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ArimaaA game information page
. Uses same equipment as Chess, but designed to be difficult for computers.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Anonymous wrote on 2010-08-03 UTC
It's rules are easier than chess rules? I did not understand how freezing and trapping exactly work!

George Duke wrote on 2010-08-02 UTC
Arimaa has both the placement phase and different win condition. Pre-placement not fixed and different win conditions are two current topics in CVPage. First the gold player places, then the silver player places. Winning by reaching goal or state of eliminating all opposite rabbits. Trenholme points out, 24.Sept.2006 here ''all comments'' that Arimaa variants are under-utilized, that would work on any board. If we have, say, 200 boards including hexagonal, that's 200 Arimaa variations to adopt for starter. Or also vary rules a bit as to the number of rabbits, 4-5-6-7-8 crosswise with 4-5-6-7-8, supposing different armies between the two sides, that's at least 20 more, i.e., 20 times the 200 boards.

Larry Smith wrote on 2009-05-16 UTC
Thanks for the heads-up on the info, Omar.

Kinda thought the piece values would be based upon not only their rank(power hierarchy) but also upon their position in relation to the opposing pieces. For example, the Elephant would be a very powerful piece but the opposing Elephant could lower that value simply by being within its area of movement(and this effect could be mutual). Blocking an equal, or even lower, ranked piece could be considered an asset to its value. 

Particularly when it relates to Rabbits. Keeping the opposing Rabbits as far from their last rank could be considered a positive field position. So, not only the value of the Rabbit could be based upon its particular position on the field but the values of all the player's Rabbits could be used to calculate an effective field position.

And Freezing would also be a value. The piece which is 'frozen', and the pieces which is doing the 'freezing', could have their overall value(or simply a sub-value) modified by this condition. This could also be further modified by the positions of other pieces in relation to these.

I've already coded a ZRF so that the engine 'randomly' initiates a set-up pattern for both sides. This allows me to test out a large number of potential set-up patterns. Of course, the current code is rather dim, being able to only look-ahead a few full turns. But I can manually create possible positions on the field and see how they will play out(if I have a lot of patience).

A simple translation of this code into Axiom will be the first step of the project.

Omar Syed wrote on 2009-05-15 UTC
Hi Larry. I didn't know about the Axiom Development Kit. I just read about
it. It will be interesting to see how much stronger Zillions can be with
this. I look forward to trying it out.

>Are there any optimal set-up patterns which the computer might select

Someone had posted in the Arimaa forum about a study of the frequency of
times various setups were used. I am not able to find that posting
currently, but I'll send it to you once I find it. I think you could use
these results to get some predefined setups. The question of how optimal a
setup is would be hard to answer. Perhaps we don't have enough games yet
to even try to answer it.

>Does having certain pieces on certain positions improve the play of the

I don't think anyone has studied this yet.

>And, exactly what are the values of the pieces in this game and how would
they be expressed?

There has been quite a bit of discussion about this on the Arimaa forum
(bot developer section). The current best model uses relative evaluation
based on what other pieces are on the board as opposed to absolute values
for the pieces.

Larry Smith wrote on 2009-05-15 UTC
I was thinking of trying out the Axiomatic Development Kit with one of my old Zillions implementation. Now, I've decided to apply it to this game.

Not saying that the engine add-on will improve the computer play enough to win the contest. But it will be a challenge to push the code to its limit.

Even after simply coding the rules into the application, I plan to run many computerVScomputer games to tweak its dynamics. For example: Are there any optimal set-up patterns which the computer might select from? Does having certain pieces on certain positions improve the play of the program? And, exactly what are the values of the pieces in this game and how would they be expressed?

This will be My Summer Project. Looking forward to the vid-strain and the coffee jitters. ;-)

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2009-05-10 UTC
Omar: thank you very much for your reaction here!

To 'Also please see the Arimaa Public License: ': well, I am not a native English speaker, as a lot of chess and variants programmers would not be, too. Thus I do not understand every implication of the license's details. If those rules would be valid also e.g. for the country of Germany, where I am living in, it would be fine to have a German language translation at hands. This is, because I am not a lawyer, and I had experienced a lot of difficulties around an unspeakable 10x8 chess variant targeting a bunch of priorly very interested people.

To: 'For personal, educational and research use, Arimaa is freely available.': I occasionally used to publish my (still amateur level) combined 8x8 and 10x8 chess multi variant engine SMIRF and GUI at my homesite, very rarely from time to time gathering by it some voluntary donations to support that programming work, which needs casually to be enhanced e.g. buying some updates of development tools. 

Within SMIRF I therefore had to disable that unspeakable 10x8 variant to prevent it from general use. Moreover nevertheless I always regarded myself to be only a small step away from jail. Such feelings are not of that kind, which might increase motivation and creativity to deepen an understanding especially of patented variants. It seems, that there would be no chance to legally publish any Arimaa® enabled program or GUI at a personal web site, so why should I start an Arimaa® development at all, when only earning of trouble seems to be certain already e.g. by giving away some program copies mainly for testing purposes?

Omar wrote on 2009-05-10 UTC
Mr. Muller, I think there are several very talented programmers who are
very interested in wanting to build strong Arimaa programs and have devoted
a lot of time to building such programs. Please see David Fotland's paper
or Haizhi Zhong's thesis on building a strong Arimaa program.

Of course you are also welcome to try.

Omar wrote on 2009-05-10 UTC
Reinhard, please send your message through the contact page on the Arimaa
site. Larry just sent me a message and I got it. Not sure why I didn't get
yours. You can also post it in the forum on the Arimaa site.

Also please see the Arimaa Public License:

For personal, educational and research use, Arimaa is freely available.

Rich Hutnik wrote on 2009-05-10 UTC
I had also stated, when I first ran across Arimaa, that it really shouldn't be too hard for an AI to do. However, Omar does have work in computer science and understanding how current AI research works. He specifically designed Arimaa to hit the weak points of how AIs work currently and not play well. I would say another game like Arimaa is Octi. It wasn't designed with being too hard for an AI in mind (I speak of Octi Extreme), but has the decision tree being WAY too large for an AI to be effective.

Reinhard Scharnagl wrote on 2009-05-09 UTC
To the Arimaa site I have posted repeatedly for to get information on details, but there is no reaction at all. One of my additional questions would be, why only linux programs will be accepted at tournaments. Using there also Windows or Mac OS would be more interesting to me. Moreover Arimaa is a patended game, and troubles seem to be already anticipated for really engaged programmers. A new drosophila for AI which Arimaa intends to be, should be free of such restrictions.

Larry Smith wrote on 2009-05-09 UTC
You might check out Chapter 2 of Analysis and Implementation of the Game Arimaa by Christ-Jan Cox (Universiteit Maastricht, Institute for Knowledge and Agent Technology). The paper is available at the site.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2009-05-09 UTC
Arimaa does not strike me as a game that would be difficult for computers, once you realize that it is basically a normall chess/checkers-like game where each side is allowed to make 4 moves in a row on every turn.

I once read the conjecture that the only reason Arimaa programs are weak is that hardly anyone is interested in building a strong one. Most chess programs also have ratings of 1300 or less, and Arimaa programs just never get beyond that stage.

Larry Smith wrote on 2009-05-09 UTC
I reviewed this game for Abstract Games Magazine, and helped optimize the Zillions implementation. [I recently downloaded the implementation from the game's site and it throws an error message about being unable to render 'board.bmp'(not my creation ;-)). I simply screen-captured the image in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer and replaced the original bitmap. I'm sending this correction now.]

I love this game. It's simple and complex. It does resist computer quantification. In fact, its developer has a challenge, which includes a financial reward, to any programmer who can code a program that will play this game well enough to defeat three human opponents(see site for details).

There are also several academic papers at the site about Arimaa and computer programming. This should give the interested a serious heads-up about the task.

I'm sure that it will eventually be quantified. It will be interesting if it occurs before 2020.

richardhutnik wrote on 2009-05-07 UTCGood ★★★★
Z-Man Games will be publishing Arimaa:

Take note, Chess Variant community.  This is a chance for you to get new
variant pieces!

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2006-09-24 UTC
One thing I like about Arimaa's rules is that it is very easy to adapt the rules to different bords, such as hexagonal, triangle, or even more exotic boards.

Adam wrote on 2006-09-24 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Very interesting game, requiring deep strategic thought. You start to understand how deep it is after playing a few games. Also uses the traditional chess pieces in a novel and interesting way.

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Larry Smith wrote on 2005-01-12 UTC
I agree that this game is excellent.  I did a review of it in Abstract
Games Magazine #16.  

When I first came across the game, I assumed that it was similar to
ShouDouQi(the Jungle Game).  But it plays quite different.

Like ShouDouQi, Arimaa deserves a page at ChessVariants.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2005-01-12 UTC
It is not exactly a Chess variant, but this game is excellent!.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-04-01 UTC
Arimaa challenge is going to be mantained until January first of the year

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-04-01 UTC
Arimaa is an easy-to learn Goal-oriented game with some elements of Chess
and Jungle game, invented by the M.S. in Electronic Engeneering Omar Syed,
with the colaboration of his young son, Aamir. Omar was born in India and
lives in USA, he has worked for NASA and 4YOU NET. He is stablishing an
interesting CHALLENGE: He is going to pay 10,000 US$ to the first person,
company or Organization who develops a program that run in a general
computer that can beat the best chosen human representative Arimaa player
in a match of at least 6 games. In January 2004 begun a Tournement (free
fee) to determine the best player, and the winner should receive 1000 US$
and the chance of winning an additional good prize beating the best
program to the moment, and other prizes were offered to second and third
place in the Tournement. In February 2004, the same Omar Syed beated the
best program at the moment with a contundent score 8-0. You can visit the
page for more details, in this page a gameroom is mantained
and you can play online this game against ranked players. More Tournements
are expected in the future.

ArimaaA game information page
. Uses same equipment as Chess, but designed to be difficult for computers.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Moussambani wrote on 2002-11-23 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Great game! I have tried it and it's really interesting... and this by using only W! (of fsW)

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