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Vitenka: Abstract?  Yes. --Admiral

You are monks, faced with a terrifying blank white space.  To try and stay in the air as long as possible, you decide to fill it with coloured rabbits.  Maybe this will be illustrated by Piet Mondrian.  Do not punctuate kittens.

[Implemented in javascript, hotseat only right now]

(New setting: It's probably about a /RugPile? now.)

Each player starts with a stack of rectangles in their colour.  Assorted sizes.  (Lots of 2x2, some 2x3, a few 3x3.)  (Thinking: 4, 3, 3.)  (2player: on a 5x5 grid you only want 2 3x3 tiles.  On a 6x6 grid you rarely use ANY of the 2x2 tiles.)
Shared between the players is the terrifying blank white space.  Which should be about 5x5.  (5x5 works for 2 player, 6x6 for three or four player.)

Each turn, you place a rectangle on the grid, obeying the following rules:
  1. You may not overlap an exposed grid-square of your colour.
  2. You may not completely obscure any area.
    1. This does not include the initial white area.
    2. You may split areas, forming two new areas which must not later be obscured.
    3. You may abut onto areas of the same colour, forming a single larger area.
      1. Though doing so is usually a bad idea, since your opponents will take advantage.  Forcing your opponents into situations where such a move is forced is kind of the entire game.
  3. Game ends immediately if you cannot place.
    1. Contrawise - if you can place, you must, even if you really don't want to.  Zugzwang is pretty much all of the fun.
  4. Winner is the player with most squares of their colour.

PhysRep?: The rectangles should have holes punched in, and the grid be a little pin-board so that everything stays aligned.
And even better idea: Felt.

Intriguing. Sounds like it could work. It'd certainly be easy enough to give it a try. --AC
Initial experimentation suggests it is indeed interesting to play, but not necessarily clear how the board position matches up with how successful each player's being at reducing their penalty points. It really feels like you want to score points for how much of the board is your colour. It also feels like you might get several ties, so perhaps the tie-breaker could be number of small squares of the board in each player's colour? --AC
Board area would be more intuitive, yes.  The ties property was to try and give players a reason to not force a game end immediately that they can - if it looks like they can catch up, they should create a larger area to give the opponent somewhere to play in.  Whether it works that way or not, I don't know.  --Vitenka
Ok, second thoughts (and trying it out) convinces me - keeping track of tokens used is a pain, and you're pretty much trying the same aim either way, so go for the simpler one.  --Vitenka

Problem: It's quite easy to get stuck in short loops (and a ko rule doesn't help either).  A situation like:


The 2x3 area (1) alternates colour until one or the other player runs out of tiles that fit.  This might not actually be a problem - avoiding getting into such a loop can be part of the strategy.

Alternate coverage rules to improve this include
  1. Must cover a white square.  This has the advantage of forcing the game to an end, and the disadvantage of turning it into nim.
  2. Must cross an edge (or be entirely on white).  (So you can never play directly on top of another tile.)  This helps, though loops are still possible.
Doesn't "you may not completely obscure any area" already produce this effect? - MoonShadow
Not quite:

So I think I'll stick with that latter rule, though it's making the game more complex. --Vitenka
After playtests together, this turned out to not be necessary: the "remaining number of 3x2 tiles" makes it clear who'd win any such fights before they start, and is a reasonable means of resolving them. --AC
And indeed deciding whether or not to force the other player to use up their pieces to resolve this is part of the game.  --Vitenka

Current ruleset, example play:

Oh, we discovered fools mate.


(After which, black cannot play, and loses 8-9 - so, second player to play, don't do that.)

It works.  It works and best play isn't obvious and it's short.  Yay!  (Short meaning 'less than three minutes')
Multiplayer works!  (Interesting, it opens the game up more - running out of tiles becomes an issue, and playing suboptimally early on in order to use up your larger tiles and have more chances to use 2x2 later is sometimes worth doing.

It may be worth trying adding different board shapes (easily done by marking initial forbidden squares) to ee what that does, if people get bored of it.


Addendum: If this one isn't short to play, I'm going to give up and design something like HistoryOfTheTwighlightImperium?, and hope that the universes contrariness works to my benefit.  --Vitenka


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