On Sun, Jan 01, 2006 at 12:48:45PM -0800, Tome Gnome wrote: > My query is this: I am uncertain if it is me, or what, but I have lost > every game of IceTowers my partner and I have played. She alleges, and > I believe her, that she has no strategy other than "putting pieces on > other pieces," but I haven't been able to conceptualize a strategy > myself. I feel like I must be missing something obvious: does anyone > have any advice vis-a-vis IceTowers and how I can > consistently devestate the person I love playing it? I haven't played two-player much, so I'm not sure if there are strategies specific to the two-player game. Some of the advice I have to give may only apply to larger games. Some of it also might not be as good as I think it is, of course. What has already been said is good advice, and probably more important than anything I might say, but to add to it, here are some observations I've made. You contribute 30 points worth of pyramids to the game. If estimating points comes naturally to you, keep this target in mind. Also, remember that you don't have to play; if you're currently in the lead and you have the only moves remaining, just stop, you've won. For the endgame, learn to count how many moves each player has left. Moves of small pieces are usually the most important, as these are the ones which will claim large towers. Learn to identify which moves will create additional moves for other players and which will not. Be frugal with moves if you have fewer than your opponents, and be especially frugal with your last move. Remember that when you make your last move, your score can only go down unless an opponent creates moves. Small pieces are for capping large towers. Don't waste your small pieces. A small piece on a tower with no other pieces of yours is risky, because it cannot escape if capped. If you have a choice to mine out a small piece or a larger piece, you should usually opt to mine the small piece out (or wait until you have somewhere good to put it). A minimal tower (a small piece on top of a small piece) is a waste for both players. The two points the player on top gets aren't worth committing a small, and of course the player underneath gets nothing. For this reason, it's not worth going around and capping another player's lone smalls with your own. (Ganging up on a strong player in a multi-player game in this way might be a useful strategy, I guess.) For this reason, look for places to split opponents' towers near the top. If you can split so you create a tower containing only small pieces, and none of those is yours, grab the opportunity to waste those pieces. It's especially good if the player on top has *another* small piece in the tower, this way you trap two of their pieces. Also, don't let yourself get trapped in this way. Because of the preceeding, when a player has a small piece on top of another piece of theirs on top of a tower, it's dangerous to cap them. At best, they'll just mine out their small. At worst, a third player might come along and split both your smalls off, wasting them, then cap. Because it's expensive to take such a double-capped tower from you, it can be useful to try to tempt other players into mining to create them for you. This should be obvious, but many new players overlook it: as a general rule, do not split another player if it will leave them with a single upright piece. This only helps that player by giving them an additional move. This is especially true (and this is where I most often see it) of splitting a single small piece off the top of a tower. Leave it alone.