Mind Ninja

Mind Ninja is a simple abstract board game for two players invented by Nicholas Bentley.

It's also a broad generalization of a game called Hex, invented by John Nash, Nobel Prize winning mathematician, founder of modern Game Theory and subject of the book/movie "A Beautiful Mind".

In the game, a player invents 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 pattern from being built.

In general the game can be played on a board of any size and shape.

The online version of Mind Ninja played on igGameCenter uses a hexagonal board.


Initial steps
The board starts out empty.  Before the actual play four preparation steps are performed:
  1. Bidding for the right to choose a pattern.
  2. Choosing a goal pattern.
  3. Setting up an initial position.
  4. Choosing a builder and a blocker.

1. Bidding
The purpose of this step is to determine which player will get the right to choose the goal pattern.  This right is given to the player who is ready to give more free (handicap) moves to his opponent.

Both players begin by bidding numbers that stand for free (handicap) turns.  The players alternately increase their bids until one player clicks the "Pass" button.  That player now owns a number of free turns equal to the last bid.  (However, he does not take these turns yet.  He will take them at the beginning of the actual play).

2. Choosing a goal pattern
The player who did not pass in step 1 chooses a goal pattern from among a list of patterns that appear.

3. Setting up an initial position
After choosing the goal pattern the pattern inventor can set up an initial position by placing any number of stones of any color on the board (or none at all).  At the end of setting the initial position the player should click the "Pass" button.

The purpose of this step is to set up a position that seems to be balanced both for the builder and the blocker.

Important!  You must not form the goal pattern in this step since the player roles aren't chosen yet!  If you form the goal pattern during this step, then the second player can choose to be the builder and win the game.   If you are not an experienced player, it is better to skip this step by clicking the "Pass" button.

4. Choosing a builder and a blocker
In this step the second player can analyze the chosen pattern and the initial position and decide whether he wants to play as the builder or blocker.

After this step the actual play begins.

Starting with the builder, the players alternate turns, placing a single stone of any color on any empty cell of the board.  Usually patterns require the builder to place red stones and the blocker to place blue stones.  But this is not true for all the patterns since there are ones that require both players to play with all available colors.

Important!  The player who got the free (handicap) turns in the bidding step may take one free turn after each of any of his normal turns, until he has no free turns left.   If he doesn't take a free turn which is available to him, that free turn is lost.

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).

If the 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.

IgGameCenter currently supports the following patterns:
  1. Almost Y   (invented by Nicholas Bentley)
  2. Bre-e-edge   (invented by Nicholas Bentley)
  3. Difference War   (invented by Nicholas Bentley)
  4. Linear Chaos   (invented by Arty Sandler)
  5. Odd   (invented by Nicholas Bentley)
  6. Product War   (invented by Nicholas Bentley)
  7. Reflectology   (invented by Arty Sandler)
  8. Triple Hex   (invented by Nicholas Bentley)
  9. Short Circuit (invented by Harald Korneliussen)
  10. Lilliputians   (invented by Nicholas Bentley)
  11. Balls and Chains (invented by Harald Korneliussen)
  12. Octopus   (invented by Nicholas Bentley)
  13. Equilibrium   (invented by Dániel Gerbner)

External Links


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