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Brain Coral



Category Board, Space, Group


Brain Coral is a placement game based on the principle of placing pieces, such that afterwards, every site of the board remains connected to an empty site at the perimeter via a series of empty sites. Scoring is based on the size of the largest group plus a bonus factor. The standard bonus factor is the number of your own groups. Thus enlarging your largest group has the same value as creating a cloud of singletons, and anything else -- other than forcing your opponent to add to or join together non-largest groups, -- is a wasted opportunity. Basic strategy is either -- A: to form a defensive cloud to break opponent's efforts into multiple regions, and then, to connect your remaining dots into a single series; or else -- B: to create a large group for as long as you can, then cloud the other areas in self-blocking ways. The other bonus options are simpler, and thus need larger boards to be interesting: Bonus for number of opponent's groups, makes play highly cohesive -- you need to form one big group, -- but with an emphasis on controlling empty territory, because the opponent is penalised when forced to place isolated pieces at the end. Playing without any bonus play is similar, but decided earlier, as territory is not an issue, only main group size. Tiebreakers: The standard tiebreaker is for the underdog to win based on the largest cascading group size without bonus. If all groups are paired in size with the opponent, last to play wins. For informal play, the tie breaker simplified as last-to-place.


Goal: Score the most points:
-- One point for each stone in one's largest group.
-- Bonus points are also added to the scores according to the selected option.

The board starts empty.

Players take turns in alternation, placing one of their own stones onto an empty site.

Restriction on placement:
Every site of the board must remain connected to an empty perimeter site via a continuous path of empty sites.

There is no passing.

The game ends when no more placements can be made.

Players score one point for every stone in their largest group, then, if applicable, score bonus points according to the selected option.

Bonus Options are:
-- Count of one's own groups. Standard
-- Count of the opponent's groups
-- No Bonus

The player with the higher score wins.

If the scores are tied, the game is decided by the tiebreaker option used:
A: Cascading largest group LOSES -- i.e. negative scores -- This excludes tied pairs; If all groups are paired, last to place.
B: Last player to have placed a stone.


Dale W. Walton

Creation date


Ludeme Description

Brain Coral.lud


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lkjh Maastricht University Department of Advanced Computing Sciences (DACS), Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229 EN Maastricht, Netherlands Funded by a €2m ERC Consolidator Grant (#771292) from the European Research Council