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 Post subject: Negative group tax
Post #1 Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:25 pm 
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I'd like to see a discussion on the implications of a negative group tax. Say, for example, each player gets 2 additional points for every group he has on the board. Players would be rewarded for making groups locally alive rather than relying on connecting them to already living groups. Moreover, area scores would be more finely grained because of empty dame points. In my head, this sounds pretty interesting...

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Post #2 Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 3:58 am 
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And, of course, stone scoring with a 2-point negative group tax is just area scoring. :)

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Post #3 Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 5:06 am 
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An interesting nuance is that, if groups don't include territories, a player can increase his score by filling his own territories with new groups.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$c
$$ ---------------------
$$ | . X . X O . . . . |
$$ | X . X X O O O O O |
$$ | . X . X O . . . . |
$$ | X . X X O . . . . |
$$ | . X . X O O O O O |
$$ | X . X X O . . . . |
$$ | . X . X O . . . . |
$$ | X . X X O O O O O |
$$ | . X . X O . . . . |
$$ ---------------------[/go]

In this position, if group tax is -2 and territories are not part of groups, scores are as follows:

Black: 36 + 10*2 = 56
White: 45 + 1*2 = 47

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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #4 Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:54 am 
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luigi wrote:
An interesting nuance is that, if groups don't include territories, a player can increase his score by filling his own territories with new groups.
Gross!

Interesting, but gross.

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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #5 Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:56 am 
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When you wrote group tax, I understood group tax. You mean, however, string tax.


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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #6 Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 8:19 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
When you wrote group tax, I understood group tax. You mean, however, string tax.

I meant group tax in my first post, then realized string tax would result in a very different game.

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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #7 Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 3:51 pm 
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hyperpape wrote:
luigi wrote:
An interesting nuance is that, if groups don't include territories, a player can increase his score by filling his own territories with new groups.
Gross!

Interesting, but gross.

Or perhaps not interesting at all. This seems to contradict the OP idea that players would be rewarded for living locally. Now it seems players will be rewarded for wasting everyone's time. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #8 Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:43 am 
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ez4u wrote:
This seems to contradict the OP idea that players would be rewarded for living locally. Now it seems players will be rewarded for wasting everyone's time. :)

The strings version still rewards living locally. How is it a waste of time? This is not the constructive discussion I was hoping for.

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Post #9 Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:24 pm 
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Luigi, it seems like you're motivated by an interested in rules for their own sake, and a certain sort of values surrounding those rules (this is common in the abstract game design community). Most of us here are motivated by a game we find enjoyable to play (the values game players typically hold).

Sometimes those values overlap. Lots of abstract game designers are game enthusiasts, and sometimes games are regarded highly by both groups. I'm guessing that's why you're here in a go forum. But other times, there's a disconnect. Chess is a good example. Its rules are not simple or elegant, but it's fun to play (many go players disagree, but lots of people like both games). In the other direction, the pie rule is elegant, ruleswise, but (imo) distasteful to go players because it requires you to make unappealing moves.

To answer your question directly, as a game player, I find the idea of maximizing the number of strings in my territory dull.

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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #10 Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:03 pm 
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luigi wrote:
ez4u wrote:
This seems to contradict the OP idea that players would be rewarded for living locally. Now it seems players will be rewarded for wasting everyone's time. :)

The strings version still rewards living locally. How is it a waste of time? This is not the constructive discussion I was hoping for.


Let me make a comparison with straight no pass go. It has a certain interest, as the scores are quite different from regular go, even regular go with a group tax. For instance, group which is an eye with 4 empty points in a row does not have a local territory score of 2 pts., i.e., 4 pts. of territory minus a group tax of 2, but only 1 pt. And a group which is an eye with 5 pts. in a row does not have a local score, because it is worth 1 pt. plus an infinitesimal. In a close game that infinitesimal might matter.

Some go players might avoid straight no pass go because of the difficulty and unfamiliarity of the different scores. Others, like myself, welcome the challenge. :) However, I would never play straight no pass go on a 19x19 board, because games would take too long, as correct play in the endgame would require playing inside what is secure territory in regular go. The game might last more than 50 moves longer, and become tedious. String go faces the same kind of problem. Scores might not be as complicated as those of straight no pass go, but the game would become longer and more tedious than regular go.

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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #11 Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:28 pm 
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This negative group tax idea runs afoul of the wisdom ("proverb") that if a player has six groups one is dead.

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Post #12 Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:15 pm 
Oza
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luigi wrote:
ez4u wrote:
This seems to contradict the OP idea that players would be rewarded for living locally. Now it seems players will be rewarded for wasting everyone's time. :)

The strings version still rewards living locally. How is it a waste of time? This is not the constructive discussion I was hoping for.

Does this mean you think only positive comments are constructive? :scratch:

Look at your diagram. Black earns extra points for each unconnected stone played inside their territory. So the game has to continue until both sides are done "checker-boarding" their territory? That may appeal to some people. If so, they can say so. Meanwhile I think it is just as constructive to point out that it does not appeal to me.

The original idea of groups, not strings, raises some interesting strategy questions. Traditionally, cutting off a group and forcing it to live locally is a good idea. Indeed we are taught not to begin an attack with an eye-stealing play inside a group that can escape to the outside because our original stone becomes a loss. Now, cutting off a group incurs a penalty when it lives separately. Emphasis may shift to more aggressively stealing eyes in order to force connections.

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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #13 Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:41 pm 
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Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$c
$$ -------------------------
$$ | . . . O X . X O . . . |
$$ | . O . O X X X O . O . |
$$ | . . . O X . X O . . . |
$$ | O O O O X X X O O O O |
$$ | X X X O O X O O X X X |
$$ | . X . X X C X X . X . |
$$ | X X X X X W X X X X X |
$$ | O O O O O X O O O O O |
$$ | . . O X X X X X O . . |
$$ | O . O X . X . X O . O |
$$ | . . O X X X X X O . . |
$$ -------------------------[/go]


Under the group version, assuming group connectivity works through surrounded regions but not mutual dame, and with a +2 points per group, it seems black would like to claim white's marked stone should be treated as alive, and the intervening liberty to be dame, so that black has four separate groups. Black argues that like in various kinds of seki or in a hanezeki, even though killing white's stone is possible, it is undesirable and they would never want to do it, so it should not be forced of them. Treating white as dead costs black 6 points for all the groups to be united into one, while only costing white 2 points and gaining black only 1 capture and 2 points of territory, for a net loss of 1 point.

Morally speaking, should the ruleset be designed so that black's claim of white's life here may stand? :)

(One could also retort that if black wants to make this claim, they would have to accept their surrounding groups being a seki due to touching a dame under the weird Japanese rules definition of seki... but I'm assuming that we will either not use that formulation of seki or not have a "no territory in seki" rule. Because with a negative group tax there will be other situations where players ould like to not have to fill dame when it results in connections of groups, and it would provide really perverse incentives and bizarre gameplay if those dame invalidated the territory of otherwise clearly independently-alive groups.


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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #14 Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:03 pm 
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Indeed! Personally I would favor the seki interpretation with Japanese no territory in seki, just to punish Black's lawyering.

In luigi's diagram, note how White's E2, E5, and E8 combine to turn five strings into one.

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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #15 Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:32 pm 
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I think the no territory in seki + seki is defined by dame adjacency combination might be pretty unituitive from a game-play perspective, not just in "lawyering" cases, enough to be not just "it's still basically Go, just with an incentive to have more groups" because you could then be forced to connect those groups up again later even if already alive. Try this example:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$c
$$ . . . . . . O X
$$ . . O . . . O X
$$ O O . . . O O X
$$ X X O O O X X .
$$ . . X . X . . .
$$ . . X . X X . .
$$ X X O O O X X X
$$ X O . O . O O O
$$ X O . . . . . .[/go]


With the black and white territories extending out in each direction further. Both players would be forced to count the sizes of the bordering areas, and then the player with the smaller could usually force the other player to have to connect through - either black is forced to fill both dame, or white is forced to connect through, while the other player repeatedly passes. This would happen potentially in several places on the board at the junctions between different groups or where bamboo joints or other non-solid connection shapes are involved. Doesn't feel like a particularly fun mechanic to me personally - nicer to just let both sides score what they will for having made independent life on each side without connecting yet.

The thing that makes the current situation fine is that usually it doesn't matter who fills it because neither player is costed anything for doing so, so you don't get fights over "no, *you* fill the dame while I pass", and indeed many online servers even let players skip the step.


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 Post subject: Re: Negative group tax
Post #16 Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 7:16 am 
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Thanks for the analysis, guys. I played a game of Stringo today (a more extreme version of the negative string tax) and I have to agree that it is not particularly enjoyable. Players seem to have little control over their final number of strings. Negative group tax has more interesting effects, as you have explained.

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