Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

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

  • From"Subhan Tindall" <subhan.michael@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 8 Jan 2007 10:16:55 -0800
Might I suggest Blam! as an option?  Quick, fun, easy to learn.  Very
strategic in 2-player version, slightly less so in multiplayer.  Takes
1 stash/player + 1 chessboard/game.  I've turned several folks onto
Icehouse using it.
And of course, the obvious choice given current marketing strategies
for Looney Labs would be a Treehouse tourney.  You could easily run a
lot of players through a couple of rounds of round-robin in groups of
4-6, then do a bracketed tourney based on standings.  Prize?  A
Treehouse stash or two.
Although Zendo is cool, it is way too idiosyncratic to be suitable to
tournament play IMHO.

On 1/8/07, David Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
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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