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Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:36 pm
by Hagbard
Various sources have proposed initial orderings for tawlbwrdd 11x11 (no throne) which have been combinations of

Defenders' ordering:
Diamond or
cross.

Attackers' ordering:

T-ordering

Code: Select all

. . b . .
b b b b b
Bell

Code: Select all

. b .
b . b
b b b
Lewis

Code: Select all

b b b
b b b
These formations can be combined in 5 ways, and the measured game balances were:
Tawlbwrdd T diamond, game balance -1.73
Tawlbwrdd T cross, game balance -1.61
Tawlbwrdd Bell diamond, game balance -1.83
Tawlbwrdd Lewis diamond, game balance +1.51
Tawlbwrdd Lewis cross, game balance -1.06

Only one setup clearly differs from the rest by being well balanced: Tawlbwrdd Lewis cross!

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:28 am
by Hagbard
Never the less, this Damain Walker illustration from a historical source does indeed indicate a throne square also for Tawlbwrdd:
http://tafl.cyningstan.com/page/146/literary-sources

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:58 am
by cyningstan
Hagbard wrote:Never the less, this Damain Walker illustration from a historical source does indeed indicate a throne square also for Tawlbwrdd:
http://tafl.cyningstan.com/page/146/literary-sources
That was taken from Lewis's 1940 article. In the original article it appears to be a version tidied up for print, rather than a facsimile of the original drawing. Until the National Library of Wales decides to digitise the Peniarth manuscript and put it on line, or one of us can make the trip to Aberystwyth, the exact drawing will have to remain a mystery. Bell shows the board without a central square marking, and the original source doesn't mention any special properties of the square.

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:53 am
by Hagbard
Yesterday I brought with me the Hnefatafl game to a family birthday party. All the guests were very unaquainted with Hnefatafl, only four or five even ever heard about it.

Image

I invited three of the guests for a game of Hnefatafl and decided to use the Tawlbwrdd 11x11 variant (Tawlbwrdd Lewis cross).

This is a very efficient game in company with beginners, the simplest tafl game ever! Even simpler than Sea battle tafl. All squares are alike, there are no special squares on the board. All pieces are alike, the king is no different from any other piece, it's just that one of the pieces (the king) has to make it to any board edge square. Any piece is captured this way (show a custodian capture). That's all, very simple to explain to a beginner and simple to play.

The game works very well, the game balance is till now measured to a fine -1.06 (106 black wins per 100 white wins).

To help a beginner, the experienced player can beforehand remove some of his pieces:
  • when white, pieces f3 and f9, and perhaps c6 and i6 etc.
  • when black, pieces f1, f11, a6 and k6, or perhaps e2, g2, e10, g10, b5, b7, j5 and j7, etc.
And despite the removed pieces, the game still works well against a beginner.

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:07 pm
by crust
Hagbard wrote:Yesterday I brought with me the Hnefatafl game to a family birthday party... I invited three of the guests for a game of Hnefatafl and decided to use the Tawlbwrdd 11x11 variant (Tawlbwrdd Lewis cross, Welsh tafl). ... This is a very efficient game in company with beginners, the simplest tafl game ever! Even simpler than Sea battle tafl.
Great story Hagbard - you're right, it is a really simple variant - no special squares, no special pieces. Good place to start with beginners. Did they enjoy the games? Do you think they'll play again?

By the way, I had a lesson from a genuine Welsh friend on pronunciation, and she pronounced Tawlbwrdd as "towel - boorth"

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:20 pm
by Hagbard
crust wrote:Did they enjoy the games? Do you think they'll play again?

They did enjoy the games, and so did I. They were immediately ready to play the game and without having to think much about the rules. Not like earlier times when I with other beginners tried Skalk 11x11, Fetlar 11x11, Tablut 11x11 (Fetlar setup with throne) or Saami 9x9. With those games, the beginners were a bit confused and struggled to remember the rules details.

They were amused by the simple Welsh tafl and won't be hard to persuade for a game again. Two of them were children 12 years, who also immediately played this variant with no problem.
crust wrote:By the way, I had a lesson from a genuine Welsh friend on pronunciation, and she pronounced Tawlbwrdd as "towel - boorth"
Interesting! It would be pronounced like that, it's clearly the simple Scandinavian word "Tavlbord", old Danish "Tauelbord", old Norse "Taflborth". "D" easily and often becomes "th".
http://ordnet.dk/ods/ordbog?query=Tavlbord
The word names the game board and also the game played on it.

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:22 pm
by cyningstan
Tawlbwrdd is often the first version of the game that I teach people. It's the simplest and purest version, and I'm glad that it works so well. Of course I'm yet to find out if the absence of a special central square is historic or not.

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:45 pm
by Hagbard
Summary on the Welsh Tawlbwrdd:
http://aagenielsen.dk/tawlbwrdd_summary.php

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Sun May 15, 2016 11:48 am
by Hagbard
Ten starting setups for tawlbwrdd 11x11 was tournament tested, and the Tawlbwrdd Lewis cross 11x11 was found to be the distinctly only well balanced setup with no throne, balance -1.06 ( http://aagenielsen.dk/tawlbwrdd_summary.php ).

However, the tests showed that there exist also two balanced setups with a throne:
Tablut Lewis cross 11x11, balance -1.14
Tablut Bell 11x11, balance +1.04

Damian Walker wrote an article about Tawlbwrdd here:
http://tafl.cyningstan.com/post/640/hne ... y-of-wales

and directs the reader further on to the F.R.Lewis article from 1941, which can be read on the internet here:
[link virker ikke]

On page 193, F.R.Lewis writes about the Peniarth manuscript from 1587:
The first part, occupying 92 pages, was written by Robert ip Ifan during the month of May, 1587. On page 4, the author fortunately decided to insert a very rough sketch of the board used in tawlbwrdd, from which the diagram below has been copied
- board diagram -
Image

Robert ip Ifan is the original source of information about the Welsh tawlbwrdd, and through F.R.Lewis we learn that ip Ifan describes the board as 11x11 with the only distinguished square being a throne in the center.

So it appears that the Welsh Tawlbwrdd 11x11 indeed has a throne, the same as we know that has the Saami Tablut 9x9.

Now, returning to our ten test tournaments, we found that only two 11x11 setups with a throne are well balanced:

Tablut Lewis cross 11x11:
Image
Tablut Bell 11x11:
Image

Given the choice, the Tablut Lewis cross does appear somewhat "un-taflic" with its four double lines uncovered by the attackers. Usually lines uncovered by the attackers are single lines.

In the light of this, I suggest that the historical Welsh Tawlbwrdd setup is the Tablut Bell 11x11:
Image

(P.S. At the same time we also learn from the ip Ifan diagram that there exist no such thing as "attackers' base camps" as used in the Foteviken tafl).

Test tournament:
http://aagenielsen.dk/turnering2015_tawlbwrdd.php

Re: Tawlbwrdd 11x11

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 6:59 pm
by Hagbard
Two more test tournaments of the two Tawlbwrdd setups were done to find a best choice for the World Tafl Federation Championship Tournament 2016 round 1.
Both setups were found to work all right, the game balances being -1.13 and -1.17, and both setups gave many good games.
I went through all the games using the Replay function, and this is my opinion:


Hist. Hnef. Lewis cross 11x11
Image

This attackers' setup fits well with the ap Ifan text "... twenty-four men seek to capture him [the king]. These are placed, six in the centre of each side of the board and in the six central positions."

Gathering all attackers in edge center blocks and thus leaving eight open lines and maximum empty space in the corners, could make one believe that the defenders can slip through all this open space easily.

The test games showed, however, that it's very hard for the defenders (white) to escape. I had a number of games against high rated players, and my experience was that for the defenders the game is very tight and slightly random, meaning that you might be lucky enough to early catch the opponent in a position where his moves can be forced all the rest of the game until white victory, and if you do just one white move differently it all falls apart and white loses.

White's toolbox lacks the Millar Gambit with this setup (attacking f3 ao.), and one player mentioned that he misses it.


Hist. Hnef. Bell 11x11
Image

This defenders' setup fits well with the ap Ifan text "... a king in the centre and twelve men in the places next to him ...".

This setup allows for the Millar Gambit, and going through the games one finds a lot of interesting and varied game play. This is a game which can take many directions.


The two setups could do with further testing, but for now it seems that the Bell setup would be the best choice for the Championship round 1.

Other players' comments from the small forum:
2016-07-03 11:00:22 Tuireann: I think Tawlbwrdd 1 [Bell] creates more interesting games [...] and I have made some pretty unbelievable victories from behind on Tawlbwrdd 2 [Lewis cross] as black.

2016-07-05 18:51:14 Sigurd: Between Tawlbwrdd Bell & Lewis Cross it's close, but I'll go with Bell at this point. More games of each are needed though. I'm hoping they both hold up.