Kropki (Dots) - various rule sets
A word of caution: in order to understand the differences between the various rule sets one needs to be familiar with the strategy of playing for pools.
Playing for Territory
Realms DO NOT CLOSE THEIR BORDERS AUTOMATICALLY and need not have the minimal area. These rules are almost identical to those at www.szkrab.net.pl (there are, however, three subtle differences, which are explained in 2, 3 and 4 below). These rules apply to games against the computer (dot engine at zagram.org) as well as to those that the guest players - those whose screen name is preceded with a star symbol – initiate.
Consequently, these rules are tailor-made for everybody wishing to apply the strategy of playing for pools. However, given the same size of the board, the time required to complete a game of dots under these rules is usually slightly longer than when the game is played under the ''No Territory'' rules (see below).
- Realms may be closed down in two different ways (quick or regular): either by pointing the cursor at the opponent's dot one intends to capture (the resulting enclosure (aka realm) is then minimized), or by pointing the cursor at every single dot in the intended enclosure's boundary.
- Some enclosure shapes are forbidden. A newly created realm may contain other (old) realms if the boundary of the new one shares at most one dot with the combined boundary of the old ones (note that such sharing is prohibited on szkrab). In particular, the following enclosure (figure courtesy of szkrab): is permitted.
- As opposed to what is accepted on szkrab, after a new realm bordering an existing one is created, a ''hole'' might appear between the two realms. This situation is illustrated in the following figure (courtesy of szkrab): (In this figure the presence of the ''hole'' is of no consequence to the game, however, larger ''holes'', forming usable quasi-pools, are also permitted).
- The last dot that is placed in an opponent's pool, just before the whole board is filled up, is automatically enclosed. This rule partially addresses the issues raised here.
- The rules observed on szkrab can be found here.
Realms close their borders automatically and their area is always minimized. A game in progress can be prematurely terminated when one side presses the STOP button (see, however, the remarks below).
Consequently, this renders the strategy of playing for pools useless, since players are under no obligation to place their dots in the pools, even if there is no more room available elsewhere on the board. Following these rules might lead to relatively short duration of games as it might often suffice for one side to capture enough of the opponent's dots to ensure victory and head towards the edge of the board. Nevertheless, this set of rules bears the closest resemblance to those observed on most Russian websites featuring Dots (Kropki).
- When a player presses the STOP button, the game system automatically encloses all the player's dots that do not require his opponent's placing a dot in a player's pool. For this reason, the opponent is given a 4-minute time limit in which the enclosing of the remaining dots can be carried out. Having done so, the opponent may press the STOP button himself thereby terminating the game or wait till the 4-minute period is over for the game to end automatically (since in this case one need no longer worry about overstepping the time limit).
- Having pressed the STOP button, the player can no longer place any dots on the board. However, any dots placed in his pools by the opponent will be automatically enclosed unless it is the case that by making that particular move the opponent creates a new realm for himself.
Former standard Rules
Realms close their borders automatically and their area is always minimized. A game in progress can be prematurely terminated only if one side resigns.
Consequently, this makes the strategy of playing for pools difficult, as the pools consisting of more than 2 squares are now usually worth just the equivalent of one dot. Indeed, such pools are closed down automatically after the opponent has placed his dot in them. Nevertheless, occasionally one can salvage a part of a pool thereby slightly increasing its total worth.