Varying openings Amazons forum

9 replies. Last post: 2008-09-04

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Varying openings
  • Tim Shih at 2008-08-18

    Hi, are there any reasons why those 8 queens have to start with pre-determined positions? What if, instead, the rule lets the players place them wherever the players want to, will the game become more interesting?

    If so, the first player may have a greater advantage (I think, but I do not know). Hence, perhaps the swap rule should be imposed.

    The best position on the board may be at (4,4) point, or (3,3) point at any corner, just my 2 cents. :)

    After all, Dvonn games do not start with the same position all the time. Why can’t we do the same for Amazon?

    And in Go games, in ancient times, it used to be that 4 stones were placed at 4 corners before starting, which inevitably introduced monotony. So, eventually, the rule was changed.

  • FatPhil at 2008-08-19

    I’m all for playing variations, a presumption that traditional rules are perfect is folly.

    I know that other starting configurations around the border have been proposed, so perhaps only permitting placement within the border squares wouldn’t have quite as much an impact as permitting completely arbitrary placement, for example if the swing in P1’s favour was too great. However, I’m a big fan of the swap rule for rebalancing any game, and it would work here too. Or 1,2,2,2,1 placement? Or P1 in the placement phase is P2 in the movement phase?

    I know I now only play one opening move in Amazons, for reference. I have no idea what I’d do if I had complete freedom of placement. Maybe I’d go for (3,4) just to be contrary!

  • Tim Shih at 2008-08-19

    (3,4) may be too powerful for the first move. If I am the 2nd-move player, I will swap it in no time. :)

    A move at the center, or (3,2), may be a fair first move.

    On the other hand, if the board expands to 12x12, for example, perhaps the move at the center is too powerful.

    If I were Richard, I would modify Amazon into: 12x12 board, 5 queens for each player, with arbitrary starting placement positions.

    Then I think that such an Amazon game can be as intriguing as Hex19, or even more.

  • kitaktus at 2008-08-19

    Why do you think that player 1 has an advantage if the stones can be placed arbitrarily?
    I would assume that player 2 has an advantage. He know where the white stones are and can react.
    The advantage for player 1 lies in having the first move. (At least I belive that this is an advantage.) Therefor FatPhil’s suggestion “Or P1 in the placement phase is P2 in the movement phase?” sounds quite strange to me.

  • Tim Shih at 2008-08-20

    Hi, Kitaktus, actually, my belief is that the first-move player has an advantage, regardless of queens being placed in pre-determined positions or being placed arbitrarily. It seems, however, that, according to somebody, the statistics of the game record show no indication of such an advantage.

    For myself, I would much prefer to be the first-move player when I face strong opponents.

  • kitaktus at 2008-09-03

    "... statistics of the game record show no indication of such an advantage."

    There are big differences in playing strength at LG. In most cases the better player wins with white and with black.

    Is there anybody willingly to make a statistic for the games of “good” players?

    I prefer to be the first-move player too.

  • wccanard at 2008-09-03

    I agree with kikaktus. In fact, I did this with dots and boxes (I looked at statistics but only for games where both players were basically in the top 10 of the ratings list). The statistics told a different story to the overall statistics. The problem is that with two weak players playing dots and boxes, the winner will be random; with a weak vs a strong, the strong player will always win, and finally that about 95 percent or more of games on the server fall into one of these categories. I wrote a routine in python which analysed the “txt” outputs from the league 1 championships, took the games between two strong players and recorded various details about the game (including who won). I also did an analogous programming exercise on another site with strong dots and boxes players. I think that it’s not unreasonable to start inferring results about e.g. openings and P1 advantages from this data. But I think that if you don’t do the exercise and just look at all the data, including games between novices, there is far too much noise to draw any meaningful conclusions.

  • Thomas ★ at 2008-09-04


    The first player places one white and one black amazon on arbitrary squares.
    Then the second player places the remaining amazons.
    Then the first player cooses sides.

  • Tim Shih at 2008-09-04

    It is gratifying to know that the statistics may be inaccurate due to the existence of inexperienced players.

    Also, Thomas, your suggestion is interesting, but may be too complicated. :)

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