Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] NEW GAME: Martian Shuffleboard (Working Title)

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 22 Jan 2007 11:10:07 -0700
OK, I need some help with an idea I got last night:
Martian Shuffleboard
[Working title; any other suggestions?]
[Elements marked with "[?-...-?]" are open for debate or testing.]

A game of dexterous strategy for 2 to 5 players.

Treehouse stash. Each player gets one stack (sm, med, lrg).
Random starter. Traditional turn order [?-freeform-?].
No board, but requires a table off of which pieces can fall 
  (i.e. no lip on the edge of the table, not on the floor, and 
  ideally not on a particularly large table).
First player places a single upright piece, of any 
  size [?-alternates below-?], near the center of the table.

In turn order, players attempt to slide an upright piece such 
  that it stops in the table center in an upright position with 
  the potential to score (see SCORING below).
A player may slide only one piece per turn.
If a slid piece hits another piece and moves it without knocking 
  it over, then that piece will remain where it stops (see 
  CRASHING below, for what happens if either pieces is knocked 

If any piece is ever knocked flat (no longer upright), then its 
  owner gets that piece back, to re-slide on his or her turn.
If a piece falls off the table, then it is removed from play 
  [?-might be more fair if only sliding player's piece-?].
The game ends when no one has any more pieces to slide into play.

Each piece that is within a Small height (laid flat) of a LARGER 
  piece scores points equal to the value of that larger piece.
  EX) A Medium blue is within a Small height of a Large red: 
      the blue player scores 3 points.
It is possible for a single piece to score against several other 
  pieces. [Sample Scoring image pending]
You might have to use the Treehouse die as an alternative measure 
  device, if you are playing with 5 players. The longest 
  measurement of a die--totally opposite corners, through the 
  center of the die--is almost exactly the height of a Small, 
  though you will have to "eyeball" measurements of that length 
  from above, as it is impossible to set that length flat on the 
  table. Of course, you may also just use a die side width or 
  the diagonal length across a face, which makes for slightly 
  lower scoring games because those lengths are shorter than a 
  Small height.

The winner is the player with the most points after all scoring is 
Your group may elect to play a number of games equal to the number 
  of players, to mitigate the disadvantage of being the first 
  player, who must place a piece to begin play and, thus, hang it 
  out there to be scored on (or, worse, use his or her Small at 
  the very beginning of play, losing the best tool in the game).

a) Final name.
b) Is there an obvious strategy? By the current rules, it clearly 
  is no good to start with a Large, as you're just hanging it out 
  there to be scored on and it isn't likely to be crashed by a 
  smaller piece trying to score on it. But see (c) below.
c) I have observed that one can save the Small for last, and use 
  it to bump around pieces while crashing the Small, getting it 
  back each time (well, until you screw up and fling it off the 
  table, that is). I have tried forced piece order (i.e. always 
  must use your smallest piece on your turn) and I have tried 
  alternate scoring (larger pieces within a Small height of smaller 
  score the smaller points value).
  Basically, there's this range of possible play variants:
   * Use what you want + Smallers score on largers. (above)
   * Use what you want + Largers score on smallers. (intuitive, 
     but easier to score, as largers don't "bounce off' smallers.)
   * Forced to use smallest every turn + Smallers score on largers.
   * Forced to use smallest every turn + Largers score on smallers.
   * Forced to use largest every turn + Smallers score on largers.
   * Forced to use largest every turn + Largers score on smallers.
d) Is there too much skill required? This is the first game I've 
  seen in which manual dexterity plays such a large part.

Additional thoughts or criticisms? Can someone playtest this at 
their next gathering (I will)?

David Artman