Help for the Game of Savoya

```****************************************************************************
**                                                                        **
**  NOTE: The Savoya rules do not work properly as they currently stand,  **
**        as games end in stalemates if players mutually pin each other.  **
**                                                                        **
**        Please play Spiro instead, a similar game in which this         **
**        problem is fixed.                                               **
**                                                                        **
****************************************************************************```

Introduction

Welcome to the network Savoya server. The challenge command is described here. Other commands are the same as for all pbmserv games.

savoya challenge [-stack=number] [-even=number] [-step=number] userid1 userid2 [userid3 [userid4]]

starts a new game for two, three or four players.

The -stack parameter specifies the number of pieces to start with, stacked on the cell farthest from the pieces' home (default -stack=6).
The -even parameter specifies the number of pieces to start with, distributed evenly across the home area farthest from the pieces' home.
The -step parameter specifies the number of pieces to start with, distributed in steps within the home area farthest from the pieces' home.

Rules

Savoya is a race game for two, three or four players, similar to Plakoto (a Backgammon variant) played upon two interwoven figure-of-eight paths. It is a more advanced version of Savoy.

Equipment: Six pieces of each colour and two six-sided dice. The three end cells in each direction are the home of those pieces travelling in that direction.

Two Player Version: One player (Horz) owns the Left (L) and Right (R) pieces. The other player (Vert) owns the Top (T) and bottom (B) pieces.

Three and Four Player Versions: Each player own one set of pieces in this order: Right (R), Left (L), Top(T) and Bottom(B). The piece names describe their main direction of travel.

Aim: The game is won by the first player to get all of their pieces home.

Start: Players start with their pieces stacked across the board from their home, as shown below. Players roll a die each to determine order of play. The player with the highest roll uses that die for the opening move, thereafter all players roll two dice per move.

`   a    b   c     d    e    f    g    h    i    j    k    l    m    n    o                                                                                                            +-BB-+                                              15                        | BB |                                                                        | BB |  T=90                                      15                          + . .+                                              14                        |    |        +-------+-------+                                               |    |       / .      .      . \                  14                          + . .+      /   .     .     .   \                   13                        |    |     /     +----+----+     \                                            |    |    |     /           \     \               13            +-------+-----+----+----+ . .+------+      \     |                12         / .      .     .    .    |    |     . \      + . .+              12          /   .     .     .    .    |    |    .   \     |    |                         /     +----+-----+----+----+ . .+---+     |    |    |                11      +     /           |    |    |    |    \    |    |    |     R=90     11       / .   /            |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |                      /   . /      +------+ . .+----+----+----+ . .+----+----+----+----+-LL-+      |     +      / .     |    |    .    .    |    |    .    .    .    . LL 1010   |     |     /   .    |    |    .    .    |    |    .    .    .    . LL |      |     |    |     +---+ . .+----+----+----+ . .+----+----+----+----+----+      |     +    |    /    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |                9     \  .  \_  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |               9       +      --+ . .+----+----+----+ . .+----+----+----+ . .+-----_                  \       |    |    .    .    |    |    .    .    |    |      \         8        \_     |    |    .    .    |    |    .    .    |    |       \       8           -----+ . .+----+----+----+ . .+----+----+----+ . .+--_     +                       |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |   \  .  \     77               |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    /    |    +     |      +-RR-+----+----+----+----+ . .+----+----+----+ . .+---+     |    |     |      | RR .    .    .    .    |    |    .    .    |    |    .   /     |     |    66| RR .    .    .    .    |    |    .    .    |    |     . /      +     |      +----+----+----+----+----+ . .+----+----+----+ . .+------+      / .   /                      |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |            /   . /      5       L=90     |    |    |    \    |    |    |    |           /     +        5               |    |    |     +---+ . .+----+----+-----+----+     /                         |    |     \   .    |    |    .    .     .     .   /         44               + . .+      \ .     |    |    .    .     .      . /                           |     \      +------+ . .+----+----+-----+-------+                             \     \           /     |    |    |                          3                 \     +----+----+     /     |    |                         3                   \   .     .     .   /      + . .+                          2                   \ .      .      . /       |    |                                               +-------+-------+        |    |  B=90                   2                                              + TT.+                          1                                             | TT |                                                                        | TT |                         1                                              +----+                                                                                                            a    b    c    d    e    f   g    h    i    j     k    l     m   n    o   `

Movement: Each turn, the current player must move one or more of their pieces according to the dice pips shown. A double entitles the player to use twice the number of pips.

Pieces must move the number of pips shown in any direction allowed by the cell in which they start the move. Pieces on crossings may move in any of four directions, while pieces on all other cells may only move in either of two directions, as shown below.

`                           |    |                      +-------+----+----+----+--             / .      .    .    .    .              /   .  <----R---->  .    .             /     +----+----+----+----+--          +     /          |    |                /  .  /           |    |               /     +            + . .+              |     /             |    |              |    |              | ^  |       --+----+----+----+----+----+ | .+----+--  .    .    .    .    .    | |  |    .    .    .    .    .    . <----R---->  .  --+----+----+----+----+----+ | .+----+--       |    |              | |  |                             |    |              | v  |                             + . .+              + . .+       |    |              |    |`

Once a direction is chosen, the piece must follow the path continuously throughout its move; it may not make sharp turns mid-way through the move even if it steps onto a crossing. If a piece can reach the same cell via a different number of steps depending which direction it takes, the player may choose whichever direction they prefer.

The move may be made by a single piece or split among more than one piece. The maximum number of pips must be used each turn, unless the game is won mid-way through a move. Pieces may not step off the end of the board, and a move must change the board state: a piece cannot simply swap positions with another piece or circle back to the cell from which it started its move.

Capture: If a piece lands on a single differently coloured piece, then the singleton is pinned until the player moves off it, as per Plakoto. Pieces may jump over but not land on any stack owned by a differently coloured piece. Note that in the two-player version this means that pieces may be pinned by friendly pieces going in the opposite direction, for instance an R piece may pin an L piece even though both belong to Horz.

Pieces may stack on same-coloured pieces to any height.

A player who cannot move is forced to pass until they can move again. There is no voluntary passing.

Notes

Simply stepping forwards each turn will traverse the full path and take a long time to get pieces home. Instead, crossings allow shortcuts that can bypass segments of the path.

Crossings are also strong cells to occupy as they threaten four lines of attack at once. Creating blocks on crossings is usually a good play, and conversely leaving singleton pieces on crossings can be dangerous as this gives the opponent the greatest chance of pinning them.

Beware of bounce-back in which a single remaining piece close to home is forced to move a long way backwards if both dice overshoot the home area.

The fact that pieces cannot turn corners during a move means that any piece releasing a pin will be threatened by the released piece next turn, unless it lands on a safe stack.

The first player only gets one die for the opening move to reduce any first move advantage. In fact, an opening roll of 5 can be a bad start in Savoya, and an opening roll of 3 can be a bad start in Savoy if the opponent is lucky enough to roll a double 6 next turn.

Savoya is at heart a non-linear version of Plakoto. The smaller version of Savoy provides a gentle introduction to this concept, while Savoya provides scope for more complex battles to occur.

Syntax

The move syntax is:

savoya move board# userid password a6-c6
savoya move board# userid password a6-c6,g6-h6
savoya move board# userid password 3xg10-j10,e6-b6

History

Savoy and Savoya board designs and rules copyright (c) Cameron Browne 2006.

The game is called Savoya as the figure-of-eight knot is also known as the savoy knot. It was originally called Genuflect as the paths cross themselves repeatedly.

The official Savoy/Savoya page can be found at http://members.optusnet.com.au/helen.gilbert/savoy/savoy-1.htm.