July 21, 2002

ZF1: a program to analyse ZÈRTZ

Since ZÈRTZ was released (in the beginning of 2000, that was) quite a number of people have let us know that they were writing a program to play ZÈRTZ or to simulate it. Stephen Tavener wrote about ZÈRTZ that, each time it is your turn again, you must look at the board as if it were a puzzle. That is probably why quite a lot of players felt - and still feel - like digging deep in the possibilities the game has to offer. And by doing so, many have understood that ZÈRTZ is a very unforgiving game. Each time it is your turn you must try to win the game for there; and if that is not possible, then you must look for a move that will not make you lose after having put your opponent in turn again. In other words: each single marble you put on the board and each ring you remove is crucial!
Now Michael Reitz (one of the very deep diggers!) has finished his first version of ZF1, a program to play ZÈRTZ. It is not a program against which you can play (i.e. it has no A.I.), but it makes it easy to make analysis', to move marbles and remove rings, to save and to load diagrams, etc.
The program is very easy to download and it offers many more options then the few mentioned above. In my opinion, the most interesting feature is that it allows to play with many different boards, starting with 37 rings (the basic number) and ending with no less than 61 rings. That is 13 rings more than the 48 rings that are currently used for tournaments. Some say that ZÈRTZ will eventually be played with 61 rings, so ZF1 gives the adventureous players already an opportunity to give it a try! If you're interested, then go to the place to be for a free download!

Note: ZF1 was named after Kurt Van den Branden's GF1, meaning"GIPF For One". So, guess that ZF1 means...

E-ZERTZ with 11 additional rings

Speaking about Kurt Van den Branden: it has taken a while, but Kurt has found the time to finish ZERTZ+11. That is a program that makes it possible to play ZÈRTZ by e-mail with 11 additional rings (i.e. the number of rings that are used to play tournaments). A few insiders knew that the program was available on Richard's PBeM server for already a month or two as "ZERTZ11". The tests have prooved yet agian that Kurt did a fantastic job, so meanwhile Richard Ronglie has added the game as ZERTZ+11 to his server's list of game. Enjoy it!

MSO6 without GIPF and ZÈRTZ WC's

Too bad! Maybe next year again! Who knows?

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