Standard Vyozha Notation
Standard Vyozha Notation is a bookkeeping technique used to record the progress of Vyozha games for posterity. This information may be kept for ritual, competitive, or historical purposes. A game's 'SVN code' deterministically demonstrates the layout of that game as shown on the board in terms of simple card position, while its 'extended SVN code' also includes information about the orientation of the cards on the board and the players' final hands and decks.
While Vyozha is culturally New Voxelian in origin, the use of Standard Vyozha Notation appeals most to analytically-minded subcultures in the Commonwealth of C. The system of notation is relatively new and was originally an invention of computer scientists working with the (then tiny) company Data Engines Limited. While bookkeeping is not generally considered an integral part of the Vyozha experience, the information found in SVN codes has proven useful for the development of certain computer algorithms, with the Mechanical Soothsayer being the most well-known example of such an application. Reducing a set of SVN codes to the smallest number of bytes possible is also a puzzle for those looking to design efficient compression algorithms, with several solutions currently under consideration. Servants of Ironies in the Church of the Unexpected - especially followers of Lyvianne, Goddess of Misfortune - have adopted Extended SVN Code and increasingly use it to keep records of their divinations. They do this in the hopes of divining some sort of greater truth from their ultimate structures. Such records are also sometimes offered to participants as a token of divine witness when they are believed to augur good things for the participants' respective futures. It is regarded as a sacrilege among the specialist clergy of Lyvianne to doctor such records in the same way as it would be to 'cheat' at a divinatory game.
SVN codes are read left to right, then top to bottom. When a card is placed, the card preceeding it in its run is indicated by its notation (see Vocabulary), followed by a single dash and the placed card's notation. Because more than one card can be placed over the course of a turn, each placement on a given turn is punctuated with a comma. However, if several cards are placed in the same run on the same turn, this can be indicated by a series of notations separated only by dashes - in essence, duplicate cards are 'merged' for brevity. A given turn ends with a question mark if the player ends their turn with cards in their hand and in their deck, a period if they are out of cards in their hand but not their deck, and an exclaimation point if they are out of cards in their hand and deck.
The structure of an individual card's notation is as follows: (Suit, capital letter S/A/Z/C/V/L)(Value, 01-15, with 13-15 being for domain cards)(Location, a-f, relative to prior card)(Orientation, a-f, for extended format only) The 'flop' card's notation is unique in that it is shown alone at the beginning of the game's notation and followed by a question mark. It's relative location to the prior card is denoted as 'r,' deriving from the now somewhat archaic term 'river card.' An analytical branch card is indicated with a '<', an identifying two-digit number indicating how many branch cards overall were placed before it plus one, and a location code (a-f) as normal for a given card's notation; because they have a set orientation and no suit, these are not indicated. A synthetic branch card is indicated with a '<', an identifying two-digit number indicating how many branch cards overall were placed before it plus one, and a location code (a-f) as normal for a given card's notation; because they have a set orientation and no suit, these are not indicated. However, because synthetic branches must terminate two prior cards, it is acceptable (though not strictly necessary) to use the notations of both preceeding cards, separated by a '|', to clarify which two runs are being terminated by the synthetic branch. This is not always done, but it helps to clarify the situation sometimes because the preceeding cards logically set the range of values possible for a synthetic branch.