Monday, November 24, 2008

Italian Intro (FdA). Blog vs Wiki.

Finally Nomignolov has an introduction that at least was updated this year!

Actually, the introduction was originally written in Italian, and the one I published is just freely translated into English. That introduction was a short article I wrote for the Italian web-zine "Il Fogliaccio degli Astratti", issue 48. Even if you don't know Italian, you can check it just out of curiosity. Luca Cerrato is doing a really nice job writing about abstract games!

Clearly I also posted the introduction on the new site for Nomignolov, as I will do for future things that will appear on this blog. I don't plan to duplicate things too much, but as for now both the blog must be complete and the wiki must grow...


Nomignolov is a free and universal software for abstract strategy games, puzzles, solitaires, games with random elements, and even cellular automata. It runs on Windows XP, 2000, Vista, and I plan to release a Linux version of it, if someone asks for it.

To this day, Nomignolov comes with some abstract games (Tablut, Wari, Hex, Entropy, Dao, …) and puzzles (8 queens on a chessboard, the Knight's Tour, 14-15 puzzle, …). Around 20 games in total.

And then there's Cibilimny, a little addictive game with high score. You play on a hexagonal board, moving around marbles of 7 different colours. On each turn, three new marbles are fired on the board by three spinning cannons. To prevent blockage, and so losing the game, you must put together 6 or more marbles of the same colour. This way you score some points and you gain time: the group just formed disappears, and you can move an extra marble before the next cannon shot. How many points will you make?

In all these games, one or more players use the mouse to play. Nomignolov allows remote games with internet, using your IP address.

The program can move at random, which can be useful at times. Or it can run a simple minimax algorithm, so it has some Artificial Intelligence (no claims for strength here).

Now, if you are interested, I heartily recommend to download the last release of the program, Version 1.3 "Cidrolin", and try it out!

And now that the general public has gone downloading the program, I can reveal the most exciting fact about it: Nomignolov can be extended! This means that, with a simple text editor such as Note Pad, you can add a new game to it!

A deep breath now!

For each game, like the aforementioned ones, there exists a script file in the programming language Lua that "explains" to the program everything about the game.

In the script there is the description about the board and pieces. And of course the rules, that is: a function that lists all possible moves for the players, a function that updates the board after a move is done, a function that checks if the game is won by someone, a function that tells how well players are doing (evaluation).

Along with the program, it comes a little pdf manual which tells you how to write a script. And you can look at the scripts for the other games and use them as references.

If you would like to write a script, but get stuck somewhere, you can write me. I'll be glad to help anyone. Moreover, you can send me your creation, and I will include it in future releases of the program.

Nomignolov is just a hobby for me. I worked alone on it, on and off, for nearly 3 years. Some graphics (pieces, fonts) was done by my sister Marisa.

I welcome any collaboration to the project. You can help in a number of ways: translate the site and the manual, advertise the software, work on the graphics, giving me ideas, comments, etc.

Nomignolov is what we make of it, so it could become really big!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Examples of moves for Tourrosa (and wiki site)

The rules for Tourrosa in the previous post are deliberately bare. I just wanted to state the rules, but indeed it is quite difficult to grasp a game without actually play it or see it played. For this reason I drew some examples of the action going on in a Tourrosa board.

Look at the examples or download the pdf (1 Mb and not so explanatory as the web page).

I had some fun making the images using Inkscape which is a freeware for vector graphics (they can't be that bad for a first experiment!).

Following the excellent suggestion by Marcos (thanks!), I started the site, which seems a better place for Nomignolov. As for now it is empty, having just the rules for Tourrosa, and the examples. I think I'll use this blog to announce things that I'll put or update there, or something of that kind! This will be a lot simpler that refer to older posts...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Original game - Tourrosa

the Rose

The game is played on the following 48-cell board that we will call the Rose. For the gameplay, it's very relevant to note that the Rose has three "layers": 12 cells form a hexagonal shape, and cut the board into an inner layer of 12 cells and an outer layer of 24 cells. Players start with three stacks of four pieces placed at the corner of the hexagon (starting points marked as black circles and black squares in the illustration). In the rules, a "stack" can be just one piece.

the turn

Choose one of your stacks and a direction. That's all, but you still need to know how to move the stack!

the movement

Direction --- You cannot change the chosen direction during your turn. A direction is drawn by the solid lines of the board (so the hexagon is not part of the board: it's there just for reference!). When you arrive at a new cell you continue your tour without turning right/left. When you arrive at one of the cells in the hexagon, you change layer from the inner to the outer one and vice versa.

Jump --- You can jump over an opponent's stack, and remove it from the game, if: (1) the cell behind the opponent's stack (following your direction) is empty and (2) the jumping stack has the same number of pieces, or more, of the jumped one.

The action for a turn is divided into three parts:
  1. Start by sowing or by stacking: you have two options for the first part of your turn. Sowing: take all the pieces in the starting cell and distribute one of them on each cell in your direction. The pieces may be put on top of cells containing your own stack. You must jump all the opponent's stacks you happen to encounter, following the rules for the jump. If the jump is not possible, you stop the sowing in the cell next to the blocking stack and your turn is over. Stacking: from the starting cell, collect the piece on top of each stack you encounter. You stop when the cell is empty or it belongs to your opponent.
  2. Sliding: take the last sown piece or the stack formed in the first part of your turn. Move this stack following your direction, and continue for all the empty cells you meet. As in the sowing, you must jump all the opponent's stacks you happen to encounter. If the jump is not possible, you stop the sliding in the cell next to the blocking stack and your turn is over.
  3. Stacking: when during the sliding you meet one stack of yours, you pile the two and your turn is over.
the goal

You win the game by capturing all the enemy pieces.

more info

Tourrosa was designed on August 2008 by Jean and Marisa Morales. Have fun sliding pieces! These rules are from The illustration was made with the free Java program Z.u.L.

Rules of Tourrosa in English.
Regole di Tourrosa in italiano.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Confusing blog

This is the house of Nomignolov software, my free hobby program for abstract strategy games. You can try it simply by downloading and unpacking the zip file from the menu on the right.

Poor Nomignolov has a blog instead of a real site! It won't have a real site anytime soon, and in the meanwhile the blog is just confusing! A blog is meant to be updated regularly, while a site for a software needs not.

Well, to be true, Nomignolov is now in stand-by. Indeed, I think I've met my realistic goals of a playable and expandable program for abstract games. The lack of time and of feedback made me pausing the project for the time being, but I'd love to polish it up, to make it more user friendly... and indeed to add new games!

What can I do about the blog? Well, at least I could try to reorganize its content that is now watered down old posts... It lacks a decent and updated introduction! The current one is ancient! I need to do the cleaning!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Screenshots of Version 1.3

The last screen shots where from Version 1, and they can still be found here. In this post, however, you can find screen shots from the last Version 1.3 "Cidrolin", which you can download from here, or by the button on the right menu.

Let's begin with the splash screen, which is nearly unchanged (can you find the difference?):

This is the main menu, from where you can select the game. Note the huge and ever-increasing list of possibilities!

If you select a game, let's say Tablut, Nomignolov lets you select which players are going to play the next match.

Wari is an old game. Nomignolov is quite strong at it!

This is Hex. It's a difficult game, and Nomignolov is clueless about it. Anyway you can play against someone else.

And here is a screen shot from a Cibilimny game. It's an addictive old style game where you have to put together 6 or more pieces of the same color, making them disappear and earning points. Each turn, three more pieces are fired on the board by rotating cannons, trying to clog you to lose the game. Try it!

That's all! Download the program and let me know!

Labels: ,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Nomv 1.3 "Cidrolin"

This post is to announce the release of Nomignolov 1.3 Cidrolin!!!

As usual, it is impossible to list all the details that changed from version 1.2. The big new features are the handling of variants and of repetitions.

The general definition of variants allows scripts to have many levels, or different movements, or different winning conditions, etc.

By repeating a game between more algorithms, one can use Nomignolov to rank them.

Nomignolov 1.3 comes with a lot of new scripts:
  • A pair of scripts to edit and to play to Sliding block puzzles;
  • FootSteps and Intervalo, two beautiful bidding games with lot of algorithms;
  • Dominono, simple but beautiful game;
  • The addicting puzzle game Cibilimny, with score saving! Can you beat my 832 points?
The included manual in pdf is updated, so you can add your own games and puzzles!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Chess pieces


Here you can download a brief article I wrote about how to list all the moves in a script for a chess-like game. As an example, I present the function for Tablut rewritten.

Studying the structure of a general chess-like game, I introduced a new API function in Nomignolov: get_cells_type(type), that returns all the positions held by a type of pieces. If you dare, you can download here a temporary version of the program. If not, the last stable release is still Version 1.2 Benbow.

If you are interested in adding a script for Nomignolov, you can read the manual you can find in the zip. And I'm always ready to answer any questions, to make suggestions and to give my blessing to each Nomignolov related activity :-)