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   Author  Topic: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)  (Read 159772 times)
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #45 on: Nov 28th, 2013, 2:01pm »
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okay, just checking Smiley
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #46 on: Dec 4th, 2013, 5:05am »
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Nowhere men please listen, You don't know what you're missing
 
Actually I trust the game enough to transfer it to the ArenA.
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #47 on: Dec 13th, 2013, 11:24am »
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For a game between two players with a dawning understanding of strategy and tactics, this one is a nice representative. Implicitly, to understand what's going on, emerging interest is required (and justified, for that matter, if I may represent the game rather than the inventor).
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #48 on: Dec 16th, 2013, 9:19am »
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The game in the post above has an educational drawback. It's between Jos and me, and with a history of Tinkertown Cemetery games between us, as well as a number of PoP games, it gives a hopefully decent impression of what the game is about. But there's no commentary because we're both too focused on winning to give away any clues. That, I realise, must leave the average interested poster with a rather chaotic impression.
 
After discussing strategy and basic tactics, Luis challenged me to our second game, so let me take the opportunity to provide some general comments on the fly.
 
Here's the game
 
As I write, we both made one move. Since you're reading this, you probably will be familiar with the "one-bound-one-free" opening protocol. Within that placement protocol there are a number of strategical considerations, one of which is trying to get the first move in the subsequent stage. The strategy involved is so opaque that the protocol effectively doubles as a turn-order balancing mechanism. Initial placements are not concerned with it, but towards the end it becomes a major consideration. Here's my comment after the first full turn:
 
Quote:
I'll give some general comments on my own strategy in this phase. Obviously I try to get 'the move', but that hardly plays a role in the initial placements.  
 
I try to avoid c-3 squares because they're vulnarable to singles by the opponent, and countering by putting an own single on top raises the piece to critical.  
 
Whoever gets the move, making sure you can make an early capture is important: you get at least one reserve and one pillar to work with. Reserves prevent the opponent from raising stacks that aren't under attack by pieces on the board, to critical.  
 
The obvious stepping stone to capture is getting two pieces of height 2 at a distance of 2. On c-4 or c-3 squares these are safe from attack by singles because they cover one another. If both are on c-4 you cannot yet capture yourself (you need one more single on either) but you're safe even from attack by a double. Placement is concerned with this: you cannot, for instance, create such a 'double double' by moving two singles that are a knight's move apart.

I won't give away to much on my specific plans, but I'll try to give some general comment like the one above, in several stages of the game.  
All stages have their own strategy, and endgame strategy, as I pointed out in earlier posts, is unlike anything I've seen before in any game. I hope that you'll soon find that endgames, to cite Alice, are curiouser and curiouser.
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christianF
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #49 on: Dec 16th, 2013, 1:28pm »
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It's always nice to have a clear example of something you want to make clear. In this case it's the endgame predicament of Pit of Pillars.  
 
Here's a game between Ed van Zon, who has a few games under his belt (as well as having written the applet) and Tjalling Goedemoed, a dutch Draughts master rated around #50 in the kndb rating and author of an online Course in Draughts.
 
Here's the game
 
Ed's last move is an illustrative (not to mention obvious) oversight. Instead of entering a highly crucial reserve, he captures one more group, which loses immediately. Even with two pieces left his future would have looked bleak, so it's really a blunder, but it clearly illustrates the capture dilemma in the endgame.
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #50 on: Jan 3rd, 2014, 10:09am »
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On the mindsports homepage, the difference between a strategy game and a tactical game is summarised thus:
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Strategy games have strategies varied enough to allow different styles of play, tactics varied enough to induce their own terminology, and a structure that allows advantageous sub-goals to be achieved as calculable signposts along the way. Tactical games have strategies that are either fairly obvious (however deep), like Pente, or fairly opaque, like Othello.

There's a permanency issue regarding subgoals. In tactical games subgoals don't cast long shadows because most of them are fairly immediately linked to the main goal. Crucial dilemmas, presenting a choice that will predictably cast a long shadow over the remainder of a game, are a hallmark of strategy games.
 
At least two of my 2013 games (the year, yes) came out above expectations, Inertia and Pit of Pillars. Inertia excells by being completely self explanatory, but that implicitly means that there's no choice in the outcome. Inertia is a tactical game of considerable depth, but I wouldn't call it a strategy game. It offers everything LOA has to offer, except vulnerability to opening analysis. I hope and trust it will eventually gather a similar following.
 
Pit of Pillars, given object and mechanism, is almost self explanatory, yet there's some arbitrariness involved like:
 
* Why are the cornersquares removed?
* Why can't mono-colored stacks be captured by entering on them?
* Why do pillars move as queens rather than rooks?
* Why can't pillars capture one another?
* Why does the vanishing of one or both colors from the board end the game, even though players still have reserves?
 
For those interested I can argue these decisions, but for the moment I'll ask you to accept them, because the main point I'm trying to make here is: Pit of Pllars is a strategy game because it is wider, deeper and more varied in the plans it allows and the execution thereof than any game that might be labelled 'tactical'.
 
To illustrate that, here's a partly analysis of a game I played with Red against Ed. For your convenience, every diagram links to it. I've omitted reflections on strategy in the placement stage for now (though they are interesting). Ed managed to get "the move", the first move after the placement stage, and we proceeded with setting up and making early captures, because you don't want to be without reserves in the early movement stages: it would allow your opponent to raise stacks that are safe from capture by pieces on the board, to critical, and higher stacks are more dangerous, at least in this stage.
 
Analysis starts at a critical point towards an endgame: can I afford to take at E6, knowing I will be down to 1 piece the next move? But also: can I afford not to take at E6, being a reserve down?
 


E6 did become critical because White captured at F6 and left the pillar in place. Instead he moved the pillar at G3 to G4, making G2 a capacity-4 square. This made me wonder, because usually you'd rather have a 2-stack on a capacity-3 square. Now, if I cap it, White cannot 'recap' because it would raise the stack to critical and Red could simply capture it.
But entering on G2 would give White the chance to capture at E6, getting one more reserve while still having two pieces on the board. And moving the emerging pillar to E2 would isolate Red's triple on G2. So despite having G2 on offer, Red decides to capture at E6 and live through the consequences. Like diving under a sheet of ice with only one breathing hole in sight.
 


One move later and Red's on a leash: he can only enter men to ensure his very presence. He cannot capture anything because that would mean immediate loss. White can afford to put stacks to critical by adding pillars to adjacent squares, and Red can only create a new stacks and have them capped, but White cannot do that indefinitely because Red has more reserves! That's the breathing hole. At some point the leash must be loosened and Red will have the chance to capture. Of course there must be prey ready by that time, that's why Red has already lowered the capacity of G2 by moving a pillar to G3.
 


We're a few moves onwards (that can be followed in the actual game) and here it is: White, down to his last reserve, was forced to take a 4-stack of his own color at G2, to get two additional reserves and capture two red men in the process. He moves the pillar to C6. Red of course takes a deep breath, because he must capture at D8 and have the leash tightened again.  
 


And here he's on the leash again, but with just enough reserves to get him to the next breathing hole.
 


Which comes here: White, again down to the last reserve, was forced to capture to get an additional reserve. He did so at A4, moving the pillar to C2. Now all white stacks are critical: they're all 2-stacks on capacity-2 squares.
 


Red has captured at B5 and moved E3F2, White has capped G3 and Red is a reserve up.
 


Red has recapped at G3 and has moved the pillar at F3 to G3 to make the stack sub-critical again. White, down to his last reserve, could not raise it to 4 because Red would capture it with his last reserve (no, not with G2 of course, that would literally be suicide). So White decided to capture at C7 and move pillar C6F3 to make G3 critical. Big mistake! But no prospective alternatives either because after all White is two men down. Maybe capping G2 would have worked, but Red then could recap and capture one of his 3-stacks by moving it to a c-2 square, knowing that Red cannot capture the other because he'd be out of reserves.
But he didn't and instead moved the above, which allowed Red to move the surpisingly strong 36G35 pillarG6F5!
 


This move puts G5 and G7 in a direct confrontation, but White cannot capture because it would mean his immediate loss! White is now on the leash. He must enter and does so at D5, blocking G6 with a pillar, but setting G5 to critical in the process.  
 


Red has next captured at C3 and moved a pillar away from the stack at G6, to make it sub-critical again. White follows suit by entering on G6 and moving G7 away, but he is now without reserves and Red still has two and uses one of them to simply cap D5.
 


It's White's turn. Red has three pieces on the board and a reserve in hand. White now has two isolated stacks that are completely unable to assist one another. Every capture would blow one or both off the board, and if one remains, like after 39.G58, Red can simply cap it.
 
This was quite an epic effort, and it left me elated and Ed in a "where did I go wrong?" mode. And it left those among you who are interested in strategy games with a glimpse of the excitement Pit of Pillars has to offer.
« Last Edit: Jan 7th, 2014, 6:38am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #51 on: Jan 3rd, 2014, 11:37pm »
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I guess congratulations are in order for Havannah having been inducted into the IAGO Hall of Fame this year. Funny coincidence it does so together with Arimaa.
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #52 on: Jan 4th, 2014, 8:24am »
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on Jan 3rd, 2014, 11:37pm, aaaa wrote:
I guess congratulations are in order for Havannah having been inducted into the IAGO Hall of Fame this year. Funny coincidence it does so together with Arimaa.

Thanks, I guess it's an indication that both have shown some lasting power. Smiley
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #53 on: Jan 10th, 2014, 5:55am »
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200000+, I'm glad (albeit a bit surprised) to see viewers keep mining the original thread. Smiley
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #54 on: Jan 11th, 2014, 9:51am »
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I'm too intrigued by Pit of Pillars strategy, or more precisely its endgame strategy, to resist a further attempt to show something well, intriguing.
 
christian freeling (nl) - Ed van Zon (NL)
Ed's final comment:
"Congrats! You must be getting it (somewhat), but I'm just dancing in the dark. Why that is, is fascinating in itself, so "
 
So we play yet another one:
Ed van Zon (NL) - christian freeling (nl)
with my first comment:
"Getting it somewhat, indeed. The opening and middle game are fairly clear to me, and then comes the endgame, and sometimes the strategy is to prevent you from capturing at all, but then it switches via making sure I get at least a follow up capture to making sure everything stands critical. Then suddenly it's a parity issue and I win. I'm not sure how or why these switches in strategy occur. Quite confusing actually.".
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #55 on: Jan 15th, 2014, 6:15am »
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Here's Kobus, stocking up for the next 6 weeks with a 2k rabbit. It's how I feel playing Pit of Pillars against novices. Grin
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #56 on: Jan 15th, 2014, 7:10am »
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It would be nice if graphic images like that were posted with a link instead of inline (and possibly a warning). Many of us use this link to check for recent posts and it's not nice to be greeted with images like that.
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #57 on: Jan 15th, 2014, 7:56am »
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on Jan 15th, 2014, 7:10am, rbarreira wrote:
It would be nice if graphic images like that were posted with a link instead of inline (and possibly a warning). Many of us use this link to check for recent posts and it's not nice to be greeted with images like that.

I'm sorry. It's a snake eating a dead rabbit. Rabbits eat carrots and snakes eat rabbits. If a rabbit eating a carrot or a human eating a burger is permissible, then it's hard to draw a line. I agree however that this is an off topic games forum and as such posting a picture of an eating animal might be questionable. My excuse is that pictures of Kobus have been posted before without meeting any objections.
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #58 on: Jan 15th, 2014, 8:47am »
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on Jan 15th, 2014, 7:56am, christianF wrote:

I'm sorry. It's a snake eating a dead rabbit. Rabbits eat carrots and snakes eat rabbits. If a rabbit eating a carrot or a human eating a burger is permissible, then it's hard to draw a line. I agree however that this is an off topic games forum and as such posting a picture of an eating animal might be questionable. My excuse is that pictures of Kobus have been posted before without meeting any objections.

 
I understand a snake eats animals. But since you're a smart person, I'm sure you also understand that many people find it at least a bit uncomfortable looking at a picture of it happening (especially in an unexpected place like an Arimaa forum).
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Re: Christian Freeling on inventing games (part 2)
« Reply #59 on: Jan 25th, 2014, 7:04am »
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Our applets at Mindsports have been certified to meet the security requirements of the latest Java updates.
 
background
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