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 Post subject: Kingo
Post #1 Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:33 am 
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Kingo is an attempt to make the game of Go even more intense and unforgiving. It differs from Go in the following aspects:

  • There are two types of pieces: pawns and kings. Both come in two colors: black and white.
  • On their turn, a player must pass or place a pawn or king of their color on an empty point. Pawns and kings behave like Go stones and can be part of the same group if they are the same color. Likewise, when comparing positions as per the ko and superko rules, pawns and kings of the same color are considered the same. Positional superko is used.
  • A player's score is the number of kings of their color on the board. Capturing an enemy king is an immediate win.
  • Komi is a whole number, and the button is used to break ties.

Optionally, it can be required that captures be made with kings, which enables doing away with the ko and superko rules. This results in an intriguing but quite different game, as false eyes become true unless they arise from captures.

Thoughts?

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Last edited by luigi on Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:07 am, edited 6 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #2 Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:50 pm 
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do captures work like in go? what if players both have same number of kings after two passes?

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #3 Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:04 am 
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phillip1882 wrote:
do captures work like in go? what if players both have same number of kings after two passes?

Yes, groups are captured the same way as in Go. Groups can include both kings and pawns of the same color.

Fractional komi can be used to avoid ties, but my personal preference is using the button.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #4 Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:27 am 
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luigi wrote:
Kingo is an attempt to make the game of Go even more intense and unforgiving.


The game of Go is already very intense and unforgiving without adding silly rules to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #5 Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:42 am 
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alphaville wrote:
The game of Go is already very intense and unforgiving without adding silly rules to it.

Of course. This is just an experiment, hence the word "attempt". Constructive feedback would be welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #6 Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Ignoring the "captures have to be made with kings" option for the moment, I see two extreme-case strategies resulting:

1. All moves are king moves by both players, in which case the game deteriorates into capture-go, or

2. All moves are non-king moves until the very end of the game, at which point players fill dame + their own territories up with kings.

The 2. option sounds more likely to be a sensible strategy and should be roughly equal to normal go with japanese scoring without counting prisoners (I think).

But it is an interesting idea. One of the main features of go is that stones that are extremely important in one moment can easily be thrown away at some later point. Speculatively giving up that flexibility to gain a king-point-lead may add strategic depth, but it could also make players afraid of fighting, so I'd say you should try to play some games at your local go club and report back on what kind of gameplay results from this rule change.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #7 Posted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:11 pm 
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leichtloeslich wrote:
Ignoring the "captures have to be made with kings" option for the moment, I see two extreme-case strategies resulting:

1. All moves are king moves by both players, in which case the game deteriorates into capture-go, or

2. All moves are non-king moves until the very end of the game, at which point players fill dame + their own territories up with kings.
I'm not sure #2 would happen. Being conservative about making kings might be right, but I think they'll get played before the endgame. Anytime you make a very strong group, including but not limited to an unconditionally alive one, is a good candidate. Or if you have a dragon you have to save, you'll probably play many kings while doing it (strong connections, responding to peeps, etc).

The option to play a king will also make certain previously slow moves more appealing.

I'm pessimistic about go variants in general, but I'd be open to playing a Malkovitch of kingo against someone near my level (I don't think it would play well with the normal handicap system).

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #8 Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:43 am 
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I suspect that playing a significant number of kings early may constrain you enough that an equally strong player who doesn't play them until near the end can harass your unsacrificable groups enough to easily win on territory by filling it with kings in the endgame and devolving into a sort of territory counting with group tax.

And if you don't play a significant number of kings early, then by definition, it's not significant :).

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #9 Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:37 pm 
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Let's be concrete: do you think players would average 5 kings in the opening 100 moves?

I agree that the vast majority of moves wouldn't be king moves.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #10 Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:36 am 
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leichtloeslich wrote:
Ignoring the "captures have to be made with kings" option for the moment, I see two extreme-case strategies resulting:

1. All moves are king moves by both players, in which case the game deteriorates into capture-go, or

2. All moves are non-king moves until the very end of the game, at which point players fill dame + their own territories up with kings.

The 2. option sounds more likely to be a sensible strategy and should be roughly equal to normal go with japanese scoring without counting prisoners (I think).

But it is an interesting idea. One of the main features of go is that stones that are extremely important in one moment can easily be thrown away at some later point. Speculatively giving up that flexibility to gain a king-point-lead may add strategic depth, but it could also make players afraid of fighting, so I'd say you should try to play some games at your local go club and report back on what kind of gameplay results from this rule change.


Both strategies are obviously bad.
For the 1. option: Even if you normally played only kings there are always sacrifice tesujis, throw-ins etc. that you would have to play with pawns.
For the 2. option: Once your group is completely alive, adding further (strongly connected) stones to it should always be kings. Same if your group is already so heavy that losing it would lose you the game anyway.

There's actually an interesting dynamic here since eventually you want to start adding kings to your groups (i.e. as soon as it's obvious you're not going to sacrifice the group). But as soon as you add your first king to it, you wish all the previously played stones in that group were also kings, so you want to "king" your groups as soon as possible. But the sooner you do, the more your opponent can exploit the fact that the group is ultra-heavy and all threatening moves become absolute sentes/ko-threats. Also you would often want to play exchanges against your opponents groups that would normally be considered bad just before he "kings" that group to make him add as many pawns as possible to the group before it gets kinged.
Then of course there's also the fact that not every stone in every group is strongly connected to the rest of the group...

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #11 Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:28 am 
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hyperpape wrote:
I'm pessimistic about go variants in general, but I'd be open to playing a Malkovitch of kingo against someone near my level (I don't think it would play well with the normal handicap system).


I've thought a little bit about how this variant would change my strategy, and I'd be willing to play a Malkovitch of kingo. There hasn't been any activity on that part of the site for a while, and it could use a game to spice things up anyway. :-) If you set up the game, I'll join in.


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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #12 Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:48 pm 
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Created: viewtopic.php?f=38&t=14552.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #13 Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:43 am 
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There are some interesting end-of-game details with these rules, if I've understood them correctly. For example, with black to play, what is the best endgame and the result? (No komi, kings are marked with circles).

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B What is the result?
$$ ------------------
$$ | . W X . O . W W . |
$$ | B W X . . X X W . |
$$ | B W X X X X W . W |
$$ | B W W W W W . W W |
$$ | B B B B B W . W X |
$$ | . . B . B W . W . |
$$ | O O . B B W . W B |
$$ | X . O B . B B B B |
$$ | . O O . B . . . . |
$$ ------------------[/go]


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Post #14 Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:35 pm 
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luigi wrote:
If a player captures an enemy king, they win. Otherwise, the game ends after two successive passes, at which point the player with more kings of their color on the board wins.
Hi luigi,

After Jeromie and hyperpape started their game,
I suddenly realized I'm unclear on the basic rule:
Do you mean any pawns and territories have no effect on the scoring to determine who wins ?

Example: W has ( 100 points, 5 kings ), B has ( 10 points, 6 kings ) -- B wins ?

It occurs to me the komi is a mystery ( pure pawns ? pure kings ? mix of the two ? )
If pawns have zero effect on the scoring, then it's meaningless to have pawns in the komi. :)

Thanks. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #15 Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:48 pm 
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Ed,

I think the earlier discussion pointed to the fact that scoring will end up being equivalent to territory scoring with group tax + kings you played before scoring started. (Theoretically, players can fill all of their own territory except two one point eyes with kings before passing.)

Komi, on the other hand, is not clear to me. In the rules as written I would assume no komi, but I think that will give black a slight advantage. It also encourages white to be aggressive about placing kings to make up the difference, though, and since aggressive play was a desired quality of the game that might work for this variant. It doesn't have to be balanced for professional level play. :)

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Post #16 Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:11 pm 
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Hi Jeromie,
Quote:
the player with more kings of their color on the board wins.
I see post 8, now.

But the bottom line is still determined by the number of kings.

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Post #17 Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:02 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Do you mean any pawns and territories have no effect on the scoring to determine who wins ?

Example: W has ( 100 points, 5 kings ), B has ( 10 points, 6 kings ) -- B wins ?

EdLee, yes, a player's score consists of their number of kings only. In your example, if both players have passed in succession, Black wins by one point, but White should have filled their territories with kings before passing, which would have won them the game by about 89 points.

EdLee wrote:
It occurs to me the komi is a mystery ( pure pawns ? pure kings ? mix of the two ? )
If pawns have zero effect on the scoring, then it's meaningless to have pawns in the komi. :)

Pawns have indeed zero effect on the scoring, so komi can be thought of as a number of kings.

I assume its value should be about the same as it is under territory scoring, i.e. about 6.5 points. While territory scoring counts territory plus prisoners, Kingo effectively counts territory (minus group tax) plus kings, and it's not clear to me that there should be fewer kings (before filling territories with them) in a game of Kingo than there are prisoners in a regular game.

(Of course, we could just say that scoring in Kingo is territory plus kings, which is probably more practical and gets rid of the implicit group tax. I kind of wanted to keep things simple at first, but I will change it if people think it's better this way. Also, as I said, my personal preference is to have integer komi and solve ties with the button.)

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Last edited by luigi on Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #18 Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:41 am 
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lightvector wrote:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B What is the result?
$$ ------------------
$$ | . W X . O a W W . |
$$ | B W X . . X X W . |
$$ | B W X X X X W . W |
$$ | B W W W W W . W W |
$$ | B B B B B W . W X |
$$ | . . B . B W . W . |
$$ | O O . B B W . W B |
$$ | X . O B . B B B B |
$$ | . O O . B . . . . |
$$ ------------------[/go]

Interesting. It seems :b1: at a deserves serious consideration.

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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #19 Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:33 am 
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luigi wrote:
lightvector wrote:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B What is the result?
$$ ------------------
$$ | b W X . O a W W . |
$$ | B W X . . X X W . |
$$ | B W X X X X W . W |
$$ | B W W W W W . W W |
$$ | B B B B B W . W X |
$$ | . . B . B W . W c |
$$ | O O d B B W e W B |
$$ | X . O B . B B B B |
$$ | . O O . B . . . . |
$$ ------------------[/go]

Interesting. It seems :b1: at a deserves serious consideration.

Changed the quote to add b,c,d,e
To me it seems there are 5 endgame moves left:
b is a usual dame that is always worth a point(2 points gote) in area/stone scoring
c is worth 3 points gote as opposed to 4 pt gote with usual area scoring, because the black pawn isnt worth anything if it stays on the board(capturing pawns is worth 1pt less than we are used to in area scoring)
a and d are also worth point(a 2points gote, d 1 pt gote), cause by making(real) eyes with the dead group you force more nakade during taking out, that have to be pawns.
e is a usual andgame move worth 2 point sente or 4 point gote, depending on whether white answers(here he maybe should, because this is the biggest move, so its gonna be 2pt sente).
Is my analysis correct?

My suggestion for best endgame would thus be(4 and 5 are actually miai, I believe):
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Best play?
$$ ------------------
$$ | 5 W X . O 4 W W . |
$$ | B W X . . X X W . |
$$ | B W X X X X W . W |
$$ | B W W W W W . W W |
$$ | B B B B B W . W X |
$$ | . . B . B W 2 W 3 |
$$ | O O 6 B B W 1 W B |
$$ | X . O B . B B B B |
$$ | . O O . B . . . . |
$$ ------------------[/go]

where 1 to 5 are kings counting it 36:37 for white(area score would be 41:40 for black, but black has 3 pawns in his area(one on the right and 2 after taking out the lower left and white has just 1. Additionally subtract 2 points each for group tax)). 2 at 3 also seems to lead to a 1 point win for white


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 Post subject: Re: Kingo
Post #20 Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:20 pm 
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Yeah, I think so. I found it intriguing both that adding "death in gote" moves could be worth points, and that despite the area-scoring-like nature of the game, you could have moves of miai value 0.5.

I guess it would be a better problem you replaced one of the white kings at the bottom right with a black king, so that black's good play can win the game. :)


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