Thursday, March 03, 2005

Amazons

I linked to the rules of this game a while back. Last night I had the chance to play it (for only the second time). I was lacking a ten by ten board, so as I had in a previous game, I used a chess board, with one player starting with his amazons on a3, c1, f1, and h3; the other player's amazons starting on a6, c8, f8, h6. Not actually having eight queens, we "promoted" some pawns, and we used poker chips instead of go stones for the arrows. I think this game would be a lot more popular if it used the more widely available 8x8 board.

So why the 10x10 board? For the same reason go is played on such a large board: I've played on a 10x10 board (with a computer program (download - requires Windows) that slaughtered me), and the bigger game board allows for a lot more strategic depth. I think 8x8 boards are better for introducing the game to players, and they still are strategically nontrivial. Similarly, smaller go boards are good for introducing that game.

As one who regularly games with multiple opponents, I'm always looking for ways to modify games to make them work for more than two players. For Amazons, this is particularly easy, as the rules are particularly simple. All that has to be modified is the number of amazons per player and the initial amazon positions. Since there isn't a fixed equitable initial placement for, say, three players, the solution is to have the players take turns placing one amazon on the board until all amazons have been placed and then have play begin as usual.

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