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Throngs

Leaderboard

Period(s)

Modern

Categories

Experimental.

Description

Throngs a highly abstracted wargame (territorial invasion game) for two players. It is typically played on the intersections of a triangular grid, using Go stones. It is a double-move game: each player takes 2 full turns in succession before the next player takes control.

Movement: The game is distinguished by the way the power of a moving piece is determined according to the pieces around it: A piece can move as far as the difference in count of the friends and enemies in its immediate vicinity.

Removing an enemy and adding one's own piece take one power unit each. Remaining power goes into a series of steps or hops that may change direction at empty locations.

Strategy: Power to travel up to seven units per move can be developed during the game. As the offensive capacity develops, defensive measures are needed, first starting with limiting the mobility of enemy stones by approaching them, then by building walls, and thickening them along the axes of the opponent's catapulting sites (empty locations surrounded by many of that player's own stones.) These sites allow adding a stone and catapulting it up to a distance of 5, and are re-useable. In addition to these methods, defense is by scattering stones behind one's own lines to immobilise enemy stones that invade.

The majority of turns naturally involve placement as well as movement, due to the benefit of gaining material; even though newly placed stones travel a reduced distance due to the cost of their placement. Occasional moves without placement are used mainly to initiate difficult invasions, as they risk simultaneously opening up positional weaknesses.

Individual stones may be captured by replacement when they are sufficiently out-numbered at a location, which means that towards the end of the game, chains of stones not anchored to a triangle, loop, or board edge will be consumed one-by-one by captures. Thus the shape and nature of territorial walls is worth contesting.

Boards: The standard board is centerless, designed to allow maximal distance moves from the center, while minimizing the size of the board. The hexagonal corner regions help to stabilize invasions in outlying areas. The reverse angles along the edge are slightly less defensible than the other parts, breaking the edges into stategic zones.

The game is easily adapted not only to to different size and shape boards, but also to different grid topologies, while remaining interesting and playable. A 'perforated' grid is included to demonstrate this, but there are many other possibilities as well.

The center of the board is very advantageous, and a pie rule or balanced starting positions are needed. The standard starting position places the initial pieces near the edges to allow players a wider variety of strategies. Placing multiple starting stones, and or playing on torus boards, leads to finer grained, denser, highly tactical games, while using few starting pieces and larger boards or boards with less connectivity (e.g. boards with holes, and boards on semi-regular grids) lead to a more territorial game.

Play on a torus also eliminates the advantage of a board center, but requires a larger board because invasion is no longer from a single direction.

Rules

Objective
Each player tries to control the majority of board with his pieces.

The game is normally conceded when a win is apparent. Otherwise, play continues until all cells are occupied and all captures resolved.

Setup:
The game starts with 3 pieces already on the board. You may choose the standard opening position, or use the Pie option to set your own.

Play:
Players double-alternate, i.e. each take 2 consecutive moves (described below) in a row.

Moves:
Each move is related to its starting site and a single stone. There can be multiple steps, but they all start with the player determining the power at the starting site for the move.

Power is how many more stones a player has than his opponent, on the sites that are within one step of the chosen location. Calculate it by taking the difference between the totals for each player. Normally there are 7 sites to count, but edge locations have less.

To start a move at a given site, a minimum level of power is needed:

Placement, and/or movement requires power of at least 1.
Capturing an opponent's piece requires power of at least 2.
As a special case, placement at a fully surrounded site is allowed to be made with a power of zero, ensuring that the entire board can be filled.

Whenever a stone is placed, removed, or moved one unit of distance, its power is reduced by one.

Thus, when a stone is placed on an empty site with a power of one, that stone's power is reduced to zero and the move is finished.

Likewise, since the capture+replacement combination reduces the power by 2, when when a capture is made at a site with a power of exactly 2, the move ends upon the completion of the capture.

Note: The application makes the above moves instantly, as soon as you click on the site.

However, if the player's stone is already on a site, or has power remaining after being placed, it may then move any number of steps within it's power in a straight line. While doing this, it may jump over any pieces along the way, but must stop at an empty position.

From there, if it has power left, it may continue in a new direction, but it is not obliged to do so.

Note: In this case, the pieces will become transparent, and a number will appear on the piece showing the remaining distance available to move. Clicking on a new site within range will move the piece there and reduce its power accordingly. Then, if there is no remaining power, the move will end immediately; but otherwise, the piece remains tranparent and may be moved further.

Warning: It is also possible to click on the transparent piece itself. This action immediately ends the move there, removing all the excess power. This can be desireable, especially later in the game.

Once the first piece of the turn has been placed and is no longer transparent, the player begins his second move of the turn. After the second move is completed, play shifts to the opponent.

Players may pass one or both parts of a turn. However, consecutive passing is not allowed unless forced: when one player passes, the other player must place or capture during his turn if he can.

Ending the game:
Play ends when there are no moves left for either player. The player with the most stones wins. Human players should resign earlier, as soon as the outcome is known. Unfortunately the current AI is not smart enough to do so. - Simply restart the game when you are satisfied of the result.

Author

Dale W. Walton

Creation date

2019-11-18

Ludeme Description

Throngs.lud

Concepts

Browse all concepts for Throngs here.

Reference

BGG Forum

Identifiers

DLP.Games.1066

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