4 Ke1-d1
 
If the elephant on i16 is shooting the ball then the notation can be Bi16-h14  (B for ball).  If the elephant carries the ball then EBi16-i15.  If a piece is removed then use an X such as Hb4Xc6  (similar to chess).
 
Grand Chess is a lot of fun too.  If anyone wants to play against me, the website is http://www.mindsports.nl/index.php/players-section/ListGames.cgi?game=Gr andChess
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #44 on: Apr 11th, 2009, 2:27pm »

on Apr 11th, 2009, 2:09pm, Adanac wrote:
Does anyone want to play a game of HaniBall (or Choccer if you prefer), by e-mail?  Untimed, of course, but I'd like to play at a pace of roughly 1 move per day.  If so, just send your first move to grmagne@yahoo.com
 
For notation how about something like:
 
1w Hb4-c6 Eb3-b4 Ke1-d1
 
If the elephant on i16 is shooting the ball then the notation can be Bi16-h14  (B for ball).  If the elephant carries the ball then EBi16-i15.  If a piece is removed then use an X such as Hb4Xc6  (similar to chess).

That seems fun, it's too late now, over here, but you can expect my move (or yours, if swapped) tomorrow. Thanks again for your contribution Smiley.
 
I'm christian-at-mindsports.nl
*************************
 
It's Monday the 13th now and the game between Adanac and yours truly has begun.
 
Meanwhile the game has been renamed "Choccer" and the pieces may be renamed too, eventually - the 'animals' came with the name 'HanniBall'.
 
Also, this game may have some commercial potentional, but hardly as a pure strategy game. That's why I have come up with a variant that introduces the 'hand of fate'.
It's called "Choccer-6" and in it the number of moves a player has on his turn, is determined by the roll of a normal six-sided die, all else being the same.
The average number of moves in this game is 3.5, but the distribution of the actual number of moves will ensure many 'twists of fate' and make for a much faster game, more suited for beginning players.
 
Just thought I'd let you all know Smiley .
« Last Edit: Apr 13th, 2009, 12:37am by christianF » IP Logged
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