Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jaya The Cat

On March 11th, the swedish televsion show Efterlyst had a segment with the unresolved murder on our fellow Shockplay user Jaya The Cat in July of 2005 during a vacation in Greece. Richard Markunger was his name and he was one of the pioneers of online Couronne. He was early on one of the best sweepers and an elite player at Shockplay. I found the segment very moving since I considered him a friend of mine at Shockplay and we had spoken just a week or so before the incident. I wish to give my condolences to his family and close ones.
The segment with Richard starts at 24:35

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sorry for the absence!

Haven't played much Couronne at all the last couple of months. That's the reason for the lack of updates here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

In-game strategy, part one.

This is an article that has taken some time for me to finish, I really have no clue on how to really write it properly. How many films do I need, how many screenshots do I need or how do I write it to get the point across?

The purpose of the game is to get your chips in before you opponent, every move should therefore have this in mind. Might sound obvious, but it's really important to keep in mind. You should always look at the board and see if you're behind one move or ahead one move.

The basic strategy is really to make it as hard for your opponent to get his chips in before you. Most people accomplish this by wasting their turn on pushing. This is something I've never really felt very comfortable with. The reason is often that when you do this you put your faith on your opponents inability to get them. If you're playing a very good player this will just pass the turn over to him but with one less chip on the board. Do understand though that I don't dismis pushing all together, the point I want to come across is that pushing is not something that should be done for the sake of pushing, it's not something you should do mechanically. Should more be done as a last resort.

So what do you do, to make it harder on your opponent?

Couronne is a game that the closer to the end the game get, the easier it will be for you to sink your remaining chips. The further your opponent has gotten to the goal, sinking all his chips, the easier it will be for you to do the same. In general, you have a higher chance of getting all your chips if your opponent has sunken 9 of his than if he'd sunken 0. His chips are by just existing on the floor doing a defensive job for him!

The most effective way to gain advantage is to keep your chips on the floor that actually do you more good by being there than they are doing in the hole. They either do this by blocking your opponents chips from being possible to get down or by blocking the pathway to the shots he like to do. You will always be one move ahead of your opponent if you have one or more of his chips being blocked by yours.

So what I in general strive for is to have more of my chips on the floor than my opponent does, until I feel confident enough that now is the time for me to end this. The thing to keep in mind though is to save the blocking chips of yours 'til last. Because if you make a mistake, your mistake will most likely cause less harm if you still have some of his chips still being blocked.

If I am playing a guy that does this to me aswell, how do I counter it?

When you are being blocked in all directions and feel you're out of safe moves. What I usually like doing is to not waste my move on shooting a pointless shot that is doomed to fail, and often, set up more easier moves for your opponent. I rather do something defensive, for instance I might push a shot and do my very best at the same time to sink the yellow. Sink the yellow? What? Why? Well, by sinking the yellow aswell you will get another one of your chips back on the floor, in the center where things most often are as tight as possible, making it even tighter for your opponent is a good thing for you.

Lets look at a scenario that you might often face during the early game in a competitive game. Most players would go with the blue lined shot, shown here as an example. It is not a bad shot, his 3-waller shot is being blocked by the green one up right aswell. Would work like a charm against most players.

But if you think one more time, what would your opponent do if I did that push? He would most likely push my green chip furthest up right down my right corner. By doing this he would do two things to help him win the advantage in this game. Firstly he would get one of your chips in a inaccessible location, all shots at bottom right corner are at the moment of the game being blocked by chips on the floor. Second he would gain access with the 3-waller to the red chip you just pushed.

If you play a good player, the outcome of your defensive move would in reality have backfired on you.

So what about the other shot?

Well, it's sort of risky business aswell, but I would prefer this shot as it would get a chip that is easy for him to push down a corner I don't have access to and by sinking the yellow aswell it would let me get up another green and make it more tight in the center. Getting another green in the center would reduce his ability to sweep the floor on his next move, which is the point of almost all strategy in the game. The risk factor by doing this move is that red is in a very good shape at the time being. Almost all of his chips are at the outer most layer of the big lump, meaning, that they are blocking yours and are very accessible for sinking in the next move.

What I wanted to accomplish with this article is to present to you some general insight on strategy and to give you another point of view on how to play the game. Create some thoughts in your mind the next time you're in a similar situation.

I will do more in-game screen shots of how, what and why I would do in the situation that is.

- Hektor

Friday, December 12, 2008

Clean Sweep Walk-through!

I know a lot of people who feel like they are just struck by plain bad luck when it comes to sweeping, seems like they always get stuck on the last chip.

The reason for this is simple, but not so obvious to that many it seems. You most likely neglected your hard chips until the last shot! This is not the way to be consistent at sweeping the board!

Right after the break you have to locate the ones that look like they can bring you trouble later on. Which ones might this be you may ask? Well, often it's the chips that are lumped up together, maybe blocked by your opponents chips in a uncomfortable way.

After you found these chips you need to set up a game plan for how to make these tough shots easier for you. In order to do this you have to use your yellow chip. With this I mean steering it in different directions after you sink the easy shots.

As an example (Remember to press CC, for subtitles):

With these shots it's crucial that you keep momentum in the yellow! You do this by exerting as little force as possible on the main chip you're actually sinking. By this I mean that the angle you're shooting the yellow from should be as little as possible!

This is really just common sense really, lets say you hit the chip from a straight 90 degree angle. All the force in the yellow will be exerted upon the chip you actually hit, and the yellow will remain at the point of impact! (In reality it would bounce back a little, but not in this game). Anyhow if you shoot from a lets say a 45 degree angle you will preserve momentum in the yellow for it to keep moving and helping you spread the floor. If you keep this in mind and make some planning, this will often lead to making other shots previously impossible become easy.

Since the break will always spread differently, there are no two breaks alike! You have to make up your own plans on how to make the Clean Sweep! I did make a walk-through video though of the thought process in my head while im making a sweep!

(Press CC for subtitles!)

If you have any questions on things you want me to clarify, don't hesitate to ask!


Thursday, December 11, 2008


It was brought to my attention that it was very hard to make comments on this site. So I fixed that so that you no longer need a blogger-account to comment.

Go nuts guys and gals!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How to aim good.

I often get the question on how did I get so good at aiming, so I thought I should give you guys some insight into how I do my aiming and which I have taught a lot of the top players on how to do.

First thing that comes to my mind is your posture, when I try to aim for a shot i like to have my face very close to the screen, and I know a lot of other good aimers do this aswell. If you just lay back in your chair and shoot you might miss out on angles since your point of view will most likely not be coming from behind the cue.

The biggest challenge in aiming consistantly for newbies are the diagonal shots and those that are not shot at a straight alignment with your eye-sight. The reason the shots from the center are so easy to do is just because your eyes are right behind the cue at all times. So, the trick is to change your point of view when you shoot from outside in, and diagonal, so that your eyes are right behind the cue so you can see exactly where the cue is pointing.

The board is a 3-dimensional depiction, not a 2-dimensional so that means you can't aim good without changing your point of view on every shot!

Another big thing when I do my aiming is that I don't, and I really want to emphasize this, just pull back and shoot. I have my eyes on the target and I have chosen a target before i let the cue go. I do believe most of you who have trouble with consistant aiming just let go of the cue without giving it a clear thought on where you want to hit the chip you're trying to get in.

If you know where you want to hit the chip you'll most likely not lose focus and miss.

When you have overcome this "pull back and shoot"-syndrome you can begin trying more advanced shooting in which might need some planning.

What is really important here is yo train your mind into envisioning the directions your chips will take, if you fail then try again but try to remember what went wrong so that you try to make up for that the next time.

If you want me to clarify something on this article, don't hesitate to ask.

I thought I'd end this article with an example video, it's an old one but it has some good shots in it to clarify some of the things mentioned above.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Breaks and early games.

I thought I'd start of with giving you some insight on how to think about the game during the first couple of shots so that you can gain an advantage into the later parts of the set.

If you start as Red you might feel disadvantaged since you have to get all of your chips in before your opponent to atleast score a tie. Don't let this get to you, remember that you have an advantage aswell since you can control how you want the opening of the game to look like. If you know your oppontents weak points this can be a great advantage.

Anyways, when you do your break there are basically three different type of breaks: The Tap Break, Semi-Tap and a the Full Force Break.

The tap break will work best for those who feet somewhat inferior to their opponent in the game play. The idea is that you wont give your opponent a single chance of sweeping the board at all. Instead you'll break him down slowly by strategical play in which we'll discuss more in a later article on the mid and late game. A lot of people denounce this break as just destroying the game all together, the pace of the game slows down too much and it makes it more boring. Personally, I agree with this criticism to an extent, but just like pushing, I do believe most of the condemnation comes from people who doesn't understand what to do.

When you do the Tap Break you have to think about a couple of things in the first couple of shots and that are not to try to sink too many chips, especially as red. You want there to be more of your chips in the big lump in the center than there are of theirs. Why? You might correctly ask? The answer is simple, the more chips you have in the center lump, the harder it will be for your opponent to sink all of his.

Think of it like this, lets say you have 10 red chips in the center all in a big chunk, and your opponent is green and it's his turn, he only have one green chip left in the center of all red, blocked in all directions. How can he proceed, no matter what he does he can not sink his, and even if he pushed you he probably wouldn't get his green in the next shot anyways. This is sort of an extreme example but the likelyhood of your opponent sinking all his chips on the next move in the center declines as the ratio of your chips to his increases. I will discuss on how to successfully do this in a later article.

Now on to the Semi-Tap. This is a useful break, in which I have had much success. The main reason is that it often with around, 30-40 % power will get one of yours and maybe one of your opponents chip behind his line. Plus it spreads the board a little extra than your ordinary Tap Break. Hence there will often be very few options from the get-go for your opponent to get the chips that get behind the line. Unlike the Tap Break where your opponent can easily sink all of the chips you push with a safe 3-waller.

There are a few cons with this break aswell as you should be very well aware of. Since it spreads the board to a degree it will also increase the likelyhood that you will set up easy corner pushes for your opponent so if you want to use this break you need to be able to get good at getting cornershots from close range since the cross board shot will often be blocked in the beginning. If you're playing a very good sweeper you should not do this break, because these types of breaks are just the kind a good sweeper loves, the challenge gives him that extra focus he often do not get on a full force break.

Last but not least, to the Full Force Break. This is used in almost every normal game on Shockplay and most other Couronne-sites aswell. But only used by a handful of elite players in what is regarded as serious games. The reason for this is simple, you don't want random chance to control the outcome of your game. But if you overcome the fear of randomness in your breaks this can be very useful if used with a good sense strategy and it has been proven successful to a lot of it's users.

The reason of this is often psychological. A green player who gets a Full Force break against them will often give in to the temptation of trying to sweep the board. If you do not feel 100 % sure that you will sweep a full force break you should never attempt it, because that is just what your opponent want!

Why? Because if you try and fail which happens most of the time you will most likely fail on your last 3 or 4 shots, or even later. Giving your opponent a clean board to sink all of his chips with ease.

There are also a few other good things about the Full Force Break, the randomness can work with you, doesn't always work against you. You can get crazy lucky and get your opponent behind his own hole or something like that in the break which will gain you a huge advantage aswell.

To end this first article, you might ask yourself which one is best to use? The answer is not as clear as anyone can think and my suggestion is to try to weight the pros and cons of every break and adapt to what you make of your opponents skills.

Well now I got pretty tired of writing, so I'll try to update this later if I feel I missed out on something.

Best regards,