Wednesday, November 17, 2010

some universe to play with

Hi. I plan to show you how much fun it is to create and explore games and strategies. It is an unlimited and fresh universe to explore. Well-known games have only scratched the surface of it, in spite of deep strategies specifically developed for them. Experiments with fellow players or computers help making hypothesis, revealing hard facts or gathering statistics. Toying with games and strategies should be less intimidating than exploring Life, Physics or Mathematics on your own, although ultimately thoses universes of research are all connected and you may even seriously contribute to them in the course of your exploration. In the end, you are left with much room to create or find something of your own with an interesting mix of art and science.

Many known games I love such as Go, Chess and Arimaa shall be mentioned now and then on this blog to see how some ideas compare to an established corpus of strategies. Some exotic features such as randomness, hidden information, cooperation, smooth space or time are worth exploring too. However I would like to restrict much of my first posts to new games that share the following set of features, because I like them the most in games :
  • the playing field is a board unlimited in two dimensions,
  • it is uniformly and regularly tiled with hexagons,
  • each tile is either empty or occupied by one token,
  • only finitely-many tiles are occupied by some token,

  • there is an unlimited supply of tokens whenever needed,
  • there exactly are as many distinct kinds of token as players,
  • something visually simple decides who has won,
  • some parameter makes it easy to get infinitely-many similar variants.
Clearly this is not enough to define a game. We might call such a coherent and incomplete set of features a universe of games. On the next post, I'll freely describe some game in this universe.

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