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Author Topic:   Xong, the abstract game I invented in 1996
xongsmith
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Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


(1)
Message 1 of 15 (888937)
10-24-2021 10:24 PM


Way back in Message 100 of the Where did you get your Alias? thread, I posted this on 9/23/2009, repeated here:

Xongsmith is my craft? My bailiwick? Well, as a singer/songwriter who has been involuntarily retired from the computer industry, the pun on songsmith works fine. But Xong, pronounced "zong", is the game that appears in the current (9/23/09) avatar. I invented that game in 1996. I had narrowed the name of the game down to Xong and Xoix. Being played on hexagons, there had to be an X. The game is played by building a new piece out of the sides of hexagons and giving it to your opponent. So it's sort of like american baseball, in that the defense begins each play in possession of the ball. If you have had anything to do with Abstract Games, you will be familiar with the various methods to overcome the advantage of going 1st. By building your opponent's piece, this game's mechanics seem to have erased that problem. So I'm asking my wife which she likes better, Xong or Xoix. She takes a fraction of a second and says "Xong!". I google xong on the internet and it is a Vietnamese word meaning the end of a test. At the end of the game, when no more new pieces can be formed that will fit, the player instead gives his opponent the 1 Xong point. Since all surrounded hexagons are worth 2 points, this means that one player will have an even score and the other will have an odd score with the Xong point - eliminating tie games, which was another bugaboo in designing abstract games. By the way, the pieces formed often resemble little creatures and are collectively referred to as "xoids", which sounds like "zooids", not "roids". And "zooids" is not pronounced to rhyme with "fluids"!

Nowadays, the google doesn't get the same result, but i have done a few things recently. Here is an image from an example game played on October 17th, 2021:

Clicking on it makes a big image.

The first move was the Red Leg in the top left corner, the 2nd was the Blue Boomerang in the top right corner, the 3rd was the Propeller at the right side. The Wiggle, Bowl (upside down here) and Chair (tipped on its back) were next, left to right along the bottom. Then the Red X was put in the top right corner, killing 2 of Blue's future hopes up there. Then the Blue Gull Wings were put in the 5-hex paw print up left. Turn 9, the Dipper, was placed above the Blue Chair. This was probably a mistake, but it was too early to tell. Next to come would be the House and 2-pronged Fork.

I have 9 more images of this game, and an html file that many sites do not let me upload. I wonder if there is any interest here?

Edited by xongsmith, : missed "of" in first sentence


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Phat, posted 10-25-2021 9:56 AM xongsmith has acknowledged this reply
 Message 3 by AZPaul3, posted 10-25-2021 11:23 AM xongsmith has responded
 Message 4 by ringo, posted 10-25-2021 12:34 PM xongsmith has acknowledged this reply
 Message 9 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 2:45 PM xongsmith has responded

  
Phat
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Posts: 15709
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


Message 2 of 15 (888940)
10-25-2021 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by xongsmith
10-24-2021 10:24 PM


Xongsmiths Bailiwack
I wonder if there is any interest here?
Good morning Xongsmith! I am not a math guy nor does my brain think that deeply and organized...well, at least not enough to understand your game. I DO respect it though. It allows me a window into your active mind and I am impressed. I'm sure that Percy and dwise1 and maybe jar can understand and appreciate the game craft. A few others here as well.

Anyway, it looks cool.


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.”
- Criss Jami, Killo

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


This message is a reply to:
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AZPaul3
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Posts: 6083
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 3 of 15 (888944)
10-25-2021 11:23 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by xongsmith
10-24-2021 10:24 PM


I'd like to see this.

Went back to your Message 100 but the links are broken.

Any others?


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by xongsmith, posted 10-24-2021 10:24 PM xongsmith has responded

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ringo
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Posts: 19302
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 4 of 15 (888953)
10-25-2021 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by xongsmith
10-24-2021 10:24 PM


xongsmith writes:

I wonder if there is any interest here?


I'm not a big fan of abstract games. I like some kind of analogy to reality - e.g. I prefer chess to checkers (though I'm really bad at it).

"I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"
-- Lucky Ned Pepper

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by xongsmith, posted 10-24-2021 10:24 PM xongsmith has acknowledged this reply

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 5 of 15 (888964)
10-25-2021 11:08 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by AZPaul3
10-25-2021 11:23 AM


no free room out there to make the sandbox
The problem is that the java code was deprecated and now it wont compile with the new shit, nor tell me why.

To get around that I saved the old java library, the 1.7.0_45. Attempts to relocate that old version were fruitless, so i may have the last copies. however, it does take a whopping 278 megabytes. The woodxong.java, .class and all the little attendant files take all together under 1 megabyte more.

I was able to upload that stuff to my google drive and anyone is free to download it. You'll need a spare ~300 megs or so somewhere:

xong - Google Drive

All the little files are dated 2013 or earlier. java 1.7.0_45 library and its appletviewer program are all under the java subdirectory there.

i also have the 10 pictures as "exrx211017bN.jpg" where N goes from 1 to A up there. Down on my pc today, right now, i have 271 *.xng files which take up 976,920 bytes. So each game file is about 3,600 bytes. one jpg is about 115,000 bytes, quite a factor up from the ascii unix-style file to a picture of the game!

but if you just download everything into a new xong directory on your pc, then you can run

pathname/xong/x xongname

where pathname is the path on your pc to where you made the xong subdirectory

xongname is name of the game file without the ".xng" suffix which is supplied by x.bat. I am using rxYYMMDDa, rxYYMMDDb, rxYYMMDDc and so on. The most test games i've played in one day is 5, so that was rx211022e.xng

For example, we could play an email game with xongname something "nateAZPaul". when you receive an email, there should be the ~3,600 byte game attached, named "nateAZPaul.xng". save it to your xong directory, exit email. Open a command prompt window and change your current directory to your xong directory. Now type

x nateAZPaul

for example. You should see a window open with the randomly generated board we are using throughout this whole game and, up in the right corner, a floating, dragable xoid that your opponent sent to you. You place it where it fits and seal it with the "commit" button. Now you make a new xoid by hitting empty legs attached in the shape of your desired xoid, hit the "give" button in the upper right, hit the "send" button at the bottom left to update your file, then close the game window. Then email your opponent with the file attached.

I really wanted this game to be able to play over the net, like the incredible GoPanda2 go game server, but it was beyond my capability to code that. So email it is!

If you or anyone goes to the google drive site and downloads that stuff, let me know! Either good news or bad news!

xong - Google Drive

Edited by xongsmith, : clarity


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


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 Message 3 by AZPaul3, posted 10-25-2021 11:23 AM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

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xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 6 of 15 (889021)
10-30-2021 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by xongsmith
10-25-2021 11:08 PM


ok, nevermind then. there is an email way to play.
but no one seems to want to try.

xong - Google Drive


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by xongsmith, posted 10-25-2021 11:08 PM xongsmith has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Percy, posted 10-30-2021 8:00 PM xongsmith has responded

  
Percy
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Posts: 20410
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 7 of 15 (889022)
10-30-2021 8:00 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by xongsmith
10-30-2021 7:25 PM


Re: ok, nevermind then. there is an email way to play.
I downloaded it a few days ago but don't know when I'll have a chance to look at it.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by xongsmith, posted 10-30-2021 7:25 PM xongsmith has responded

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 Message 8 by xongsmith, posted 10-31-2021 12:38 AM Percy has not yet responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 8 of 15 (889030)
10-31-2021 12:38 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Percy
10-30-2021 8:00 PM


Re: there is an email way to play.
Thank you, Percy...

there are many little attendant files.

woodxong.java, woodxong.class, woodxong.html are the main program.

eee.xng, xave.xng, n.txt, xongbg.jpg are needed.

xoid.txt is a useful text file showing a beastiary of some 50 xoids.

xongrules.txt has the 7 rules.

for windows users, x.bat is the batch file that runs the whole show.


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 Message 7 by Percy, posted 10-30-2021 8:00 PM Percy has not yet responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 9 of 15 (889152)
11-07-2021 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by xongsmith
10-24-2021 10:24 PM


Figures 2 and 3 of the Illustrative game
Figure 2
Following the first 9, the next pieces coming out are five more 5-ers, touching 5 hexagons each. The House, the Fork, the Bird, the Crawler and the Little Bear. At Turn 15, Blue was usually giving the Rooster to Red and then at 16 Red would come up with the first Seasnake, but this time Blue held the Rooster back and instead constructed the first Seasnake...:

Figure 3
...and gave it to Red to take the upper right wall. Only adding 2 to Red's potential scores and only deleting 1 of Blue's, the game was tied 20-20 with Red having to give Blue a xoid - not a good spot to be in:

Edited by xongsmith, : fixup sentences.


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by xongsmith, posted 10-24-2021 10:24 PM xongsmith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 3:35 PM xongsmith has responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 10 of 15 (889157)
11-07-2021 3:35 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by xongsmith
11-07-2021 2:45 PM


Re: Figures need a glossary or beastiary
Perhaps the Beastiary is in order:


A Partial Beastiary

some of the more common Xoids & their kin,
rendered in plain ascii text characters.

Xoid's hexagons
shape suggested name touched comment
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
starting with the smallest guys first, which are usually played in this order:

1. __ the Leg 2 underwhelming choice for 1st turn

2. __/ Boomerang 3 2nd player more than matches 1st

3. __/ Propeller 3 1st player keeps pace in touch,
\ but gains in leg count
__
4. __/ Wiggle 4 2nd player gets another leap step
up in total touch, now 7 to 5

5. \__/ Bowl 4 1st piece good for taking corners
by sticking the 2 struts at the wall

\__
6. / \ Chair 4 the next corner grabber in
standard Xong

\__/ the game's monogram, easy to
7. / \ the Ex 4 see later on in the empty spaces
for use as a base to make
genetic extensions
__
8. __/ gull Wings 5 2nd player now slightly ahead of
/ 1st player in total count touched
12-9
__
9. \__/ Dipper 5 1st player gets slightly better
pieces, 14-12
__
10. / \ House 5 1st cupping piece, often held
/ back

__
11. __/ Fork 5 also called the wishbone,
\__ another cupper

__
12. __/ Bird 5 more useful in random Xong
/ \

fuseki stage often lasts to about here....
also at this point players should start watching the outer perimeter
for long pieces that only fit against the edge of the board,
whimsically termed "sea snakes".

Continuing with the 5-touchers:

\__
13. / \__ Crawler 5 more useful in standard
5x5x5 Xong

__
14. / \__ little Bear 5 a maleable cupping piece
/

__
15. \__/ Rooster 5 awkward, but versatile
/
__
\__/
16. / \ Doggie 5 largest & last non-cupping
opener

\__
17. / \__ Table 5 needs low & wide space
/

\__/
18. / \ Cowboy 5 needs tall space
\

\__/ the biggest piece touching 5,
19. / \__ Stickleback 5 often given before 19th move
/

-------------------------------------------------------
end of all the guys that touch < 6 hexagons

18 out of 19 of these guys are usually
played at some time. Infact most of
them are used in first 19 turns.

Edited by xongsmith, : spacing

Edited by xongsmith, : spacing


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 2:45 PM xongsmith has responded

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xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 11 of 15 (889166)
11-07-2021 8:54 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by xongsmith
11-07-2021 3:35 PM


Figures 4 and 5
Figure 4: Red was taken aback, but eventually came up with a net 3 point snake of his own on the left wall. It took awhile to make, with many false roads:

Figure 5: They traded snakes back and forth with Red just a bit behind. Blue was devious with his cashing a robotic 2 with Red's Xoid at the lower left:

Edited by xongsmith, : more clarity


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 3:35 PM xongsmith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 9:09 PM xongsmith has responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 12 of 15 (889167)
11-07-2021 9:09 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by xongsmith
11-07-2021 8:54 PM


Re: Figure 6
Figure 6: Then they traded 5-ers again. Blue gave Red the Stickleback and Red gave Blue the Doggie:

Edited by xongsmith, : correction


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 8:54 PM xongsmith has responded

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xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 13 of 15 (889168)
11-07-2021 9:17 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by xongsmith
11-07-2021 9:09 PM


Figure 7, moves 21 and 22
Figure 7 has them intensely swordfighting. Now Blue had a conundrum with those 4 empty hexes marching down the middle moyo. However the piece Blue came up with for Red touched 4 of his own and added 1 for Red but gave him 2 back for a net of 3. This was probably the winning move of the game. Red then discovered the 9-legger straight Xoid could only fit along the lower portion and was 4 for 1, netting 3 as well. He festooned it with 2 legs pointing up into the moyo. But time was running out:

Edited by xongsmith, : correction

Edited by xongsmith, : clarity

Edited by xongsmith, : clarity

Edited by xongsmith, : oops, 7


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


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 Message 12 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 9:09 PM xongsmith has responded

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 Message 14 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 9:25 PM xongsmith has responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 14 of 15 (889169)
11-07-2021 9:25 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by xongsmith
11-07-2021 9:17 PM


Figures 8 and 9, moves 23 and 24
Figure 8:
The writing was on the wall. Blue found the right corner was the only place that could accommodate the Dripping Froglegs, giving 3 to Red. So Red was given sente' (initiative into the large moyo space) having possession of the designing of the Xoid Blue would have to play, but he was down 1 point (4 - the 3 points) with 3 places left on the board - the middle one being a big move, since anything fitting in the other 2 could also score more in it. After much analysis he basically threw in the towel with a surprisingly good, but too late, unique Xoid at the Build of Move 24. The Ell was already creating brain havoc before Turn 24, and Red had to watch out for getting stuck with the Cee in the top left for a net of only 1 with his design of 24:

Figure 9: You can see what Red came up with for Move 24:

Edited by xongsmith, : forgot a pic

Edited by xongsmith, : No reason given.

Edited by xongsmith, : clean up

Edited by xongsmith, : make that 1 pt


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


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xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 15 of 15 (889170)
11-07-2021 9:31 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by xongsmith
11-07-2021 9:25 PM


Figure 10, moves 25-27, end of game
Figure 10: Now it would end Red-Blue-Red with Red having to give the Xong Point to Blue. Now Blue gave Red the Ell and he could play it up top, only to give Blue the final 5 point move because the Ell in the lower right would be neutralized at 1 point each. Red played it in the lower right for 2 and gave Blue the Horse (upside down, on its back) for 3. This meant Blue would have to give Red the final 5 point move. Move 24 could have left off the hex-killing leg at its top right extent, but Red saw that Blue could then give him the Table in there and Red would kill 4 and give away 1 for a net of 3, so that is why Move 24 was good. Now Blue had to give Red more than the Little Bear, which was used at move 12, or the Fork at Move 11, and thus Red would kill the lower left Blue. Take the 2 over the 3 to get the 5, or 7-3 instead of 3-5. After playing the Cee in the moyo, Red could not give Blue any new Xoid, so he gave him the Xong Point:

I hope this was interesting!

The terms used, sente' and moyo come from the game of Go. In Xong a sort-of Ko fight issues when the 2 sides trade longish pieces that cannot fit in the moyo until eventually one side gets to go in.

Red was too clustered along the right side and Blue easily found the Seasnake at Move 15 in Figure 3. Similarily Blue was too close together along the left side. Perhaps the subtle nature of these spacing problems will lead to a better understanding of the game of Xong.

Edited by xongsmith, : clarity

Edited by xongsmith, : clarity


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by xongsmith, posted 11-07-2021 9:25 PM xongsmith has acknowledged this reply

  
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