Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] New member/ IceTowers query

  • FromMarc Hartstein <marc.hartstein@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 02 Jan 2006 22:05:03 -0500
On Sun, Jan 01, 2006 at 12:48:45PM -0800, Tome Gnome wrote:
>    My query is this: I am uncertain if it is me, or what, but I have lost
>    every game of IceTowers my partner and I have played. She alleges, and
>    I believe her, that she has no strategy other than "putting pieces on
>    other pieces," but I haven't been able to conceptualize a strategy
>    myself. I feel like I must be missing something obvious: does anyone
>    have any advice vis-a-vis IceTowers and how I can
>    consistently devestate the person I love playing it?

I haven't played two-player much, so I'm not sure if there are
strategies specific to the two-player game.  Some of the advice I have
to give may only apply to larger games.  Some of it also might not be as
good as I think it is, of course.

What has already been said is good advice, and probably more important
than anything I might say, but to add to it, here are some observations
I've made.

You contribute 30 points worth of pyramids to the game.  If estimating
points comes naturally to you, keep this target in mind.  Also, remember
that you don't have to play; if you're currently in the lead and you
have the only moves remaining, just stop, you've won.

For the endgame, learn to count how many moves each player has left.
Moves of small pieces are usually the most important, as these are the
ones which will claim large towers.  Learn to identify which moves will
create additional moves for other players and which will not.  Be frugal
with moves if you have fewer than your opponents, and be especially
frugal with your last move.  Remember that when you make your last move,
your score can only go down unless an opponent creates moves.

Small pieces are for capping large towers.  Don't waste your small
pieces.  A small piece on a tower with no other pieces of yours is
risky, because it cannot escape if capped.  If you have a choice to mine
out a small piece or a larger piece, you should usually opt to mine the
small piece out (or wait until you have somewhere good to put it).

A minimal tower (a small piece on top of a small piece) is a waste for
both players.  The two points the player on top gets aren't worth
committing a small, and of course the player underneath gets nothing.
For this reason, it's not worth going around and capping another
player's lone smalls with your own.  (Ganging up on a strong player in a
multi-player game in this way might be a useful strategy, I guess.)

For this reason, look for places to split opponents' towers near the top.
If you can split so you create a tower containing only small pieces, and
none of those is yours, grab the opportunity to waste those pieces.
It's especially good if the player on top has *another* small piece in
the tower, this way you trap two of their pieces.  Also, don't let
yourself get trapped in this way.

Because of the preceeding, when a player has a small piece on top of
another piece of theirs on top of a tower, it's dangerous to cap them.
At best, they'll just mine out their small.  At worst, a third player
might come along and split both your smalls off, wasting them, then cap.
Because it's expensive to take such a double-capped tower from you, it
can be useful to try to tempt other players into mining to create them
for you.

This should be obvious, but many new players overlook it: as a general
rule, do not split another player if it will leave them with a single
upright piece.  This only helps that player by giving them an additional
move.  This is especially true (and this is where I most often see it)
of splitting a single small piece off the top of a tower.  Leave it

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