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Mind Ninja® The Game of Boundless Forms © Nick Bentley 2007-2008, emai |: nickobento@ gmail.com Overview Mind Ninja is a deep board game for two players. It is 2007 winner of the prestigious international board game design competition Concours International de Créateurs de Jeux de Société. © Objective Board Initial Steps 1. Bidding 2. Choosing a goal pattern 3. Setting initial position 4, Choosing a builder and a blocker Play End of Game Patterns, History of the game Objective In the game, a player choose a goal pattern, and then one player tries to build it by placing colored stones on the board while the other player places stones to prevent the pattem from being built. Board In general the game can be played on a board of any size and shape. There are two standard tournament boards, however: a hex board and a square board, both of which can be seen in the pattem section. Initial Steps. Bidding Choosing a goal pattern Setting initial position Choosing a builder and a blocker 1 2. 3, 4. 1. Bidding (Note: this step is optional, and should only be used when playing competitively or in a tournament seuing, where a game clock is available. If playing with a game clock, each player should start with 25 minutes on his clock) ‘The purpose of this step is to determine which player will get the right to choose the goal pattern. This right is given to a player who is ready to give up more time on his clock than his opponent, Both players begin by bidding numbers which stand for time. The players alternately increase the bid by one minute until one player passes. The player who did not pass then reduces the time on his clock by the amount of his last bid 2. Choosing a goal pattern ‘The player who did not pass in step 1 above chooses a goal pattern from among the list of patterns at the end of this document, and shows it to his opponent. If the players skipped step 1 above, pick one player at random to choose the pattern (Note: once they have experience with the game, players may invent their own patterns and use those instead. Many thousands of patterns are possible) 3. Setting up an initial position. ‘Afier choosing the goal pattern the pattern-chooser can set up some initial position by placing any number of stones of any color on the board (or none at all), ‘The purpose of this step is to set up a position that seems to be balanced both for the builder and, the blocker: Important remark! You must not form the goal pattern at this step since the player roles aren't chosen yet! If you form the goal pattern at this step then the second player can choose to be builder and win the game. If You are not an experienced player itis better to skip this step when ‘you are the pattern chooser. 4, Choosing a builder and a blocker At this step the player who did not choose the pattern can analyze the chosen pattern and the initial position and decide whether he wants to play as the builder or blocker. Play IF the players replaying wit a game clock, the builder's clock is started now. ‘Starting withthe builder, the players alternate tums, placing a single stone of any color to any empty cell of the board, Usually patterns requite the builder to place red stones and the blocker to place blue stones. But this is not true for all the pattems and sometimes it will be advantageous to one or both players to play with all available colors. End of Game ‘The game ends either when the board is completely full or the pattern has been built (but never before step 3 is complete). Ifthe pattern has been built, the builder wins. Otherwise, the blocker wins, The game may also end when a player resigns or runs out of time. Patterns ‘To get you started, we provide a list of patterns below. A few preliminary notes: ‘* Incach example, the board on which the pattern should be played appears in a pictured illustration. Unless otherwise specified, assume that only two stone colors (red and blue) are available 0 the players ‘+ Inorder to keep the pattem descriptions succinct, we rely on a few terms which are defined in the glossary below. You needn’t read the glossary unless the pattern descriptions confuse you. ‘+ Ifyou decide to invent your own patterns, there are a couple of rules: the pattern must describe constraints only on the distribution of stones/empty spaces on the board, and nothing else (like, for example, which player placed which stone, or the order in which stones were placed, or the time of day, etc) Glossary © Connected Group— A set of stones on the board, for which it is possible to trace a continuous path between, any two of them by stepping between adjacent stones in the set. ‘* Sice—to the number of stones or empty spaces in a group or pattern of stones or empty spaces. © Embedded— & connected group of stones is said to be embedded when it is connected to other stones, of the same color, that are not themselves part of the group. Most games wherein players try to build certain kinds of groups implicitly allow the groups to be embedded. For example, in the game Hex, the winning chain of stones connecting opposite sides may be connected to other pieces of the same color that branch off of the main chain, but which aren’t themselves involved in the connection. It is important to discuss this property explicitly here, because it can cause confusion when players invent pattern goals. An example will help to illustrate the idea. Let us say that the pattern that the builder must build is a smiley face, such as the one above to the right. Now, let us imagine that during the course of the game, the board ends up in the state illustrated by the next picture. Clearly, although the pattern of red stones is not itself a smiley face, it does contain a smiley face, as can be seen by highlighting some of the stones, as in the picture at right. The question is: has the builder won? Well, ifthe pattern may be embedded, then yes, the builder has won. He has built a smiley face that is embedded in a larger pattern of red stones. Practically speaking, most balanced patterns may be embedded (one exception are patterns that place constraints on empty spaces). Therefore, if you are unsure whether the builder’s pattern can be embedded, assume that it can.