Game Play

Move Search

Probe has three skill levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert. The level determines the depth and width of the search tree (total number of positions examined) and, as a result, how long Probe requires to select a move.

If you wish to set a time limit for moves, you may do so. However, if the time limit is reached too often you will probably get better results by lowering the skill level.


Move Alerts

Choose how you would like to be alerted when Probe is ready to move:

  • Flash piece. Flash the piece Probe is about to move.
  • Sound tone. Play a sound before Probe moves.
  • No alert. Do not alert you before Probe moves.

You can use a different alert tone by replacing the Move Alert wav file in the Sounds folder. Select Tools | Explore Data Files to access the Sounds folder.


Status

You can configure the status line to provide information about Probe's move search process:

  • Move timer. The timer shows the elapsed time for the move.
  • Progress bar. This option lets you watch Probe's progress as it searches each move in order.
  • Best move. This option displays the current best move, in sort order.

Attacks

Equal Rank Attacks

Decide how you want attacks between equal rank pieces to be resolved:

  • Draw. Have both pieces be removed.
  • Attacker wins. Have the attacker defeat the defender and occupy its square.

Bomb Attacks

Decide how you want Bombs to behave after winning attacks:

  • Bombs remain on board after winning. Let Bombs explode repeatedly.
  • Bombs are removed after winning. Let Bombs explode only once and then be removed.

Special Moves

Power Squares

Power Squares permit direct movement between the lanes, for a more open style of play.

  • Enable moves and attacks between Power Squares. Allow pieces to move from one Power Square to another, and attack a piece on another Power Square.
  • Enable moves but not attacks between Power Squares. Allow pieces to move to a vacant Power Square, but not attack a piece on another Power Square.
  • Disable Power Squares. Do not allow movement between Power Squares.

Pieces

You can enable or disable these special movement features:

  • Captain (5) can move diagonally. Allow Captains to make diagonal moves.
  • Lieutenant (6) can jump over adjacent pieces. Allow Lieutenants to jump over pieces they are beside.
  • Sergeant (7) can cross barriers. Allow Sergeants to move directly from one side of a barrier to the other.
  • Scout (9) can attack at a distance. Allow Scouts to attack pieces at the end of range moves.

Rules

Two-Squares Rule

Regulate a piece moving back-and-forth between the same two squares. When a chasing piece initiates the back-and-forth, this rule prevents it from chasing endlessly by placing a limit on the number of consecutive back-and-forth moves. When an evading piece initiates the back-and-forth, this rule prevents it from fleeing endlessly, so it can be captured. The Two-Squares Rule applies both to your moves and Probe’s:

  • Three move limit. Allow a maximum of three consecutive moves between two squares.
  • Five move limit. Allow a maximum of five consecutive moves between two squares.
  • Disabled. Turn off the Two-Squares Rule.


More-Squares Rule

Regulate a chase sequence that results in repetition of a previous board position. This rule prevents chase sequences that cycle, but do not violate the Two-Squares Rule, for example, pairs of moves in a square pattern. The More-Squares Rule applies both to your moves and Probe’s:

  • Enabled. Enforce the More-Squares Rule.
  • Disabled. Turn off the More-Squares Rule.


Continuous Chase Rule

Prohibit Probe from endlessly chasing one piece with another piece in a pattern that doesn’t violate any other chase rule:

  • Five chase moves. Prohibit the chase from continuing for more than five consecutive moves.
  • Ten chase moves. Prohibit the chase from continuing for more than ten consecutive moves.
  • Disabled. Turn off the Continuous Chase Rule.


Resumed Chase Rule

Prohibit Probe from chasing with one piece, moving a different piece and then resuming the chase under conditions unlikely to capture the piece. This rule prevents Probe from chasing a piece until the Two-Squares Rule is invoked, waiting a turn and then resuming the chase to no purpose:

  • Enabled. Enforce the Resumed Chase Rule.
  • Disabled. Turn off the Resumed Chase Rule.


Position Repetition Rule

Prohibit Probe from making a move that would repeat a board position found earlier in the game, unless the moving piece is at risk. This rule helps prevent deadlocks by requiring Probe to select a new move for a repeated position. Recent board repetitions are handled by the Two-Squares Rule:

  • Enabled. Enforce the Position Repetition Rule.
  • Disabled. Turn off the Position Repetition Rule.

Memory Aids

Probe's Pieces

Choose among three options to display Probe's piece ranks:

  • Reveal and then conceal again. This is the default setting. When Probe wins an attack, you will have a moment to memorize the identity of the winning piece before it is concealed again.
  • Reveal and leave displayed. When Probe wins an attack or makes a special move, the identity of the piece remains displayed for the rest of the game.
  • Don't reveal. With this option, you are not shown the identity of a piece when it wins an attack or makes a special move. However, you may be able to guess it, based on the rank of the piece it defeated or the move it made.

Also choose whether you want Probe's moved pieces displayed differently than Probe's unmoved pieces. The default requires you to remember which of Probe's pieces have moved.


Your Pieces

Choose between two options to display your piece ranks:

  • Don't highlight known pieces. Show the piece ranks the same. This is the default.
  • Highlight pieces known to Probe. Identify pieces known to Probe with certainty.

Also choose whether you want your moved pieces displayed differently than your unmoved pieces. The default requires you to remember which of your pieces have moved.


Graphics

Designs

Select the piece set, game board and background designs you want from the drop down lists. You can also create your own custom piece sets, game boards and backgrounds, and add them to the lists. See Customizing Probe to learn how to create your own piece sets and game boards.


Board Colors

Select the board colors:

  • Barriers. This refers to the pair of rectangles in the middle of the board, often drawn as lakes. If you want to fill them with a color, check Fill barriers and then click on the color bar to select the color. If instead you prefer to let the board design show throw the barriers, leave Fill barriers unchecked.
  • Barriers text. Probe displays messages in the barriers. Click on the color bar to select the text color.
  • Gridlines. Click on the color bar to select the color for the board gridlines.

To return to the default settings, click Default. To view your changes on the board, click Apply.


Blitz Options

Select the number of Bombs and mobile pieces you want for Blitz mode games. Your piece set must have at least five mobile pieces. The piece set applies to new setups and new games that use random setups. If you resume a saved game, begin a new game with a designed setup, modify an existing setup or autoplay a game log, Probe will use the piece set stored with the game, setup or log.