A tiling of a big square by at least two smaller squares is called alternating, when there are no two neighboring squares of the same size. In his nice book "New Mosaics", published in 1997, Dr. Karl Scherer claims that the following example (designed by himself) has minimum number (= 20) of small squares.
Karl Scherer presents another beautiful solution with 21 little squares: here each side length from 1 to 5 occurs exactly in four squares, and length 6 occurs once, in the center.
Seeing this 21-solution I fell in love with it immediately. You can buy a nice wooden version in a web shop. Unfortunately, at that place Karl Scherer is not mentioned as the designer (although I mailed this information). Shame on the shop man!
"EinStein würfelt nicht" (Ewn) is my bestknown 2-person
game. The most complicated moment in the process
of production is when the numbers come on the stones.
Scherer's 21-tiling allows to play Ewn without numbers
on the stones:
When you role some number t, you have to move a stone
that is currently placed on a square of size t. When
you do not own such a stone you have to move the largest
possible smaller number or the smallest possible larger
The Rules for Two Players
Each player has four stones in the beginning, placed in his home corner, on the little squares of size 1, 3, 4, 5. Red starts in the north-west corner, Blue starts in the south-east corner. Red is winner when one of his stones reaches the square in the south-east corner of the board. Analogously, Blue is winner when one of his stones reaches the square in the north-west corner of the board.
The players move in turn. Red is to start, or the player who lost the previous game. A move consists two parts: rolling the 6-sided die, and moving an "admissible" stone.
When you role some number t, you have to move a stone that is currently placed on a square of size t. When you do not own such a stone you have to move the largest possible number smaller than t or the smallest possible number larger than t. Example for the starting position: of a single forward step of an own stone. When there is some other stone on the target square of the move this stone is taken off the board. This happens also if this stone belongs to the player himself.
Forward directions for Red are to the East and to the South. Forward directions for Blue are to the North and to the West. There are not diagonal steps, due to the "special" structure of the board.
In case of four players two teams are formed. The team partners start in opposing corners. A team has won when one player reaches the opposing corner with one of his stones. In contrast to the classical "Ewn quattro" a team has not lost when one member is reduced to zero stones. Instead, this player simply passes when it is his turn.
In honour of Karl Scherer I named this game Scherer's Race.
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