Talk:Virus Fight

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Clean Up and Rewrite[edit source]

I've finally decided to add the variant to the "official" rules, so I've mostly rewritten and cleaned the rules up. Comments and feedback are welcomed especially on multiplayer games, although, this contest being focused on 2HOUSE games, I don't expect many people will try the game with more than 2 players...

Also, although I think a 5x5 board works very well for 2 player games, I'd be interested in hearing how other sizes work too... When I played, I found that blocks are very likely to merge and sometimes become huge, but soon after, they would be divided as we tried to isolate the opponent's marker... I do want to try the game with a bigger board and see how it plays...

- Jorge

Questions[edit source]

When your program counter is on a Write instruction, and you have no spare instructions to place onto the board, what happens?[edit source]

This came out today on the icehouse mailing list. Good question. I think the most logical solution is that you don't get to place any new piece, but you have to move your counter as usual to end your turn. I don't think the player should be penalized or anything... There are a few other cases where an instruction cannot be executed, although the ones I can think of right now all mean you lose the game. For example: sitting on a lonely move, erase or jump (if there is only one other block and it's the one occupied by your opponent) piece. In fact this last case came up in our last game. By merging the only unoccupied block with my own, I left my girlfriend which had her counter on a lonely jump piece, with no place to jump (you can only jump to pieces from your own active block or to unoccupied blocks).

Of course, if your instruction counter is on a lonely write instruction, then you lose the game, because you cannot move your counter at the end of your turn. Thanks to Doug Orleans for the question. --Jorge

If two instruction markers from opposing players are on the same block, and both of them are on red instructions, can a player use the red instruction the opposing player is on to erase adjacent instructions?[edit source]

Ryan (miyu) asked me this today. I believe the rules as written do allow for this action, as the actual piece the opposing instruction marker is on is not really affected by the erase instruction, just used to affect another piece.

Spanish Translation[edit source]

Is there a rules translation en Espanol? - Cerulean 10:34, 26 February 2008 (EST)

I have to translate the complete rules for the new version of the game. The old rules plus an explanation of all the changes from the old version to the new one are in labsk:

As soon as I finish the translation for the new rules, I'll post it to the wiki. - Jorge

Transforming this game into the classic it could be[edit source]

I really liked the idea of this game but when I played it the first time it wasn't very fun. (I didn't vote in the competition so at least that didn't hurt.) I'd like to really help find those small (or even large) changes that will make it as good as it can be. I hope that my comments are heard in the constructive way they are meant.

  1. I think that the most gain can be made by focussing on this game in only its two player configuration. Randomless purely abstract games just lend themselves to two player games, much like how Homeworlds just makes more sense to a lot of people as Binary Homeworlds.
  2. Playtesting is needed to find the best boardsize. I'm not even sure what criteria to judge that on but I remember (from months ago so it may be fuzzy) that the game felt too big (for two players) in the current rules. It seemed like we were miles apart and could easily dance around each other for hours. A smaller board should lead to more interesting and rapid play.
  3. This game seems to suffer from a problem that Homeworlds has for beginning players: while the actions are clear and the objective are clear the link between them is very hard to see. This leads players to stare at the board and not have any feeling for how best to proceed. I think a smaller board will help with that.
  4. The major strategic element of the game is in controlling player order (I think. Like I said, I only played it once). The rules regarding that need to be rewritten to be much clearer. Also, simplifying it for a two player game might help. I'm envisioning something like a basketball possession arrow. The largest 'mid goes first, in the event of a tie, the tie is broken by the possession arrow (we could call it the program priority indicator) after which the indicator is changed to the other player.

Does any of this sound like a good idea? Let's make Virus Fight good enough to win a future contest.

Donsheldon 11:29, 25 March 2008 (EDT)

Thanks a lot for the comments. I appreciate the feedback. I'll try to answer/comment your points:

  1. That may be right, but I don't want to close the door on the multiplayer version. Still, I've been unable to play it, so I don't know if it's any good. It should work in theory, but I'm sure it will be more chaotic. Still, it may be fun... It's funny you mention Homeworlds. It's a game that I think I enjoy more as a multiplayer game than a 2-player game because the 2 player game is too much like chess, and I'm pretty bad at both games... But Homeworlds is more a strategy game, and I'm better at tactical games... (I'm still not sure where VF fits).
  2. I'm surprised you find the 2-player board too big. In the games I've played we usually merged our two programs pretty soon and even at one point I considered using a bigger board. I'm glad I didn't :) I agree more playtesting would be needed to find this out...
  3. I agree with this point. I still have to grasp the strategy for the game (as I still have to grasp the one for Homeworlds...). I'm not sure a smaller board will be the solution, but I'm willing to try. What would you suggest? 4x4 seems too small. Maybe 5x4 so that players start closer together...
  4. That may be so. I'm not still sure... It's certainly important to have the initiative at key points in the game to win. I'm still at the point where we're surprised at mistakes we do without realizing they will cost us the game (only realizing it after the fact, of course). Right now ties when deciding the first player are resolved towards the player that had the initiative last turn. I like your idea of losing that advantage once used to solve a tie, but another maker would be needed (one for first player, another for the priority). I'll certainly test this idea.

Again, thanks for your suggestions, and tell me if you try any of them please. Cheers, -Jorge

  1. I wasn't suggesting that you do, I just think that it would be easier to focus on just two players with an "optional rule" for more. But that's the way I think and I recognize that it's a matter of personal taste.
  2. This probably bleeds into point 3 a lot. Other strategies could be used to make the game feel more aggressive and immediate. Just for a random idea: seeding the initial game setup with neutral blocks.
  3. I'm really not sure, I'm just brainstorming (or trying to, I'm so tired today). I just wish I had the time to do any playtesting and help find that sweet spot. (House renovations and a baby on the way tend to eat up one's afternoon.)
  4. Hmmm, that would be bad. I hadn't thought of that. Well, in the worst case, you're using a pyramid anyway. They're known for their pointing. It'd be a very interesting the different play options that one would take being first player with or without the tie breaker. But it makes me wonder if it's a strategically good idea to ever write a small 'mid.

Donsheldon 12:45, 26 March 2008 (EDT)

Suggestion.[edit source]

I played this twice on a 5x5 board and I didn't think it was too big. The programs joined pretty quickly. I do agree that this is probably best as a two-player game. With three, there is no way to arrange the programs symmetrically (on a non-cyclical grid) and even with four, a given player does not have the same relation to all three of the other players...

We found, though, that with the initiative shifting, we were losing track of when rounds would start and end. We devised this solution.

-Determine who goes first and put an opaque tree near them.

-The first player separates it into three pyramids.

-The first player makes a move and puts the medium pyramid on the large.

-The second player makes a move and puts the small pyramid on the medium.

-The first player slides the opaque tree over to the second player IF the second player's IP is on a larger pyramid.

-The (new?) first player separates the tree into three pyramids.

-And so on.

(Actually, it's not important who slides and separates, but what I've described seems the tidiest if we had to decide that.)

Daniel Cristofani 12:53, 13 September 2008 (UTC)