New Game: Blooms Other games

18 replies. Last post: 2020-11-02

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New Game: Blooms
  • NickBentley at 2018-03-14

    New game for your consideration:


  • Rbpompeu at 2018-03-15

    It's a combination of Catchup and Go (I mean the liberty rule).

  • NickBentley at 2018-03-18

    well, there's no catchup mechanism, but the board and turn rules *are* similar.

  • add3993 at 2020-07-20

    I quite like this game and would be glad to play it here.

  • Ed Collins at 2020-07-20

    The link has changed since Nick's 2018 post.  I believe this is the new link to the Bloom rules.

  • metzgerism at 2020-07-21

    Nick is working on a variant/adaptation called Meadow that's likely to be implemented on BGA soon. I'm planning to test it heavily there and I'm hoping it's a little more intuitive than Blooms.

    I'd play lots of Blooms if it were here.

  • metzgerism at 2020-07-21

    Nick is working on a variant/adaptation called Meadow that's likely to be implemented on BGA soon. I'm planning to test it heavily there and I'm hoping it's a little more intuitive than Blooms.

    I'd play lots of Blooms if it were here.

  • ypaul21 at 2020-07-21

    I would also probably play a lot more Blooms if it was implemented here. I find it really hard to review games on BGA because of the clunky interface, so I tend not to do it at all, which I think is a bit of a shame because there's a lot we can learn from looking at our own past games, as well as other people's games.

  • Tybalt at 2020-10-20

    I have to join my voice to the other. I would definitely play Blooms here :)

  • NickBentley at 2020-10-24

    I would absolutely KILL to have Blooms here, in hexhex5 (20 points), hexhex6 (30 points), and one larger size TBD.

    There was just an article in Abstract Games Magazine about it. Here it is, on the off chance it catches Richard's eye. Also, Richard, if you're interested, I'll commission really nice graphics for it if you want.

    Article Excerpts:

    “The key point of this rule, which will baffle the Go player at first, is that a group is surrounded, and thus captured, when all its liberties are occupied by differently coloured stones, even if they are friendly. In other words, you can and will take your own liberties when playing.”

    “Blooms at a high level of play (or what is currently the highest standard of play) has a lot of liberty fights and close races.”

    “Blooms has something similar to cross-cuts, but with a twist. Though each triangle cell has at least two adjacent friendly stones when filled, these can be of different colours, creating two friendly groups that nonetheless block each other and reduce each other’s liberties. What would be a cross-cut in Keil can now be a meeting of four groups of different colours…”

    “Interestingly, the game often ends in the board being shared as it would be in a normal game of Go.”

    “A big aspect of Blooms is it allows for many sacrifice plays. And I mean a lot!”

    “This situation happens quite a lot in actual play and I like to think about it with the proverb, ”A Big Eye is worth two eyes.””

    “Blooms has a very interesting family of seki-like situations. Enemy groups can share a single eye of three liberties, they can each have a proper liberty and share an eye of two liberties (or two of one for that matter) or each have two proper eyes and a shared one. But this is not limited to groups of enemy stones. Sharing eyes also is a powerful way of giving life to several (usually two) groups of your own.”

    “There is much more to investigate about Blooms, which is a deep and interesting game. I recommend it as a colourful, workable, and deep Hexagonal Go.”

    Abstract Games Magazine’s editor, Kerry Handscomb, also left some commentary at the end, and here’s a snippet from that:

    “To my mind the tactics around sacrificing stones are particularly deserving of attention, although I suspect there is much more that Thibault did not touch on at this time. The sacrifice tactics emerge from the rule that only opponent's dead groups are removed at the end of your turn, a rule which obviously is a brilliant design decision. It is wonderful when strategy and tactics unfold in this manner from seemingly unrelated rules.”

  • z at 2020-10-25

    Nick, Blooms looks pretty interesting. I assume it's legal to place a stone in a fenced position in order to capture enemy blooms during the same turn. But what about the legality of suicidal moves without captures?

    Also, I'd like to know your recommended value for X on larger boards. Thanks

  • NickBentley at 2020-10-25

    Hi z,

    The rules are exactly as written. At the end of each turn, you capture all fenced enemy Blooms, and that's all. You can commit suicide whenever, however you want. The article points out that this has created an array of novel sacrifice tactics.

  • NickBentley at 2020-10-25

    i'm not sure about the limit with large boards. It all depends on how many captures are typical before the board settles into a finished Go position. I'd like to set X such that the game settles into a Go-like ending about 90% of the time.

  • NickBentley at 2020-10-25

    The article suggests trying hexhex9 for the large board size. That guess is as good as mine.

  • metzgerism at 2020-10-26

    If Blooms does get implemented here, why not go with something a little different on size? Richard often includes variant rules to balance games or give them some preferable flavor.

    I keep pushing for that hex5½ board…this might just be an extension of that. We know hex5 is a little too small for serious play.

  • jsiehler at 2020-10-26

    For what it's worth… I co-taught a four-week undergraduate course on board- and tabletop-game design recently.  We had the students play a wide variety of games with different mechanisms, old and new.  Blooms was one of the real favorites, which people continued playing for fun way past the point required for the class.  There was a certain sense of mystery about the “unknown value X,” though, and a general sense of … dissatisfaction? incompleteness? … about that point, as if the game's rules weren't quite complete.  I think the hexhex-6 board was what people settled on as popular, but that class didn't gravitate toward long strategic battles; they liked short-to-mid length tactical fights.

  • add3993 at 2020-10-31

    Nick, not only do I admire and enjoy your games, but I admire your readiness to promote and invest in them.  You are helping to make “abstract board game designer” a real career that exists.  I want to underscore to you what I believe is the way forward for this career (as well as the broader hobby and individual games we care about) because I think you are one of the most likely to help catalyze it in some way.

    We need a general game player, akin to Ai Ai or Zillions of Games, but equipped with modern post-AlphaZero techniques, to create truly strong opponents and teachers for a larger number of under-played but deserving games.  To work satisfactorily it may need an ability to harness and coordinate multiple computers for training purposes as well.  It should provide board-evaluation data in a game-agnostic form (like win% estimates) to help people learn new games.  Ideally it should allow people to 'vote' for games that deserve stronger AI and promote collaborative training efforts.

    It is an ambitious goal and probably no one person has the skills to really do it justice.  (It would be a mistake for ML experts to think they do, not only because the craft is still evolving, but because usability issues for the general public also matter a lot here.)  Projects like galvanize_zero and katago are already pushing in this general direction, but broader efforts are needed.

  • spartacu5 at 2020-11-02

    add3993, Ludii is getting close to being such a tool.

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