Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Treehouse Rules handout - please proof!

  • From"Tom Phoenix" <rb+wunderland@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 19 Jun 2006 13:32:14 -0700
I'm glad to give you my comments. In no particular order:

Please go to the Wunderland website (www.wunderland.com) and look in
the top bit of stuff called "What's New" - you'll see a couple of
links to the current take on what a handout/brochure/tip-sheet thingy
is for Treehouse.

When you ask people to help you with something, help them out by
giving them specific URLs. A vague description of how to find
something mentioned in "What's New" is only going to work for a week
or so at best.

If you're asking people to download more than 2 megabytes, warn them
that these are large files. (Did they really need to be so large?)

The front has separate, somewhat contradictory, boxes labelled "Goal",
"Winning", and "Ties". The rule in "Ties" has an if-clause at both
ends, so it's extra confusing. The box on "Winning" is just a
re-wording of the Goal, so drop it. And the Goal doesn't include all
ways of winning. Here's the correct Goal: "To win, arrange your trio
to match the House, or arrange the House to match your trio." If
needed, the rule on Ties would explicitly say, "You can only win on
your own turn." (Isn't this exactly what the current rule amounts to?

The front says who goes first, but it doesn't say who goes next.

The back should include an icon of a D6 face by each action name; that
is, a "⚃" (a four-pip die face) should appear by "Dig", and similarly
the others. This should remove the need for the box on the front,
although that could still be good to keep.

It's good to have the pictures and details on the various actions on
the back. It should say explicitly when the player can use "Wild" to
pass, if that can indeed be done.

If you can't do the action to your own trio or the house, you roll
again. If you *still* can't do it, do you roll again as many times as
needed, or pass? I'm really looking for a sentence that says, "You can
pass the turn only if ...." (Or even better: "You can never pass your
turn. You must keep rolling until you can do some action with either
your trio or the House." But that would change the rules.)

The front says you can play "with anyone". Children under three
shouldn't play with Icehouse pyramids, no matter how simple the game.

The URL for the Treehouse page (or looneylabs.com) should be somewhere.

The overall graphic design, with precise oval capsules around
headlines and tidy rectangles fencing off other items, is neither
Treehouse nor Hippie Game Company. I'm not a graphic designer or
anything, but this really stands out to me. It's wrong. Erase all of
the ovals and most of the rectangles to get a pretty good-looking

The "Typical Game in Progress" is good at showing how the pieces line
up. It should also include:
 * a piece concealed under a larger one
 * an ordinary stack (shown currently)
 * a tipped tree
 * three pieces that are oriented differently

I'm not sure that I like having a list of "Things You Can't Do". To do
it right, shouldn't it include "You can't take two turns in a row" and
"You can't Aim a piece the same way it was pointing at the start of
your turn", not to mention thousands more? "You can't take more than
three days to finish your move", "You can't swallow the die".... If
these need to be said, they need to be said in the right place; "You
can't Dig backwards" belongs with information about Dig, if it needs
to be said at all.

On the front, near the bottom of the page, the section about ties
mentions "two players". Just below that box, another box is titled "If
2 players". The numeral is jarring; spell it out. Both numerals and
number words appear in many places, and should at least be made

The terminology is also inconsistent in places. "Everybody gets a
Tree" should probably be "Everybody gets a trio". The goal needs the
same fix. The "Stacks" box at the bottom of the front uses the term
"tower" where I think you mean "stack".

The "If 2 Players" box seems to have been added to fill the space at
the bottom of the front. And is it really suggesting playing until one
player has won six games more than the other (not merely best six of
eleven)? After that much Treehouse, both players will be pretty tired
of playing. But if you must keep it, change "leftover colors" to
"extra pieces".

Hope this helps!

--Tom Phoenix