Friday, September 23, 2005

6 Colors

Title: 6 Colors
Author: Pvya Net!
License: Freeware

The people who brought us Pyva Lights are back with another addicting way to kill five minutes. 6 Colors is a two-player strategy game of territorial conquest. You start with one little region in the lower left corner. The computer starts with one region in the upper right corner. Each turn, you choose one color to annex. Any region of that color which is adjacent to or connected by like color regions to your previous conquests becomes part of your empire. Then the computer chooses a color to add to its empire. The one catch is that you cannot choose the same color which you or your opponent chose on their last turn. The first player to conquer more than half of the regions, wins the game.

Here is a typical starting position. My empire consists of the one blue region in the lower left; the computer has the one orange region in the opposite corner. I have to choose one of the four other colors to annex. Purple looks like the goer as this adds two regions. Just click on the purple square at the bottom. The game precedes pretty quickly. The strategy in 6 colors is quite interesting. On this board, I see a long yellow chain not too far from my starting position. This provides a serious inroad to the middle of the map. So, I will try to get there a quickly as possible. Besides trying to take areas, you try to block your opponent and shut off areas of the board.

Here is the same game a little while later. By raw count, I am behind slightly: 39% to 41%. However, I have cut off the lower right corner and will eventually get those and win the game.

Games take only five minutes to play. The computer opponent puts up a good fight, or you can play against another person (hot seat fashion). There is a bit of luck in the initial layout of the board. However, after playing a game, you can flip the board and play the game again from the opposite side. This eliminates the luck factor.

6 colors is a wonderfully addicting game, but it does have some flaws. First, you have to play with "autofinish" (under options in the menu) turned on. If you do not, you can end up in these stalemate situations where the computer will not finish off the game and claim colors completely within its boundaries. This is probably the result of a horizon effect in its min-max search. This is a shoddy piece of Q&A testing.

Second, once the computer gains more than 50% of the board, it stops the game and tells you that you have lost. I wish you could finish the game. In a flipped game, you often what to know by how much you lost. If you won the first game with 60%, you want to see if you get more than 40% in the flipped game.

Third, sometimes it is hard to tell which regions are connected. From time to time, I made a few mistakes thinking that regions were connected when they were not. I wish you could right click on the board and get a magnified display of that area.

There is an abstract strategy game called blokus which has similar tactics. You can play a java version on-line at their website


At 8:32 PM, Blogger sema said...

Thank you for a review!
Please check a new version at the same address ;)

At 11:52 PM, Blogger wayne-marsh said...

There's a Flash version of Mushroom Man now that gives one password per level, and automatically saves your progress anyway so you can restart at the highest level you reached. I won't post the link because I don't like to spam, but if you're interested just reply to this post.

- Wayne


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