Proposal for “Tatsu” standard notation

Tatsu logo
The tabletop designer of Hive, has just begun releasing his newest game, Tatsu. It’s out in the UK and getting great critical acclaim, and is currently rolling out in mainland Europe and the United States during the summer of 2016.

Since it’s such a new game, there isn’t a standardized notation for moves yet… so in this post I’m proposing the one that we used to make a Steam version of Tatsu.

If anyone has a chance to use this notation for anything, I’d appreciate feedback so that I know if there are any major problems with it.

TATSU STANDARD NOTATION SPEC v1.0 – Sean Colombo 20160131

Space Numbering

The spaces on the board are numbered such that each pair is a single space with a capacity of two pieces.

The notation for spaces is that they are each assigned a single number around the circle. The spaces start with number “1” as the space by the Black mat with the number “1” on it. The other spaces will be numbered increasing clockwise all the way to space “24” which will be to the left of space “1”.

This has the side-effect that all of the spaces near the Black mat will have a number drawn on them which match their actual Space Number, but no other spaces on the board will.

Dragon Notation

The different types of board pieces will be represented by a single letter. The letters will be “V” for Vine Dragons, “W” for Water Dragons, and “F” for Fire Dragons.

Move Notation (Ply Notation)

There are two types of moves in Tatsu: Entering the Arena from the Mat, and moving a Dragon from one Space to another.

All moves have a hyphen separating them. The notation is as follows:

  • Entrance into the Arena: [Dragon Letter]-[Number of space where it will enter]. Examples: “V-2” when Black moves a Vine Dragon into its middle space. “F-14” when White moves a Fire Dragon into its middle space.
  • Movement on the Arena: [Source space number]-[destination space number]. Examples “2-5” to move the aforementioned Vine Dragon 3 spaces clockwise, or “14-11” to move the aforementioned Fire Dragon 3 spaces counter-clockwise (anti-clockwise). Due to the rules that the outer piece must be moved if you have two Dragons on the same space, there are no ambiguities that require more information than just the source-space and destination space.

Turn Notation

When a player rolls the dice, they have anywhere from 0 to 2 moves to make. If they are able to Enter the Arena or to Move on the Arena, they must do so. However, they are not always able to move given the configuration of the board and the results of the dice. When a turn cannot be made, the move will be represented as “0-0”. Each turn will consist of two plies next to each other. For example, an entire turn by black could be:

V-2 2-5

While it is impossible to have a pass, then a move, in certain configurations the player may run out of abilities to take their second turn and a pass would show up like this:

V-2 0-0

In rare cases, a player may be completely unable to move:

0-0 0-0

Game Notation

It’s not really necessary to define this at this point, but I envision that it could be numbered pairs, like this:

  • 1. 2-5 5-7
  • 2. 14-11 11-9

Unlike many Chess notations where each pair represents both players taking their turns, in the Tatsu notation each number would represent one player taking a turn. As the game is an eternal cycle rather than a back-and-forth game, this seems appropriate.