• Mu

    Ed made a Mu applet in 2012. No small endeavour! Until then it had been played only once, immediately after its conception in 1986, on a compact board against Anneke Treep, who was to become the mother of my son Falco, less than a decade later. She won.

    "—And he built a Crooked Game—"
    I was very impressed by Martin Medema's game Atlantis, at least on the night of its introduction. Martin had combined the 'Focus' way of movement with the explosion mechanism of an obscure seventies game called 'Explosion' before, in his game Explocus, but this was of a different magnitude - Atlantis appeared monumental.
    The game also introduced a 'segmented board', each segment being a 7-cells hexagon, albeit in a compact lay-out, because the mechanism is such that a randomly segmented lay-out would have made it impossible to keep the game's 'explosions' controlled. The playing field including all pieces would be blown up entirely within a couple of moves. Atlantis' segmentation only serves as a way to accommodate different numbers of players.

    Stacks of men would 'explode', whereby their content was distributed over adjacent cells that might in turn become critical, inviting chain reactions. Keeping them controlled was an art in itself. Atlantis wasn't layered like Mu. Explosions were the means of building the walls, and an exploded cell would become a 'source', growing a man every turn till it reached capacity once again, exploding a second time before finally freezing into a 'crater', that is: a solid wall. That amount of growth was more often than not uncontrollable, and many a player's territory ended up exploding inward on itself.

    The problem could be felt on the intuitive level. What do you do with an explosion, build something or clear something? The answer should be clear.
    Martin had used a beautiful mechanism to devise a crooked game.

    Mu conceived
    Is it fair to say that Mu was triggered by Atlantis? Definitely. Thinking along the above lines caused it to take shape shortly afterwards, its basics even during the nightly 8-mile bikeride home from Fanaat, after its introduction. In my mind I used the same segmented board and still the same compact lay-out. It was a purely mental process in which no actual board or checkers were involved. I've described that particular bike ride in 'About Mu'.

    Of course Mu's introduction at the games club Fanaat, the next week, couldn't have been timed worse, because many had started climbing Atlantis, and Mu wasn't even considered - it was looked upon as a ripp-off.
    Shortly after there came a tsunami of dungeons & trolls that wiped all abstracts from the scene.

    So the game remained on the shelf and all physical evidence of it was wiped out in the explosion of SE Fireworks in May 2000.
    I didn't worry about that. The reason I could conceive Mu without so much as a checker, is the same that made me unable to forget it: it's a self explanatory organism with will, intent and logic, rather than a bag of assorted rules and restrictions. It would always explain itself. I saw that the segmented lay-out would improve the game considerably, especially since the implication would be a 'fragmented' Wall consisting of different parts.

    Mu was published (republished is too much a word) in december 2009, but it isn't exactly a new invention.

    In july 2012 Ed made a two-player applet and the game divided itself in 'Mu Velox' and 'Mu Levis', 'fast' and 'light' in appropriate Latin, the difference being whether the move protocol be 'one move per segment per turn' or 'one move per turn'.