(a summary of play-tester feedback; rules available here)

Your collective impressions of this game squared almost precisely with mine:

  • Its simplicity makes it quick and easy to learn.
  • As a mathematical puzzle, it’s rich and rewarding.
  • As an actual game, it’s a trifle dry.

A typical experience:

I sent this to my group of friends last Sunday night, and by the next morning, two of them had independently produced winning strategies for Player 1, and no one wanted to play it because it had already been solved (sorry).

game post 3

In my book, I plan to treat each game as a window into mathematical thinking. Our susceptibility to framing effects; the combinatorial nature of creativity; and so on. But Domineering doesn’t necessarily invite grand lessons about the nature of thought. It’s more of a good puzzle.

Thus, I plan to include it in a potpourri-like section called “Puzzle Games,” offering a rat-a-tat collection of simpler fare (with less pontificating from me). Others will probably include Sid Sackson’s Hold That Line and Walter Joris’s Black Hole, among others.

That said, Domineering does lend itself to some gorgeous mathematical analysis. That’s because it quickly breaks up into a collection of smaller games.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a great feature as a game:

Would be more interesting to me if it didn’t split into independent subgames so easily, or if those subgames interacted weakly.