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dots and boxes 5x5 guide Dots and Boxes

17 replies. Last post: 2017-03-06

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dots and boxes 5x5 guide
  • _syLph_ at 2016-10-27



    I have written a guide explaining some key concepts of dots and boxes gameplay. It is supposed to teach everything important starting with basics up to what you need to know in order to claim the very top. I tried to make it as easy to understand as I could, however I fear that some of the later parts may be harder to understand than it seems to me. If there's anything that seems unclear please make sure to tell me so I can rewrite it if necessary.

    This is in some sense an unfinished work, there's some things I could have elaborated further and others that I left out. I started working on the guide more than a year ago, but lost the motivation to keep working on it quite a while ago, since I'm not a very active player anymore. I figured I'd go ahead and publish it early in case it may be helpful to someone learning the game before, if ever, I decide to finish it. That being said, I believe the most important things are in there.

    Any remarks are greatly appreciated.

    Cheers, purgency :)

  • urmaul at 2016-10-27

    I want to remark it looks great!

  • HappyHippo ★ at 2016-10-28

    Nice work! I'm still in the process of reading it

  • _syLph_ at 2016-10-29

    thank you :)

  • nikkeTheOne at 2016-10-29

    I have only figured out one should not (in most cases) play the third edge around a box.

    Still I found this easy to read and great content (I read page 1-4). Nice work!

  • _syLph_ at 2016-10-29

    Thank you for the feedback. Thats not good, then the beginning (page 2,3,4) may already not be simplified enough. Was there any part in particular that you found hard to perceive? I'd like for this to be easy enough to be understood for even a grade-schooler if one chose to read it (the basic strategy chapter at the very least, i know the advanced and expert part can't possibly be that easy).

  • nikkeTheOne at 2016-10-30

    You missunderstood me there. I meant before I read your pdf, thats how much I knew. I understand everything that is described as far as I have read.

  • _syLph_ at 2016-10-30

    Oh ok, thats great, thanks!

  • MisterCat at 2016-10-31

    I am really hoping to read this, when time permits; looks WAY MORE UNDERSTANDABLE than that pathetic Berkenkamp book; thanks for your efforts, here.


  • MisterCat at 2016-10-31

    disrespectful of me, and bad spelling to boot: Berlekamp; my bad; still can't learn anything from it, though.


  • Loony at 2016-10-31

    Actually most of the standard techniques are covered by Berlekamp's book. He focusses more on the mathematical theory behind the game while this paper is the result of yearslong playing experience.

    Anyway, having said this I also find your guide understandable. :)

  • mmKALLL at 2016-10-31

    This guide was excellent! However, as a complete beginner with some general board game experience, I have to say that the beginning might not be simplified enough. It feels like I should have paper in front of me to try out the different things; it's a bit difficult to grasp the ideas just by reading. I mean, I definitely understand the ideas, but it's hard to visualize because the situations include so much information for the untrained eye.

    The doublecross strategy was fine, but already the long-chain rule diagrams seem very complex. Maybe spending a bit more time to break it down into parts with accompanying diagrams would be helpful for total beginners in the game? To put it in perspective, the domino, sacrifice and loony move diagrams were extremely simple, helpful and required no processing at all to understand.

    That being said, I still want to reiterate that the guide was excellent. It just doesn't feel like things are broken down enough to be easily applicable or thought about by beginners without careful studying. I still enjoyed reading it, thank you very much!

  • HappyHippo ★ at 2016-10-31

    Another suggestion: it would be nice to have the row and column labels on all the diagrams, I'm not very good at reading the coordinates without them.

  • _syLph_ at 2016-10-31

    @HappyHippo Sure, why not. I added them. Thanks!

    @mmKALLL That's very good feedback and I agree that the long-chain-rule chapter may be a bit rushed. I see what you mean and I'll look into it.

  • mmKALLL at 2016-11-01

    Nice to see that there are serious efforts to make the game more accessible! From experience setting up local game communities I can totally respect how difficult that can be. :)

    By the way, I noticed a few minor typos (especially with plurals), along the lines of “halfes” -> “halves”. Nothing too major, though! I was also wondering about what programs you used to write this in the first place, and how did you make the neat diagrams?

  • _syLph_ at 2016-11-01

    It's written in LaTeX using the IEEE conference template and the tikz package for the diagrams. Thx for the typo (actually I didn't know it was spelled that way lol) :)

  • Polydarya at 2017-03-06

    I completely missed the time when the guide appeared and have only seen this topic recently. So I uploaded the guide to my phone for a transatlantic flight and couldn't even start sleeping before I read it till the last page! :) A great job, thanks purgency; I wonder what topics were left out, though…

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