Monday, August 15, 2016

Games@Dal 2016: Israel talks about Picaria

Games@Dal 2016 talk: "Eternal Picaria" - Israel Rocha w/Urban Larsson

Israel Rocha presented a new game to me: Picaria.  Picaria is a traditional board game of the Zuni tribe from the American southwest, but it also pops up in other parts of the world, including southwest Sweden (known there as a type of Luffarshack).  It plays a bit like a Three Mens Morris mixed with Tic-Tac-Toe.

Players play on a graph, usually set up in a 3x3 grid like Tic-Tac-Toe, but with diagonal connections as well.  In the first six turns, players are playing pieces, trying to make three-in-a-row.  After those pieces are played, players instead slide pieces to an adjacent location, still trying to make a line of three.

Israel explained that he and Urban Larsson showed that Picaria is a draw, via exhaustive search. (And without a computer!)  They then considered some variants, including giving a player more stones and playing on bigger boards.

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