China Grove
An initial board In May 2022 Nick Bentley invented Strands, a game played on a board with cells that have numbers 1 to 6 and a protocol that allows you on your turn to place as many stones on like-numbered cells as the number indicated on the first cell where a stone is placed. Different distributions of cells are possible.
In July 2022 I invented China Tangle because I noticed that transcendental solutions of the China Labyrinth naturally provide the kind of distribution of cells required by the Strands placement protocol. I considered a territorial goal but noticed that players then would just have to aim for maximal placement. That's why China Tangle isn't territorial, at least not in its goal.

After China Tangle's invention I was done. I still am, but I always kept open the possibility of accidentally inventing a game because it happened on more than a few occasions. China Grove was such an occasion. Without delibetately thinking about games the thought came to me that counting territory by the method of Symple, every stone counting as one point but every separate group burdened with a penalty, would be interesting under mandatory maximal placement because it would inherently lead to mandatory creation of new groups, something both players would want to avoid. China Grove, the name popped in my head because of the Doobie Brothers' song of that name, turns inherently cold in the endgame, at least for one of the players.

Enschede, January 2023

christian freeling