How much skill transfer between connection games? TWIXT PP

11 replies. Last post: 2020-08-31

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How much skill transfer between connection games?
  • add3993 ★ at 2020-07-25

    Title says it.  I’m especially interested to hear from anyone who is a strong player in 2+ such games, to what degree you feel there is a “mind mapping” from one such game into the other.

    (Hex is my primary interest but I’m peeking at Twixt and ConHex lately)

  • Tommah at 2020-07-25

    I am somewhat good at Hex, bad at Havannah, and awful at Twixt.  So I don’t think there is much of a mental connection between the games (no pun intended).

  • Florian Jamain at 2020-07-26

    There are clear mental connections to me. It’s like they are games where I “feel” what I need to do.

    Generally “capture” games are on contrary games where I don’t feel anything, sometimes I’m not bad but it’s more by using boring calculations than any good feeling about the game.

    Best example is polyomino, believe it or not but at the moment where I read the rules of the game, even before doing even one game, i thought “Ok, this game seems very easy”.

    At the opposite, world champion of Abalone is a friend of mine, even after he explained me the game and gave me some basic stuff I thought “Well, this won't be for me, this game is not talking to me”.

  • ypaul21 at 2020-07-26

    I’m quite new to the scene so I am definitely nowhere near a good player in any of these games, but I think that a lot of skills are transferable. However, at non-complete-beginner-level play, you will need to develop some tactics before you can really start to get competitive at it. Strategy is nothing without tactics. In Twixt, for example, what constitutes as a good connection or block is not at all obvious, so you won’t be able to immediately apply what you’ve learnt from Hex. Worse yet, unlike Hex, there really isn’t a lot of information readily available for it as of right now, so we have to spend a bit of time experimenting to figure things out by ourselves.

    But the ability to look at the global picture and not be too caught up in local battles is definitely one of the skills that you can learn and apply throughout various games of this sort. Other stuff include min-maxing or making weak connections, attacking the opponent’s weak connections to gain an advantage somewhere else on the board, or just ladder reading are things that someone who plays connection games would be more attuned to, so if you’re good at a few connection games, I think that you can easily pick up another one if you want, although not without some effort.

  • add3993 ★ at 2020-07-26

    Thanks ypaul, what do you mean by ‘min-maxing’ in this context?

  • ypaul21 at 2020-07-26

    I’m using the term as Matthew Seymour defines it here:

    http://www.mseymour.ca/hex_book/hexstrat3.html#section_38

    > retaining a minimal connection in one direction in order to maximize the connection in the other direction. 

  • Andrey ★ at 2020-07-30

    There is also some connection between similar look like games. I started playing slither because noticed some top connect6 players are showing there good results (including Florian Jamain and 5466). I thought if one like playing connect 6 and also like playing slither then i may also like slither, because i like connect6 :P. It was quite surprise when I did not even have a clue what is going during my slither games but my rating at the same time went up.

  • David J Bush ★ at 2020-07-30

    I don’t know how one would measure “how much skill transfer.” Interest is what drives learning, at least for me. Hex and Twixt are similar enough that what you learn in one can inform the other, but interest must come first. I got hooked on Twixt at around 13 years of age for whatever reason, maybe because I found it easier to visualize ahead than in chess, because the pieces didn’t move. Finding high school opponents helped fuel my passion for the game. I knew about Hex back then from an old article in my dad’s Scientific American collection, but it didn’t hold much interest for me. Only much later, when the Internet arrived, did I start to enjoy Hex. Yes the same game object made learning both easier. Strategically Twixt seems more rigid. The variety of overall plans is more limited. For example, if you divide a 24x24 grid into nine 8x8 sections, a winning path will rarely pass through the same section twice, whereas a winning path in Hex can meander all over the place. I’m not good at Go, but it has been called “the piano of the abstracts,” which means if you can master Go, you likely can learn to master any game. This has less to do with specific mechanisms you learn in Go and more to do with the sheer quantity of tactics and strategy you need to learn. Twixt was my piano. The fact that I am also decent at Hex is because I was able to maintain a driving interest in learning, due to my experience learning Twixt. Yes my interest had a lot to do with the same game object, but it alsomay have had to do with some butterfly somewhere in Brazil.

  • Crelo ★ at 2020-07-30

    I am firstly a Go player, for 36 years already, and this makes me able to read ahead quite a number of moves. I found Hex very similar in tactics to Go, you should keep your groups connected in Go. But Hex is not only tactics, it has a great deal of strategy, especially on bigger boards. Hex strategy is not something I master in any way, never studied it and there is not a direct transfer from Go.

    Twixt tactics on the other hand have a very different feeling for me, is much more difficult to read ahead those horse jump moves and visualize the connections.  

  • mtbikesman at 2020-08-31

    I’m good at Twixt and not good at everything else.

  • P_Guz at 2020-08-31

    I played hex a lot and to approach a good level in Twixt was not a really big problem. However I think that is not the case. There is something common in connection games but in someway you need to `recompute` yourself to be good in other connection game. And probably there is no rule that when you are good at one thing you are good in another.

    I can compare it to racket sports. Tennis, badminton, squash or even table tennis. All of them are about racket, but all of them have different strategy, different motions are involved, different muscles are working. Playing in one of them you have some basis like strong arm, but it is not always all what you need.

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