Son of Monse: I'd be interested to read more on your findings and arguments. The only historical investigation I've done on this matter is finding the rules in Latin a few years back - but I don't know much about either the Sami culture or history, nor the Viking.
Groeneveld: I would say all first moves are playable except d5-d7 which obstructs your own pieces. C5-c7 looks a little suspect as well as it closes the 7th row, but some interesting games have been played regardless.
Tibs: The article was published years ago but I didn't want it to become lost & forgotten. Probably the emailaccount of Abstract Games Magazine is not working anymore as the magazine closed down years ago. Actually after reading this article I joined Brainking to play Tablut as the game looked interesting.
On Dragonheelslair they will implement this new version too - they already have corner tablut and the one we have here, After trying a few times to win a game against myself I don't think white stands any chance, but we'll see.
Son of Monse: I'm wondering if the writer of this article has read our discussion here on Brainking about the Latin rules!
In my opinion a good translation should first look at the text and context. Then, a translation/interpretation should be tested against actual high-quality gameplay.
A rule-set which is unsupported by the text - such as corner Tablut or even citadel Tablut - might be an interesting modern variant but doesn't have much to do with the historical game. On the other hand, if rules based on a translation/interpretation of the text lead to a broken game, it's unlikely the game was actually played that way.
I think the rules we use on Brainking are based on a translation which is problematic but not impossible. After a lot of games, we now see white has an advantage even on the higher levels. However, the game is not (quickly) broken and we can imagine it kept people interested until chess invaded the north.
Now let's look at the interpretation offered by the new translation: 1) The citadel part looks far-fetched and is unsupported by the text; it's based on the outlook of the board which is more naturally explained as just showing the starting point of the black pieces. Introducing the citadels as new game elements pushes this into the direction of a modern variant instead of a reconstruction. I'm inclined to ignore this part of the article.
2) The other part is the capturing of the king, i.e. the king can capture and the king can be captured by 2 when outside (but not next to) the castle. I think this is the more interesting part. Looking at the Latin text only, the interpretation offered in the article is more natural as it doesn't need to come up with the "unarmed king myth" and the "etiam rex" bit doesn't need to be changed or explained away. So, before turning to the gameplay - the ultimate judge - I'd say this is a big plus for the 'new' interpretation. The crucial question is: does this rule-set offer a playable game, interesting enough to be kept alive for centuries? Compared to our rules, it will be a lot easier for black to capture the king, which is only partly compensated by the king being able to take part in captures.
I don't want to jump to conclusions without playing the new rule-set - did anyone tried to play it yet?
Does one side have a big advantage? How does it interact with the "jump-over-the-castle rule"? And what about the infamous perpetual raichi?
1. d5-d8 d1-d5
2. f5-f8 f1-f5 (or similar effect as the above perpetual raichi's)
3. e6-d6 a4-c4 (the other choice would be a6-c6, following later)
4. e7-e8 a6-a7
5. e5-e7 f5-f7
6. e7-b7 perpetual raichi
Lately a lot of draws happened with me playing black, all perpetual raichi: 7 times since november.
I myself could have forced a draw under the existent rules in my latest game against ughaibu, a much better player.
The purpose of this post is to re-open the discussion on this issue.
Let me first point out a rule-change would take only a change in the description of the rules, not re-programming. This is important because it means it would take very little time for Fencer to adjust the rules. Just a text change.
What I'm trying to do is the following:
taking up the project ughaibu has started, I will try to prove white has a forced draw from the start. Maybe I will not succeed, but at least I will show the "perpetual raichi is draw" rule diminishes blacks options hugely and pervades the game in a negative way.
The move that leads the easiest to perpetual raichi is 1. d5-d8.
What are the options of the black player?
1. ... d1-d5, 1. ... d1-d7, 1. ... f9-f8, 1. ... e8-g8, 1. ... b5-b7. Those are the natural responses to d5-d8, although 1. ... d1-d7 is dubious already. Of course there is no need to explore every move, only the logical ones.
In this first part I will try to prove that in all but 1. ... d1-d5 white has perpetual raichi. In later parts I will try to do the same for 1. ... d1-d5, or at least make clear the game tree is narrowed so much when one tries to prevent perpetual raichi, the game loses much of its charm.
1. d5-d8 d1-d7
2. e5-d5 e1-d1
2. c5-c7 now white has 6 rows on which to give raichi with 4 soldiers to block. Moving e8 or e2 could reduce it only to 5 which is still perpetual raichi. The same goes for d1-d2, d9-d8, d9-d7, a6-d6. 2. ... d9-d6 fails to 3. c7-c6 perpetual raichi or win. 2. ... a4-d4, 2. ... d1-d3 and 2. ... d1-d4 will all be captured and are no reasonable defenses.
Funny enough, the first Beginners Tournament was finished last! A decisive long-lasting battle between Mirjam & fungame resulted at last in a victory for Mirjam.
Although some players participated in more than one tournament, only Bratr succeeded in winning two tournaments.
Snigfarp and myself have completed the testing of Brandubh, a variant from the Hnefatafl family. Snigfarp beat me in 14 moves. I made a big strategic blunder by thinking I could just block exits and capture: but there are not enough pieces to net the king like in Tablut!
I must say I didn't like this variant nearly as much as our own Tablut. The pieces don't work together nicely and escape to the corners feels artificial. Here is the game:
I tried a few months ago to play Tafl with different board sizes (using my Go board), but I was unable to figure out a well-balanced ruleset (except for our own Tablut - slightly modified :) ). Games were too biased or too slow. Maybe someone can come up with a good board-size/game rules combination?
It's sad to see that the two constructive posts of ughaibu have disappeared again. I hope he is still willing to explore my game with both sides. It has my preference above the other proposals about playing the game, since the chance of mistakes is reduced when ughaibu plays them.
And we can all see the progression of the game. If Fencer doesn't allow the game to be played by one player playing both sides, maybe I could play one side of an unrated game and just play those move ughaibu posts me.
Yes, I understand all that and I used it before in my games.
But I thought in this specific game it doesn't work. After the restriction of the movement of the white pieces, white has serious threaths to capture crucial black pieces. Of course I can be mistaken. I am probably too fast with my conclusion it is a draw, but then again even ughaibu was wondering if I really could win the endgame.
I will have a look at the game again. For now let's say it wasn't a good example, but the idea becomes clear when we imagine black has less soldiers: he has the king closed in, but is unable to restrict white's two pieces enough to kill.
Stormerne: "We should allow perpetual raichi because it's part of the game."
The possibility of perpetual raichi is part of the game, but perpetual raichi = draw is not.
In Linn. rules draws are not even mentioned!
The Linn. rules don't show perpetual raichi = draw. They don't show it's a loss for white (or whatever rule) either, so we just have to DECIDE what is part of the game.
"We have no evidence to suggest that it was not a traditional part of the game."
No, and we don't have evidence it WAS a traditional part of the game.
Is is just begging the question.
You have a point that the statistics are misleading, but I think that when you look at the high-rated players playing each other, white still has the advantage.
Why do you have to be a MUCH BETTER player than your opponent to prevent those draws?
You can't prove anything from the fact that ughaibu doesn't let many players draw. (And some players wouldn't even when they had the chance.)
The point is, that two equally strong players should have around the same 'chance' to win. Now, white is already favoured by the rules (60%!!), which is -to say the least- a reason to abolish perpetual raichi.
when you place the burden on black to prevent perpetual raichi, his/her range of moves is seriously limited.
It could even mean that the black player has no choice at all in the opening. That would make the game less interesting: less chance to develop your own style etc. The use of different approaches to white threaths is what makes the black part fun.
We are now talking about arguments against perpetual raichi, but what are the positive reasons perpetual raichi should be allowed?
Just to add again the opposite approach:
I think it is bad sportmanship when one ruins a good game by perpetual raichi. Perhaps the best remedy IS to make it really perpetual: "if you don't give up a game which you have lost, I won't grant you a draw".
You just can't expect one side (black) to play perfect - and we do not even know if perfect play can prevent this kind of easy draws.
OF COURSE players with lower ratings play suboptimal (we all do of course, even ughaibu makes mistakes) but if the black player prevents the king to march out of the board and will eventually close him in and kill (if necessary) the remaining white soldiers, black played better and is the winner.
That the black player could have prevented perpetual raichi doesn't prove white deserves the draw.
Why should black not only have to prevent escape but also perpetual raichi? Isn't it difficult enough for black? Are there not enough drawing possibilies for white without the easy perpetual raichi?
With one soldier (like soldier d1 king d2, soldier d5 king d6) one can try to get a draw out of this: not only by a 4-soldier construction in the corner but also with more soldiers left then black can safely capture.
Look at my two games against WhisperzQ. In both games the white player could have perpetual raichi'd in an uncomfortable position. Are you seriously blaming the black player for that position to occur?
To sum up: having to prevent perpetual raichi puts an extra (too heavy) burden on black, since it is too easy to achieve.
It IS a real problem, for it is no longer just an incident; some players even go for perpetual raichi from the beginning. It influences the games too much: "I should play this good move, but can I trust my oponent not to perpetual attack?"
A solution would still be to make an extra Tablut variant with a rule against perpetual raichi or to implement this rule on the existing variant.
The Beginners Tablut series is a great initiative.
If beginners (1500 BKR) like to play teaching games, just send me an invitation for 4 uncounted & unrated games with me playing black. The idea is you play the same moves in all 4 games until you want to explore alternatives; I will comment on the moves.
Well, since in the existing rules jumps over a castle are allowed (maybe it was a very small castle?) any argument that refers to the real world fails. It is more like an Alice in Wonderland setting. So I guess drinking tea with the enemy king (maybe even in the church?) is consistent.
It makes the task of black far too difficult in comparison to white. There is no balance anymore. Why should a higher-rated player want to play black when a lower-rated player can so easily force a draw?
It is a shame when a serious game is corrupted by such an easy way out for white. Compare with chess, where perpetual check is hard-fought for.
In a good game you have to EARN a draw (if allowed at all).
The castle-building draw in Tablut, where black can only win when white is running out of movements is enough possibility for white to earn a draw. [By the way, even with lin.rule nr 11 castle building near the edge is still possible].
One more thing: I would appreciate it when some kind of explanation like "Ughaibu is temporary banned because of profanity on multiple boards" would be posted BEFORE we have to find out -a week later!- that he is unable to post and we cannot read his previous posts.
<Nevertheless, we now have a rationale behind lin. rule nr. 11. Reconstruction and gameplaying are perhaps separating here.
I like the way stormerne introduced a novelty, especially against such a good player as WhisperzQ.
Ugh> I understand that this makes the game deeper and more complex, but I don't really understand how this would balance the game more. White allready had a slight advantage to my knowledge, and now it has even more advantage...
Hm, there have been many proposals for changing the rules lately:
1) Ughaibu (and other, like myself) wants to change the 'rule' "eternal check = draw". AbigailII wants them at least specified;
2) I want to change the rule that allows jumps over the castle;
3) Stormerne wants to implement the Raichi rule, so just like check in chess it is illegal not to block;
4) I want to implement Lin. rule nr. 11.
Are there enough players who agree with the changing of (some of) the rules?
If not, should there be another Tablut (v.2) on Brainking so we can compare the two sets of rules in actual gameplay?