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Sunday, November 27, 2016

"HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed!"


As mentioned in my last post, I have decided to separate the Tak playing stones into 2 groups. This is partially due to laziness - I'm tired of typing "wall or capstone" in my blogs and want a clean, appropriate, one-word classifier. But, also, walls and capstones share a lot of qualities. I am not saying that they are interchangeable, just that they share enough that I think we can group them together in certain discussions. The commonalities are:  They cannot be captured with flats, cannot be captured with walls, have very similar movement options, and do not contribute to flat count.

So, without further ado, my collective name for capstones and standing stones (walls):  Nobles.

In my future write ups, I will now specifically type "wall(s)" or "capstone(s)" when the distinction matters. However, when it matters not, I will use "noble(s)".

Why nobles, you say?

Well, I messed around with Upright Stones vs. Flatstones and Vertical vs. Horizontal Stones and even laughed about Erect Stones....because penis jokes are almost always funny.

I settled on Nobles for the walls and caps because it fits with my idea that the flatstones are peasants. Not pawns, like in chess; but peasants.  I would like to talk a little about peasants and a little about nobles and in the end, we'll see if this analogy holds water.

A pawn is someone used to further your own means and nothing else. A peasant is a vital part of the kingdom. Without them, you have no hope of ever exploring new lands, feeding your people, or having someone to attend your executions. They are much more powerful than pawns and help to prove why Tak is a much more civilized and egalitarian game than chess :) Peasants are usually content to build and grow their small estates, and only enter into land disputes when threatened or when they are sure of an easy win. With superior numbers, they can overrun any single noble. But, while peasants are vital and powerful as a class, they do have their limitations. For one, they lack the ability to stop charging armies (spreading noble stacks) and mobs (spreading flat stacks). For another, they require either a large number of like-minded neighbors working together or a competent noble to be truly effective (usually it takes both of these things).

A noble is only a man. He only occupies 1 space and moves in almost exactly the same way as a peasant (except he uses coconuts). However, his influence is stronger than a peasant's. He will gladly claim ownership of the surrounding area unless other nobles decide to occupy them or if his skills are needed with other matters. A noble is similar to any ruler; he can be effective or ineffective based on the situations he is put in and whether or not he receives good directions. If you drop a noble in the middle of nowhere with no support and expect great things, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Likewise, if you advise him to capture a lot of prisoners, not only is he less effective at building and maintaining his fiefdom, he becomes a liability because of the risk of your adversary breaking those prisoners out.  Because of his fortified land, a noble can be used to safeguard part of the peasant population (sitting on a stack) and also move them to safer pastures (He can guard more than he can move (which is one reason I like the carrying capacity rule...it seems intuitive...traveling/building/fighting is almost always more risky than digging in)). Above all, a noble's power shines when he amasses loyal followers and uses them to work towards a common goal with other nobles.

That, in a very wordy nutshell, is why I think the standing and cap stones should be called nobles.

So, what do you think? Am I full of it? Or did I fulfill some deep need in the Tak community with this post? Probably neither...but it was fun!

Seriously, let me know what you think...

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!!

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