Sunday, March 27, 2005

Purim Fest

Went to the parents this shabbat, and out to a friends for lunch. Of course, games played:

Fri night

Bridge: I've been playing bridge since I was 4 years old with my family, one of the first games I learned after rummy (many different types) and war. Bridge is to card games what Go is to board games - the pinnacle. But you have to play often, and many years, to get the patterns down and start playing well. Experienced players just can't enjoy a game against inexperienced players, or with an inexperienced partner. Even when all players are competent, good manners is keenly important, since the "right" play is sometimes obvious to one player in a partnership, but not the other. That is part of the game, and you have to accept it. But playing "right" does make you feel so smart.

Sat lunch

Pit: Tried to rope my host in to play with me and his kids, but my host, while a lovely man, can't handle this type of game.

Go: His son and I, both amateurs, played a few games. I initially gave him the starting advantage, which he soundly beat me with. I took the advantage the next game, and still lost due to a hairs-breathe race for one point in the middle of the board. We then played the same position several times, each time backing up further to see if I could win by making slightly different plays, but I lost each time. There was something wrong with my initial placement, which I still have to discover.

Arimaa: I don't know where he (son) learned this from, but I tried this game which was designed specifically to be "difficult for computers to solve." The game is played with chess pieces, where each piece can move one space orthogonally in any direction, and you get 4 moves each turn. In addition, bigger pieces can push or pull smaller pieces. There are four spots on the board where, if your piece lands, and is not orthogonal to one of your other pieces at the same time, it is removed from the board. Lastly, one your pieces next to a larger enemy piece is frozen (for you), again unless orthogonal to one of your pieces. Search Google for details.

Anyway, I found the game difficult, but my first impression was that, like Abalone, a good defensive position will probably beat any offensive position. With certain exceptions, such as Go, and the Gipf series, I am not much of an abstract/no randomness gamer, so this doesn't really appeal to me.

Spit/Speed: Whatever you call it. I played against my friend's 11 year old. I still got it, but I am slowing down every year. I measure my lifeblood by assessing how good my spit skills are.

Sat night was Purim dance party. Boomba boomba Boomba boomba.



Anonymous said...

Hi Yehuda,

It is interesting that you think it may be possible to play a good defensive strategy in Arimaa which will not allow the opponent to win. If that turns out to be the case then I would consider it to be a flaw in Arimaa and the rules would need to be adjusted to try and eliminate that.

However we are finding that such a strategy will not work in Arimaa because an offensive opponent can drag out your rabbits and trap them on his side of the board. Remember that rabbits cannot move backwards, so if you don't want them to get trapped you will need to send some of your stronger pieces out to defend them.

You might find this discussion on the Arimaa forum interesting.;action=display;num=1069450787;start=11#11


Yehuda Berlinger said...

Fair enough. I only played once.

The forum discussion indicates that my instinctive feeling is shared by others, but, of course, could turn out to be false.

Don't forget the "winning by causing your opponent to resign from boredom" strategy. :-)