Wizard's Garden

Rules

Strategy

Patterns

If you're making four in an orthogonal row, the best thing you can do is to make all four the same color. But the next best is to “balance” the row, so that it has two of each color: BBWW WBWB BWWB. This ensures that, if your opponent flips one of the flowers, you can flip one other to harvest the row.

If there are three flowers in a row or column (this doesn't apply to the diagonals), you can always either harvest or balance the row by choosing the correct color for the fourth seed. It follows that you shouldn't give your opponent three flowers in an orthogonal row, if you can help it. The exception is if some seeds in the row are blocked from being flipped, or if your opponent will have to make a point available to you in order to make the harvest.

As a final note, when your opponent harvests on a crowded board, don't despair. Immediately look for for newly created rows of 3, or now unprotected rows of 4, that can be harvested. Most of the time there's something useful left behind. Oh, and watch those diagonals! They can really sneak up on you :-)

On the diagonal, a balanced pattern of WBBW or BBWW can be immediately harvested (unless blocked). But BWBW is the opposite: Not only can it not be harvested, but any flip gives the opponent one of the two immediately harvestable positions. Thus, when completing a diagonal, if a harvest isn't possible, BWBW or a non-balanced position is best.

Safe Spaces

There are two types of spaces in Wizard's Garden, unsafe spaces and safe spaces. Unsafe space are spaces on the board that if you plant on will cause a pattern that you opponent can harvest on his next turn. Example: if I plant next to a XXOO I will cause the pattern to change to a 1 to 3 ratio and my opponent only has to plant next to the odd plant to create a harvest. Safe spaces are the remaining unoccupied spaces left on the board (note some safe spaces may not be available to move on, but usually will be in the future). Before I make a move I always look to see how many unsafe spaces there are (so I don’t move there) and look at my remaining options. Now here is my strategy tip. When the board is fairly empty and there are quite a few spaces left I really don’t keep track of how many safe spaces there are, but once there are 6 to 8 game pieces on the board I really start paying attention to the number of safe space left. Before I place my piece I look to see how many safe spaces I am going to leave my opponent. I want to leave him an even number of safe spaces. Why??? Because one is an odd number and if I leave him that last one I'll have no option on my next turn but to create a harvestable pattern for him on his next turn. –Istari–

AI vs. AI Results

100 Games

Player1 Wins: 42 (42%)
Player2 Wins: 55 (55%)
True Draws: 3 (3%)
Games Decided by Staff: 15 (15%)
Ran Out of Seeds: 91 (91%)
Full Board: 6 (6%)
Empty Board: 3 (3%)

1000 Games

Player1 Wins: 389 (38.9%)
Player2 Wins: 573 (57.3%)
True Draws: 38 (3.8%)
Games Decided by Staff: 209 (20.9%)
Ran Out of Seeds: 865 (86.5%)
Full Board: 62 (6.2%)
Empty Board: 73 (7.3%)

Links

games/garden.txt · Last modified: 2006/06/04 20:56 (external edit)
 
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