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Author Topic: Go Tandem Study #2: Not Jose-ki, Jo-seki!  (Read 1345 times)

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Go Tandem Study #2: Not Jose-ki, Jo-seki!
« on: February 04, 2016, 01:41:20 PM »

Itís been quite some time since Iíve delved into some of the deeper theory in Mage Wars, and today, as kind of a way to mark a new beginning for myself, I want to discuss further the similarities in thought between one of the most interesting games Iíve ever studied, Go, and my favorite game of all time, Mage Wars. Previously, we have discussed the concepts of sente and gote as it relates to Mage Wars and as it relates to Go, but today, I want to explore two concepts:

1.   Joseki
2.   Tenuki

These two concepts, for those of you studious in Go, may not seem to correlate to Mage Wars at first, but I believe that understanding these concepts is another key to the nirvana that is Mage Wars perfection. Of course, I am no guru myself, but I think this will give you guys just another take on how some thought processes can be achieved when playing the game.

Joseki literally can be interpreted as ďset stonesĒ. Basically, joseki are a series of moves that take place in the corners of the Go board that are fixed. They have been maximized for both the black and the white player to the point that if both players have memorized the sequences perfectly for a given pattern, it will come out balanced every time. There are 1000s of josekis that are memorized and tomes of books that have literally nothing in them but diagrams of various sequences being played out. What is the point of studying these patterns, one might ask. Ideally, the perfect player would not need to memorize the stone patterns as they are able to make the perfect play every single time. Well, it makes games easier. Go games can go quite long, and there are a lot of brain processes that take place. If you can recall a pattern from rote, you can not only spend more time thinking about what happens AFTER that joseki plays out, but if you have the head on the opponent, you can bend the pattern to your rules. In most joseki, there are a number of set ways to respond to a move being made. These very basic moves are what encompass a joseki.
So this rote memorization in games becomes something you can play with once you know what all the deviations of the joseki are. You can tempt the opponents into traps by encouraging them to go down one path and then deviating from the norm to force them into a tough position. You can also use their knowledge of that particular pattern against them by deviation from the rote. Donít get me wrong, itís not an easy thing to do at all. A masterful knowledge of joseki must be discovered before you can get to this point, but it is very possible. In fact, the better players donít use joseki in so much as what to do stone for stone, rather what that particular josekiís board position once the dust settles.

During the course of a Joseki being played out, you or the opponent may make a move that is deemed weak. This is when something called Tenuki can take place. For those of you who have read the previous study I shared, Tenuki is a response to a gote threat. In other words, itís the point during which in joseki the opponent makes a weak move, and you respond by playing elsewhere on the board. Tenuki happens when the move that was just made did not add to the players board position at all, and the opponent responded by creating a  sente threat elsewhere that must be dealt with.
But how does Joseki and Tenuki relate to Mage Wars? On the face of things, there are only so many things you can do to responds to an opponentís move in Go.  In Mage Wars, not only do you have a full spellbook you can respond with, you also have a literal ton of cards you can choose to build your book with. Well, things begin to narrow down when we think about it. For example, if the opponent plays a deathlink on my Grizzly, I can respond by ignoring it and playing something else, I can respond by dispelling that enchantment, etc. On a very basic level, this is a joseki exchange. Moves with the intent on getting a predicted response from the opponent. Tanglevining a Wizard with intent on him to Teleport. The examples are endless, and yes, they are by and large a lot shorter than Go joseki, but that doesnít mean that they are any less important. Mage Wars is largely a game that is played with intention in a players mind. They have to plan based on what you are going to do. Planning simply based on what the mage is going to do is a one way ticket to losing the game, which is not so different than Go. But, with the knowledge that certain moves have certain reactions, we can use that to our advantage. If itís by adding special tech to your book to deal with conjurations or simply utilizing a different line of play, throwing your opponentís plays off base is one of the strongest things you can do in Mage Wars, because it buys you actions with your opponentís time.

To begin making use of this concept, I would suggest looking into your book and examining each of your cards. Think about the typical responses the opponent makes when they see this card. Even more so, think about the timing of when you typically play that particular card. Would changing the timing of that card change the expectations you have of your opponentís play? Even more so, after your opponent has responded, what does the board look it? Are there more assets in your favor, or the opponents? Another thought to think about is what is the most effective play against the one I just made? Not the most common, mind you, but the most effective. If that means ignoring your play, you should be either finding a way capitalize on that ignorance, or finding a play that forces a response. All of these questions stem from this very simple of Joseki, and I encourage you to explore this further. The biggest difference in Joseki in Go and Joseki in Mage Wars is that your books are customizable. You can change and make stronger your play, but that does require that critical thought that Joseki can give you.
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