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Multiplayer FAQ by WClifford

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 11/08/99

The New Tetris Multiplayer FAQ
By Wesley Clifford (parallax@apk.net)
Copyright (C) 1999 Wesley Clifford

Version 1.1

Revision History:
1   - Wrote the thing.
1.1 - Updated score/lines chart.
    - Modified ranking theories.

Contents

0. Goal of this FAQ
I. Basic Play
 a. Controls
 b. Goals
II. Modes of Play
 a. General Modes
  1. Marathon
  2. Sprint
  3. Ultra
 b. Garbage
  1. None
  2. Directed
  3. Hot Potato
III. Blocks
 a. Creating Blocks
 b. Gold Blocks
 c. Silver Blocks
 d. The Building Blocks of Blocks
 e. Go for the Gold, but Settle for the Silver
 f. Clearing Blocks
IV. The Spin Move
 a. Doing the spin move.
 b. Doing it on purpose.
 c. When NOT to.

Appendix A: Earned lines/Garbage table.
Appendix B: Reaching the Author.
Appendix C: Glossary

----------------------------------------------------------------
0. Goal of this FAQ

The goal of this FAQ is simple. To make you a better New Tetris player!

This FAQ assumes you know how to play your basic game of Tetris, and also
assumes that you've played The New Tetris a bit. If you do not know how to
play Tetris in general, consult a Tetris specific FAQ. If you have never
played The New Tetris, why are you reading this?
You should know how to do the following in your standard game of Tetris:
 - Clear lines.
 - Turn pieces around.
 - Drop pieces quickly.

That's it!

Throughout this FAQ are RULEs. You can do a search for 'RULE #' and quickly
find basic tips that are not always obvious to the beginner (Or expert)

This FAQ is a work in progress, and not all information, especially some of the
harder to get numbers, are necessarily correct, though most of them should be
within 1. Any numbers surrounded by question marks are suspect, but near enough
to the correct numbers to be used as a good guide. Any numbers that are
REPLACED by question marks, however, are ones I have either not been able to
get for some technical reason, or some that I have not yet gotten for time
reasons. If anybody knows these numbers, please email me with them at
parallax@apk.net

----------------------------------------------------------------
I. Basic Play

OK, here's where you learn how to play The New Tetris, what your goals are,
and just what that number means after your name.

I.a. Controls

The controls of The New Tetris are simple:
The D-Pad (The one that looks like a +) moves your pieces left and right.
If you push up on the D-Pad, your piece will instantly slam down at the bottom
of the screen. This is good for quickly getting through your pieces once you
know what you are doing.
If you push down on the D-pad, the piece will move down very fast, but not as
fast as pushing up. You'll be able to see it move down.

RULE #1: Given 2 players of equal SKILL, the player with SPEED will almost 
always win. Use the Up and Down D-Pad often!

The A and B Buttons turn your piece. Some people only use one of these buttons,
but you should try (as hard as it is) to get used to using both of them, so you
will have an easier time mastering the Spin Move.

The Left and Right buttons on the C-Pad (The yellow buttons) allow you to, if
you are playing a Directed game, point your garbage at a specific player.

I.b. Goals

The Goal of The New Tetris is simple, WIN. Depending on the game type you play,
getting to that goal may be slightly different, but in general you win by being
the only player to not go out. When you are playing with garbage, you will
almost always win by slamming your opponent with an unstoppable wall.
Another goal of The New Tetris is to see your player ranking go up. Single
digit rankings are the norm for beginners, while numbers in the teens generally
signify a fairly good player.

I.c. Player Rankings

Speaking about player rankings, have you noticed that, after winning 3 games in
a row, your ranking has gone from 15 to 13? Or, after losing pathetically, your
rank goes from 10 to 12? Here's the simple answer why:

RULE #2: The computer that drops those pieces in the inane places it does while
the AI is set to Master is the same computer that ranks YOU as a player. So,
take it with a grain of salt. Sure, it's nice to be ranked 22, but wouldn't you
rather win games?

It appears that ranking is an average of the number of lines you clear over
time, averaged (Or perhaps weighted averaged) over your past few games. It also
may be weighted toward bonus lines per normal lines per time, it is unclear.

So, what does this mean? Remember that game where your opponent sent you right
to the top of the screen, and you fought and fought for a full minute to clear
away a few lines so you had room to move, then saw your chance, made a gold
block, and then tetrised that bugger up to the roof and beyond? Your rank 
probably dropped a few points, because, when you are fighting your way down
from the top, you are generally forced to clear single lines. This REALLY hurts 
your ranking. More, In my opinion, than it should. After all, it takes a good 
player to get out of a situation like that (And, in a 4 player game, the best 
player can't avoid occationally getting into that situation).

----------------------------------------------------------------
II. Modes of Play

There are 2 choices to make before starting a game, and each choice has 3
options, giving 9 seperate ways to play.

II.a. General Modes

Picking the general mode of play is how you decide, for the most part, what
constitutes a 'win'.

II.a.1. Marathon

By far the most popular mode, this is your 'standard' Tetris, where the winner
is the person who survives the longest.

II.a.2. Sprint

In this mode, you have 3 minutes to get the most lines. Whoever, of the people
who are left at the end of the 3 minute timer, has the most lines wins. Note
that if a player has more lines than everybody else, but has lost due to going
out, that player cannot win.
The game ends when the timer has run out or when there is only one player left.

II.a.3. Ultra

In this mode, you are trying to be the first person to clear 150 or more lines.
The game ends when someone gets 150 lines or when there is only one player
left.

II.b. Garbage

Picking how to handle 'garbage' is the fun part of the game. Basically, when
you clear more than 1 line, you can send garbage lines to your opponents in
one of 3 ways:

II.b.1. None

Nobody gets garbage. You are left to your skill alone to win. This is best used
with Sprint or Ultra modes, because in Marathon mode it can get quite boring.

II.b.2. Directed

You get to pick your opponent to send garbage to. This is my personal favorite
mode. In 2-player mode, you always send garbage to your opponent, and in multi-
player mode, you can choose to send it to whoever is lowest (Or whoever sent it
to you last game!)

II.b.3. Hot Potato

This one is kind of weird. One player is the 'hot potato' and remains so until
they clear enough lines to get out of being the hot potato. When this happens,
one of the other players gets that distinction. While the hot potato rests on
you, you get ALL garbage from ALL players. This mode, in my experience, ends up
making people mad when they lose, or when they set up a double-gold-block
tetris and then get the potato right as they drop their piece, thereby wasting
a dozen lines of garbage that would have taken out an opponent.

----------------------------------------------------------------
III. Blocks

Creating blocks is your first step toward being a New Tetris master. Building
these little buggers should be your first goal throughout the game, as it is
the easiest way to not only boost your score, but to slap the heat on your
opponent as well. Gold blocks are the best, but the hardest to make. For the 
purposes of this FAQ, however, they are the easiest to explain, so I will go
into them first.

III.a. Creating Blocks

All Blocks are 4x4 squares made out of 4 pieces. While making these blocks,
you cannot clear out any of the lines from the other pieces making up the
blocks.
You can make 2 blocks side by side, and the number of lines you get (and lines
of garbage you give) go up if you do so. The ultimate in clearing lines is to
do a tetris with 2 gold blocks, for a total of 85 lines, and ?12? lines of 
garbage!

III.b. Gold Blocks

You create a gold block by making a 4x4 block of 4 pieces, all of the same
type. Look in the manual for a complete listing of gold blocks, or if you
don't have the manual handy, here is one just to give you an idea:

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
       ##     ##     ##OO
*      *#     *#@    *#@O
*      *#     *#@    *#@O
**     **     **@@   **@@

When you get it, a fusing sound will be made, and the block will turn gold
(hence the name, pretty sneaky huh?), so you can't miss it.

III.c. Silver Blocks

Creating Silver blocks is a lot easier than gold blocks. In general, for each
gold block you create, you will make 5-10 silver blocks. While a gold block
needs 4 pieces of the exact same type laid in a specific orientation, a silver
block can use 2, 3 or 4 different piece types. So long as they all fit in a
4x4 block, you will get the silver.

Some example silver blocks follow:

##OO Note that, while similar to the gold block above, this
*#O@ set of blocks uses 2 of each L-type piece. It is generally
*#O@ more common to get 2 of each than 4 of 1. Also, while setting
**@@ this up, you may get the chance to get a gold block later!

##@| This is an example of using 3 seperate pieces to make a silver
#@@| block. Again, notice that the two T-shaped pieces are set up as
#*@| they would be to make a gold block. This type of planning ahead
***| is what will make your gold blocks shine.

@@@| Here is an example using 4 seperate blocks. Notice that the 2
*#@| L-shaped pieces are opposites of each other. There is no way
*##| to plan ahead a gold block when making something like this, but
**#| it is possible to use some advance planning...

III.d. The Building Blocks of Blocks

There are two simple bulding blocks of Blocks. Those are the 2x4 and the 3x4.

If you take 2 2x4 blocks and put them side by side, you have a 4x4 block that
will become silver (Or gold, if it turns out that way). Plus, all but 1 of the
gold blocks (The 2x2 squares, both L shapes, and the 1x4 lines all work) are 
made up of 2x4 blocks, so if you build 2x4 blocks, you will not only set 
yourself up for a lot of silvers, but you will also occationally get the 
luckly gold that you could not have forseen. 2x2's are simply half of a gold 
block.

For the 3x4 blocks, all you need to finish is a 1x4 line piece.

III.e. Go for the Gold, but Settle for the Silver

As discussed above, making 2x4 blocks is the best way to ensure you'll get a
silver block, but also increase chances of getting a gold block. Unless time
(or room!) is short, you should almost always wait to see if you'll get gold.
However, eventually give up on the gold and just get the sure-fired silver.

RULE #3: It's better to make the Silver Block that you CAN make than it is to
wait indefinately for the Gold Block that you CANNOT make.

III.f. Clearing Blocks

When clearing blocks, it is always best (as when clearing normal lines) to
clear 2 or more (And the more the merrier, at least for you). Roughly speaking,
for each line you clear, you get an extra line for a silver and 2 extra lines
for a gold, but clearing more than 1 line gives you more bonus lines on the
silvers and golds, so always try to clear at least 2, if not 3, or (The best) 4
at once.

RULE #4: Clearing 4 lines in one shot is better than clearing them 1 at a time.
For clearing blocks, it is DOUBLY better.

----------------------------------------------------------------

IV. The Spin Move

The Spin move is the hardest thing to get going in a game. The first time you
do it (Or did it) it will probably surprise you. "How did I do that?" You hear
a shimmering noise, one of the lines on your board gets really bright, and 
then suddenly half of your lines vanish and the remaining fall to the floor!

IV.a. Doing the Spin Move.

Roughly speaking, the Spin Move is a technique of getting a piece into a slot
that you would otherwise not be able to get it into, by spinning the piece at
the last second. It is nearly impossible to describe this in words, so here
are a few pictures:

[][]    []
[]      []
[][]  [][]
[][][][][]

Wouldn't it be nice to get that T-shaped piece into that slot? You can't
just drop it down, because it won't fit. Here's where the spin manuver comes in
so handily. Simply drop the piece to the bottom, then hit the spin button.

[][][]  [][]
[][][]  [][]
[]        []
[][][]  [][]
[][][][][][]

Oh, that 1x4 piece would fit so nicely in there! Try the spin move!

IV.b. Doing it on purpose.

When you are facing oblivion, it may be wise to attempt doing a spin move
on purpose. It can really turn the game around, far more than a simple tetris
can do. A spin move, if correctly executed, can literally wipe out most of the
board.

RULE #5: If it looks like the spin move won't work, try it anyway if you can
afford to, or have nothing to lose.

IV.c. When NOT to.

Watch out, though. Never do a spin move that you think won't work without
testing it first, either in a single player game, when your opponent is ready
to die and you simply cannot lose, or when you're about to go out and have 
nothing to lose :)

Also, doing the spin move can turn most or all of your Blocks (Yes, those gold
and silver things) into little 'blocks' that don't give you any bonuses.
Nothing is worse than making 2 side by side gold blocks, then doing a simple
spin move just to get rid of a pesky Z-shaped piece, and then finding all of
your hard work destroyed.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix A: Earned lines/Garbage table.

+---------------+---------+-----------+
|When you clear | You Get | You Give* |
+---------------+---------+-----------+
|WITHOUT ANY BLOCKS                   |
+---------------+----------+----------+
| 1 line        |  1 line  |  0 lines |
| 2 lines       |  2 lines |  1 line  |
| 3 lines       |  3 lines |  2 lines |
| 4 lines       |  5 lines | ?4?lines |
+---------------+----------+----------+
|WITH A SILVER BLOCK                  |
+---------------+----------+----------+
| 1 line        |  5 lines |  1 lines |
| 2 lines       | 10 lines |  2 lines |
| 3 lines       | 15 lines |  3 lines |
| 4 lines       | 25 lines |?4? lines |
+---------------+----------+----------+
|WITH A GOLD BLOCK                    |
+---------------+----------+----------+
| 1 line        | 10 lines |  1 line  |
| 2 lines       | 20 lines |  2 lines |
| 3 lines       | 30 lines |  3 lines |
| 4 lines       | 45 lines |?4? lines |
+---------------+----------+----------+
|WITH TWO SILVER BLOCKS               |
+---------------+----------+----------+
| 1 line        | 10 lines |  2 lines |
| 2 lines       | 20 lines |  4 lines |
| 3 lines       | 30 lines |  6 lines |
| 4 lines       | 45 lines |?8? lines |
+---------------+----------+----------+
|WITH A SILVER AND A GOLD BLOCK       |
+---------------+----------+----------+
| 1 line        | 15 lines |  2 lines |
| 2 lines       | 30 lines |  4 lines |
| 3 lines       | 45 lines |  6 lines |
| 4 lines       | 65 lines |?8? lines |
+---------------+----------+----------+
|WITH TWO GOLD BLOCKS                 |
+---------------+----------+----------+
| 1 line        | 20 lines |  2 lines |
| 2 lines       | 40 lines |  4 lines |
| 3 lines       | 60 lines |  6 lines |
| 4 lines       | 85 lines | ?8?lines |
+---------------+----------+----------+

* You give this many garbage points to who you are directed towards, or who
has the hot potato, depending on the game you are playing.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix B: Reaching the Author.

I can be reached via email at parallax@apk.net
Up the counter at my webpage by going to http://apk.net/~parallax

----------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix C: Glossary

AI: Artifical Intelligence. The computer players are AI.

Block: See Silver Block and Gold Block.

C-Buttons: The 4 yellow buttons on the right side of the controller.

D-Pad: The + shaped 4-button pad on the left side of the controller.

Directed (Garbage): The Garbage selection mode where you can direct your lines
 of trash at another player specifically.

Drop: Using the up or down D pad buttons to drop a piece quickly (or instantly)
 to the bottom of the screen. See Slide for related information.

Garbage: The lines you give to your opponent when you clear lines. Generally,
 the more lines you clear, the more lines your opponent gets.

Gold Block: A 4x4 block made up of 4 like pieces. When you set up 4 of the
 same piece this way, the 4x4 square will turn gold. Clearing a gold block
 gives you a significant number of bonus lines.

Hot Potato (Garbage): The Garbage selection mode where a random player gets
 all the lines of garbage from all players until that player passes the hot
 potato to another player by clearing lines.

Lines: (4 definitions)
 The lines you must clear on the board.
 The number of lines you earn by clearing lines on the board.
 The number of lines of garbage you give your opponent by clearing lines on
  the board.
 The number of lines you have to go until you uncover a new Wonder.

Marathon: Standard Tetris, the winner is the person who does not go out.

Piece: One of the 7 tetris pieces:
 2x2 square
 T-shape
 L-shape
 Reverse L
 Z-shape
 Reverse Z
 1x4 line

Rank: Your ranking as a player, as determined by the game. Not always accurate,
 and it fluctuates wildly.

Slide: After Dropping a piece, moving it one or two spaces over. This can be
 done AFTER the piece hits the bottom, though you only have a moment to do so.
 (See Drop for more information)

Silver Block: A 4x4 block made up of different pieces. When you set up 4 pieces
 into a 4x4 block in any configuration, the 4x4 square will turn silver.
 Clearing a silver block gives you bonus lines.

Spin Move: Turning a piece at the last second to make it fit into an otherwise
 impossible place.

Sprint: A game play mode, where the player with the most lines after 3 minutes
 is the winner, or, if everybody else goes out, the last person standing wins.

Tetris: (2 definitions)
 Clearing 4 lines at a time. This is the most lines you can clear with 
  standard moves.
 The name of the game!

Ultra: A game play mode, where the first person to 150 lines wins.

Wonder: 7 wonders are uncovered in the game as certain line breakpoints are
 reached.

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