View Full Version : Territorial Game--Amazons
05-25-2007, 09:30 PM
Note: Some of the characters in this post are in Korean and show correctly if you select that language for encoding in the view menu.
Actually, the game is officially called El Juego de las Amazonas (Game of the Amazons) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_of_the_amazons). I first learned about it sometime last year and am now addicted to it. There are two problems for me, though, in that there aren't very many people to play except for those to whom I teach the game. The other problem is that a 10x10 board isn't readily available. Go boards (바둑반) are all over the place but they're 19x19 boards and it's kind of a hassle to mark it off (don't want to mar the boards and free-standing markers tend to get jostled). What my friends and I have taken to doing is playing the game using a Korean Chess board (장기반) for an 8x9 board (we ignore the diagonal lines in the Fortress and use the spaces between the lines instead of the intersections as playing points, Korean Chess pieces for the Amazons, and Go stones for the arrows).
So, here are some queries for y'all:
How much would having a non-symmetric board (8x9 vice 8x8) affect gameplay?
How would you implement a handicapping system? I haven't found one online yet and I'm not talking about betting.
Say you decide to use a Go board for either 18x18 or 19x19 sizes, how many Amazons would you use to make the game feasible and where would you place them at the start of the game?
The rules state that a tie is impossible. This is because a player loses if they cannot make both parts of the move on their turn. I think this is a bit unfair as it's possible that both players could cover the entire board and then the first player would lose. What do you think about altering the rules to state that if both players come down to zero points in their territory, it is deemd a tie game?
What is the smallest board size and minimum number of Amazons for it that could make for a challenging yet quick game?
What size board do you think would be the maximum practicable board? I've hear that 19x19 is the optimal for Go but 21x21 is considered the maximum workable size.
How would you implement a 3-player or 4-player game?
Feel free to add any other questions that come to your mind. Oh, and answers too, of course!
Just Some Guy
05-25-2007, 09:53 PM
A board featuring an odd number of squares in a row or column would have all the pieces on the same color square for starting positions. While I have not played this game, from my reading a balance start position would be better than an imbalanced one.
I think if a player cannot trap the other and runs out of space then they should lose regardless of if the other player doesn't have a move to make on their next turn. The game would have been lost on the earlier turns and the player should have accounted for that.
Checking boardgamegeek.com (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/2125) I did see that some variations were pictured there...
Thanks for pointing the game out to me; I think I'll give it a try.
05-25-2007, 10:34 PM
Color of the squares is irrelevant. That's why it's not a problem to use the Korean Chess board. This morning, I installed the Invader 2.1 program and have been watching it play against itself. A few times it's reached "Blue Wins by 0 Points" or "Red Wins by 0 Points." Once the whole board was covered and the other times a chunk of the board was dead (none of the Amazons could reach it). I like the Invader program except it doesn't permit more than 4 Amazons per player regardless of how big you make the board.
I think my proposal regarding ties is fair (of course I think it is--it's mine! :)). After all, it's a 2-player game and why should the person who goes first have to suffer if he played equally as well as the 2nd player?
I don't think those are variations on the geek site; those seem to be just different sets used for the game.
Glad you like it. Thursday during the national holiday here, I was playing with a friend during the church picnic and some guy from another group came up to watch us play. He grasped the rules with no explanation--just watching us play. He gave the rules perfectly to his wife who was also watching us.
Oh, I made the "mistake" of showing the game to a very good Go player early this month. I got clobbered on the 2nd game.
Just Some Guy
05-26-2007, 05:53 AM
Color of the squares is irrelevant. That's why it's not a problem to use the Korean Chess board.
I was trying to keep it simple. The colors themselves are not relevant, but the fact that the pieces are on different diagonals is not. The colored squares on a chess board differentiate that. If all the queens start on the same diagonals then it will change the dynamics of the early game.
You're right on the variations; I mistook one of the pictures as a different shaped board.
Something that occurred to me is that it would be very easy to make a good quality board (or set). I've done projects like this before and I'm all thumbs. To lay down the "Anyone can do it!" steps for you:
You'll need wood glue, a pencil, sand paper, a black permanent marker, newspaper to work on, and a tape measure (not just a ruler!). If you've got some really big wood clamps (the kind that extend over feet) great; otherwise you need two heavy objects that can get scuffed up and have a flat side (bricks, old phone books, copies of L. Ron Hubbard books for example). If you want to do pieces as well then I'd recommend a miter box and hand saw with fine teeth. Finally I would recommend getting some wood stain and varnish to help make the board look nice (stain in two or three colors if you're making pieces).
1. Go to your local hardware store/lumber yard and locate a good quality piece of wood. Shelving boards are usually about a foot wide and around a quarter inch thick and will be perfect. You want a length of about four foot with no knots or serious flaws. Pine will work just fine and you can probably get the board you need for less than $5.
2. Get them to cut it into two even sections for you (Home Depot will definitely do this; I can't say for sure that a lumber yard where you are will).
3. If you want to make pieces buy some dowels. I'd go with one inch thick for the amazons and a half inch for the arrows but this is a personal aesthetics choice.
4. Lay out your newspaper to work on someplace where it won't be disturbed. Apply glue liberally to the long edges of the boards, then stick them together. Press them together hard, place them on the newspaper, and squeeze them between your clamps (aka your bricks). Wipe away any glue that comes out the top and the edges.
What you should have at this point is a nice roughly 2' x 2' surface to work with for your game board. You are gluing the bottom to the newspaper but that's okay because you'll be able to tear it off and then sand it away. The bottom will look more ragged than the top surface as a result.
5. That board needs to sit squeezed together for a day. Don't move it, don't let the cat play with it, just let it sit. Technically less time is necessary but I'm paranoid about this because it's just wood glue and you want as solid of hold as you can.
6. If you're making pieces then you can use the miter box to make nice straight easy cuts through the dowels to cut each of them off. I'd make the amazon pieces taller and the arrow pieces close to flat. While you're waiting for your board to dry you can sand, stain, and varnish these. Of course, since you'll want 92 arrows this could take some time.
7. When the glue is dry tear away the newspaper and sand the board. You want the playing surface as smooth as possible and you'll probably want to get rid of rough edges on the board.
8. Take the tape measure and hook it onto the board. You want to mark off a 1.5 inch grid in the middle of the board with the pencil. Once that is done you can use the marker to follow the tape measure and draw on your grid. Technically you don't have to mark off the grid, but once that marker hits the board it's a pain to get it out again so measuring it out in advance is a good idea.
9. Stain and varnish if you want and you're done!
I can put together a homemade board game over the course of two days with about four hours of work using this method to create a board and pieces.
05-26-2007, 07:31 AM
I think I'll go with the "whatever happens to be available" approach, but I do appreciate your instructions. If I find someone who's not as complete a klutz as I am, maybe I can persuade him to do the work for me.
I'm a bit unclear on the dynamics you mention. If they were Bishops, I'd grasp it better, I think; however, the Amazons move just like a Chess Queen. Since the set-up has the Amazons of one side reflecting the other side's set-up, doesn't that make it all "even?"
Since I've been using a Korean Chess set for the board and the Amazons, today I've been toying with the idea of using two Chariots (Rooks) and two Cannons (similar to Rooks but must leap over one piece that's not a Cannon to move or Capture). I think that could make a fun variation: the chariots move like a Chess Queen. The Cannons move that way also with the added requirement that they must jump over one and only one piece, either an Amazon or an Arrow, but not another cannon--The Cannon's Shot must also jump one and only one. Off to try this version out against myself and then to sleep (it's getting late here in Korea).
05-26-2007, 05:11 PM
Well, it works and it's a much harder game than the original.
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