Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Is there a "sweet spot" or "magic number" of spaces for an area-based boardgame (or any other kind, for that matter) where pieces occupy areas?

Chess and checkers have 64 spaces and (respectively) 32 and 24 pieces. My Law & Chaos (TM, prototype) has 61 areas, with a varying number of pieces on the board (tending to grow larger over time). Tic-Tac-Oh (prototype) has three boards of 16 squares each (48 areas). Go, on the other hand, has far more "spaces" (the intersections of areas on a 19 by 19 grid).

Intuitively, you might expect that fewer areas means the game is simpler to deal with, though the game may still have a great deal of depth.

How about "classic" area-based wargames? Risk has 42 areas. Britannia has 37. Vinci has 45 (by quick count). Diplomacy has (by quick count) about 65 areas for 34 pieces. History of the World and Axis and Allies have many more areas (and original A&A had a lot more, IIRC).

Perhaps there's a relationship between number of pieces on the board and number of areas, but I don't have the data to compare. In chess there's one piece for each two areas. The average for Britannia depends on the era, but is roughly 55 pieces for the 37 areas. The ratio in Vinci is something over one piece per area. In Risk it's a lot higher, at times. Diplomacy's ratio is much like that of chess, about two areas per piece.

I'm not sure where this rumination has arrived at, but there it is.

1 comment:

Yehuda said...

Technically, Checkers, unlike Chess, has only 32 spaces.