Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] [Martian Chess] End of Tournament Games

  • FromMarc Hartstein <marc.hartstein@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateThu, 06 Jul 2006 11:09:14 -0400
On Thu, Jul 06, 2006 at 10:27:09AM -0400, kerry_and_ryan wrote:
> So an issue came up during the Martian Chess tournament at Origins.
> The ad hoc rule I made was that the game continues until there is an
> empty sector AND there is a lone player with the most points.  

One alternative I thought of after the tournament was to have a
tiebreaker rule instead.  I see two possibilities:

1. Having an empty quadrant breaks ties.  The argument in favor is that
the normal way to win is to get a point lead and then empty your
quadrant, so this player, having successfully emptied their quadrant, is
closer to victory than the one with an equal number of pieces who
hasn't.  It's also similar to "you win ties if it's your turn" as seen
in other pyramid games.

2. Having at least one piece left breaks ties.  The argument in favor of
this is that you win by having the most points.  Since you can't obtain
points without pieces, the person who has pieces remaining is in a
stronger board position (they have the potential to get additional
points without somebody giving them a piece).

I was originally leaning toward choice 2, but I'm not sure any longer
which I prefer.  Neither covers the situation in which a player who's
not one of the ones in the tie for the lead empties their quadrant, but
that might be ok.

There could be a problem, though, where players are simply unwilling to
move the game toward an end if they're not in a winning position.
Especially if they're within one player mistake of obtaining the lead,
this might even be reasonable.  We might simply need a secondary end
condition in which the game is prematurely terminated if the players are
unwilling to make moves which move it toward completion (say three times
around the table with no pieces changing hands or being captured?)  That
could actually result in an unresolvable tie, though.

Perhaps we just need to accept the possibility of ties and structure the
tournament to accomodate them?  We're talking about two related problems
here...a sometimes unsatisfying endgame, and a difficulty in resolving
tournament scoring.

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