The Rules of HQ

HQ is a discrete-time, two-player board game. All the pieces move during each time interval. The board is a continuous 2D map - there are no squares or hexes. The pieces move according to their given speed and direction of motion. A player makes a move by altering the speed and direction of motion for a single piece.

Pieces have energy, and a piece may be captured by draining all its energy. This generally takes several time intervals. A piece only captures one piece at a time. Pieces automatically capture the closest piece within their capture range. Captured pieces are removed from the game. Each player has a single HQ piece, and the object of the game is to capture the other player's HQ.

The position and motion of the other player's pieces are not known unless they are visible to one of your own pieces. The map terrain effects visibility and motion. Likewise, the ability to drain the energy of another piece is effected by terrain.

The HQ User Interface

An interface is provided to allow a user to play a game against any of the contestant programs, or to observe a game between any two programs. Select the programs as the Alpha and Beta players. Choose "User" as the Alpha player if the user is to be the Alpha contestant. Select a "Time per move" and then click on the "Start" button. If the user is not the Alpha player, the game between the two selected programs can be observed one turn at a time by clicking on the "Make Move" button in the control panel, or during multiple turns using the "Continue" button.


The Time per move specifies the wall-clock time interval per turn of the game. Although players alternate control of the CPU for computing their moves, the moves are executed simultaneously at the end of the time interval. Only computer players are timed. Moves from a user contestant are not timed.

A computer contestant may delay and take more time to make a move than specified by the Time per move. However, the other player is then allowed multiple moves before the delayed move is executed. For example, suppose the Time per move is 10 seconds and the contestant player delays and takes 30 seconds to make a move. The other player can then make 3 moves prior to the execution of the contestant's move.

Getting Information About a Piece

To obtain information about a piece, merely click on the piece. Whatever information is available to the player is displayed in the control panel. Note that the number and desired speed of the contestant pieces are not available once the game starts.

The sensor and capture areas of a piece can be obtained by selecting one or both of the corresponding checkboxes on the control panel and then clicking on the piece. The resulting detection areas can be cleared from the map display using the "Clear" button.

Making a Move

Select a piece by clicking on it. Set its speed using one of the "Desired Speed" checkboxes. Set its direction of motion by moving the mouse onto the map, and clicking when the direction vector points in the desired direction of motion. The length of the direction vector is proportional to the desired speed. Enter this move using the "Make Move" button. Direction changes occur immediately, whereas speed changes may take several turns (depending on the acceleration of the piece in its terrain).

The "Continue" button can be used to continuously make a pass move. The user can make a move again by clicking on the "Stop" button.

Capturing a Piece

Pieces automatically attempt to capture contestant pieces if they are within capture range. The piece does not have to be within sensor range of the capturing piece, only within sensor range of at least one of the player's pieces. Pieces can regain energy if they are not being captured during a turn.

The End of the Game

The game ends if an HQ piece is captured, or if there are no non-HQ pieces left on the board.