new game: Tumbleweed General forum

45 replies. Last post: 2022-05-14

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new game: Tumbleweed
  • spartacu5 at 2020-11-26

    Tumbleweed is a new abstract strategy game designed by Polish game designer Mike Zapawa.

    This game is definitely going to be a modern classic - extremely simple, yet vastly deep.

    The rules can be found here:

    It has recently become available on several platforms:

    Tabletop Simulator -

    Mindsports -

    IGGamecenter -

    or the general game playing system, Ludii -

    The first annual correspondence Tumbleweed tournament is about halfway over.

    Currently I am winning :D

    We hope to see Tumbleweed eventually on LittleGolem some day.

  • ypercube at 2020-11-27

    @spartacus5 it looks interesting but the Description in the link you provided is confusing to say the least.

    Is there somewhere a more clear set of rules?

  • Carroll ★ at 2020-11-27

    Try, after reading three times, I think I got it.

  • Zapala at 2020-11-27

    Hi, designer of Tumbleweed here. First of all, I'm glad to see the game discussed here! But, more to the point, Tumbleweed is an extremely simple game in terms of mechanics. Unfortunately, I'm a pretty bad explainer! I agree with Carroll that the ruleset given at igGC is simpler. If anyone has ideas for further improvement, clarifications, feel free to hit me up!

    Also this FAQ might hopefully be useful:

  • spartacu5 at 2020-11-27

    ypercube, nice to see you here on this thread! I can also answer any questions

  • ypercube at 2020-11-27

    Thnx @Zapala and @Carroll.

    The FAQ had cleared some of my confusion but the iggamecenter is much better!

    Now, we need some practice!

  • metzgerism at 2020-11-27

    The mechanism is not complicated, it's just surprisingly difficult to explain with words. Actually playing the game makes it click.

    Definitely a game that would be welcome here and benefit from tournament play, but it's lengthy for a modern abstract, usually 100-150 moves on the smaller board (not a bad thing, just unusual nowadays).

    Did it ever get tested on hex6?

  • Zapala at 2020-11-27

    There are also some videos on Alek Erickson's channel, showing the game being played in Ludii. It might give you some idea about the mechanics, tactics and strategies:

    @metzgerism, I know there has been some casual play on hex7. But I firmly believe hex8 to be the least size where some strategic nuances really get to shine through.

  • mouchet patrick at 2020-11-27

    I take advantage of the annoucement of this promising new game to draw attention to the existence of not very edand however very good games created some years ago. I especially think of Ayu, which is an exceptionally deep and original game , with unique tactics and unfortunately very few players. Ayu may however be played at the excellent mindsports site.

  • add3993 at 2020-11-28

    Very cool-looking mechanic.  It has a laser-beam vibe, even if they're not present.

  • spartacu5 at 2020-11-29

    Hi Metzgerism, I think size 7 is still playable, size 6 is getting a little small, and size 5 feels way too small.

  • Hunter C at 2020-11-30

    This game seems like it the perfect addition to be added to LG. It’s like a mix Amazon’s and Go if that makes sense. Mechanics could not be simpler.

    Any feel free to message me if you want to try and play on other sources.

  • Hunter C at 2020-12-01

    Also in regards to the rules, they are incredibly simple once you play a sample game.  The ruleset just doesn't seem intuitive right off the bat.

    Tumbleweed has the potential to be deeper than hex, amazons, or chess. (can't comment on go as i don't play go)

  • Zapala at 2020-12-01

    When it comes to Tumbleweed's depth, here are the facts:

    • In terms of combinatorial complexity, size 8 Tumbleweed can be assumed to be above 10100 and size 11 to be above 10250. For comparison, 11x11 Hex is 1098, Chess is 10123, Amazons are 10212 and 19x19 Go is 10360. This lower bounds arevery conservative, and we can't know for sure until stronger players emerge. The real question is effective complexity, which stems from effective game length: how many moves does it take for the result to become obvious? Stronger players will avoid blunders, but they will have better foresight, so this could go either way.
    • In terms of strategy and tactics, there are some easily conveyable principles that can be taught to, or even observed by, beginners. Many of them sound very natural, almost like a story. At the same time, there is much tension between those principles, and applying them often isn't easy: for instance, in the opening there is a very clear dilemma between spreading out as wide as possible and keeping your pieces secure. While the player base is still fairly small (24 players on players on igGC, plus no more than 10 others on MindSports, Ludii and TTS), a fairly robust skill ladder is quickly being established.

    So, to sum it up, Tumbleweed has high combinatorial complexity, learnable strategic basics and a lot to reveal later on. This is probably enough to establish strategic depth, so I agree with @Clark94*. That being said, I don't feel comfortable comparing it to games it has little to do with (like hex or chess), and I think it's definitely more “shallow” than Go.


    \* Of course, this assumes that there aren't some pathological game-breaking strategies! There don't seem to be any so far, but you never know… That being said, any potential flaws could probably be fixed with simply changing the opening protocol accordingly.

  • Hunter C at 2020-12-03

    Spartacu5. I see that you posted the mindsports link, can you use that link to play against others.

  • Zapala at 2020-12-04

    @Clark94, MindSports allows online play through it's Player's Section:

    It's well suited for correspondence games.

    There are some notable changes compared to the igGC version:

    • The board is rotated 60 degrees
    • The colors are blue&red instead of red&white
    • The pie is reversed: you set up the second mover, then the first mover
    • There is no pass button and no automatic influence scoring: the players are trusted to count the score by themselves and resign accordingly

    Overall the MindSports system (both the page at large and this specific implementation) isn't awfully convenient and I treat Tumbleweed being there as a badge of honor more than anything else, but there are some competent players who use it.

  • mouchet patrick at 2020-12-04

    I add that we find at mindsports many very good abstract games which cannot be played elsewhere. They are carefully selected by Christian Freeling; and of course his own ceations may be played at the site.

  • spartacu5 at 2021-01-21

    The next Tumbleweed tournament will begin in March on Iggamecenter. I really hope to see some players from here joining!

  • Zapala at 2021-01-27

    Alek recently made an excellent video explaining the rules in under three minutes.

  • coldsalmon at 2021-02-03

    I would definitely love to see Tumbleweed here. It has my vote for best Combinatorial game of 2020, which does not quite do it justice. I'm playing on MindSports right now (wish it had a better mobile interface and better notifications).

  • spartacu5 at 2021-04-20

    The second open Tumbleweed tournament is underway at iggamecenter!

    22 participants representing 8 countries… amazing turnout!

    That includes a few people I see here on LG -

    coldsalmon, Zapala, myself (spartacu5), Clark94, Metzgerism, Liberte, and others.

    Tonight on IGGC I will be playing my 3rd round Tumbleweed tournament match against “atari”, who is one of the top-ranked players and a dan-level Go player.

    I'm scared!

  • Tybalt ★ at 2021-04-24

    Just wanted to add my voice to support the implementation of Tumbleweed on LG.

    Tumbleweed really gives me a feeling that it's a very deep game. It might be the most interesting game I've discovered since I discovered go more than a decade ago. I would be delighted to play it at a turn-based pace with the crazy LB brains.


  • Hunter C at 2021-04-26

    I have to agree with Tybalt, Tumbleweed is the most deserving game to be implemented here, in my opinion.

  • metzgerism at 2021-04-26

    I would also like to see it implemented here… it's been difficult for me to play live on iggc (work, family, etc), but async play has been relatively easy.

  • spartacu5 at 2021-07-08

    Here is an instructional video about Life in Tumbleweed. Life is very different than in Go because groups can get eaten away at the edges. However, it is similar in the sense that collectives of stones help each other live - as in strength in numbers.

  • Zapala at 2021-08-12

    Tumbleweed will be played in this year's Mind Sports Olympiad! This tournament is open to anyone, so it's a good chance to get into the game while we wait for it to hopefully get implemented here one day. Here is the registration.

  • spartacu5 at 2021-10-14

    we made a puzzle book!

  • Florian Jamain at 2021-10-14

    Would be amazing to have it here!!!

    The abstract game of the year for me.

  • testingqwerty at 2021-10-14

    Just voicing my support as well for Tumbleweed on Little Golem. I believe it's the best abstract to come out in a long time, and I think its popularity could grow if it were added here! :)

  • spartacu5 at 2021-11-16

    Tumbleweed is currently in Alpha at boardgamearena. If you are also a user of that website, please let me know your handle and I can invite you to the group for testing the implementation. Thanks!

  • spartacu5 at 2021-11-22

    Tumbleweed has now reached beta.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-01-06

    A new essay “Opening Theory in Tumbleweed” is not yet released but the first draft is finished. Coming soon!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-01-13

    the 51-page book “Opening Theory in Tumbleweed” is finished and available here:

  • mmKALLL ★ at 2022-01-17

    That's a very nice book, thank you for sharing!

  • Hunter C at 2022-01-18

    Tumbleweed needs a home on Littlegolem

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-01-18

    +1 !!!!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-01-23

    I agree, I hope this year we can see Tumbleweed on Little Golem!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-03-23

    The first BGA tumbleweed tournament starts tomorrow, please register!

  • William Fraser at 2022-03-23

    It says that I need 100 ELO to get in. Is there a way around that by invitation? Or had I better start playing now…..

  • testingqwerty at 2022-03-24

    William Fraser: I'm not sure if there is a way to get around that (I tried to invite you, but I'm not sure if you were allowed to join). In any case, I'm happy to play some games against you before the tournament starts so you can reach 100 elo!

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-03-25

    Please Tumbleweed on LG <3

  • Eykca ★ at 2022-05-12

    I just received my copy of Abstract Games magazine in the mail. There is a short article about Little Golem. Richard says in the article that Tumbleweed is “slated to be next”.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-05-13

    That would be fantastic!

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-05-13

    Awesome !!!!

  • testingqwerty at 2022-05-14

    The Mindsports Olympiad Training tournament is happening tomorrow at 7:00pm CEST on BGA. If you happen to be below BGA’s 100 Elo requirement but would like to join anyways, let me know your BGA username so I can invite you.

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