Help For the Game Of Chameleon

Introduction

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

chameleon challenge [-size=number] userid1 userid2

Starts a new game between userid1 and userid2. The -size parameter sets the board size within the range 3..26, with 11 being the default.

Rules

Two players, Vert and Horz, take turns placing either an 'x' piece or an 'o' piece on the board.

Vert wins by completing either a chain of 'x' pieces or a chain of 'o' pieces between the top and bottom board edges. Horz wins by completing either a chain of 'x' pieces or a chain of 'o' pieces between the left and right board edges.

If a move results in a connecting chain for both players, then the mover wins. For example:

. . . . . . .       . . . o . . .       . . . . . . x
. . . . . . .       . . . o . . .       . . . . . x .
. . . . . . .       . . . o . . .       . . . . x . .
o o o o o o o       . . . o . . .       . . . x . . .
. . . . . . .       . . . o . . .       . . x . . . .
. . . . . . .       . . . o . . .       . x . . . . .
. . . . . . .       . . . o . . .       x . . . . . .

Horz wins           Vert wins         Last mover wins

Notes

Playing Chameleon is a constant tightrope act. In most connection games, each player can concentrate fully on pushing their connection as hard as possible. However in Chameleon players must keep their connections strong only in their direction or risk having them stolen. Players must consider the implications of each move very carefully.

Chameleon has a similar feel to Jade but with clearer goals.

One of the most interesting aspects of Chameleon is that it inherently solves the first move advantage problem which plagues most connection games. While opening in the centre is a winning move in Hex, it is a death sentence in Chameleon. The first player's best opening move is well away from the centre and any opponent's edge.

Chameleon should be played on larger boards. Games smaller than 10x10 tend to degenerate into a race after only a few moves.

Syntax

Vert moves first. The move syntax is:

chameleon move board# userid password coord

where "coord" is of the form "f4o" to place an 'o' piece at empty point f4, or "f4x" to place an 'x' piece at empty point f4.

chameleon move board# userid password swap

Swap the opening move (second move only). The swap option is not that important but is provided for experimentation.

References and History

Chameleon was discovered by Randy Cox in early November 2003, then independently rediscovered mid November 2003 by Bill Taylor after an idea by Cameron Browne. Interestingly, there is a good reason for the proximity of these independent discoveries, as both were motivated by the upcoming deadline for the 2003 Shared Pieces game design competition.

The game was originally called Goofy Hex then Funky Hex by Randy, but was first made public under the name Chameleon and that has stuck. This name refers to the fact that players tend to change colours based on their environment; the fact that Bill's eyes pop out when he sees a good move has nothing to do with it.

Implementation and help file by Cameron Browne, November 2003.