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Escaping Cellblock

by stampsyne


DARIGAN CITADEL - Five prisoners and two guards sit in the dark, contemplating winning freedom. They feel the hovering vibrations of the citadel all around them, but see nothing but the dark and dank that is their world. I wonder "Will the prisoners Clop, Barallus, Squire Meekel, and the Yellow Knight ever be set free?" Let us hope that the prisoner known only as Number Five never will be, for his mad ravings about jelly should stay locked away.

The two guards, Galgarrath and Haskol, watch over them closely but offer them a chance to play at winning. All the while, the warden of the dungeon contemplates his game and his flawless intellect. Warden Master Vex created the game. No one has ever beaten him. If they beat him, he says he will let them go. Practice, practice, and practice ... because your own freedom depends upon it!

Cellblock is a fun game, but a lot of people are confused about the layout of it all. They may even get flustered and stop playing. We can't have that! Let my words guide you. The top of the game has an Indicator Bar. Level is on the far left. The middle indicates how many Matches you have achieved out of the total Matches with the current opponent. To progress to the next Level (the next opponent) you must win the majority of the Matches with your current opponent. Beat Level Eight to progress to the next Tournament. Tournament, to the right, indicates how many times (if you finish Tournament One) you have beaten all opponents!

When you first start playing, your indicator bar would look like this:

Level 1 Match 1 of 3 Tournament 1

Wins: 0 Losses: 0

Your first opponent is Prisoner Clop. You must win two out of the three games to gain Level Two. If you win the first two games against Clop, there is no need for a third Match; you have won the majority of Matches. Your first five opponents are prisoners, with a lower number of Matches.

The game gets much harder when you start playing against the guards at Level Six, but getting past the Yellow Knight in Tournament One will win you a Bronze Metal. Level Eight with Master Vex has Eleven Matches. Win six games total and Master Vex is then ::GASP!:: beaten, and you get a Bronze Trophy. You are then going on to a higher Tournament, and its back to prisoner Clop.

The first two trophies are won in Tournament One. If you want the Silver and the Gold Trophies, you have to beat all your opponents ten more times. Beating the Yellow Knight on Level Four in Tournament Eleven will win the Silver and beating Master Vex in Level Eight in Tournament Eleven will win you the Gold.

So, are you saying that this information will never help you because you have never been able to win one game? You need strategy! The first Tournament makes it easier on you by making it so that Markers can only placed next to previously played Markers.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but the end result is to have three in a row without a block at either end, your next move will give you four in a row and no way in which both ends of your line of can be blocked. The result is FIVE IN A ROW. Do all that before your opponent gets five in a row and you win. Got that?

How do you do that? You mislead you opponent by making moves that could be part of a line that is either diagonal, vertical or horizontal. I have a method I like to call The Diamond. You have two diagonal markers placed for you already, so your first move would be to extend that diagonal line at either end. Your opponent usually will block one or the other end of that line.

Your second move should be parallel to that diagonal line. Your opponent may or may not block that move. Continue in your third move by extending your second line one more, but make it so that also lines up with another marker in the first line. It looks like a diamond to me! This four-marker Diamond shape will be your base, because you can have vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines off of this base shape.

Make your fourth move not line up with the Diamond, but be horizontal or vertical your last move. This is a decoy move, which usually has your opponent block poorly. Maybe because it looks like you're trying to make a horizontal line...but I may be wrong ;) I usually make at least two decoy moves in every game I win. Play your fifth and sixth moves on either side of your fourth but not directly in a row but one move above and one below or one right and then left. These moves should line up with your Diamond.

Although your opponent can block some of your Diamond centered lines, there will be at least one row of three without a block at either end. Place your seventh marker and your opponent usually blocks one end, but that can’t stop you from placing your marker at the other end of your line to win with five in a row.

This could be hard to do before your opponent gets their five in a row, but when you have four in a row, your opponent sees the danger and sometimes wastes a turn blocking you! You have to be careful, because those blocks your opponent makes can line up to five in a row right under your nose!

This method is far from fool-proof, but it can help you obtain the Bronze Medal and give you practice in perfecting your own methodology. Soon you’d have reasoned out for yourself the best ways to give yourself a second option and use one marker in a way that can be utilized in different lines and directions.

Master this way of perceiving your challenge and you will surely win! But beware, after Tournament 10, there are no starting markers to guide you and there are stones on the board. This calls for yet another change in strategy that required both cunning and patience. Zen it! Win it!

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