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Category Experimental


N-Mesh is a game on a square grid that evolved from Netted, an enclosure game on a hex grid.

The game is a race to deprive the opponent of liberties by surrounding the opponent's stones and or by destroying the liberties by placing stones on them.

If the players surround each other, the player with fewer captured stones wins, and where the result is still undetermined, the last to play loses. This latter rule prevents players from simply racing to cover up the liberties.

The main differences from Netted is that life in N-Mesh requires only a single liberty for a region, and the liberties are specific cells distributed across the board. (Netted liberties were the edge cells and each stone required its own exclusive liberty)

The difference in geometry also causes differences in connectivity:
Both feature 3 types of connectivity used strategically to separate the opponent's stones from liberties.
These include adjacency, as well as a short type of connection that can permanently cross the other player's connections and a longer type of connection that can be broken.
In N-Mesh the long connections are at knight's move distance, and are broken by a pair of stones placed in between, and the crossing connections are diagonals.

Surrounding is done by nets. A net is made of adjacent stones as well as stones connected by diagonals and single empty spaces. Thus opponent's nets can cross each other and a portion of a net may be surrounded without surrounding the whole net. Having a connection to a living stone does not guarantee life to another stone: what provides life to a stone is having an empty liberty cell in the same region defined by the opponent's surrounding net.

Offensive tactics include:
- Threatening to capture over-extended pieces,
-- especially to pick off a single stone in diagonal-plus-double-knight's-move triangle,
-- covering liberties in uncontrolled areas to capture a larger group or to make group life harder to achieve,
-- or by creating forks.

- Using knight's moves to quickly fence off large territory.
-- enclosing more liberties and spaces to place on so that ones groups can survive longest
- Reinforcing threatened knight's connections by adding a stone there.

Defensive tactics include: Blocking threats by
- breaking a knight's move connection by extending a line of stones across it.
- placing on the site the opponent needs to complete the threat,
- encircling the threat location, or for edges sites,
- reducing the cut-off region to one empty edge site.

-- Spacing of the liberties is arbitrary, but has been standardized to a regular spacing that can work on small and large boards, in order to allow the transfer of tactical knowledge from size to size.
-- The distribution is purposefully asymmetrical to allow the greatest variety of pie offerings.
-- If the game is to be played without a pie rule, a symmetrical arrangement is preferred for greater balance.
The pie rule means that the game is a proven 2nd-player win, and the quality of the AI can be judged accordingly.


Deprive any of your opponent's stones access to an empty shaded Liberty cell, by surrounding or 'Enmeshing' them.

-- Black starts with an empty board.
-- White has the option to convert Black's first stone to white instead of placing elsewhere. (pie move)
-- Turns alternate.
-- On your turn place one of your stones on an empty site.

Ending the game:
-- The game ends as soon as any stone is enmeshed. (see definitions below).

-- If both player's stones are simultaneously 'enmeshed', the player with the most 'enmeshed' stones loses.
-- If this is still equal, the moving player loses.

A stone is 'Enmeshed' if it has no path in the play area to an empty shaded liberty cell without crossing a connection between the opponent's stones.

There is a connection between stones of the same color if they:
-- 1. are on adjacent squares,
-- 2. are diagonally adjacent, (player's connections can cross each other)
-- 3. are at knight's distance, with at least one empty space between.

Knight's connections can cross each other, but cease to exist when 2 pieces are placed in between.
When a stone is placed on a shaded cell, that cell no longer serves as a liberty for either player.


Dale W. Walton

Creation date


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