Cameron Browne (c) 2007
Halves is a simple boardless anti-connection game for two or three players.
Two players, Light and Dark, each have 12 hexagonal tiles of their colour. The game starts with one of each player's tiles touching as follows.
Waxing phase: Players take turns adding a tile of their colour adjacent to at least one enemy tile. Tiles should fit snugly against adjacent tiles without gap or overlap as if following an underlying hexagonal grid. Tiles should be placed quickly and without much thought in this preparatory half of the game.
Contract: When all tiles have been placed, the first player elects which colour to play and their opponent makes the next move.
Waning phase: Players take turns removing a tile of their colour. If this removal splits the remaining tiles into two or more disconnected subsets, then the largest subset is kept and all other subsets removed. If there are two equal largest subsets, then the mover chooses which subset survives.
End: The game is won by the first player with no tiles left on the board.
The following example shows White to move with five tiles remaining in the waning (tile removal) stage. Black is two moves away from a win:
White can remove their central bridging piece x to create two disconnected subsets (centre) then must remove the isolated piece as part of the move. The resulting board position is shown on the right; White has turned the game around and will win on their next move.
Disconnect and remove subsets to get rid of as many of your pieces as quickly as possible.
First move advantage: The opening player has an advantage in that they will win if no groups are disconnected. However, this is balanced out somewhat by the second player’s advantage of having last reply to the opening player’s placements; in particular, the second player gets to place the very last tile. The contract step also helps balance out any first move advantage.
Three-player game: The three-player game is played according to the rules described above. If two players win on the same move then the game is a tie between those two players. The three-player starting position is shown below:
Random placement: The waxing (tile placement) phase can be laborious if too much thought goes into it. A quick alternative is for either or both players to place the tiles more or less at random then go straight to the contract phase. Tiles should still be neatly placed to fit adjacent tiles without gaps or overlap.
Halves rules copyright (c) Cameron Browne, October 2007.
Halves was one of those games that occurred in a flash - it took about 15 minutes to think the rules through and jot them down. Some embellishments were considered then abandoned for the sake of simplicity.
Halves is a "take away" reduction game in the style of Nim and Steven Meyers' excellent Forms.
Halves can be played on Richard's PBeM server - check out the help file for more details. Many thanks to the server regulars who helped test the game. Please challenge me (camb) to a game any time.
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Site designed by Cameron Browne © 2007. Last modified 23/11/2007.