Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] Tournament Icehouse Concepts for Cons? [LONG]

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 08 Jan 2007 10:24:52 -0700
Hi, all;

I am writing to try to generate some brainstorming on how one might setup 
a tournament as a way of demoing Icehouse pieces. I am curious to see what 
folks think about the following:
1) What game(s) would be good for such competition?
2) Round-robin or brackets? Single- or double-elimination?
3) What prize(s) would be attractive?
4) Is there any Looney Labs prize support available?

I ask because I am planning to follow a demo day at a Con with a tournament 
the next day--promote extra days at the con and Looney Labs games at the same 
time! Yay!
My own thinking thus far is as follows:
1A) I first thought of doing Zendo, because it supports several players with 
four stashes, and thus I could run TWO brackets at a time (I have all 11 
colors... and with one more monochrome stash, I could support running THREE 
brackets at a time). I would be the Master of all games; and students would 
score points both for guessing the rule (5 pts, arbitrarily) and for each 
guessing stone they have at the time the rule is guessed (1 pt each). But 
that means they'd have to be put under timed turns, or someone could stall 
their way to victory (parituclarly if each round must conclude on schedule).

I have also considered using highly popular head-to-head games: Martian Chess, 
in particular, as most folks learn it in minutes, but it takes a good deal of 
time to master--no one should dominate out the gate (unless they are a Icehead 
in disguise!). The beauty of such a setup is that I don't have to play and 
can focus on management and adjudication; it is also awesome that MC is a 
"colorless" game and so I can maximize stash usage. Its drawback is that I'd 
have to have a stash + 1 set per pair of players (i.e. 3 sets per player). 
Having 55 sets total means I could only run 18 players at a time, in the 
bracketry, and so I might need several first rounds, to eliminate down to under 
18 remining on the brackets. Then again, I'd LOVE to have the "problem" of 
trying to accomodate more than 18 registrants for a tournament! ;)

I am probably NOT going to consider doing a non-turn-based game (e.g. Icehouse 
or IceTowers) mainly due to the possability for arguements and interference and 
so forth. I would consider boardless games, if they aren't *too* picky about 
how things are placed (ex: Armada would not be good, because of the "fiddliness" 
of ranging Fire and placing during movement). And before everyone says "Volcano!" 
I'd have to admit that I generally don't like it as a game (boo me) and it is 
too suceptable to first play advantages (so I read). I don't want a game that 
takes 5 stashes plus Caps to play for, maybe, four total players: bad ratio of 
stash-use to players-engaged; and too tough on newer players, especially if 
they are moving last. And it would have to be timed, and it takes a little bit 
of time to "figure out" and....

Finally (brainstorm!) I have considered using more than one game: use Martian 
Chess or something quick and simple for the first round, then a more complex 
game for the second and third rounds (as I'd have fewer players and, thus, could 
support with my stashes), and finally a Zendo extravaganza, for the Final Round. 
That would show off the variety of Icehouse games out there... but it might 
drive away players who are afraid to learn so much so soon and it could be 
somehow cheatable, if I don't consider all the angles well. Also, as my FLGS 
manager has warned me, regarding Icehouse pieces: it is sometimes WORSE to talk 
about all the games one can play; with many folks, it's best to focus on one or 
two options, then point them to the wiki and let them bug out on their own. He's 
found that, with Treehouse, he's best off pitching it like a stand-alone game which 
can be "expanded" to play more games, over time, as you accumulate more stashes. 
Players seem to be more amenable to that approach, particularly non-hardcore (i.e. 
non-gamers). It's easy to sell "one tube, one game" and then pitch "more tubes, 
more games" after the close.

2A) This probably depends upon the game and stash-to-player ratio. In general, 
though, I would want a tournament structure that lets the losers leave (it IS 
a con, after all) and that can have scheduled "rounds" so that winners need 
not stick around every second of the tournament, to be sure to be on time for 
each round.

Single- or double-elimination is probably a function of the number of players 
who register and the time alloted (and, as always, the length of a typical game, 
for the chosen game). This question might just be solved by basic math....

3A) I am hoping to make arrangments to be able to offer 5 Treehouse stashes as 
a "grand prize". I may also try to accumulate a few promotional Fluxx cards 
and what-not, for "participants prizes". Finally, I'd *really* like to have a 
single Treehouse stash or two, for runners-up, from which I could further 
promote the single-stash games. Of course, affording these prizes will be a 
BIG part of the decision; it might just be a single stash first prize! ;)

Hmmm... maybe I should use a single-stash game, so the winner(s) can leave 
with a single stash but still have enough to play the game they won? Hmmmm....

4A) I have heard about something in SuperFRED, and I might be able to get my 
FLGS to help with prizes, for considerations (i.e. sponsership/advertising). 
But in the long run, it would be great if LL had some way to help me drive 
this tournament other than out of pocket. Heck, got any of those "blems" 
monochrome stashes? [I once had an Orange stash whose tube was almost 1/2" 
shorter than standard, due to the thinness of the Mediums and, I reckon, a 
production process that cut tubes to fit (?). I ended up giving that away at 
my last con demo, along with a rough-draft on my upcoming "Pocket Pyramids: 
X Games for A Single Treehouse Stash" free PDF, printed and stapled.]

Sorry so long; thanks for any help/advise you can offer!
David "Dopey" Artman
Demo Rabbit since 2006
(I've been waiting for the New Year *just* to be able to say that!) :)

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