is a pentomino placement game invented by Alex
Randolph. Universe precedes the popular modern game
25 years. It looks very similar, and requires similar
perceptual skills, but it's a quite different
game. In universe, you can place anywhere
cannot fence off an area smaller than 5 spaces. In effect,
any areas of size 6-9 become dead zones where no one can
play. The 2 player version, which is the oldest
pentomino game, is called Pan-Kai.
Players take turns placing any of their pieces on any unoccupied
squares where it fits, except you cannot fence off an area less than 5
is the last player to place a piece.
the standard strategy is to try to create spaces with exactly 5 tiles,
which fit one of your remaining pieces which your opponents have
already played. This effectively reserves that space for you
to fill later.
Universe and Pan-Kai use a UCT random-playout robot. The
Pan-Kai version is adequate, but surprisingly, the same logic seems a
lot stronger when there are 3-4 players in Universe.