Dots Maker

The game of Dots and Boxes has been around for many years and no doubt most people played it as a kid.

I was recently having a few games with a mate of mine over some beers and we both realised how tedious the initial setup phase of the game is (initially drawing up the grid of dots and then filling in the random spots until you reach the “end game” of actually using some strategy to fill in the boxes). So after some hacking I wrote a simple app to generate and print game setups.

The first version makes a “perfect” setup in which every move is going to give the oponent a completed box.

That worked OK, but it came down filling in the single boxes, then the doubles, then the triples etc without any chance for a free move to be found.

If the Perfect checkbox is unchecked then after the initial perfect setup is generated there is a 1 in 4 chance of existing walls being removed. This allows a few free moves before the end game begins.

There has been some extensive analysis into the game and many strategies exist for good gameplay.

I had always played the rule that if you can complete a box you have to. Apparently this is the simpler version of the game and the real rules state you do not have to take a box unless you want to. Playing this version opens up many more strategies (see previous strategies link).

If you want to try the app, grab it here. Single exe, just download and run it. It detects the optimal grid size for your current printer when you start it up.

Jason.

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