Full Report for Mapmaker (2p) by Louis Lafair, Joshua Lafair, Becca Lafair

Full Report for Mapmaker (2p) by Louis Lafair, Joshua Lafair, Becca Lafair

Generated at 04/05/2020, 16:40 from 1000 logged games.


Start Position


A district is a region of 4 or more spaces, which cannot be split into smaller regions.


At start of play, the board is randomised. Each space contains a voter; the colour denotes which way they will vote.

Turn Order


Each move, add one district boundary to the board between two spaces.

If you make a district, it becomes controlled by the player with the most votes in that region. In the case of a tie, the player who moved breaks the tie.

Game end

When no more districts can be created, the player with the most districts wins.

In the (frequent) case of a tie, the player controlling the most swing votes (0s and 1s) wins. If there is still a tie, the player with the fewest votes in their districts wins.


General comments:

Play: Combinatorial

Family: Connection,Scoring,Strict Placement,Combinatorial 2019, Kickstarter

Mechanism(s): Scoring

Components: Board

Level: Standard

BGG Stats

BGG EntryMapmaker (2p)
BGG Rating7.32429
BGG Weight1.5

BGG Ratings and Comments

dylhunn9This is a fun strategy game about enclosing areas to gain a majority of fixed counters in each area. Despite its well-applied gerrymandering theme, the core mechanism is deeply abstract. I'd recommend this if you enjoy other more abstract strategy games with simple mechanisms, such as Lost Cities or Go.
Evil_Empire_IncN/ALocation: Shelf D
emike9A multiplayer abstract game unusual for 3 reasons: it is an excellent game, its theme matches its abstract gameplay, and the game has a moral.
jimvN/AHeard about this game on 'Stay Tuned with Preet' podcast, 2019-03-07
shlomi6didn't like the game, played the print and play version, I don't think the final version will change my opinion on it.
Gyges6A very good abstract positional, which ought to be taken with a grain of salt as I don't like those games.
Red22jlj6.75An interesting game with a nice theme. I enjoyed this game but not looking to add it to my collection.
Fippy_Darkpaw8Simple mechanics but pretty wide amount of strategy. Not aware of any games similar. Good gateway game. Theme and build quality is excellent.
clint_8Brain-burny, simple, thematic, and very high quality components.
trojo7This game is pretty fun. Simple mechanics, yet surprisingly brain-burny. It reminds me in many ways of The Bridges of Shangri-La. If you like that game, you'll probably like The Gerrymandering Game also. (Side note: me and all my friends call this "The Gerrymandering Game" instead of Mapmaker. I'm sure we are not alone in this.)
EricTheFed8Missed the KS but grabbed it later. Very interesting spatial decisions in this game. Also exercises flexibility, as board situation can change before your turn comes around again in 3-4 player games.
ebugattaN/AKickstarteren láttam, nagyon jó kis kampány volt nem mellesleg az aktualitása miatt, valószínűleg a játék maga kevésbé izgalmas. Csak az USA-ban forgalmazták.
amyrick8A very fun diversion - the parts are all of excellent quality, and the game is aesthetically pleasing. Setup is quick, and 2-player games generally only take about 10 minutes. The rules are simple, the strategies more complex. A fine first effort by the game designers.
DTLibraryN/AShelf 14
nucleartraskN/AIts like Armadora, but a little heavier.
MihhailN/APrint and Play OR redesign READY game.
nighttrain548What a brilliant game. Simple, tactical, very thematic. Bravo to these kids
skutsch8Very simple rules that do a good job of simulating political gerrymandering. That alone is an amazing achievement. And then the gameplay is pretty darn good. The rules feel like an abstract, but still manage to convey the theme. Each turn's choices are tough and matter but the game is short, not overstaying its welcome. My only criticism is that the relatively small map means that each district matters a lot, maybe too much. With only 12 or so districts likely, a semi-random choice by one opponent might destroy your chances of getting that key one extra district. This would obviously be less of a problem in a two-player game. I would suggest always playing a few matches (best of 3 etc) to overcome this slight "flaw" (if it's a flaw at all). The games play fast so that shouldn't be a burden. The relatively limited game play may mean this game may wear out after a while, seeming too samey, but so far I think it's a winner. The pieces are high quality and the game looks good on the table. The party markers are pretty adorable. I'm a lifelong Democrat but I still got a kick out of placing my cute little red elephants down as they seized control from those evil donkeys and porcupines (Porcupine party?).
_The_Inquiry_8Prior to 2020: 3 plays
jd2209Excellent game that also has educational value? Sign me up!
elvis82566N/AYou are a mapmaker, which means you make maps… and determine who wins elections. You belong to a political party: Red Elephants, Blue Donkeys, Yellow Porcupines, or Green Leaves. Your only job? Make sure your party wins the next election. You get to redraw the districts. But so do the other mapmakers. Everyone starts with the same number of voters, spread across counties. Players each place four district borders per turn. When a district gets closed off, whoever has the most voters inside claims it. At the end of the game, the entire board will be sectioned into districts. The party with the most districts wins. If there’s a tie, the party with the most swing counties wins. You must scramble to draw the best lines first. Can you crack and pack voters? Can you scheme and strategize? Can you create unfair, lopsided, strangely shaped districts that will guarantee your party’s victory? Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game is fast to learn and fast to play. It’s full of surprises, maneuvers, and outmaneuvers. It’s a hands-on way to try out gerrymandering yourself.
silverrainmaker5I thought this game was decent for an abstract game. The one thing I can't stand about it is the theme. It fits absolutely beautifully with the gameplay, but it brings me zero joy to play a game themed around politics. Y no space theme?
puzzleme5Rating of 5 is only for the 2-player game. I give it a 4 for the 4-player and 3 for the 3-player game. Highly chaotic and no meaningful strategy in player counts over two. The 3-player game is especially susceptible to the king making issue.
Garth M8Enjoyed first few 2P games. A satisfying puzzle, nicely changed each time due to the randomised setup. Was worried it would feel just like a teaching game, but the mechanics are pleasantly absorbing. A lovely puzzle.
tylerleite10Always a ton of fun! We have a league going on with my roommates Ted and Claire. I'm winning of course, but only by a little bit. Honestly I think Ted cheats sometimes, but he loses so bad we let it slide!! Haha
herendil667A clever renditioning of the pen&paper dots game where players capture grid areas into a hexagonal format, this game is a quick and dirty little game where you try not to leave loose ends others will hurt you with, while setting up possible areas for progress.
philharlow10Great, moderately quick game that really makes you think. The gameplay seems simple at first but as your and your opponents gain experience the challenge becomes ever increasing.
edauterman9play tester
Mozzik7.5I backed this to support the Kickstarter's message and figured if I got a playable game out of it I'd consider it a bonus. Surprisingly, this is a really good game! It's well produced, it's very light and fast to teach and play, and it also demonstrates how Gerrymandering works in an elegant way. It's not something I'll seek out for a deep strategy game but it's a light weight area control game I can play with anyone that doesn't feel quite like anything else I've played.
marsman578Great game that is quick to teach and plays quickly.
Physicsphreak10Very fun, very deep game. Simple mechanics, but the ability to set up your opponents for no good choices is just so satisfying.
realityfoible7.6Excellent. Simple rules, fast play time, and difficult decisions delivered with cynical humor. Absolutely within my wheelhouse.
mudville96An fairly interesting take on an area majority game where the pieces are static and the areas are what change. Good for a few plays but not much long-term interest.
crypt0_n3rd5It's a fine abstract game that plays too quick and is over before you know it. I appreciate the theme and idea behind the game and will play it once in a while. Nothing too innovative or special but a fine game that anyone can play.
getareaction8This game totally delivers on its promises. The rules are super straightforward, the gameplay is really challenging, and there are plenty of opportunities to look past a good move to find a brilliant one. The theme is spot on. The components are delightfully over-produced. But beware analysis paralysis! It echoes real-life gerrymandering so well that it was triggering some fun political bunfight roleplaying. Kickstarted in August 2018. Arrived in March 2019, a month early!
Carthoris7Educational, if you want that. A cunning abstract, even if not.
narthurs10Loving it! Playing with my roommates daily. Feels great to gerrymander the crap out of some maps (but only because it's just a game). The beginning can feel a little random, but that's just where the mind games begin.
mschlat7Quite nice --- it's an abstract with no random elements (past the set up) that also illustrates the techniques of gerrymandering. Would like to play several more times to better understand the strategies.
rseater7I was pleasantly surprised. I thought this might be a mechanic-without-a-game or education-ruins-everything, but it is actually a solid game. 4-player has some kingmaking issues, but is fine if you clarify that your goal is to maximize your rank position. There is indeed a lot of emergent gerrymandering. Drawing the regions around fixed influence points is a nice reversal from other area majority games. I wounder if it would be even better with a higher minimum region size.
Allgood3227Kickstarted project #7
dmorenus8Entertaining board game with simple rules but challenging gameplay that nicely demonstrates the techniques and tragedy of partisan gerrymandering.
Apple Paul7A nice and quick simulation of gerrymandering. Mechanically, this game reminds me of two games that I like: Armadara and Trans America. On first play, I had a sense that this game might play better if players were allowed to place only 2 sticks on the board per turn, instead of 4 per turn, as 4 seemed to be far too "immediately" powerful and I would say cheaply "decisive." I suspect that allowing players to play only 2 sticks per tune would lead to a more gradual game that might slowly but surely come into focus, and then, in the final rounds of play, an across the board reckoning or "domino effect," so to speak, might happen. That might be interesting. On the other hand, because allowing only 2 sticks to be placed on the board per turn would make the game more difficult to "see," and it might lead to a lot of AP I suppose. Bottom line: the next time we play Mapmaker, I would like to try house ruling the turns to allow players to place only 2 sticks per turn.
Argantonio7.5Pequeño juego que consigue lo que pretende: diversión, concentración y aprendizaje.
RabidlettuceN/ASimple and easy to teach, but still has depth of strategy.
taloskhaos7.9While at first I was convinced this was one of the best games of 2019 due to its unique theme, high quality components, and high depth to rule complexity, I have since dropped its rating a tad because it definitely suffers from planning problems playing with multiple players and I feel like when I have won, it was often just luck that other players didn't see what I was doing, I feel like to be truly good at this game you have to be an expert, otherwise you are just making best guesses. Still a good game though. The creators also reached out to me to clarify the rules, the whole production is a great product.
qswangerN/AThis bears some resemblance to Armadora and Minoa. Kinda like they had a baby.

Kolomogorov Complexity Estimate

Size (bytes)31797
Reference Size10293

Ai Ai calculates the size of the implementation, and compares it to the Ai Ai implementation of the simplest possible game (which just fills the board). Note that this estimate may include some graphics and heuristics code as well as the game logic. See the wikipedia entry for more details.

Playout Complexity Estimate

Playouts per second4633.54 (215.82µs/playout)
Reference Size536538.26 (1.86µs/playout)
Ratio (low is good)115.79

Tavener complexity: the heat generated by playing every possible instance of a game with a perfectly efficient programme. Since this is not possible to calculate, Ai Ai calculates the number of random playouts per second and compares it to the fastest non-trivial Ai Ai game (Connect 4). This ratio gives a practical indication of how complex the game is. Combine this with the computational state space, and you can get an idea of how strong the default (MCTS-based) AI will be.

Playout/Search Speed

LabelIts/sSDNodes/sSDGame lengthSD
Random playout4,87052289,0533,097591

Random: 10 second warmup for the hotspot compiler. 100 trials of 1000ms each.

Other: 100 playouts, means calculated over the first 5 moves only to avoid distortion due to speedup at end of game.

Mirroring Strategies

Rotation (Half turn) lost each game as expected.
Reflection (X axis) lost each game as expected.
Reflection (Y axis) lost each game as expected.
Copy last move lost each game as expected.

Mirroring strategies attempt to copy the previous move. On first move, they will attempt to play in the centre. If neither of these are possible, they will pick a random move. Each entry represents a different form of copying; direct copy, reflection in either the X or Y axis, half-turn rotation.

Win % By Player (Bias)

1: Blue win %71.00±2.89Includes draws = 50%
2: Yellow win %29.00±2.73Includes draws = 50%
Draw %0.00Percentage of games where all players draw.
Decisive %100.00Percentage of games with a single winner.
Samples1000Quantity of logged games played

Note: that win/loss statistics may vary depending on thinking time (horizon effect, etc.), bad heuristics, bugs, and other factors, so should be taken with a pinch of salt. (Given perfect play, any game of pure skill will always end in the same result.)

Note: Ai Ai differentiates between states where all players draw or win or lose; this is mostly to support cooperative games.

Levels of Play

AIStrong WinsDrawsStrong Losses#GamesStrong Win%p1 Win%Game Length
Grand Unified UCT(U1-T,rSel=s, secs=0.01)360036100.0055.5658.19
Grand Unified UCT(U1-T,rSel=s, secs=0.03)36064285.7150.0058.24
Grand Unified UCT(U1-T,rSel=s, secs=0.07)36094580.0055.5657.76
Grand Unified UCT(U1-T,rSel=s, secs=0.20)36094580.0057.7857.36
Grand Unified UCT(U1-T,rSel=s, secs=0.55)360104678.2656.5256.54

Level of Play: Strong beats Weak 60% of the time (lower bound with 90% confidence).

Draw%, p1 win% and game length may give some indication of trends as AI strength increases; but be aware that the AI can introduce bias due to horizon effects, poor heuristics, etc.


Game length56.69 
Branching factor53.68 
Complexity10^92.84Based on game length and branching factor
Computational Complexity10^7.32Sample quality (100 best): 3.98
Samples1000Quantity of logged games played

Computational complexity (where present) is an estimate of the game tree reachable through actual play. For each game in turn, Ai Ai marks the positions reached in a hashtable, then counts the number of new moves added to the table. Once all moves are applied, it treats this sequence as a geometric progression and calculates the sum as n-> infinity.

Move Classification

Distinct actions93Number of distinct moves (e.g. "e4") regardless of position in game tree
Killer moves1A 'killer' move is selected by the AI more than 50% of the time
Killers: Resolve ->Yellow
Good moves43A good move is selected by the AI more than the average
Bad moves49A bad move is selected by the AI less than the average
Samples1000Quantity of logged games played

Board Coverage

A mean of 98.01% of board locations were used per game.

Colour shows the frequency of visits.

Change in Material Per Turn

This chart is based on a single playout, and gives a feel for the change in material over the course of a game.


Table: branching factor per turn.

Action Types per Turn

This chart is based on a single playout, and gives a feel for the types of moves available over the course of a game.

Red: removal, Black: move, Blue: Add, Grey: pass, Purple: swap sides, Brown: other.


This chart shows the best move value with respect to the active player; the orange line represents the value of doing nothing (null move).

The lead changed on 0% of the game turns. Ai Ai found 2 critical turns (turns with only one good option).

Position Heatmap

This chart shows the relative temperature of all moves each turn. Colour range: black (worst), red, orange(even), yellow, white(best).

Good/Effective moves

MeasureAll playersPlayer 1Player 2
Mean % of effective moves76.8274.1779.38
Mean no. of effective moves38.0437.4338.62
Effective game space10^-∞10^-∞10^-∞
Mean % of good moves51.934.3997.82
Mean no. of good moves27.543.5750.69
Good move game space10^51.1910^4.6710^46.53

These figures were calculated over a single game.

An effective move is one with score 0.1 of the best move (including the best move). -1 (loss) <= score <= 1 (win)

A good move has a score > 0. Note that when there are no good moves, an multiplier of 1 is used for the game space calculation.

Quality Measures

Hot turns75.44%A hot turn is one where making a move is better than doing nothing.
Momentum29.82%% of turns where a player improved their score.
Correction36.84%% of turns where the score headed back towards equality.
Depth4.72%Difference in evaluation between a short and long search.
Drama0.00%How much the winner was behind before their final victory.
Foulup Factor57.89%Moves that looked better than the best move after a short search.
Surprising turns0.00%Turns that looked bad after a short search, but good after a long one.
Last lead change-1.75%Distance through game when the lead changed for the last time.
Decisiveness10.53%Distance from the result being known to the end of the game.

These figures were calculated over a single game, and based on the measures of quality described in "Automatic Generation and Evaluation of Recombination Games" (Cameron Browne, 2007).



Opening Heatmap

Colour shows the success ratio of this play over the first 10moves; black < red < yellow < white.

Size shows the frequency this move is played.

Unique Positions Reachable at Depth


Note: most games do not take board rotation and reflection into consideration.
Multi-part turns could be treated as the same or different depth depending on the implementation.
Counts to depth N include all moves reachable at lower depths.
Inaccuracies may also exist due to hash collisions, but Ai Ai uses 64-bit hashes so these will be a very small fraction of a percentage point.

Shortest Game(s)

No solutions found to depth 4.



Yellow to win in 9 moves

Blue to win in 5 moves

Yellow to win in 5 moves

Yellow to win in 6 moves

Selection criteria: first move must be unique, and not forced to avoid losing. Beyond that, Puzzles will be rated by the product of [total move]/[best moves] at each step, and the best puzzles selected.