Here's the optimal strategy...agree? Einstein forum

19 replies. Last post: 2021-04-22

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Here's the optimal strategy...agree?
  • alain at 2006-03-20

    I’ve watched several games of the players who do (as) well (as can be expected) and have struck on this stragety myself in Einstein.

    * Capture as many of your own stones as possible, with a preference of leaving yourself with 1 or 6 (making large gaps between your numbers). This gives you more choice when moving;
    * When offered the choice of capturing an opponents' stone do not capture unless the stone is near the goal or you already have many less stones and its your shortest route to victory;
    * When deciding where to place a stone going for the goal, choose to put it next to an enemy stone that has the smallest chance of being thrown.

    I think that strategy is pretty much optimal. Worse, its easy to understand and essentially a no-brainer.

    This game should be played over much longer matches (probably 9 or even 13 or more) or extended to 10-stones on a 7x7 (or would 6x6 be adequate?) board.

    Anybody got any comments? In my humble opinion, Einstein is not the sort of quality game that enhances LG like chess, Hex and Go.

  • Marius Halsor ★ at 2006-03-20

    Well, I partly agree, but it’s not a “no-brainer”. It might help you to play well, but definitely not OPTIMALLY. In a few situations, I find myself doing probabiliy-calculations to find the optimal move. The problem is that the difference between an OK move and an optimal move sometimes is small (it rarely changes your win probability by more than 0.1, usually less, often much less).

    As for changing the board size: I’ve though about it myself, but I’m not sure. What I see in the small board, is the trade off between getting “stronger” stones and moving forward. If given the choice, what do you do? I’ve been beat a few times by opponents who plunges forward, while I try to make my stones “stronger”. I think this trade off becomes much more obvious in larger boards. In fact, I think strategy becomes less important, and luck more importatn, on a bigger board – the opposite of what you want to achieve.

  • Hjallti at 2006-03-20

    In my opinion chess is the one game that makes the quality drop here, because it is no fun, not relaxing and ‘brain’ is less important that having some opening database :)

    I like this game (Einstein) and it makes this site more fun for me.

    I think that declaring some strategy in the forum makes a game more no-brain, but that is not due to the game but due to the poster of that strategy. :

  • cheadle at 2006-03-20

    And Alain, has at this time completed 2 matches, maybe once he has completed a few more games his opinion will have changed.

    I guess it’s fair enough to discuss strategy but surely a winning strategy today wont always be a winning strategy as the game evolves, as players develop their own idea’s.

    Let us know what your view is about this game when you have played 50-100 games.

  • alain at 2006-03-20

    Hi Cheadle, you’re right that I’ve only completed 2 games so it does seem a bit rich to claim a near-optimal strategy already! I’ll keep everyone posted, and I hope others will too. Sadly, I doubt my opinion will change much, but I keep an open mind! :o)

    Interesting comment from Marius about the possibility of a larger board actually having the opposite effect (introducing more luck). Having longer matches is one obvious improvement (with the same board) and another might be to have a “stone placing” phase where you take turns to place the stones (in the same pattern) but you can modify your starting pattern based on your opponents (like Dvonn).

    I think these two simple improvements would greatly enhance the quality of the game, without making it less fun. Does anyone have any useful comments about strategy in this game?

  • cheadle at 2006-03-20

    I’m open minded about the game at the moment, I like the simplicity of the game, and the fact that the playing area is small and the game fast, Increasing the field of play may take something away from that.

  • luiser at 2006-03-23

    Having played more than 10.000 Einstein games I am much more experienced but not wiser than you are. :-)

    The strategy definitely depends on your opponent. If you have time you can capture your own stones. Otherwise you put to much effort in creating strong strokes and let your opponent get close to the goal.
    I think there is a small gap between capturing too much and too little of your own stones.

    I totally agree with Marius that there is not much difference between good and optimal moves. And luck is also a big factor.

    So don’t worry too much about strategy and just enjoy the game. :-D


  • Theo van der Storm at 2006-03-23

    LuiseR wrote:
    > Having played more than 10.000 Einstein games I am much more
    > experienced but not wiser than you are. :-)

    Knowing that you are a strong player I take this to mean your strategic decisions are based solely on intuition. Tactical decisions may be based on
    both calculations (shallow variations) and intuition (deep variations).

    Wisdom would be the ability to move from the intuitive experience to a succesful(


  • Rbpompeu at 2021-03-11

    @Hjallti I agree 100%

  • metzgerism at 2021-03-11

    don’t be so hasty, Hjallti’s opinion could have changed in the last 15 years...

  • Paul Wiselius at 2021-03-15

    I agree that chess has too many sources of help, like opening and endgame databases and very strong engines to support you. Chess960 should become the mainstream and used as basis for the championship in my opinion. 

  • Paul Wiselius at 2021-03-15

    As for Einstein, I like it because it is possible to select a “good” move without spending much time, where with most other games you could spend minutes to hours to find a good move. And that time I rather use for other hobbies ;)

    The above described strategy is a good start, but in my practice there are many cases where you have to improvise because your stones are placed unhandy. I once played a 50 games match against Rororo the bot, and noticed that it often first got rid of stones 3 and 4, which works well, but not always, like luiser explained. 

    So you often need to improvise, and there comes intuition, experience and luck round the corner ;) 

  • Fraggle_Reloaded_c at 2021-03-16

    Fraggle was programmed in 2005-2006 and so it was fun reading these old posts. I remember well that nearly everybody thought that the proposed ideas (from the original post) are optimal.

    Capturing the own stones early and improving the mobility is indeed a well suited strategic idea with two main purposes.

    1. It is suited for beginners of the game and the ideas are easy to understand.

    2. If the opponent (i.e. a beginner without understanding the idea) has not understood how to counter this strategic idea he/she will lose the match with a high probability.

    Most human players on LG understand this strategic concept and most of them try to counter the idea by doing the same (as I mentioned the main idea is easy to understand).

    (It should be mentioned, that reducing the own stones is a good BUT most of the time not optimal way to play.)

    If both players play this strategic idea it results in a “racing game” (who reaches the goal first) in which the dice and luck is in the end very importand.

    Again: I have nothing against this idea. It is a nice strategic idea which forces the opponent to react and adjust the strategic goal. But most of the time it is the optimal way to play.

    (Generay advises are difficult to give (the dice ans the stones are always right ;))

    But in general: to counter a non-optimal play is not by following the same non optimal strategic idea and doing the same (as mentioned this results often in a “no-brainer” with racing character).

    Playing more defensive and keeping the stones on strategic points of the board is a better idea to counter this idea

    And here comes the crux. This is (by far) not beginner suited and long term plans are needed to play in this way. Everything has to balance well between defense and offence opportunities and placing the stones wise in a long term strategic way.

    General and easy to understand rules are difficult to find in following this idea.


    Another general advice: a minor mistake (i.e. , making the second best move in a situation) is indeed no big deal. But the “lost winning chances” sum up. Losing in every move small percentage/advantages sum up to a big disadvantage in winning chances if the opponent is playing optimal.

  • Fraggle_Reloaded_c at 2021-03-16

    Is should add:

    >It should be mentioned, that reducing the own stones is a good BUT most of the time not optimal way to play.)

    captering the own the own stones is always good! ;-) But not all of them in a too aggressive way...

  • Florian Jamain ★ at 2021-03-16

    I don’t like to take my own stones. Sometimes I do, but I prefer to put an agressive stones so that the opponent will have to take it.

    To me it is generally better to force the opponent to capture your stones where you want than doing it by yourself.

  • Jonny at 2021-03-16

    Fine post  :-)

    The point is in my opinion to have a good balance from both. And see: when is the point to draw.

    First have in the beginning more stones and then get the correct point to take my own stones.

    But you have also to look: what make the dice?

    It is more complex then just take all my own stones.

    And also what florian said: If ther is a stone I dont need, I go forward. Then the oponent can take (thats good for me) or he dont take. (then I have one stone near the aim)

    And: What strategie has my oponent? Sometimes it is good to react  and sometimes to make my own strategie.

    In long games (50 points) the better player wins in 90%

  • Fraggle_Reloaded_c at 2021-03-16

    Yes, the strategies evolved. 2006 is far away ;) It was fun reading the old posts and so I decided to write this post ;-D (nothing more... ;)

  • Carroll ★ at 2021-03-16

    It is strange that it still seems a matter of opinions, instead of statistics, it nearly sounds as trolling...

    I am a firm believer in eating my own stones, even with three left, I “like” fast pawns.

    I would like to see examples for when it is better not to, and these examples must share some similarities ?

    The existing engines should be able to play nearly perfectly and tell the probabilities differences between strategies.

  • Paul Wiselius at 2021-04-22

    I guess many players have their own strategy and tactics. I do not like to say too much about mine, because it would be even more easy for my opponents to obstruct it... ;)

    And mine are really very simple and straightforward. Intuition an luck are a blessing, and making the right move when the opportunity is there...

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