David Artman wrote:
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:
I would be honored if The Original Master (OM!) chimed in.
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 (
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
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.