A new edition of Twixt is coming

Game development with Board Game Arena Studio
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Peyrol
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A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby Peyrol » 13 August 2017, 07:07

Here are two threads on Board Game Geek which you may be interested in.

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1828895/you-think-you-know-who-owns-rights-twixt-you-are-p

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1829175/proposed-cover-new-edition-twixt

Wayne Dolezal, the person behind this, tells me he has contacted a fulfillment services provider in Germany, so eventually Twixt will also be sold in Europe, I conclude.

I believe this changes the situation with regard to permission to code up Twixt for BGA. I would be glad to try to answer any question about this. May I write a Twixt module? Thanks for your time.

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Een
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby Een » 05 September 2017, 16:07

That BGG thread is pretty interesting.
It looks like Wayne Dolezal would be the person to ask to give his authorization then.
You can see this page about requesting authorizations: https://boardgamearena.com/#!forum/view ... 12&t=11828

roundabout2
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby roundabout2 » 05 September 2017, 16:45

Twixt was created by Alex Randolph. After his death in 2004 and that of his widow in 2008, the rights were owned by his nephew. Wayne Dolezal is attempting to usurp those rights. This is not only a legal issue but more important a moral issue.

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Peyrol
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby Peyrol » 28 October 2017, 23:50

I believe the poster roundabout2 is in fact Michael Katz, who is Alex Randolph's nephew. I am pleased to report that differences between Mr. Katz and Mr. Dolezal have been mostly resolved. They are now working together to bring Twixt to the market in 2018. I have invited both of them to participate in this thread.

So, I hope it is appropriate now to mention some possible issues with implementing Twixt on BGA. You can read the rules of Twixt on Wikipedia and on the Twixt Wiki. Twixt is already available for real time play on Game Center and turn-based on Little Golem (actually a variant called TwixtPP) and on Gamerz as well as other servers.

automatic linking

This is a convenience which makes the game interface much easier for players. Whenever a peg is placed on the board, all legal links to that peg are automatically added by the server. All the Twixt servers I know, with the single exception of the Vassal Twixt module, use autolinking. Everyone is used to it, and to my knowledge no user has ever complained about it.

But strictly speaking, this could be regarded as a rules modification. It is, after all, the player's responsibility to add links, not the computer's. I could offer an alternative game setting where both players would have to manually add each link to the board. This would not be the default setting. Anyone who joins such a game should probably be warned that manual linking is invoked, through a popup window that they would have to click OK on before the game starts. But I doubt that two people would ever both deliberately choose to play this way. I would particularly like to know from Mr. Katz if autolinking would be acceptable.

resolving drawn positions

One criterion for implementing a game on BGA is, the game must end. Sometimes in Twixt, one player has blocked the other from any possible winning path, but has not himself formed a continuous chain, and is blocked from doing so. You can see a contrived example here and an actual agreed draw here. As far as I know, all the other servers deal with this issue by allowing players to propose and to accept a draw. So far, this has worked well.

But what would happen if one player refuses to agree to a draw? Would the game continue for 572 moves? Then what would happen? I have to code the server to recognize a draw. If, at the start of a player's move, all possible winning paths for the opponent have been blocked, a button should appear "claim draw" which would allow that player to end the game as a draw without the opponent's permission. Of course the player should not click this button if there is a win available.

If, at the end of a player's move, both sides are blocked from any winning path, the server should end the game and declare it a draw. This has not been necessary so far on any server because players strong enough to achieve a draw have also been strong enough to agree to a draw before all possible winning paths for both sides have been blocked.

Consider these two examples on a small grid.

Image

The server should claim a draw here. The only winning path for the light color pieces would cross over itself, which is allowed in TwixtPP, but is not possible with a physical set and is not allowed under standard rules.

Image

Here a button should be available to the light color to claim a draw, but that player can win by simply removing the H4-J3 link and adding a link from H3 to i5. So, here's my question.

How should the server resolve this game if the light player refuses to claim a draw or accept a draw offer, and refuses to win by rearranging links?

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Een
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby Een » 30 October 2017, 10:17

How should the server resolve this game if the light player refuses to claim a draw or accept a draw offer, and refuses to win by rearranging links?


Well, that's a strange question, why would the light player refuse to win?
Anyway if this player doesn't play his/her time will run out, then the other player can kick him/her out of the game.
Then if he/she plays meaningless moves, he/she'll get out of pegs at some point and so back to running out of time (or a draw can be triggered by going out of pegs).

Or did I miss something?

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Peyrol
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby Peyrol » 30 October 2017, 19:24

Een wrote:
How should the server resolve this game if the light player refuses to claim a draw or accept a draw offer, and refuses to win by rearranging links?


Well, that's a strange question, why would the light player refuse to win?

Some possible reasons are:
    The player doesn't see the win. The winning arrangement of links could be more subtle than in the example.
    Both players are playing without understanding the rules.
    There are some people who like to do stuff like that
But whatever the reason, every game on BGA must come to an end. I agree this is a highly unusual situation, and there is a strong likelihood it would never happen.
Anyway if this player doesn't play his/her time will run out, then the other player can kick him/her out of the game.
Then if he/she plays meaningless moves, he/she'll get out of pegs at some point and so back to running out of time (or a draw can be triggered by going out of pegs).

Or did I miss something?

Well I'm not talking about a player refusing to move at all.

Running out of pieces is not mentioned in the standard rules, but yes I could simply place an upper limit on the moves made before the server declares a draw. I would prefer that the server resolve the game sooner than that. If one player is completely blocked, and the other player has a non-looping winning path available and all of the pegs in the path are on the board, maybe the server could warn the winning side that if they do not win in the next few moves (say 3 more moves by that player,) the server will declare a draw. But maybe your idea is better. Some blame can also be placed on the losing side for not resigning.

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Een
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby Een » 30 October 2017, 20:36

Running out of pieces is not mentioned in the standard rules, but yes I could simply place an upper limit on the moves made before the server declares a draw. I would prefer that the server resolve the game sooner than that. If one player is completely blocked, and the other player has a non-looping winning path available and all of the pegs in the path are on the board, maybe the server could warn the winning side that if they do not win in the next few moves (say 3 more moves by that player,) the server will declare a draw. But maybe your idea is better. Some blame can also be placed on the losing side for not resigning.


It seems to me that there is a natural upper limit which is when the board is full and no peg can be added anymore.

Since it is a highly unusual situation, spending a lot of time trying to set up a perfect solution could be counter productive. It happened for me in Chess (or Checkers, I don't remember exactly): I added some rules for draws and they were too lax and broke an otherwise valid game where there was still a winning path for a player.

So I'd advise simplicity: have a "propose draw" button like in Chess that will solve 99.9% of cases, and force a draw if no peg can be added anymore on the board for the remaining 0.1% :)

Anyway, this stays pure speculation until we get a greenlight from the proper copyright holder (good to know that Mr. Katz and Mr. Dolezal are working together). Still, we would be really glad to have a game from Alex Randolph on BGA!

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Peyrol
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby Peyrol » 31 October 2017, 06:38

Een wrote:It seems to me that there is a natural upper limit which is when the board is full and no peg can be added anymore.

The Twixt standard size grid is 24x24 minus the four corner holes. So the game would have to last 572 moves, 286 by each side. I see no reason to put both players through such a grind. Physical sets have at most 50 pegs and links for each color, 200 pieces total. Each move involves placement of one new peg onto the board. The longest game on the Little Golem server, out of all the tens of thousands of games played there, where at least one player was actually trying to win, was less than 50 moves by each side. I plan to place an upper limit of 55 moves by each side before the server declares a draw.

Of course players will be able to propose and accept a draw at any time in the game. And, there will be a "claim draw" button available if one player has completely blocked the other, and the server will declare a draw if both sides are blocked. I have explained all this in the post above, the one with the images. It isn't the drawn positions I am asking about. It's the positions won by one side in which the winning player chooses not to conclude the game.

Here is an excerpt from an email by Michael K. sent to me today:
Although we have yet to conclude an agreement, I hope it can be accomplished in the next week or two....

It may be a bit premature to offer an “official version” on TwixT on the web.

Michael


I am optimistic that after the deal is signed, Michael will be willing to allow implementation on BGA. It will take me at least two weeks to code it up anyway.

WayneDolezal
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby WayneDolezal » 27 November 2017, 04:29

I'm trying to click on the studio.boardgamearena.com/#!licensing
link, but am having some weird issues with logon. It doesn't recognize my email address. At any rate, any changes or coding that David Bush suggests, I approve of.

thanks,
Wayne Dolezal

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Een
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Re: A new edition of Twixt is coming

Postby Een » 27 November 2017, 11:07

WayneDolezal wrote:I'm trying to click on the studio.boardgamearena.com/#!licensing
link, but am having some weird issues with logon. It doesn't recognize my email address. At any rate, any changes or coding that David Bush suggests, I approve of.

thanks,
Wayne Dolezal


Hi Wayne,

The studio.boardgamearena.com site is for developers who have created a specific "studio" account.
You can find all information about licensing for publishers/right holders on this page on the main BGA site:
https://boardgamearena.com/#!gamepublishers

Cheers,
Een


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