new game: Tumbleweed General forum

114 replies. Last post: 2023-02-04

Reply to this topic Return to forum

new game: Tumbleweed
  • spartacu5 at 2020-11-26

    Tumbleweed is a new abstract strategy game designed by Polish game designer Mike Zapawa.

    This game is definitely going to be a modern classic - extremely simple, yet vastly deep.

    The rules can be found here:

    It has recently become available on several platforms:

    Tabletop Simulator -

    Mindsports -

    IGGamecenter -

    or the general game playing system, Ludii -

    The first annual correspondence Tumbleweed tournament is about halfway over.

    Currently I am winning :D

    We hope to see Tumbleweed eventually on LittleGolem some day.

  • ypercube ★ at 2020-11-27

    @spartacus5 it looks interesting but the Description in the link you provided is confusing to say the least.

    Is there somewhere a more clear set of rules?

  • Carroll ★ at 2020-11-27

    Try, after reading three times, I think I got it.

  • Zapala at 2020-11-27

    Hi, designer of Tumbleweed here. First of all, I'm glad to see the game discussed here! But, more to the point, Tumbleweed is an extremely simple game in terms of mechanics. Unfortunately, I'm a pretty bad explainer! I agree with Carroll that the ruleset given at igGC is simpler. If anyone has ideas for further improvement, clarifications, feel free to hit me up!

    Also this FAQ might hopefully be useful:

  • spartacu5 at 2020-11-27

    ypercube, nice to see you here on this thread! I can also answer any questions

  • ypercube ★ at 2020-11-27

    Thnx @Zapala and @Carroll.

    The FAQ had cleared some of my confusion but the iggamecenter is much better!

    Now, we need some practice!

  • metzgerism at 2020-11-27

    The mechanism is not complicated, it's just surprisingly difficult to explain with words. Actually playing the game makes it click.

    Definitely a game that would be welcome here and benefit from tournament play, but it's lengthy for a modern abstract, usually 100-150 moves on the smaller board (not a bad thing, just unusual nowadays).

    Did it ever get tested on hex6?

  • Zapala at 2020-11-27

    There are also some videos on Alek Erickson's channel, showing the game being played in Ludii. It might give you some idea about the mechanics, tactics and strategies:

    @metzgerism, I know there has been some casual play on hex7. But I firmly believe hex8 to be the least size where some strategic nuances really get to shine through.

  • mouchet patrick at 2020-11-27

    I take advantage of the annoucement of this promising new game to draw attention to the existence of not very edand however very good games created some years ago. I especially think of Ayu, which is an exceptionally deep and original game , with unique tactics and unfortunately very few players. Ayu may however be played at the excellent mindsports site.

  • add3993 at 2020-11-28

    Very cool-looking mechanic.  It has a laser-beam vibe, even if they're not present.

  • spartacu5 at 2020-11-29

    Hi Metzgerism, I think size 7 is still playable, size 6 is getting a little small, and size 5 feels way too small.

  • Hunter C at 2020-11-30

    This game seems like it the perfect addition to be added to LG. It’s like a mix Amazon’s and Go if that makes sense. Mechanics could not be simpler.

    Any feel free to message me if you want to try and play on other sources.

  • Hunter C at 2020-12-01

    Also in regards to the rules, they are incredibly simple once you play a sample game.  The ruleset just doesn't seem intuitive right off the bat.

    Tumbleweed has the potential to be deeper than hex, amazons, or chess. (can't comment on go as i don't play go)

  • Zapala at 2020-12-01

    When it comes to Tumbleweed's depth, here are the facts:

    • In terms of combinatorial complexity, size 8 Tumbleweed can be assumed to be above 10100 and size 11 to be above 10250. For comparison, 11x11 Hex is 1098, Chess is 10123, Amazons are 10212 and 19x19 Go is 10360. This lower bounds arevery conservative, and we can't know for sure until stronger players emerge. The real question is effective complexity, which stems from effective game length: how many moves does it take for the result to become obvious? Stronger players will avoid blunders, but they will have better foresight, so this could go either way.
    • In terms of strategy and tactics, there are some easily conveyable principles that can be taught to, or even observed by, beginners. Many of them sound very natural, almost like a story. At the same time, there is much tension between those principles, and applying them often isn't easy: for instance, in the opening there is a very clear dilemma between spreading out as wide as possible and keeping your pieces secure. While the player base is still fairly small (24 players on players on igGC, plus no more than 10 others on MindSports, Ludii and TTS), a fairly robust skill ladder is quickly being established.

    So, to sum it up, Tumbleweed has high combinatorial complexity, learnable strategic basics and a lot to reveal later on. This is probably enough to establish strategic depth, so I agree with @Clark94*. That being said, I don't feel comfortable comparing it to games it has little to do with (like hex or chess), and I think it's definitely more “shallow” than Go.


    \* Of course, this assumes that there aren't some pathological game-breaking strategies! There don't seem to be any so far, but you never know… That being said, any potential flaws could probably be fixed with simply changing the opening protocol accordingly.

  • Hunter C at 2020-12-03

    Spartacu5. I see that you posted the mindsports link, can you use that link to play against others.

  • Zapala at 2020-12-04

    @Clark94, MindSports allows online play through it's Player's Section:

    It's well suited for correspondence games.

    There are some notable changes compared to the igGC version:

    • The board is rotated 60 degrees
    • The colors are blue&red instead of red&white
    • The pie is reversed: you set up the second mover, then the first mover
    • There is no pass button and no automatic influence scoring: the players are trusted to count the score by themselves and resign accordingly

    Overall the MindSports system (both the page at large and this specific implementation) isn't awfully convenient and I treat Tumbleweed being there as a badge of honor more than anything else, but there are some competent players who use it.

  • mouchet patrick at 2020-12-04

    I add that we find at mindsports many very good abstract games which cannot be played elsewhere. They are carefully selected by Christian Freeling; and of course his own ceations may be played at the site.

  • spartacu5 at 2021-01-21

    The next Tumbleweed tournament will begin in March on Iggamecenter. I really hope to see some players from here joining!

  • Zapala at 2021-01-27

    Alek recently made an excellent video explaining the rules in under three minutes.

  • coldsalmon at 2021-02-03

    I would definitely love to see Tumbleweed here. It has my vote for best Combinatorial game of 2020, which does not quite do it justice. I'm playing on MindSports right now (wish it had a better mobile interface and better notifications).

  • spartacu5 at 2021-04-20

    The second open Tumbleweed tournament is underway at iggamecenter!

    22 participants representing 8 countries… amazing turnout!

    That includes a few people I see here on LG -

    coldsalmon, Zapala, myself (spartacu5), Clark94, Metzgerism, Liberte, and others.

    Tonight on IGGC I will be playing my 3rd round Tumbleweed tournament match against “atari”, who is one of the top-ranked players and a dan-level Go player.

    I'm scared!

  • Tybalt at 2021-04-24

    Just wanted to add my voice to support the implementation of Tumbleweed on LG.

    Tumbleweed really gives me a feeling that it's a very deep game. It might be the most interesting game I've discovered since I discovered go more than a decade ago. I would be delighted to play it at a turn-based pace with the crazy LB brains.


  • Hunter C at 2021-04-26

    I have to agree with Tybalt, Tumbleweed is the most deserving game to be implemented here, in my opinion.

  • metzgerism at 2021-04-26

    I would also like to see it implemented here… it's been difficult for me to play live on iggc (work, family, etc), but async play has been relatively easy.

  • spartacu5 at 2021-07-08

    Here is an instructional video about Life in Tumbleweed. Life is very different than in Go because groups can get eaten away at the edges. However, it is similar in the sense that collectives of stones help each other live - as in strength in numbers.

  • Zapala at 2021-08-12

    Tumbleweed will be played in this year's Mind Sports Olympiad! This tournament is open to anyone, so it's a good chance to get into the game while we wait for it to hopefully get implemented here one day. Here is the registration.

  • spartacu5 at 2021-10-14

    we made a puzzle book!

  • Florian Jamain at 2021-10-14

    Would be amazing to have it here!!!

    The abstract game of the year for me.

  • testingqwerty at 2021-10-14

    Just voicing my support as well for Tumbleweed on Little Golem. I believe it's the best abstract to come out in a long time, and I think its popularity could grow if it were added here! :)

  • spartacu5 at 2021-11-16

    Tumbleweed is currently in Alpha at boardgamearena. If you are also a user of that website, please let me know your handle and I can invite you to the group for testing the implementation. Thanks!

  • spartacu5 at 2021-11-22

    Tumbleweed has now reached beta.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-01-06

    A new essay “Opening Theory in Tumbleweed” is not yet released but the first draft is finished. Coming soon!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-01-13

    the 51-page book “Opening Theory in Tumbleweed” is finished and available here:

  • mmKALLL at 2022-01-17

    That's a very nice book, thank you for sharing!

  • Hunter C at 2022-01-18

    Tumbleweed needs a home on Littlegolem

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-01-18

    +1 !!!!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-01-23

    I agree, I hope this year we can see Tumbleweed on Little Golem!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-03-23

    The first BGA tumbleweed tournament starts tomorrow, please register!

  • William Fraser at 2022-03-23

    It says that I need 100 ELO to get in. Is there a way around that by invitation? Or had I better start playing now…..

  • testingqwerty at 2022-03-24

    William Fraser: I'm not sure if there is a way to get around that (I tried to invite you, but I'm not sure if you were allowed to join). In any case, I'm happy to play some games against you before the tournament starts so you can reach 100 elo!

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-03-25

    Please Tumbleweed on LG <3

  • Eykca ★ at 2022-05-12

    I just received my copy of Abstract Games magazine in the mail. There is a short article about Little Golem. Richard says in the article that Tumbleweed is “slated to be next”.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-05-13

    That would be fantastic!

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-05-13

    Awesome !!!!

  • testingqwerty at 2022-05-14

    The Mindsports Olympiad Training tournament is happening tomorrow at 7:00pm CEST on BGA. If you happen to be below BGA’s 100 Elo requirement but would like to join anyways, let me know your BGA username so I can invite you.

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-07-31

    It will be on LG. Until now you can see it in

    • click in menu on Games and Variants
    • you can use filter in top right corner for local games
    • click on Tumbleweed size 6
    • click on Local game
  • spartacu5 at 2022-07-31

    Amazing, Richard! It looks nice too

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-01

    Hi, there is a problem with the implementation as far as I can tell.
    The setup rule is implemented incorrectly.
    I will DM you with the details

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-08-01

    I think the implementation is correct - even if it is not the same as the original. Original rules: first player places two stones (red and then white). The second player plays as the red player or does a 'swap' and chooses the white stones. So the first move is made by the opponent with the red stone. In any case, the player with the red stone starts the game.

    The implementation on LG is the same, but the players' colours don't change - but the stones are swapped. So the player either swipes his turn or makes a swap (the stones on the board are swapped) and the opponent makes the first move.

    That swapping of stones on the board allows you to mark who is white and black in the game, and that doesn't change in any game implemented on LG. Similarly, swap is implemented in other games on LG (hex, havannah).

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-08-01

    Cannot wait :D

  • Zapala at 2022-08-01

    FWIW this is the same system MindSports uses. I don't particularly love it, but I don't have a big issue with it either. It's functionally equivalent with the intended setup, so if other LG games work like this – so can Tumbleweed, IMO. Really excited that the implementation is moving forward!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-02

    So, nobody tried to place a pie offer, and then select SWAP, and then play the first move?
    Then setup a new game, place the same pie offer, and play the first move without swapping.
    You would see that the first move is being played from a different position.
    This is not possible because in Tumbleweed the position that “sees” the first move is determined by the pie.
    If a Tumbleweed player tried this, they would understand it is not equivalent to the setup phase anywhere else.
    I checked the Mindsports app and it is not equivalent.
    On Mindsports the position that “sees” the first move is determined by the pie (just the order of stone placement is reversed).

    Here, host places 2 stones (black then white) and then the guest has these options:
    If white is advantageous, swapping black/white stones gives the opponent advantageous position + the first move. Swapping can only hurt them.
    If black is advantageous, they already have the first move so swapping could only hurt them.

  • Zapala at 2022-08-02

    My bad, Alek is right – this protocol doesn't seem equivalent with what Tumbleweed uses.

    In Tumbleweed, the Host sets up two stacks: one (S1) for the first mover, the other (S2) for the second mover. The Guest then chooses whether to move first from S1 or second from S2.

    But it seems like the current LG implementation makes it so that Black over has the first move. So unless I'm missing something, the choice for the Guest seems to be whether to move from S1 or S2; but they will always move second.

    The reason why this logic works for Hex and not for Tumbleweed is that Hex's setup is a single stone pie while Tumbleweed features a two stone pie.

    It can be fixed easily enough, though: if Guest chooses to swap colors, Black should automatically pass their move.

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-08-02

    Seems just equivalent if I understand it well.

    The thing is just it's not always the same color play who is making the first move.

    First player (red) places red (P1) and white (P2) stone.
    If second player swap, P1 is now white end P2 is now red, moreover it is white to play.

  • Zapala at 2022-08-02

    If only that were so! However, even after the swap it is Black to play.

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-08-02

    Oh ok, then obviously there is a mistake haha

    Need to be corrected.

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-08-02

    Btw if you check how Polyomino is implemented, where you also play 2 moves at start, the colors are swaped so maybe just do the same?

  • Luis BolaNos at 2022-08-02

    I think the same logic applies to TW and Hex. It is just implemented wrong for TW.

    The Tumbleweed setup should go like this, right?:

    • White places a black stack and a white stack.
    • Black places a black stack or swaps the positions of the existing black and white stacks.
    • White places a white stack
    • Black places a black stack
    • Etc.

    In Hex, it's like this:

    • Black places a black stone.
    • White places a white stone or replaces the black stone with a white stone in a symmetric location.
    • Black places a black stone.
    • White places a white stone.
    • Etc.

    In both cases, the player who makes the setup offer is always the one who does not make the next move if the offer is accepted (not swapped). Since a different color moves first after the setup in TW and Hex, a different color must make the setup.

  • Zapala at 2022-08-02


    The Tumbleweed setup (in the original version) goes like this:

    Host places a Red stack and a White stack.
    Guest chooses whether they want to play as Red or White.
    Red places a Red stack.
    White places a White stack.

    If we want the players to retain the same color thorought the game, then it should go like this:
    White places a White stack and a Black stack.
    Black chooses whether or not to swap colors.
    If Black chose to swap: Black places a Black stack, then turns alternate.
    If Black chose not to swap: White places a White stack, then turns alternate.

  • Luis BolaNos at 2022-08-02

    @Zapala: I think it's equivalent. I just chose a formulation that avoids passing when not swapping and makes Black the player with more stacks on the board after every regular turn (assuming no captures), in keeping with the Go tradition.

  • Luis BolaNos at 2022-08-02

    “makes Black the player with more stacks on the board after every regular turn (assuming no captures)”

    And assuming no swap, I should add.

  • Luis BolaNos at 2022-08-02

    @Zapala, in your formulation, the player faced with their opponent's pie offer must either perform two on-board actions (swap and place) or zero on-board actions (not swapping and not placing). In my formulation, all turns consist of exactly one on-board action (make a pie offer, swap or make a regular move).

  • Zapala at 2022-08-02

    oh, right – I think that makes sense, sorry.

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-08-02

    I fixed it. I hope it's correct.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-02

    perfect! thank you Richard!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-02

    looking forward to playing some correspondence games on this server against all the epic brains here at little golem!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-02

    Hi, will we be able to use the same notation system that we have been using for previous implementations?
    That is to say, is A1 in some corner?

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-02

    In addition to having our notation system, we are used to playing with the corners facing east/west instead of north/south.
    If it is not too much trouble, I think many of us would appreciate the board rotated a bit to match what we have been using for BGA/IGGC/Ludii.
    Finally, in the most ideal world the black stones would have a tinge of red so that we could mentally relate our experiences with TW across platforms.

  • testingqwerty at 2022-08-02

    Just voicing my agreement with all of the suggestions made by spartacu5 – thank you!

  • Zapala at 2022-08-07

    The 2nd Tumbleweed Championship will begin on October 24th.
    It will be an online real-time play event. For each round, the players will have one week to schedule and play a match with their designated opponent.
    All games will be played on, using 8x8x8 boards and 30’+30” time controls.
    The format of this year’s Championship will be double elimination, meaning that you are out after two losses. The last player left standing will become the 2022 Tumbleweed Champion!
    The initial seeding of participants will be based on their BGA ratings as of October 20th, except for the reigning Champion Anton Christenson, who will be seeded first by default should he choose to participate.
    The registration will open on October 5th. Stay tuned for further details!

  • brzy at 2022-08-11

    When the game will be available on LG? I mean available on www, not in the app.

  • Zapala at 2022-08-11

    I noticed that the app now offers size 4 – it seems to be all but trivial. However, size 8 (and maybe 10 & 11) would be much appreciated!

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-08-12

    The implementation will be for mobile only and for the web app. On the standard web only iframe will be made. Which can be a bit limiting. For example, after making a move, the next game will not be shown automatically.

  • Eykca ★ at 2022-08-12

    I'm not sure a I fully understand. Is the plan for the game to be eventually available on the standard www(non-app)? Or will it stay in app only (as incentive for users to use the app?) I'm not sure what “iframe” means. Sorry for my ignorance.

  • testingqwerty at 2022-08-12

    @Eykca It is currently working for me using the website (, so perhaps that is what was meant by 'web app'?

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-12

    Hi, there might be a bug regarding the labels of who is what color, when a player swaps (or does not swap, I'm not sure).
    In one of my games, I play with the Red stones but it says i'm playing White.

  • Florian Jamain at 2022-08-13

    Size 8 is the standard size, should be added! (-;

    But it works yeah!!!!

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-08-13

    @testingqwerty Web app is app on - it is the same app as is in mobile app (on iOS and Android).

    @Florian Jamain - sizes 8 and 11 will be added soon.

  • Zapala at 2022-08-14

    A game doesn't seem to end after two consecutive passes (though it correctly announces the winner):

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-14

    Richard, could you please use a last move indicator for tumbleweed?

  • Hootie at 2022-08-15

    I second the addition of the last move indicator

  • Hootie at 2022-08-15

    Also.. it should be an option to disallow the analysis mode, e.g. tournament games.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-15

    The LG tumbleweed notation system is not what has been used for IGGC, Ludii, BoardgameArena, and all literature surrounding the game, it is confusing

  • Zapala at 2022-08-15

    … all that said, the most immediate concern is the issue with passing. The rest are cosmetics which might or might not be important, but it's crucial for the rules to be properly implemented

  • Eykca ★ at 2022-08-22

    I keep getting a message that says “Error: Token is expired” with an alarm clock icon next to (when using PC), then the game does not load. Is anybody getting something similar?

  • William Fraser at 2022-08-22

    I'm not getting that problem, but I'm on a Mac.

  • 68 Zebras at 2022-08-22

    Best to state system software used

    Windows 10 ok
    Android 6 tumbleweed games don't display

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-08-22

    On mobile devices, it's best to use the native app. Yesterday's update natively supports 4 games: Hex, Havannah, Tumbleweed and Go. For the others, the web version of the game will appear.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-25

    is there a plan to create a Tumbleweed forum on this website?

  • Nagy Fathy ★ at 2022-08-27

    May someone tells me why I lost this game?
    Nagy Vs. Ganelon ID: 2327594

  • spartacu5 at 2022-08-27

    You were playing the red stacks after the swap, Nagy Fathy?
    Maybe there is a mistake with the scoring? Red is ahead.

  • Nagy Fathy ★ at 2022-08-27

    Game says Red is the winner, but the result goes to White??

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-08-27

    There was a bug. I hope it is solved. I changed result of game and position in ladder.

  • Nagy Fathy ★ at 2022-08-27

    Thank you Richard, the game result, and the ladder position has been changed, but the rating was not corrected.

  • Scott Arnold at 2022-08-30

    I am new to this game, and it is not displaying for me. I usually connect via the website on a standard PC. I tried using the app on an android device, but the app never loaded. Is there something I can do to get the game to display?

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-08-30

    Do you see application on ?

    I have no problem with mobile apps on Android or iPhone too.

  • William Fraser at 2022-08-30

    For some reason, the is a long-ish pause before the game loads on my machine (about 10-30 seconds, I think). The page loads very quickly, and once the game starts to load, the it finishes in less than 2 seconds.

  • Scott Arnold at 2022-08-31

    I reinstalled the app on an android tablet, and now I can see the game. I don't use apps on my windows machines and mostly just do LG through the website. There it still doesn't load for me.

    Thanks for the response. Happy to get to play now.

  • testingqwerty at 2022-09-01

    Hi Richard, this game seems to be affected by the same bug as Nagy Fathy encountered:

    Was the bug fixed after this game finished? Thanks! :)

  • Richard Malaschitz ★ at 2022-09-01

    Ok. Done.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-09-22

    Will there be a Tumbleweed forum on Little Golem?

  • Firulais at 2022-10-07

    Why after making a move does the screen stay in the same game? Why don't I automatically go to another game like in all other games?

  • spartacu5 at 2022-10-07

    @Firulais, Richard programmed this one on the app instead of on the site itself (i think). So if you simply press “skip game” after sending the move, it goes to the next one quickly enough for me.

  • ypercube ★ at 2022-10-09

    @spartacus, @Firulais, this issue seems to have been fixed now.
    For both Tumbleweed and the new games Oceans11.

  • William Fraser at 2022-10-10

    It's fixed for me, too. Thanks, Richard!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-10-11

    Thanks Richard!

  • spartacu5 at 2022-10-29

    Here is a video of commentary on a match between the two best Tumbleweed AI's battling each other.

  • spartacu5 at 2022-12-15

    Richard, could you please create a Tumbleweed forum on Little Golem?
    I am curious what our LG players will write there.

  • richyfourtytwo ★ at 2022-12-17

    The forums are pretty silent these days. I doubt an extra section for tumbleweed will change that.

    But since you are interested in hearing opinions: I enjoy this new game. There are many modern abstract games that I only find mildly interesting, probably because I'm no good at them. I'm also no good at tumbleweed, but still like it, because there are at least some pretty obvious ingredients to strategy that I understand, and playing around with those against opponents of roughly equal incompetence is fun. Totally being outplayed by much stronger opponents isn't that much fun, but I haven't found a game yet, where that is the case. :-)

  • spartacu5 at 2022-12-29

    tumbleweed was not loading today on lg for some reason?

  • shinuito at 2023-02-03

    Does clicking a move in the move history not work in tumbleweed not work when the game is ongoing? It works in things like amazons but not in tumbleweed.

    I don't mean the back and forward arrows, I mean the jump to move by clicking the move number, just in case that isn't clear.

  • ypercube ★ at 2023-02-04

    You are right. It doesn't work in Tumbleweed and Oceans-11, the latest games implemented here (neither for the recently added chess variations). You have to use the other (white) arrows to go back and forth.

  • Florian Jamain at 2023-02-04

    It's annoying, you cannot even go back to the start of the game easily.

  • Mojmir Hanes ★ at 2023-02-04

    Yep, see

    Rio, we would really appreciate if you could implement it. Thanks ;)

Return to forum

Reply to this topic