Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
achieve parity with professional players. The game Arimaa uses Chess pieces on a
Chess board. It was specifically developed to be easier than Chess for humans and
far harder for computers; opening topics and endgame databases have little or no
utility in a game without fixed starting positions, where all of the pieces can still
be on the board at the end of the game. Twixt is another simple game that is hard
for computers, but it does lend itself to a book of moves, as we shall see.
Twixt was widely published as a 3M bookshelf game, was later picked up by
Avalon-Hill, and is now out of print in the U.S. The goal of the game is to form a
chain of links between opposite edges of the board; one player attempts to link the
top and bottom edges, while the other player tries to link the left and right edges.
Links may not cross, so if one side achieves its goal, the other side is prevented
from doing so. The simple rules make for complex gameplay, and draws are very
rare. The game is easy to learn, hard to master, and brutally unforgiving of
mistakes. Twixt is a very tactical game. One of the few strategies is to force the
other side to waste one or more moves by cutting off pegs and links from the
border or isolating some of the opponent's pegs and links, preventing your
opponent from connecting to other pegs and links. This strategy is hinted at in
Figure 7.1, where it appears that if black makes more horizontal links in the
middle of the board, black will block white from building a vertical chain to the
bottom of the board. We will look at the board and see if the complexity of the
game can be tamed.
The Game Board
Twixt is usually played on a square pegboard grid of 24 holes on a side. The
opposite pairs of border rows can be played by only one color, and the corners are
not playable at all. For the board pictured in Figure 7.1, white needs to connect
the top and bottom, and black needs to connect the left and right. This leaves a
22 22 grid of 484 holes, which both sides can fill with their pegs. Pegs of the
same color can be linked if the two pegs are arranged in a ''knight's move'' from
Chess . This is known as a ''Twixt'' move in Twixt . Such moves place the pegs on
opposite corners of a vertical or horizontal 2 1 rectangle. The moves in Twixt
are often denoted by the size of the rectangle they make, larger number first, so a
Twixt move is denoted as a (2-1) move. Just as a knight in Chess has access to
every square on a Chess board, pegs that are not a Twixt move apart can be
connected by a sequence of Twixt moves if there are no obstructions. Those
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