Wonderland Game
THE MIDNIGHT POST * October 2007
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Peegue's Puzzle Page:
Z-Bot Racers - A Puzzle Game

This edition of the puzzle page contains a easy to play board game for two players.

To play this game you will need:
* One sheet of graphing paper.
* One pencil and one dark pen (or marker).
* Two coloured pencils or pens - e.g. red for player one, green for player two.
* A ruler.

One your graphing paper, draw a 16x16 square (if you don't have graphing paper, you can make a 16x16 grid yourself with a pencil and ruler). Flip a coin or roll a die to see who goes first. Using the pencil, take turns to lightly shade in ten squares each. Once Player 2 has shaded his or her tenth square, Player 1 will put down a green dot to indicate Player 2's (!) starting position. Finally, Player 2 puts down a red dot to indicate Player 1's starting position.

Note again that players will choose the starting position of the other (!) player.

Here's a possible grid with twenty squares shaded and two starting positions selected:

Playing the Game:
The object of the game is to get the highest score by moving your Z-Bots (the dots) over as many shaded-in squares as possible. Players take turn to move their Z-Bots and write down their score.

How to move your Z-Bot:
Your Z-Bot has a horizontal (left/right) and vertical (up/down) velocity, starting with both at zero. Each move you are allowed to add or subtract at most one from either or both velocities.

For example, starting at rest, you could add one to your vertical and subtract one from your horizontal velocity (your velocity is now vertical=+1 and horizontal=-1, and hence move up one and left one square).

Next round, you start with vertical=+1 and horiztonal=-1. Perhaps you will add another one to your vertical and leave horizontal unchanged, meaning your next move will be two up (vertical=+2) and one left (horizontal=-1).

If you "accelerate" too much, you might bash into the outside wall. If you crash, stop at the edge and lose one turn.

Collecting points:
As you make your move, draw a line from your old to your new position using a ruler. If your path goes through or stops in a shaded square, you (a) add one point to your score and (b) "black out" the square using the pen or marker. Each "blacked out" square is now an impassable wall, and cannot be entered again. Crashing into it also makes you lose one turn.

Here is a possible game board after seven moves. Red Player has collected three points. Green Player has collected five, but has accelerated so much to the left that he/she has crashed into the wall and will lose one turn.

* In order to collect a point you must go through a square. Just touching the corner (as shown) would not earn a point.
* Players are allowed to cross each other's paths, but cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
* You can easily expand this game for three or more players.

Keep taking turns until all points are collected, or no moves are possible. The player with the highest score wins. Peegue is also always interested in hearing about new puzzles from all around the world. If you've come across an interesting puzzle that you think Peegue would like to know about, just e-mail us.

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