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[Cat chess] - a BoardGame

Hmm, I don't think enough is specified in the rules about the board...

Presumably it must be at minimum the sum of three radius-6 hexagon-hills, with a ring of every height from 1 to 6?

Some cats have a wider observation arc - is this three hex-sides or four?  (I'm infering 2 is standard from the diagram in the rules)

I think there's also insufficient information about what should be on the character sheets... :(


(PeterTaylor) MoonShadow has clarified a few ambiguities in the rules, including an initial proposal for the board size. Presumably just hasn't updated the page.  To all those awaiting my implementation, since term is coming to an end, I'll be less busy in the evenings and will be able to continue expanding it. Presently I can generate a map and display it with a few visual glitches; I've also done some work on cats and character sheets, and thought a bit about networking protocols.

MoonShadow: gomen.. hangs head in shame I'll do it, I'll do it yet. Maybe I'll even move the rules to the wiki..
(PeterTaylor) Eep. Please don't - I hate chasing a moving specification.
MoonShadow: Oh, OK. ^^;;

It looks as though it would be possible to fill one column of the interaction grid with Style, and one row (but for the one already filled) with Presence, and become an almost invincible catfighter.  Have I missed something? -- NickTaylor

MoonShadow: you can't do that at once for a single cat - you could fill one row or one column, but not both at once, and you'd use up most or all of your counters doing so, meaning that your other cats will get easily removed from the board. At least, that's the idea. Also, some of the grid spaces on each character sheet start out blocked up, so you can't put counters there - the exact number and layout is intended to be a balancing mechanism for the character abilities and will need to be decided through gameplay.
Oh - the five Presence and five Style aren't per cat, then?  That fixes that, then.  This looks like quite an interesting game. -- NT

-- Not to be confused with [Cheshire cat chess]
ChrisHowlett is appreciative, for reasons known to at least TheInquisitor, StuartFraser and Sally

Interesting.  I love the idea and the execution seems pretty good, except for...

The board (I'd be inclined to make it a lot less abstract)
The fighting (I'd be inclined to make it a lot more abstract - currently it's just too random and is very punative on the looser, and it's impossible to play vaguly tactically without squinting at everybody elses grids, which slows the game down horribly.)
The end condition (I dislike end conditions of this sort, because they invariably only occur because people overlooked the possibility of someone winning rather than any particularly brilliant move made by the winner.  This is the main reason why I dislike Illuminati - the victor is usually the one who's sat quietly in the corner moaning that he's going to loose during the entire game.)

I have a nice vision of how I think the game should work in my head at the moment.  I'd better stop thinking about this quickly, or I'll end up doing the design myself.  --Angoel

Go for it ^-^ - MoonShadow, curious
I may do at some point.  There are currently two concerns:
BlastIt.  You've made me start to think about it again.  I've got an idea of how to deal with the line of sight issue, now, *sigh*.  Maybe it will appear.  In some suitably modified form.  --Angoel

Curiosity killed the CatChess?  --Vitenka

An initial game of this was played at GamesEvening on Tuesday 9th December, by AlexChurchill, DouglasReay and qqzm.  Our thoughts follow.
    1  1
  0  5  1
0  1  2  0
  0  3  1
0  2  0  0
  3  1  3
0  4  2  1
  5  0  5
0  1  1  0
  0  0  0
    0  0
Each peak at 5 is accessible from precisely 1 hex (of height 4 or 3), since max vertical distance is 2 per 1 horizontal distance.  I doubt we'd construct exactly the same board again, but it worked reasonably well.  I'd probably get us to add more tiles than the amount we did.

Add extra comments here (including any thoughts DouglasReay or qqzm have that AC's not included yet):
The best solution may well be to fix the cats available to each team.  Perhaps have two cats of each type, and players take it in turns to pick a cat - which then goes to both teams?  --Vitenka
This sort of balancing is what the RPS subgame was meant for. The cats with the weaker abilities are supposed to have much more space in their challenge grids for counters than the stronger ones. - MoonShadow
Whilst perfect balance between each cat is possibly a nice goal, it is probably impossible to acheive.  A long period of tweaking may work, but it would only balance the cats to a single metagame - opening the doors to a nother group of players picking a different favorite strategy and finding a new utterly overpowering cat.  (And that's a sentence fragment to be taken out of context:  "Quick men!  We need a replacement overpowering cat!")  Aaanyway - some RunTime? way of fixing the balance seems advisable, and something with a built in mirror seems simplest.  Oooh - perhaps players could take it in turns to fill in a space on an opposing grid, with reciprocation, until both pass.  That way if the players think a given cat is overpowered, they will neuter (spay?) it at the cost of one of their own cats usefulnesses.  Though this would become a whole pre-game game and that may not be desired.  Far simpler to give all players a roughly-balanced set of cats at the outset.  --Vitenka

MoonShadow's thoughts (apologies for not being able to make it after all; thank you for the excellent criticism!)
Hm. Well, the effect of style and presence was meant to be subtle, not overwhelming. Still, no effect at all might signal a need for some tweaking.. What would happen if players got a few more counters, the grids were 4x4 or even 3x3 and started with at least one cell in each row and column blocked (so you couldn't get undefeatable cats)?
Interesting.  My initial thoughts are that this would turn some/most combats into a 50/50 guessing game - eg attacker has a column (A) of all-but-one blue, and in the nonblue (blocked) row (R) has a blue spot in a different column (B): attacker wants either col-A and any non-R row, or col-B and row-R; defender wants the reverse.  Turning the previously deterministic combat system to something approaching RockScissorsPaper (generously; more likely, a 50/50 guess) doesn't seem ideal to me.  I guess I'm known for preferring deterministic combats (a la Go or Diplomacy?) to random ones (a la Risk or DotHack Enemy's destiny), though.  --AlexChurchill
That depends. If a player gets just enough counters to fill *one* grid completely, they have control over how deterministic they want things to be. During the game, if you want randomness, attack cats with nearly-full grids. If you want determinism, attack cats with nearly-empty ones. That sort of thing. But yes, it'd need to be very carefully balanced to avoid degenerating into randomness. - MoonShadow
Not having seen this game, I am a bad person to comment - but I feel bound to point out that RockScissorsPaper is something a bit different from random.  Especially if the cats are known in advance to have bonuses in certain rows or columns.  A 3x3 grid seems to bring anticipating your opponents skill into things more heavily than a 5x5 grid.  --Vitenka
I have too much to say here at 5 indentation levels in ;) See /ChallengeGridDiscussion.  --AC
I'd add, though, that it sounds like having the combat game be subservient to the main game is desirable.  The better player should win an even contest, but a non-even contest should be easy to set up by having the more observers.  I'm not sure exactly how the game works, but that sounds like a good thing to aim for.  --Vitenka
I think the grid system might work better if the grids were hidden.  We worked out a non-dice challenge method, involving holding out a fist containing between 1 and 5 counters, then simultaneously revealing them, indicating the row or column chosen.  So Ispex could challenge Tigger; the reveald attack and defence would be Hiss, and Ignore.  The players would then declare what those cats have on that spot. (Green, Blue, Nothing).  At the end of the game the full grids would be revealed.

That's pretty much what I was going for :)

Indeed. This ties into "observation is key". The idea is to make people put lots of thought into which way to face at the end of a turn.

Those don't actually contradict, it's merely that one is superfluous :) IIRC, we hadn't decided whether to allow challenging on the same height or not. I'll drop the rules for same-height resolution unless ppl want to change the other way ^^;

Yes, that was intended to be "..than the highest cat", I suspect. Will change.

[Proposed new rule revision] - [diff]

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Last edited July 21, 2004 5:18 pm (viewing revision 36, which is the newest) (diff)