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The 'Star' theme merges 'territory' and 'connection' by rewarding stones while penalising groups. Stones count by their number while each group gets a fixed number of penalty points that are distracted from the score. Thus connecting two groups means one less penalty to pay.
The implementation that gave the theme its name was Craige Schensted's game Star, on which he later improved with *Star. I tried my hand at it with Superstar and YvY, the latter a joint effort with David J. Bush, but neither seemed wholly satisfactory. After Symple had emerged, I discarded them both because they had lost all significance.
no Sound
Broken canvas...
to move
0 0
group penalty

Paul Wiselius (NL) - An AI by Elkasimi Abdessamad (MA) - penalty-6 (1-0)
Benedikt Rosenau had been searching for the theme's 'deeper core' when he contacted me about it early October 2010. My mind, if at all, was focused on 'The History of Draughts Variants', so I was reluctant to even think about his suggestion of a deeper core. But in a small overlap that night, between drifting off to sleep and sleeping, images were drifting up and a window opened and there was the core idea of the theme. I remember thinking "so simple? ... what's wrong?".
I was lucky enough to remember the vision next day, and Symple was born. Here's the complete story