Senket — Post Scoring: an Alternative Scoring Method?

I hate to bring up the possibility of a variant on the rules of Senket. I spent a long time playing it with friends, figuring out how it should work. But several people have pointed out how difficult it is to compute areas, especially during the game when you can’t draw any additional fences on the board, and I’ve long wanted a way to score that would work easily with a physical board.

Scoring by counting posts makes it easier to do by hand.

Scoring by counting posts makes it easier to do by hand.

I just came up with such a way of scoring, so here it is: instead of counting the area enclosed, count the open posts enclosed, and two for each enemy post enclosed. All other rules remain the same, i.e. you still square the total for each separate territory.

Examples of this method are shown in the diagram to the right. the actual posts played are shown in full red and blue. The counting is shown in light blue and light red. So the red and blue territories at the top are equivalent. Each contains two open posts, labeled 1 and 2, so each would be worth 2 x 2 = 4 points. Using area scoring, the red territory on the left would be worth 4 x 4 = 16 points, the blue on the right 3 x 3 = 9 points.

The square blue territory would be worth 5 x 5 = 25 points, since it contains three open posts, and one red post, which is a prisoner.

The two larger territories at the bottom are the same shape, but the red territory is worth 13 x 13 = 169 points, while the blue is worth only 10 x 10 = 100 points, because the blue territory contains additional, unnecessary posts.

The basics of the game would remain the same. There are no rule changes, just a change to how you count up at the end of the game (and value plays during the game, of course). The value of various territories would be slightly different. I like the simplicity of this scoring method for beginners and for use on physical boards, but really, once you play a few games you’ll find that area scoring really isn’t that difficult to do.

I did make one decision based on aesthetic considerations, which is the fact that a player’s own posts inside his territory penalize him, because they don’t count toward the final score. This is seen in the blue territory in the lower right, where the three posts Blue played inside his own territory cause it to be worth less than the red territory of the same shape on the left. Not to further risk forking the rules, but counting those posts toward Blue’s score would make this method closer to the rules as originally published. I prefer not to count them as it further encourages players to take territories as large as possible. There’s already plenty of incentive not to play those posts — they are unnecessary to securing that territory, so they’re wasted moves that could have been used elsewhere to take more territory — but I prefer it to be explicit. This also means that it is possible for a territory to score no points: if a player fills in all the posts inside it. There would be no reason to do this, but for the record the territory would still be viable and serve the purpose of preventing any opposing surrounding fence from claiming the territory.

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One thought on “Senket — Post Scoring: an Alternative Scoring Method?

  1. Pingback: Scoring Senket is Hard « Geoff Canyon’s Appeal to Authority

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