John Valentine
Closure

Status: Alpha Testing

This is a draft of rules for a new game I created, codenamed Closure.

I've not done extensive play-testing yet, so these rules, or the game assets, might change.

Fig.1: Game position, after Turn 10.
(large numbers indicate the order that tiles were played)

Assets

You will need

  • A means of keeping a running score for each player (pad and pencil)
  • A flat surface or game table, at least 0.4 m × 0.4 m.

The game contains

  • Rule Book
  • 48 tiles
  • 3 large squares (red, green, blue) to identify a player's colour

Rules

Beginning play

  1. Decide who plays which colour. Each player places the large square in front of themselves, to remind everyone which colour they are playing.
  2. Decide who plays first: each player draws a tile. The player with the highest-numbered tile plays first. Replace all the tiles.
  3. Tiles are placed face-down in a shuffled new deck. Split the deck into four. To begin, each player receives four tiles from the new deck.
  4. The first player places a tile having at least two colours. If the first player is unable to do this, follow Rules 6 and 7 below, then continue with Rule 5.

Game position, after Turn 1.

Play

  1. Play continues clockwise, with the player placing a tile adjacent to a tile on the board, with at least one quadrant per edge matching adjacent tiles already on the board.

    Game position, after Turn 2.

  2. If a player cannot play, he may instead discard one tile to the discard pile, face-up.
  3. At the end of a turn, the player replenishes their hand to finish with four tiles, by taking from the new deck.
  4. When the new deck is exhausted, shuffle the discard pile, and place it face-down as the new new deck.

Scoring during play

After playing a tile:

  1. If you extend a line to include three or more tiles, count the tiles that form the line, and add that to your score.
  2. If the tile causes an area to be enclosed by black lines, score 2 points per quadrant enclosed. If only one colour is enclosed, then 2 points per quadrant enclosed also go to the player owning that colour.

The final position

  1. Final scores are calculated when either:
    1. All tiles have been played to the board and the new deck is empty; or
    2. All players declare they cannot play further; or
    3. All players fail to play a tile for four turns; or
    4. One player exceeds 99 points at the end of their own turn. Don't forget to fully score the played tile for all players.

Calculating final scores

  1. If there are two players, score the biggest two areas of a single colour, ignoring the line (end of play). Points go to the player owning the colour, one point per quadrant. If there are three players, score the three biggest areas.
    1. In the event of a tie for the qualifying area, count all areas having that score.
  2. For each tile still in a player's hand, the other players receive 2 points.
  3. The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game.

Example game walkthrough (first 10 moves)

Player 1 has colour Blue; player 2 has Green.

Turn 1

Blue places the first tile. It's mostly red (counting for neither player), with an enclosed quadrant of blue. Blue can expand on this later, to the top or to the left.

Game position, after Turn 1.

Turn 2

Green must play adjacent to the first tile, and has placed a tile with red on the left edge, to match the red on the corresponding edge of the tile already on the board. This leaves Green with expansion both down and to the right.

Game position, after Turn 2.

Turn 3

Blue plays above the tile played at Turn 1. This looks like a good way of closing off a blue square.

Game position, after Turn 3.

Turn 4

Green could play to the left of Turn 3, to claim 3 points for the line, but instead plays a big green tile, which massively opens up options for later play.

Game position, after Turn 4.

Turn 5

There's almost no chance of Blue stopping the expansion of the green area just now, so perhaps try to enclose that square of blue, before Green blocks it off? Just one tile to go, hopefully the next move?

  • Score: +3, for the black line that covers 3 squares.

Game position, after Turn 5.

Turn 6

Green could play down from Turn 5 to complete a square (for less points than Blue would earn, but it would prevent Blue from earning them). Unfortunately, Green does not have a tile that fits, so instead plays the green-red checker tile above the green tile, to extend the green area further.

Game position, after Turn 6.

Turn 7

Blue doesn't have the required tile either! This looks like a throwaway move, with the slight advantage of extending the area covered by Blue.

Game position, after Turn 7.

Turn 8

Those black lines cannot earn points; they are closed off, and the line only covers two tiles.

Game position, after Turn 8.

Turn 9

Finally, Blue closes the square! Let's add up some points:

  • Score +4 for the lines;
  • Score +8 for enclosing an area (4 quadrants × 2 point each);
  • Score +8 for enclosing an area in one colour (4 quadrants × 2 points each).

Game position, after Turn 9.

Turn 10

Good move! Green has extended the line that Blue just scored with, and has closed it off, so that Blue cannot extend it further.

  • Score +5 for the lines.

Game position, after Turn 10.

Further play

Perhaps Green's next turn will be to the right of Turn 10, with a mostly green tile, to link up with the tile placed at Turn 8?

Scores so far:

  • Blue 23 (with a chance of scoring 7 for the blue area at the end of the game);
  • Green 5 (with a good chance of scoring at least 18 at the end for the green area).

At this point, only the line of the top-left tile can be extended, and any enclosures must be started anew. Blue should save his area by expanding to the left. Green can continue to expand without problems, and Blue should try to stop this.