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Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-09-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This submission may have more clearly spelled out some of the rules for Bombalot than I recall a Chess Federation of Canada magazine article did in the late 1970s. In spite of what to me seemed to be certain ambiguities in the rules back then, my non-chess playing brother loved playing Bombalot with me. One thing that the magazine article made clear was that if an Immobilizer is directly or indirectly pushed along by a tank, the immobilized pieces around it are pushed in the same direction, possibly resulting in a chain reaction of pieces on the same line(s), in the direction of the push (something similar goes if an immobilized piece is directly or indirectly pushed along by a tank). Another thing I recall about the magazine article was that the board was checkered as for chess, i.e. with a1 (with the White Imitator on it in the setup position) being a dark square, as in the Sir Bombalot link.

Note that some ambiguitie(s) to the rules may still remain, and should really be resolved before playing a game. E.g., if an opponent's Imitator moved last, what properties does your own Imitator now have? My best guess in this case would be it has the properties of the last non-Imitator piece of your own that you moved, assuming you didn't move your own Imitator last, too - in that case, the properties of one's Imitator may or may not be that of the opponent's last moved non-Imitator piece, depending on how far back one has to remember to recall the last non-Imitator move by either side(!).

However, this all goes against the part of the description of an Imitator, in this submission's version of the rules, that says: "...if the last move of the opponent was with an immobiliser, the player can move the imitator and freeze pieces of the opponent, which are frozen until the imitator moves again.". So, if we accept this submission's version of the rules as per the quotation, it seems to me to follow that an Imitator always has the properties of the last enemy non-Imitator piece that moved, until the Imitator is moved like (& then takes on properties of) another enemy non-Imitator piece that has subsequently moved, as odd an interpretation as that may seem.

Whether this version of the rules & my subsequent interpretation are correct or not, my next question regardless would be, if White is to move his Imitator at move one, how can it move & what properties does it have? One suggestion I can make is that White should not be allowed to move his Imitator at move one (except if removing it, through the allowed suicide-of-a-piece move rule), and it as yet has no properties. Another suggestion would be that at move one the White Imitator can move like any piece in Black's army (note that any such move would presumably be not so harmful for Black), but this idea somehow seems less natural; for one thing, White may need to declare what type of piece the Imitator is acting like, if Black wishes to move his Imitator at move one also.

Personally, I think that the part of the rules that states "The Imitator moves and takes in the same way as the last enemy piece that has moved." pretty much stands by itself (though note the 2nd paragraph of this Comment). I also think that the subsequent part of this submission's rules about the Imitator that I quoted earlier, re: the explanation of how the Imitator may act like an Immobilizer, seems wrong, in part. That is, the last 5 words at the very end of my earlier quote apparently ought to read '...until the Imitator is no longer adjacent or the opponent moves a piece other than his own Immobilizer (or possibly his own Imitator as well, depending on the situation).' instead, in my opinion.

For piece values I'd tentatively rate the Twekes = 1, Super-Twekes = 2, Detonators (aka Detonator Coordinators) = 1.5, Tank = 1, Immobilizer = 5, Bomb = 10 and Imitator = 5.

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