Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Re: Ikkozendo is now on the Wiki... and needs a final name (re-send)

  • FromKory Heath <kory@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateSun, 14 Jan 2007 13:42:13 -0800
David Artman wrote:

I would be honored if The Original Master (OM!) chimed in.

I seem to have missed a bunch of messages in this thread, but I did read your rules to Ikkozendo. Sounds fun! Notice that your game is basically an Icehouse version of "Jewels in the Sand", except that you have to remember the previous counter-examples that have gone by. Jewels in the Sand was one of the inspirations of Zendo. You can read more about it here:


While designing Zendo, I considered the idea of just having the Students guess, and having the Master set up counter-examples, but I decided it would ultimately be more compelling for the Students to be able to set up their own koans. For the relevant paragraph in the design history ( http://www.wunderland.com/WTS/Kory/Games/Zendo/DesignHistory.html ), find the text "For a brief moment". Of course, I can see why allowing Students to set up their own koans would be difficult if you're playing with 15 pieces!

One minor note about your rules. You've already realized the fact that the Master is not always able to provide both a black and a white counter-example. (For instance, if the guess is "White if the koan contains a medium piece", and the actual rule is "White if the koan contains more mediums than smalls", you will not be able to create a white counter-example.) As written, your current rules give the Master the option of always just changing one side or the other. The question is, do your rules need to insist that the Master set up both a black and a white counter-example unless it's impossible to do so?

The technical problem with giving the Master the choice is that, at least in a turn-based game, it will seem very unfair if the Master sometimes chooses to change both sides and sometimes doesn't. Changing both sides obviously gives more information to the player who gets the next turn. Of course, even in normal Zendo, it's possible to build helpful or unhelpful counter-examples, so it's impossible to completely eliminate the "unfairness" potential. The upside to giving the Master the choice is that the Master hasn't done something illegal if he or she changes only one side, incorrectly believing that the other side is impossible.

The most flexible alternative is to say that the Master always just changes one side or the other. That's the route we chose for Zendo. However, in a game where Students don't get to set up their own koans, that might make it way too hard to home in on some rules. Years ago, Jake and I played some full-stash versions of "guessing-only" Zendo, and I know our "standard" version was that the Master must build a black and a white counter-example if possible. I'm pretty sure we tried it with the Master only setting up one counter-example (black or white), but I can't remember how hard it was.

-- Kory