Cartography® Playing Tips- Strategy & Tactics Classic Version

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Cartography Map and Ink

Cartography Playing Tips – Strategy & Tactics Classic Version

This tutorial offers Cartography playing tips with strategy and tactics.  Cartography is a unique and elegant game that fuses elements from the ancient strategy game Go and modern tile placement games. The result is a dynamic game played on a map that changes with each turn. Many fundamental strategies of Go also apply to Cartography. Learning a few core strategies will help you master Cartography.

Strategy #1: Liberty or Death

The most basic strategy is always having at least two liberties. A liberty is any unclaimed territory adjacent to a token (or token group). Having two liberties protects your token/token group from being captured.  In Figure 1, both the blue token group and the orange token group have two liberties.

Blue token group has two liberties, A and B, and orange token group has two liberties, B and C

Figure 1 – The blue token group has two liberties, A and B, and the orange token group has two liberties, B and C.

When a token group has at least two liberties, it cannot be captured on the next turn.  When a token/token group has only one liberty (Figure 2A), they can become more vulnerable to capture.  An opponent can claim your only remaining liberty (Figure 2B), surround your token/token group,  and capture all the tokens in that token group (Figure 2C).

Orange token group has one liberty, C.

Figure 2a – The orange token group has one liberty, C.

The blue player now claims the orange token group's one remaining liberty.

Figure 2b – The blue token claims the orange token group’s one remaining liberty, C, thus surrounding the orange token group.

The blue

Figure 2c – The blue token captures all four orange tokens. 

  Strategy #2: Two Eyes

The most critical strategy is called two eyes. A token (or token group) is only safe from capture when it has two eyes. An eye is a liberty that has been isolated by one player (Fig. 3). An eye must be surrounded by only one player or the edge of the map. If a token group has only one eye (one liberty), its opponent can place a token on that eye and capture the token group (Figure 2B &2C).  If, however, a token group has two eyes, an opponent would need to claim both eyes at the same time in order to capture.  Hence a token group becomes invincible when it is protected by two eyes on both ends.

When the two liberties, A and B are exclusive to the blue token group, they are two eyes.

Figure 3 – When the two liberties, A and B are exclusive to the blue token group, they are the two eyes of the blue token group.

In Go, eyes will last the entire game because the board doesn’t change, but in Cartography, as the board, or map changes, eyes can be destroyed when a tile is added to the map.  This occurs when an eye becomes connected to a territory that is not isolated.

Tactic #1: Create Liberties

There are two ways to create liberties for your token/token group.

  1. Add a tile to the map adjacent to a token (or token group).  Figure 4A & 4B.
  2. Add a new token to a token group on a territory that has two or more liberties. Figure 4C & 4D.
Figure 1 The orange token has only one liberty

Figure 4A The orange token has only one liberty.

Figure 1b - Adding tile A gives orange token two more liberties; adding tile B gives the orange token one more liberty

Figure4B – Adding tile A gives the orange token two more liberties; adding tile B gives the orange token one more liberty.

Cartography Strategy Game

Figure 4C – The orange token has only one liberty; Tile A has a territory with two liberties

Cartography Strategy Game

Figure 4D – Placing an orange token on tile A gives the orange token group two liberties.

 

 

Tactic #2: Choosing Tiles

Choosing the right tile to place can be a simple yet powerful tactic.  There are six kinds of tiles, some are ‘open’ in that they open up more possibilities for creating liberties, and some are closed, in that they create ‘dead ends’ for liberties.

 

FirstEdittionTileWhite-300x200

Open Open tiles add only one territory to the map but are easy to place.  They can often save a token group if they need an extra liberty.
Single and Double River End River End tiles can be tricky. It’s difficult to play a river end and claim it at the same time. Your opponent will often claim it if you play it.
Single and Double River River tiles can be used on their own or in conjunction with river ends. If you occupy a river end,  you can very easily create two liberties and often even two eyes.
Triple River The Triple River tile is the only tile that can add three liberties at once. Finding the right moment to place it can be challenging.

We welcome your input on Cartography playing tips, strategies or tactics.  Please write us care@playfordagmes.com to submit your ideas.