Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] Treehouse Notes

  • FromJake Eakle <jellvid@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateSun, 22 Jan 2006 02:33:16 -0800
Hey eveyone,
I just joined this list in order to give feedback about Treehouse. I like it a lot, and I think the rules can definitely fit on the packaging, but at the same time, they need work.

While not as nice-looking, I actually think the first version does a better job of getting the actions across adequately. There was still some confusion, though.

General Rules:
Here, the new version is definitely better. The only problem I see is the "gaps in the line are created as desired, and close up automatically." It just seems unecessary and confusing. Why would I desire to create a gap when it will just close up automatically?

Suggested text: "Close up all gaps in the line after each turn."

My one other addition, if it fits, would be to mention that pieces can only ever face left, up, or right. Saying this here solves some problems later.

Old: It took me a while to realize that "all tipped over pieces" meant "all pieces tipped over this turn" and not "all pieces tipped over ever," which seemed to contradict the house itself.
New: The picture seems to imply that you can't knock over three-piece stacks. Not sure how to fix this, but I think it's a problem.

Suggested text: "Knock over any tower or upright piece. All pieces knocked over this way must face the same direction." The weird "up or down the line" bit is taken care of by the added general rule about piece direction.

This one gets severely worse from the old version to the new. The old one almost made sense; the new one kinda sorta does, if you've read the old one. There are two problems: the reorient only if necessary bit is terribly confusing, and the "target trio" bit is unecessary too.

Suggested text: "Choose two pieces. They switch places and each assumes the orientation of the other." Or, even more simply, "Choose two pieces. They switch places and orientations."

Notes: By far the most confusing. Again, though, with the old rules I figured it out, with the new ones, I still don't get it. This is definitely the worst part of the new rules, and if nothing else changes, it needs to. Upon rereading the new version, I am now more confused than before - it seems like it's not saying quite the same thing as the old one. It sounds like you can put the piece in the middle of a stack, between to other pieces? Or something? It says "between... any piece it points at." which is gramatically terrible. Also, if your trio is right right right, can you use this to make it a tree? Or just a two-stack and then right? The old rules ("or beyond") make it sound like yes, but the new ones like maybe ("any piece it points at." I guess by Zendo rules it does point through the next piece, but not everyone knows that.)
The below reflects my (probably wrong) interpretation  of this rule.

Suggested text: "Create a tower by turning any sideways piece rightside up underneath the piece it points to, righting that piece if necessary, or simply aim it upwards in place."

Mostly fine in both versions. Could maybe be nicer sounding, but the information is all there.

Suggested text: " 'Jump' a top, upright piece to any position in the line. If it lands on a sideways piece, right it."

Again, pretty much fine. The picture *might* make someone think you can't do it to left-pointing things, but I really doubt it. I would change "forwards" and "backwards" to "left" and "right", though. Also, if you add the general rule about orientations, this could just read

Suggested text: "Reorient any solitary piece.", which is a lot cleaner.

Perfectly fine as is, but now seems as good a time as any to bring up my general point about all of these - some are in the passive present tense ("A sideways piece turns upright."), while some aren't ("Re-orient a solitary piece."). I think it would be better if this were consistent, and best if they were all commands. This would then read:

Suggested text: "Choose any of the five actions and apply it to your trio or the House."

Okay, well, that's all I got. I really like this game so far, and I want the rules to be as accessible as possible to everyone interested. I don't think mine are perfect, but I do think they're an improvement, and maybe they will inspire someone to think of an even better way to do it. Hope this helps,

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