Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Spurring the Spawing of Single-Stash Staples

  • FromBrian Campbell <lambda@xxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 7 Feb 2006 14:58:12 -0500
On Feb 7, 2006, at 2:27 PM, Christopher Hickman wrote:

I guess I seriously underestimated the demand here. No one else has any comment on a contest to design quality single-stash games as entry level
Icehouse games?

Hmm, I managed to miss this the first time around.

This is a good idea. As Mark Rosewater (of Magic: the Gathering designer
fame) frequently mentions, restrictions breed creativity.

I definitely agree that restrictions can be extremely helpful in inspiring elegance, creativity, and lots of other good stuff, though removing restrictions can also help see problems from a completely different angle ("why does a board game have to have a board, or turns?")

I think one of the reasons Icehouse is such a good game system is because of it's fairly limited palette. You only have a couple colors to work with, 3 sizes, and 5 pieces of each size/color. The restrictions here actually end up serving as inspiration, and I think the restricted palette of one or a couple of Treehouse sets could also provide such inspiration.

Another added benefit of forced creativity, there's the obvious: Restricting to single-stash games gives us more of what we need--single-stash games. :)

Yep! Single-stash games are so much more convenient than multi-stash games, for a variety of reasons: cost, space, ease of setup and cleanup, and so on.

I'd also like to bring up something else I recently read. According to Wil Shipley (http://wilshipley.com/blog/2006/01/os-x-prize.html), Larry Page of
X-Prize fame believes that prize-incentive research is the wave of the
future.  Since the horizontal growth of the Icehouse market is more
important than the vertical growth, and elegant and compelling single-stash games allow for an easier introduction to the world of Icehouse, perhaps a prize to spur developers would be good. The bounty discussed in the above linked article began with a $100 prize and has grown to over $6000 in mere days. If some such similar bounty were made for compelling single- stash games, with the Icehouse community at large adding their own donations to
support the effort, I think we'd generate some good stuff.

:/ I'm not very fond of the idea of having monetary prizes for Icehouse game design competitions. The X-Prize is a very different beast from game design. There is a very high cost of entry in aero and astronautics, which means that there needs to be some fairly high potential payoff for people to spend the time and money to design a new spacecraft. Game design can be fairly quick or somewhat involved (as in, Andy vs. Kory's design styles), but it costs nothing and the time taken is doing something you enjoy and would do in your free time anyhow, playing games. Also, I think money could make the community a lot less friendly; when money's on the line, people are going to care a lot more about the vote being fair, you have to worry about people stacking the vote, and so on. I prefer being a member of a casual community where people design games for the fun of it, or at least for just fame and glory, rather than a truly competitive group motivated by money.