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Bolotudu - fbarbe - 06-20-2021


It seems to me that the game Bolotudu is implemented in a weird way in Ludii. I could not find the original source cited in the metadata, but could find these two sources:

Both rules are different from the ones implemented in Ludii.

They are both played on a 5x6 board instead of a 6x6 board. In the second set of rules, making three in a row is not allowed to make a 2 in a row (is Line 2 Orthogonal contiguous:true). In the first, the goal is to make three in a row.

The issue with the current implementation is that it returns a "draw" when both players pass consecutively. This can happen when the second player is unable to add more pieces to the board (see trial "bolotodu.trl" attached). When Player 1 is unable to play, however, the game keeps going as usual (see "bolotudu2.trl"). This scenario is not mentioned in the rules above.

Slightly unrelated, but in Ludii 1.2.1 the status shows "Game Over, you lose!" when the game ends in a draw, which in my opinion is wrong as there is no winner or loser.


RE: Bolotudu - Eric Piette - 06-21-2021


That's a DLP game, these sources are irrelevant and probably based on no evidence. However, to be safe, I am going to ask Walter (our historian) to check it.

For the draw, that's normal if both players can not play, the game is over as a draw except if the rules describe another scenario (which is not the case now).
Many ancient games will have that kind of problem in their rules, in general only modern games are trying to handle any case except for a few exceptions. This is one of the goal of the DLP project to find automatically the potential problems in the rules of old games. Our metric analysis should be able to detect that.

For the unrelated issue, yes I noticed it a week ago and Matthew fixed it in the dev version.


RE: Bolotudu - Walter.Crist - 06-21-2021

Hi Fabio,

Thanks for looking into this, it actually led to a curious bit of research!

Our rules for Bolotudu come from the book Jeux et jouets de l'ouest africain (Games and toys of the West African). The relevant information is the following: 

C'est un wali, mais qui se joue avec 36 cases, 12 cailloux.... Les pions sont placés l'un après l'autre, sans que jamais deux pions soient placés côte à côte, l'on frappe et l'on mange quand deux pions sont alignés orthogonalement (fig. 324,). Les figures de jeu sont beaucoup moins riches que celles du wali classique.

("It's a wali [game], but it is played with 36 spaces, 12 pebbles...the pawns are placed one after the other, without ever placing two pawns side by side, one "hits" and eats when two pawns are orthogonally aligned. The features of the game are much less rich than classic wali")

Looking at the sources you sent, BoardGameGeek is horribly unreliable for historical and traditional games, because they rarely ever cite anything, so we can almost never use their information. The second source does have good citations, though, and that information can be traced back to a short account of the game in the very famous book Man, Play, and Games by Roger Caillois. He calls the game Bolotoudou, and the source he cites (which I've attached here) refers to Bolotoudou as a class of games, but specifically says that the version he is describing is one called Wali and played by the Songhai people in Mali. We find this a lot: games with similar names, names which really just mean board games generally, which are interchangeable. We will add this game as Wali in Ludii, but it will be seaarchable as Bolotoudou. It's also in French, but the relevant information is on p. 243-245.

Hope this clears things up!