Twixt Variations

  • Omitting the pie rule: Boards sold in the U.S. by 3M omitted the pie rule. For intermediate players, it doesn't seem to make much difference, but beginners and experts alike find that without it, moving first can be an enormous advantage. Little Golem implements the pie rule by swapping the color of the peg and mirroring the board. The way k2z does it is also the easiest way to physically implement the rule: swap the color of the players without changing the board at all.
  • Link removal, Link crossing, or None of the above: Little Golem implements the paper and pencil variation ("TwixtPP"), where there is no link or peg removal, but links of the same color may cross (though crossed links are not linked to each other by the fact that they cross). Of course, you can also play this variation on paper, with two different color pens. On computers, this variation simplifies the user interface, especially with regards to placing new links, whereas on plastic boards, it is simpler to use the link removal rule. In practice, the need to cross or remove links is rare, so this difference does not affect play much. Draws are somewhat less common with link crossing, but draws are extremely rare in either case. JTwixt implements link removal and rearrangement, but not link crossing. Some 3M editions did not mention link removal at all. Draws should be the most common in that case.
  • Other board sizes: Naturally, the board can be almost any size. With a physical Twixt board, all it takes is two oversized rubber bands to create a quarterboard (12x12). With software, of course, it is easy to create a board of any size. Games can be handicapped (on k2z) by creating a board with fewer rows than columns, and letting the weaker player move first. Note that the pie rule does not make sense on a board handicapped by removing rows.
  • Crucial Diagonals: Most computerized renderings of Twixt boards include the crucial diagonals, and most physical boards do not. These are the lines to the corners holes (b2, w2, b23, w23) of slopes 2 and 1/2 which help in visualizing the outcome of corner battles. It may seem like cheating at first, but mostly it just saves time and eye strain.
  • Coordinates: The currently accepted convention is the letters of the English alphabet (A-X) across from left to right, and numbers starting with 1 down from top to bottom, although you will sometimes see that convention reversed, notably on Alex Randolph's 40 Twixt Puzzles. The coordinates are usually either seen on the top and left, or on all 4 edges.

Also see the Wikipedia Twixt page for discussion of other variants.

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