Continuing upon my series of variants that begin with “D” (Diplomatic, Democratic,…), I would like to propose a new variant that I call Detective Go, which I think will also make for a fun forums game.
The basic idea is that this is an asymmetrical variant with a team of detectives trying to find and eliminate a fugitive that plays hidden moves on the board.
The goal of the detective team is to capture all of the fugitive’s stones as quickly as possible. The goal of the fugitive is to avoid capture and build the largest possible living group.
The game alternates turns between the fugitive and the team of detectives. The fugitive takes the first turn. Each detective and the fugitive uses a unique color of stones.
On the fugitive’s turn, they may choose to either pass or place a stone on any empty intersection. By default, the stones played by the fugitive are hidden from detective team, unless they are revealed (see below). When the fugitive places a stone, first any detective chains without liberties are removed, then any fugitive chains without liberties are removed.
On the detectives’ turn, each detective may choose to either pass or attempt to place a stone on any (visibly) empty intersection. The detective team is allowed to publicly discuss (in view of the fugitive) their moves and strategy. If a detective’s attempted placement happens to be on a hidden fugitive stone, then the entire chain connected to that fugitive stone is revealed. Any future fugitive stones that connect to a revealed chain will also be revealed. After placing the other (non-colliding) detective moves on the board, first any fugitive chains without liberties are removed, then any detective chains without liberties are removed.
some further comments
- The fugitive is always aware of the true board position with all of the stones. The detective team can only see their own stones and the fugitive stones that have been revealed.
- Two or more detectives should not select the same point to play in a turn, or those moves will be treated as passes.
- Private discussion between only the detectives (such as in a private message) is forbidden. All detective discussion should occur in the public game thread.
- Self-capture (suicide) is possible, but very unlikely for the fugitive player.
- It is even possible for the detectives to capture each other’s chains (most likely by accident). Multiple detective chains without liberties are removed simultaneously.
- Properly coordinated moves could allow the detectives to capture a fugitive chain with two or more eyes.
The game ends when any of the following conditions are met (in order of precedence):
- The fugitive resigns → Detectives win
- The detective team unanimously agrees to resign → Fugitive wins
- The fugitive has no stones on the board after a turn → Detectives win
- The detectives have no stones on the board after a turn (unlikely) → Fugitive wins
- The board position after a turn is the same as the board position after any three previous turns → Fugitive wins
just some thoughts
Depending on the size of the board and the number of detectives, the game might become very difficult for one of the sides to win. Thus, we should consider handicapping systems to shift the objective slightly.
If we wish to increase the advantage of fugitive, we can add a sixth ending condition that requires the fugitive to only survive X turns to win:
- The game has completed X turns (without the other conditions being met) → Fugitive wins
If we wish to increase the advantage of the detectives, we can modify the 5th game end condition to require that the fugitive have at least X stones on the board in order to win if this condition is triggered.
Essentially, these handicapping system would change the victory condition for the fugitive from “survive” to either:
- Survive at least X rounds (if making the game easier for the fugitive)
- Survive with at least X stones (if making the game harder for the fugitive)
However, instead of picking a handicap, we could just play for the best outcome possible, with the fugitive aiming to survive as long as possible or with as many stones as possible, and the detectives aiming to either eliminate the fugitive as quickly as possible or surviving with as few stones as possible.
Let’s use this thread for discussing the rules and amending them, if necessary, and to recruit for the first game. The actual first game will be played in another thread. I will both host and serve as the fugitive in the first game. In order to keep track of the actual game state (including the hidden stones), the full board will be shown in a kibitz thread, while the redacted view for the detectives will be shown in the game thread.