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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

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hpox
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Scroll down to Results if you don't want to read mindless rambling.

Over the course of about 2 years, after about 4 rewrites of the rules in french and english sometimes both lang in the same document, I was at some points fed up with this damned game.

It's not even really original or innovative. I didn't know about Carcassonne when I thought it up in 2002 and of course was a bit sad when I checked it out. Alas, I continued trying to make it real because I believed it had some good ideas and was actually not that similar apart from the tile laying aspect.

The Good

The production part was a real blast of fun stuff. I mean, finding a way to produce the game. I made some errors like using custom-made stencils and paint in a spray can. Fortunately, that only set me back a few 20$. I finally went with a combination of ideas proposed in theses forums. Printing the images on transparent sheets of sticker, cutting them up and individually sticking them on 1 inch blocks bought in bulk at Stockade Wood & Craft Supply.

I can proudly say that I now can produce a game of micropul for as little as 8$ CAN. 3 official games have been made so far. I sent #2 to Don Bone (of Sunda to Sahul's fame) a while ago. #1 is now in Mike's hands (Darkehorse) and I recently made #3, it's just right here beside me. This is all great, but there's no rules yet!

During that year and a half, a lot of very tiny modifications were made to the game over long periods of time where it went untouched. I feel it was for the best. The physical components never changed, just the design / gameplay.

Problems

As time went on, my obsession with rules grew stronger and stronger. Everything was to be clear, no ambiguity, no loop holes. Everything must be coherent. Needless to say, they never got finished. Not one version of the rules ever got finished. I was mad. Completely, utterly gone mad. I still am! Still not sure if I loathe writing rules or enjoy it...

Hope

I took advice from Matthew (FastLearner) last week and just wrote. the. damn. thing. to get feedbacks on it. I guess since it was one of my true first self-designed, self-produced, (hopefully) self-published game it was more personal and didn't think of showing it until it was truely "ready". Yeah like that would happen! :)

Results

2 weeks later, here is the result on 3 pages. I'm pretty happy about it. It's not perfect and I'm looking for feedbacks on the rules. Especially the grammar, the cohesiveness, flow, text formating, everything. Most important is if you understood the game. What could be changed to make it easier? Found any contradiction or stuff that are not clear, out of place?

*** UPDATED ***

http://neutralbox.com/micropul/
http://neutralbox.com/micropul/rules/micropul-Rules-1.2.1.pdf (new ruleset)

I'd love opinions, critics and suggestions on the gameplay and mechanics too! I'm not sure what I want to do with this game yet apart from self-publishing it, so if you have any suggestions, I'll take them.

sedjtroll
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

A very interesting abstract tile laying game. I see that in a minor, minor way it's a little similar to Carcasone, but I think it has a lot ofdifferences such that I don't think that's a problem. You don't score anywhere near the same way, you have a hand of tiles, it's really very different.

There are a lot of grammatical errors and other editing that would help- maybe if I have time tomorrow I will print out the pdf, make some editorial corrections, scan it and e-mail it to you...

- Seth

Torrent
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

I agree with Seth, there are some grammatical issues that need work. The most glaring one is right above the two rules box. The word you are probably looking for is 'primary' not 'primordial'. Despite any of this I certainly do understand the game, but I have some questions/critiques. Like always around here, take them ot leave them as you will.

1) I think there should be a special start tile, either blank or some sort of checkerboard pattern of Micropul's. It seems weird to force one player to play out one of his tiles without any possibility of gain.

2) What is the idea behind the Open Groups not scoring points. It seems that if I'm working on a big group and it just can't seem to close it, that entire marker is wasted. Maybe something like half points for open groups. I don't know your tile mix, so I don't really know how hard it is to close things.

3) Question.. Does the Big Micropul count as 4 points if in a marked group?
4) Can a fission be activated twice, on two seperate turns? IF I have a fission on an outer corner, I can place two blocks next to it, one on each side of the corner. These are two seperate turns, do they activate it twice seperately, or does the first activation 'use up' the fission?

5) Last sort of thing I just notices? How big are these tiles? You mention 1 inch tiles in your post. That seems awfully small if you have to put stones on them.

Overall I like it. I certainly think it is different enough from Carcassonne to be viable. Especially since there are several other games that are Carc.-like and published.
I like the placement rules. It makes you think more visually and creatively. To find a spot that fits the micropul /anti-micropul rule and hits fissions enough to keep you going.

And

jwarrend
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

hpox,

Congrats, it sounds great! I am not an abstract player, and so understanding the game was a little bit confusing, but I think it's more because I'm just used to the "crutch" of having the theme "guide" the learning process. Even so, I think I was able to understand the gameplay just fine. I can't really say whether the game would "work" or not -- I think that is very much in the details of the tiles. I am concerned that there could, based on the rules, be a situation where you can't place a tile, but I guess since you always have a few in front of you, it shouldn't be a problem.

It's weird -- it does seem a little like Carcassonne -- try to build big "micropuls" (cities) and claim them (followers). However, the "fisions" are the little twist that makes your game completely different, and I wouldn't worry much about the similiarities for that very reason. I do like the "fisions must be next to micropuls to 'activate'".

I'm a little concerned about the 2 step process of drawing tiles, but I suspect it works just fine in practice.

Again, not being an abstract player, the terms "micropul" and "fision" were not very useful to me. Adding even a flimsy theme and calling fisions "gold mines" and micropuls "settlements" would help immensely -- gold mines give you resources (tiles), settlements are what you're trying to build. I'm not advocating you make this change (since you've put a ton of work into the prototype anyway), just saying that "throwaway terms" like "micropul" and "fision" didn't pull me into the game, but thematically-loaded terms might have.

Finally, do the tiles stand up ok? They seem kind of thin, I wonder if they fall down a lot (like if someone hits the table). Making them thicker might reduce this.

This sounds like a very fun game. After you've playtested it a bit, I would send a copy to Games Magazine, I wouldn't be surprised at all if this made their "Games 100" in the abstract category. But, get ready -- doing that will generate a lot of sales for you! Talk to Greg Lam (slam) who's had a couple of abstracts make that list.

Congrats!

-Jeff

Torrent
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Quote:
Again, not being an abstract player, the terms "micropul" and "fision" were not very useful to me. Adding even a flimsy theme and calling fisions "gold mines" and micropuls "settlements" would help immensely -- gold mines give you resources (tiles), settlements are what you're trying to build. I'm not advocating you make this change (since you've put a ton of work into the prototype anyway), just saying that "throwaway terms" like "micropul" and "fision" didn't pull me into the game, but thematically-loaded terms might have.
I want to disagree with Jeff. I think the Micropul and Fissions ARE Thematic terms. There is a little story/intro paragraph at the top. Micropul's are energy bits that reproduce by Fission (splitting). The little dots are whatever makes them split. So by splitting you get more tiles that you can use to split again. So I think there is the 'flimsy theme' you talked about. It certainly could be more clear, but I see it there. Especially with the Micropul versus Anti-Micropul placement rule (no white next to black).
Quote:
Finally, do the tiles stand up ok? They seem kind of thin, I wonder if they fall down a lot (like if someone hits the table). Making them thicker might reduce this.
I had thought of this as well. I wonder if a little 'tray' or 'stand' would be in order. Just a bit of wood maybe an inch wide and 6+spacing tiles long with a cut in it the width of a tile. Or two small bits of wood held apart the same width.

Andy

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Thanks Seth, that would be really appreciated.

Torrent, about the starting tile this is one I thought about really long because I think there is a very very very slight possibility that at game start nobody could play. If a player only drew blocks with black micropuls and the starting block is only white micropuls. Having a wildcard starting block would eliminate this problem but the tightness of the playing area will be lost, I tried it.

I think the solution I currently have (which I thought of very recently) solve almost all problems (see below) as well as balance the advantage of starting, having 1 more turn.

It can still happen that player 2 have nothing to play and lose immediately. I think this is a problem but the possibility it happens is very small. Also, since it happens at game start it might not be a real problem. Just a stroke of luck, or bad luck for the second player :)

It's pretty hard to close groups. You're better trying to close only small groups. The point is to simplify final counting and to give a way for interaction / competition in a 2 players game. In a solitaire "puzzle" trying to make big groups and balancing your block draw is a great challenge to get the most points. The big micropul is worth 5 points as written in the Game End section, a small simple bonus for flavor.

Fissions are not used up. I should really clarify that, thanks. For one, it would be way to complicated keeping track of all fissions used up.

Check the images, the stones are pretty small too.

Thanks for the comment. I think you hit the spot! It's a very visual game and you need to find the patterns, rotate the blocks in your head. It's not easy to wrap your head around how it works at first but from playtests once it's understood there's no real problem with kids (13+) and adults (20+ to 40+)

Torrent
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Quote:
It can still happen that player 2 have nothing to play and lose immediately. I think this is a problem but the possibility it happens is very small. Also, since it happens at game start it might not be a real problem. Just a stroke of luck, or bad luck for the second player
That was the one thing I meant to mention, but forgot earlier. In the one player game I can certainly see where that is a valid rule. I wonder however if it is really strict in the 2 player game. How often does this case of loseing because you can't play come up? What are the downfalls of just having a lost turn, or forcing you to discard (out of the game) a hand tile and losing a turn, so you can draw one from your stack next turn.

I guess I would feel really cheated if I have a big stack of supply tiles and two good closed blocks against someone who is obviously losing badly and just lose outright because I couldn't play. I dunno, maybe it really doesn't come up often. I've play a lot of Carc. Hunters and Gathers and never had a game where a tile wasn't valid.

Quote:
Having a wildcard starting block would eliminate this problem but the tightness of the playing area will be lost, I tried it.
Ok, cool.

So with hard to close groups, what proporation of points come from where? You've got three sources right? Supply blocks, Hand blocks, and Marked Group. I can really see the Supply Blocks being the biggest source, as Hand blocks give a max of 6.

I really does look good. I agree with above, submit it to Games Mag when you get happy with it.

Andy

IngredientX
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Congratulations on reaching this stage, hpox! Much further than I've gotten, that's for sure... :)

jwarrend wrote:
Again, not being an abstract player, the terms "micropul" and "fision" were not very useful to me. Adding even a flimsy theme and calling fisions "gold mines" and micropuls "settlements" would help immensely -- gold mines give you resources (tiles), settlements are what you're trying to build. I'm not advocating you make this change (since you've put a ton of work into the prototype anyway), just saying that "throwaway terms" like "micropul" and "fision" didn't pull me into the game, but thematically-loaded terms might have.

I have to provide a counter-argument... I didn't mind the the theme, especially because it's about as anti-Carcassonne as one can get. I know the gold mine/settlement example Jeff provided was a quick, off-the-cuff suggestion; but if you do decide to re-theme, I'd suggest picking something that avoided history and civilization altogether.

Your game has a couple of similarities to Carcassonne, which right now, isn't a problem. But I worry that if the game takes on a historical theme, its similarities to Carcassonne will make it look more like a clone than the original game it actually is.

Personally, I don't think the game needs a re-theming; I think I'd be able to handle it just fine. Still, at the beginning of the rulebook, you may want to define exactly what a micropul is; I know it's a scientific gizmo, but I don't know exactly what. It would ceretainly help the theming.

Just my quick two cents...

jwarrend
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Well, let me clarify a bit. If I saw this game on the shelf, and I didn't know hpox, I'd say "micropul? fission? What is this nonsense?" and probably wouldn't look all that hard at the game. Would I be foolish for doing so? Yeah, probably, because I'd miss out on a great game. But, my gaming time (and budget) is limited enough that I only want to play games that sound really enjoyable to me. A snazzy mechanic is a must, but I also want a game whose decisions are guided thematically. A game with zero theme is just not something I want to invest the time in. (and, no offense hpox, but this game really does not have a theme).

My point was simply to say that from the rules-learning perspective, having a theme greatly facilitates this process. After all, most German games, if reduced to their essence, are abstracts at heart, yet because the decisions are in general guided by the theme, it isn't just "I'm bidding for token A which gives me a one unit benefit when I pay to play card X", it's "I'm bidding to attract a Jester to my court, who will enable my artist to work better and thus enhance the quality of his work."

I'm not suggesting you change anything. Just saying why I initially found your rulebook a bit confusing -- because I have no sense for what a "micropul" is or does (and I don't think the backstory helps, at least not with respect to learning the mechanic), but a "goldmine", I do know what that is, and what it does.

But again, the game sounds interesting and legitimate. Good luck with it!

-Jeff

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

First of all, thanks for your interrogations. You made me discover a big bug, a flaw in the rules, something that wasn't mention and would have stalled a computer if it was a video game. :)

Torrent wrote:
I wonder however if it is really strict in the 2 player game. How often does this case of loseing because you can't play come up?

It's either tiny or impossible, I should do a simulation. Actually wrote a small python script that can load all the blocks infos and manipulate them.

Quote:
What are the downfalls of just having a lost turn, or forcing you to discard (out of the game) a hand tile and losing a turn, so you can draw one from your stack next turn.

Oops! I didn't explain something correctly. The confusion here is I guess with the sentence : "If no action is possible, that player must withdraw from the game." I don't mean he withdraw a tile, I meant the player withdraw/lose the game.

The player will have "no action possible" only if his hand is empty, his supply is empty and all his 3 stones are in play. Meaning he have no resources at all in front of him, he thus lose. This situation will never come up by luck. A player will have to play very badly, not activating any fissions. In that sense, it make sense that he lose.

I should really explain it like that instead of the current sentence which you need to have played the game to understand. Thanks again!

Quote:

I guess I would feel really cheated if I have a big stack of supply tiles and two good closed blocks against someone who is obviously losing badly and just lose outright because I couldn't play. I dunno, maybe it really doesn't come up often.

If you have a big stack of supply tiles and can't play any of your blocks in hand, take one from your supply. Of course you "lose" 1 point (supply=2, hand=1) but that's the point. If you mean having a hand of 6 tiles and cannot play then I'm pretty sure that once there is at least 2 blocks in play it is impossible with all permutations but I might be optimistic and in denial about that.

Quote:

Quote:
Having a wildcard starting block would eliminate this problem but the tightness of the playing area will be lost, I tried it.
Ok, cool.

Actually, if the "can't play" problems mentionned happen too often. I might consider it again. So thanks for that suggestion too.

Quote:

So with hard to close groups, what proporation of points come from where? You've got three sources right? Supply blocks, Hand blocks, and Marked Group. I can really see the Supply Blocks being the biggest source, as Hand blocks give a max of 6.

Yep, supply stacks is the biggest source and easiest. At some various points I decided that hand blocks would be worth nothing, emphasising the "optimize your moves" portion of the game but found that having more choices (taking tiles from the supply) at the cost of 2 points is a bit too much and players would rather play with a limited hand.

The groups are a very unstable/risky? source of points, theorically each block you play to a group is worth between 0 and 5 points but it often needs sacrifice to close them, ie: playing a "corner" tile and not drawing from the community stacks. If ignoring groups altogether is the best strategy, something will have to change to make them a bit more valuable but not too much. Because having the supply blocks worth 1 points, hand worth nothing and groups worth the same as now would shift the focus to groups too much and players won't be drawing as much resulting in a longer game! Phew, balance is a very fine line.

Big hearty thanks!

Torrent
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

You are right, I completely mis-understood. I had read that as if you had no valid move you lose. I had forgotten about the other actions. However you still get a slight issue if a player has 6 hand tiles (thus a full hand) and can't play. He can't draw a new tile, so would have to place a marker. Now that I understand, I do agree it will be a rare occurance. As you are hopefully gaining tiles faster than you can spend them, your hand shouldn't max very often anyway.

Thanks for the clarification. It might be good to rethink that sentence in the rules though.

Andy

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

jwarrend wrote:

I'm a little concerned about the 2 step process of drawing tiles, but I suspect it works just fine in practice.

You're right about being concerned because it's the part that gave me the most headache to explain efficiently. See the Rules section at the beginning? Where does it really belong? In the tile-laying action section that is! That would have been way too hard to digest in one shot. In reality, I like to think that it does works nicely :) because you think and do the two steps simultaneously. That might be a problem for some though.

Quote:
Finally, do the tiles stand up ok? They seem kind of thin, I wonder if they fall down a lot (like if someone hits the table). Making them thicker might reduce this.

In the pictures you see them standing up just fine. Rocking the table will make them fall as they are indeed thin, 3/16". If I can find thicker blocks at the same price I'm all for it!

Quote:

This sounds like a very fun game. After you've playtested it a bit, I would send a copy to Games Magazine, I wouldn't be surprised at all if this made their "Games 100" in the abstract category.

Thanks, that's something I hadn't even thought about.

About the theme or lack of theme. I agree that the game is abstract, it looks like a bunch of circles, dots and + signs. I like to call it an invented abstract theme. Micropul doesn't exist and there isn't, to my knowledge, a real life equivalent so in that sense it is abstract.

If you were to stumble over it in a store, blocks of circles and dots would not be shown on the cover. It would have a giant immaculate lightgray sphere cut (like the earth is cut to show the center in thoses atlas books) at several spots to show it's beautiful interior. Two cool sunglasses-wearing scientists in white flowing labcoats bombarding (like a wizard would) the sphere with micropuls, fissions and micropuls flying everywhere, not drawn like the game components but stylized version. All of this drawn in an illustration minimalistic style like you would find on airplane emergency intructions and like the illustrations in the rules. A simple title, black on white "micropul" would be shown. Now, on the back you have the relevant informations with pictures of the real game.

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

I missing some bits!

Torrent wrote:
I think the Micropul and Fissions ARE Thematic terms. There is a little story/intro paragraph at the top. Micropul's are energy bits that reproduce by Fission (splitting). The little dots are whatever makes them split. So by splitting you get more tiles that you can use to split again. So I think there is the 'flimsy theme' you talked about. It certainly could be more clear, but I see it there. Especially with the Micropul versus Anti-Micropul placement rule (no white next to black).

It's exactly how I wanted people to imagine the game!

Quote:
I had thought of this as well. I wonder if a little 'tray' or 'stand' would be in order. Just a bit of wood maybe an inch wide and 6+spacing tiles long with a cut in it the width of a tile. Or two small bits of wood held apart the same width.

Yeah, a scrabble tray would do just fine. Money, money! :(

Thanks IngredientX for the comments, I can see how a familiar theme would help ease the understanding and acceptation/marketability but as you said staying as far as Carc as possible might be the best move. Not to hide the similarity but to offer a different enough game. As a matter of fact, the idea of playing stones on non-closed groups came from Carc. Before that it was, put a stone when you finish a group. This change is necessary to make the game more competitive and fun.

Anonymous
Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

hpox wrote:
Yeah, a scrabble tray would do just fine. Money, money! :(

Nah, I think this is superfluous... I've played Dominoes more than I care to count, and no one gave me a tray to hold my hand of 7 in. It's easy to lay Dominoes face down and then, using both hands, pick up and hand of tiles... I don't see it being any different in this game.

If it costs $8 to produce right now youd be selling it for... $15 - $16? I'd buy that... but add in 2 little trays to hold my tiles for me and suddenly I'm paying $20? No thanks.

Tyler

jwarrend
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Random_Person wrote:

If it costs $8 to produce right now youd be selling it for... $15 - $16? I'd buy that... but add in 2 little trays to hold my tiles for me and suddenly I'm paying $20? No thanks.

And anyway, with the extra $4 or $5, you could buy a used copy of Scrabble, and "borrow" the trays from that from time to time!

-J

benedict
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Torrent wrote:

1) I think there should be a special start tile, either blank or some sort of checkerboard pattern of Micropul's. It seems weird to force one player to play out one of his tiles without any possibility of gain.

If this is required (and I am not sure that it is) an easy solution is for the first player to draw 7 tiles then choose one to place as the start tile.

Phillip

sedjtroll
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

I too think the game-start mechanic is bad... it says one player starts by placing one of their tiles and then deciding if they want to go first or second... so who decides which player does this?

I think the idea of a starting tile is best, and as Torrent initially suggested it could have 2 white Micropuls and 2 Black micropuls on it (alternating from one corner of the tile to the next).

Another way to do it, and to make the starting tile easier to find in the bag, is to make the start tile bigger... like 3x3 instead of 2x2. 3x3 might cause a problem though as the tiles won't all necessarily line up (though that might be good as well). The start tile could be 4x4, but that might be too big.

Note: By 3x3 (and 4x4) I mean big enough for 3 (or 4) Micropuls on each side... the normal ones I'd consider 2x2 because there are 2 symbols on each side.

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

benedict wrote:
Torrent wrote:

1) I think there should be a special start tile, either blank or some sort of checkerboard pattern of Micropul's. It seems weird to force one player to play out one of his tiles without any possibility of gain.

If this is required (and I am not sure that it is) an easy solution is for the first player to draw 7 tiles then choose one to place as the start tile.

The player who use up his block as the starting tile have the advantage of control (he can put a tile that will match perfectly with a second he has in hand) and can play first if he has such a "combo".

I'm starting to feel, from your comments and with an objective "hat", that it's indeed too convulted and fiddly for such a tiny one-shot decision taken only once per game.

I won't be going back to my previous mechanic of having a random block from the community stacks be the starting tile. But, a checkerboard block for a starting tile sounds better and better each time it's getting recommendations!

Seth, that 4x4 starting block idea is pretty cool. It would feel more like the scientists are "infusing/sending/bombarding" micropuls to a "core" from where new blocks are created. Both sides of the tile could be used for two different patterns of start. 2 inch square blocks are .15$, .08$ for 1 inch. Not too bad... 48X.08 + .15 = 3.99

3x3 would not work because of the "line up" you mentionned. It will not work because of how I designed the positions of the elements on the blocks. They are farther away from the center than the corners, what I mean is that the elements are slightly more in the corners and not equidistance. I'm having a hard time explaining it but you'll see when you see the blocks. So it's entirely my fault but I knew what I was doing at the time and chose that because it was more beautiful. I agree that a game (another game) with blocks not lining up could be very rich & interesting.

Thanks again for the comments. I uploaded a printable pdf of the game for anyone interested. You'll have to provide 6 "stones" or markers.

http://www.neutralbox.com/micropul/files/micropul-Game-1.0.pdf

sedjtroll
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Aer the 48 tiles intended to be unique? I only ask because it looks as if maybe they are, but there are at least 3 that are duplicates, just rotated 180 degrees.

- Seth

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

There's 24 "original" blocks and the 24 others are mirrored version of the original, replacing the white micropuls with black and vice-versa. Yes, there's 4 duplicates to be exact.

It's not a problem. I wanted to design other games with the "micropul system" at some point. You could separate the blocks by their colors, A white player and a black player. 20 blocks each with 8 neutral blocks.

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

The rules were downloaded at least 50 times and the game 15. I was wondering if anyone tried it solitaire or 2players and how it went? Bad or good, I won't be mad if you tell me it sucks.

If you're not registered or don't want to post in this thread, you can email me at ( jfl AT neutralbox.com ) Thanks

sedjtroll
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I ahven't tried it yet, but I made tiles by printing the sheet onto stickyback paper and sticking it to chipboard backing from a pad of paper. I cut them out with a paper cutter. They aren't thick, but I think they'll work. I probably have an old Scrabble set around with racks that I can use.

I doubt anyone I know will want to play it with me though :(

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Yeah, but you can play Solitaire! It's a totally different dynamic though, more like a puzzle...

In solitaire, you don't play as two players. Just as one. Everything is the same, you have an infinite amount of actions (since it's always your turn) until the community stacks are empty. Then count your points, I'll play a game too and we can compare scores 8)

Note: + Fissions won't give you anything special since the reward was Play another turn. This, I feel is a weak point of the solitaire game but initially the idea was that the + Fission was "special" and players determine what reward it gives you at the beginning of the game. Exemple: Play again, +1 Victory points, Look at 3 blocks in your supply and take one if you want, move one stone to another group, etc...

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

I'll be going with your suggestions guys. There will be a starting block instead of the current convulted way to start the game.

Chance of stalling will be an absolute zero! I found 12 tiles that are able to attach to any other tiles.

http://www.neutralbox.com/micropul/data-blocks.html

hpox
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Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Some people (by emails and PMs) were interested in seeing a typical outcome of a game. Played a couple of solo games and recorded the results. I used different strategies to see how they would fare.

Longest game (30 mins), thinking 2 or 3 moves ahead and trying to form a really big group:

78 Points; 18 blocks in the supply for 36 points. 3 closed groups of 8, 7 and 27 points.

Very quick game (15 mins) where I didn't bother about groups very much. I was pretty lucky and 3 nice groups formed by themselves with a little help. Played more tactically with trying to deplete the community stacks as fast as possible.

72 points; 23 blocks in the supply for 46 points. 3 closed groups of 3, 8 and 15 points.

Normal game (20-25 mins) that I tried to balance between drawing and making groups. I was careless in some spots and made a few strategic errors. I kept some poor blocks for scoring in my hand and finished with 3 blocks in hand instead of the usual use all of them and finish just tight.

68 points; 18 blocks in supply for 36 points, 3 blocks in hand for 3 points. Groups of 5, 11 and 16.

Tried again balancing, this one took about 20 mins.

80 points (wow!). 16 blocks in supply for 32 points. Groups of 14, 24 and 10.

phpbbadmin
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Rules: Latest revision

Hpox,

I downloaded the rules just now, are they the latest revision? I'm going to play this week with my friend from church and I want to make sure I have the latest and greatest ruleset.

Thanks,
-Darke

sedjtroll
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Finally tried it...

I played a few games of solitaire Micrupul tonight. Here are the resuts:

Game 1, 20-25 minutes:
22 points from tiles, 27, 14, and 6 from groups.
Total score: 69
Not too great, but I didn't really know what to expect as this was my first runthrough. Also, I was watching a movie while playing, so some of these times may be longer then they should be.

Game 2, 30ish minutes:
28 points from tiles, 23, and 30 from groups.
Total score: 81
Pretty good I think. I had 2 large groups and what apears to be a decent number of tiles left. I'm really impressed with the apparent balance between wanting to keep tiles face down, and wanting to draw them to close groups and activate fissions.

By the way, I'm not sure Fission is a noun, you might need a different name for it. Then again, Micropul isn't real either ;) It's just that Fission is a real word and it sounds odd... to me at least.

Game 3, about 45 minutse, but the movie was getting climactic, so theis game didn't get much attention at all.
22 points from tiles, 9(? I corssed it out *shrug* I dunno if it counted or not)), 15, and 16 from groups.
Total score: 53 or 62.
Note- I thought I had another 18 point group closed, but it turned out to not be closed. My bad. That would have been a respectable 71 points, but oh well.

Game 4, didn't keep track of time:
18 points from tiles, 30 and 36 points from groups.
Total score: 84
Again, two large groups. I actually forgot to close one on the last turn, so I went back and had to draw 2 extra tiles to close it before activating the last fission. I figured minus 4 to my score was a good trade off for +36 :)

I like the game. I bet the 2 player version is VERY different than solitaire. It seems to work well as solitaire anyway. I have an idea for you to think about as well- in Solitaire the + fission could be used to connect groups (either counting as a Micropul in a group, or not counting but connecting 2 Micropuls). Does that make sense?

- Seth

daem0n_faust
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

Great game. I don't like my downloaded version however. When do you think you'll get this out on market? Of course, after all the hussle and bussle in the forums is done, yeah? I like to comment that playing in solitaire is a little difficult compared to playing dual. Okay maybe not. I have a question: if ever one is stupid enough to trigger a + and can't play another action, is that a force to withdraw? (say I triggered a +, but I have no usable hand, no stack, and no stones). Hey, it is still part of the game (stupidity , I mean).

So, you actually CAN reuse fissions after the turn it was used? More drawS!!!! But, is that fair? It worked out fine by tracking older fissions. It is not exactly difficult to track older fissions. Of course, triggered fissions are those beside micropuls/anti-micros, and unused fissions are those in the open. Right? Right?

Yes, we played around 30 minutes.

sedjtroll
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Another game

Well, I just got 91 points. 20 tiles face down in my stacks, and 2 groups (24 and 27 points).

What's the highest score you've gotten (anyone)??

Edit: played again, got 86 this time. 30 from Tiles.

- Seth

hpox
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Re: Finally tried it...

The latest rules are available at http://neutralbox.com/micropul/rules/micropul-Rules-1.1.pdf . Just edited the first post to reflect this update (stupid of me not to have done it earlier) One suggestion though, if you have the time try one or two games solitaire. That way you'll have an easy time explaining the system.

Seth, thank you for the feedbacks. Great, great great! You seem to have picked up on it real quick. On your second game, you're already beating my scores. Do you think it takes a certain kind of person to play and enjoy this game? It's a bit of a puzzle-like game. You can also play it sparsely since it's often so tactical. On the other hand, when going for bigger groups it tends to go overboard on the what-ifs and seeing moves ahead.

The big groups strategy seem to work nicely. What happened to the third group? No 3, 4 micropul's group to take?

Quote:
I'm really impressed with the apparent balance between wanting to keep tiles face down, and wanting to draw them to close groups and activate fissions.

I certainly felt that "balance" yesterday while playing the 4 games described above. It actually matter if you try harder, but you don't have to over-optimize to get a good score. Luck of the draw play a slight role in that too, I guess. Kickass compliment, won't deny it makes me feel good about micropul.

Quote:
By the way, I'm not sure Fission is a noun, you might need a different name for it. Then again, Micropul isn't real either ;) It's just that Fission is a real word and it sounds odd... to me at least.

It changed names quite a lot of times. First it was dot then point (dot in french; Points as in score is also points in french so it was utterly confusing having point and points), nanopul (confusing to someone that's learning the game), fissure, crack and finally fission. Fission is a noun in french. I'm open to all suggestions!

Game 3 is interesting because it shows that errors are unforgiving. But you can chalk up to inexperience that fact that you didn't see the 17 wasn't closed. So as you said, 71 is not bad.

For game 4, I'm impressed you managed to close two huge groups. Your only 9 blocks left in hand shows that you had to use some corners to close your groups at the end (I think). Do you remember if your groups were very open during the game and you closed them at the end or were you "controlling" their growth from the begnning?

Quote:
I have an idea for you to think about as well- in Solitaire the + fission could be used to connect groups (either counting as a Micropul in a group, or not counting but connecting 2 Micropuls). Does that make sense?

Cool idea, I'll try that.

hpox
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Rambling + Rules for micropul, finally!

daem0n_faust wrote:
Great game. I don't like my downloaded version however. When do you think you'll get this out on market?

Thanks. Didn't really think about that. Pretty sure you won't ever find it in stores but I'll be hand-making them once I get some more wood and clothbags.

Quote:
if ever one is stupid enough to trigger a + and can't play another action, is that a force to withdraw? (say I triggered a +, but I have no usable hand, no stack, and no stones). Hey, it is still part of the game (stupidity , I mean).

Well, yeah that would be considered a very bad move. I think it's fair that this person lose the game. :) Also, note that even if you activate 2 + fissions, you don't get to play 2 new turns. Just one. Does that make sense? Was that clear in the rules?

Quote:
So, you actually CAN reuse fissions after the turn it was used? More drawS!!!! But, is that fair? It worked out fine by tracking older fissions. It is not exactly difficult to track older fissions. Of course, triggered fissions are those beside micropuls/anti-micros, and unused fissions are those in the open. Right? Right?

Hmm. Indeed tracking "old" fissions could work fine. I never thought about it because I dislike fiddliness but you're right, it would not be that complicated to track. I think the problems you encountered with Solitaire is directly associated with the way you played by not reusing fissions. Could make a nice "hardcore" variant for the solitaire game. Thanks!

EDITED TO CORRECT A MISTAKE
What in the rules made you think you could not reuse fissions? I would like to see where's the mistake that confuse people about that. You're not the first to have thought that fissions were not reusable.

A two player game took 30 minutes. Good, that's the target. For such an abstract game, it can't be too long or players will lose interest. Did you find it too long? Was downtime a problem?

Thank you faust! If you still have the results of the games, I'm very interested in them because I don't get to playtest it much as a 2 players game.

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