Epaminondas is a two-person, zero-sum strategy game that combines long-term strategic play with highly tactical move sequences. The game has two unique features that make it stand out from other games. The first feature is the creation of phalanxes, which are groups of pieces that can move as a whole unit. As the number of pieces in a phalanx increases, the mobility and capturing power of the phalanx also increases. The second feature differs from many other strategy games: when a player makes a crossing, a winning move in the game, the second player has an opportunity to respond. This paper presents strategies and heuristics used in a Min-Max Alpha-Beta agent that plays at a novice level. Furthermore, it defines the state-space and game-tree complexities for Epaminondas. Finally, a new version of MCTS is implemented that uses the Alpha-Beta heuristic function during node selection to guide MCTS to more promising areas of the search tree. Additionally, in an effort to overcome the MCTS tactical weakness, the MCTS player implements the Alpha-Beta search once the game reaches 15 turns. Results show that the added heuristic value and the switch to Alpha-Beta for endgame play, positively impact the performance of MCTS, surpassing novice Alpha-Beta win ratios at certain time intervals.
King, D. W., & Peterson, G. L. (2014). Epaminondas: Exploring Combat Tactics. ICGA Journal, 37(3), 131–143. https://doi.org/10.3233/ICG-2014-37302