On Apr 13, 2007, at 11:19 AM, David Artman wrote:
* Given: Publishing a pyramid game has so far been controlled through
Looney Labs' ability and willingness to print.
* Given: The vast majority of Icehouse games have been created after
Hypothermia went out of print.
An issue of Hypothermia was published just last year with several new
* Given: I haven't heard of or seen an Icehouse Game Design contest
since I've been an owner of pyramids.
The Icehouse game design contest has gone dormant, since it was
passed on to a new organizer who disappeared for a while. I think
that the solution to this, however, is to start it back up again,
perhaps in a slightly different format. I think it's great to
recognize the best of Icehouse games.
* Given: Many Icehouse games can't translate to a computer format--and
I'd argue many more SHOULDN'T (whatever happened to getting together
I'm all for playing games in person, and love to do so when I get the
chance. That said, it can sometimes be hard to find opponents,
especially living in rural Vermont, and being able to go online and
always find a game available can really increase the amount I can
play a given game. Playing games online can also mean an increase in
the number of in person opponents available, because people can learn
the game online and later play in person.
Given the above, I posit that a game will NEVER qualify for Choosing
Games again, unless some kind of democratic upsurge of proponents
Requests it enough (and an admin pays any attention to those tags). In
effect, the Choosing Games is a "Past Masters" list and nothing more;
it's fossilization flies in the face of wiki principles; and it's the
FIRST scent of elitism I've EVER smelled around a Looney product. Yes,
Is it elitism to want to expose new players to the best that Icehouse
gaming has to offer? I certainly do not want this to become a static
list, but instead want it to offer the best possible experience for
new players, or existing players who want to try out something new.
Having judged for some of the previous Icehouse Game Design
Competition, and just read through some other games, I can say that
there are a lot of badly designed, badly written, or broken Icehouse
games out there. Some people put games up without having even
playtested them once themselves. Do you want someone to hear about
how great Icehouse games are, go to a list of all games, pick one at
random, and then be disappointed by a sub-par game?
I've nothing against a "Suggested Games" page on the wiki--perhaps
something with digg-like elements or kudoes or any one of the
web devices for ranking page content. But a title like "Choosing
should be about CHOICE, not "gatekeeping" or "qualifying" or
Sure, then we should have a discussion about the name of this page,
and how we can structure the wiki to cater to the needs of different
people. Given the tone of your email, I'm a little confused about
your objections, though. Are you objecting to keeping a list of good
games for new players to try, that includes the best and most popular
games categorized nicely? Or are you objecting to having that list be
called "Choosing Games"? I'm not attached to the name at all; I had
just gotten so many requests from people who wanted to try out
Icehouse games but didn't know where to start that I created that
page to address the need.
I have to be published to qualify? Fine; I'll start PODing all my
and only put cross-links on the wiki, to my Buy It Now site; and then
they ALL will get on that page, right? So long as I am charging for
game, it can "qualify" as a Choosing Games game? *blech*
This is not meant to be a hard and fast system, and "gaming" the
system is explicitly against the spirit of the whole thing. As I
mentioned on the wiki talk page, this is a *proposed* set of
*guidelines*. Each of those criteria were to be considered as
something that would make it fairly likely a game should go on there,
but I included a whole paragraph about how other games could be
added, just that appropriate judgement should be used.
I started this who thing by suggesting we vamp up the Categories...
that we go all-in with an actual custom database that tells a user
game he or she could play with a given collection. But I wish I'd kept
my mouth shut, if the whole discussion is going to come full circle
with "resolutions" like:
* We can't make more meaningful Categories; just let users flail about
with vague ones. (FYI, I have discovered that, yes, I can make new
Categories trivially--I did so for Roleplaying Games--so it's only a
matter of combing through obsolete Categories, to relocate games to
Who said that we can't make categories useful? I think we've got a
good start, but there's a lot more work to be done to make them as
useful as possible. I've started categorizing the categories
themselves (putting all of the 1-player, 2-player, etc categories
into the category "Number of players"). I think that if we manage to
categorize all of the games appropriately, and categorize the
categories, we'll have a good start, though it's not quite the ideal
interface for navigating to the games (too many levels of pages that
you have to go to to find the games you're looking for; it would be
nice if they could all be listed on one page).
* Database integration into a wiki is "impossible" or "too hard" (even
though a wiki IS a database).
I don't think this is impossible, but it may very well be "too hard"
for a volunteer effort as small as ours. The problem with any custom
modifications like this is that they need to be maintained and
upgraded along with the wiki, and things like this tend to get a big
burst of energy at the beginning, and then people get busy and aren't
able to actually maintain it, which may cause the wiki to break
completely when it's updated.
* A game must somehow "qualify" for inclusion on the ONE page that
half-assedly accomplishes database-like sorting.
I have explicitly said, repeatedly, that I would like for there to be
two such pages; one that's a good introduction to Icehouse for a new
player, and lists only high-quality games with relatively large
player bases, and one that lists all Icehouse games ever. The one I
care most about at the moment is the one for new players, but I have
no problem with someone creating the other page, or trying to get the
category system to accomplish it.
I want the wiki to be a powerful, usable tool for new players; I
to put all these cool games in folks' faces, so that they go out and
complete their collections; I think the democracy of a wiki makes
feel like Looney Labs is an open and liberal company in which they can
directly participate (even though, yes, the wiki is technically
But I am only one voice. Who else feels as I do, and how many of us
"qualify" as a majority vote? See, I think, when you're trying to push
exclusion with regards to ANYTHING regarding Looney Labs... well, I
think *one* NAY vote IS a majority veto.
This isn't something that's up to a majority vote, or anything of the
sort. It's a wiki; the point is that anyone can edit any page. I'm
offering my suggestions for making it as useful as possible. I
created the page to begin with, so I wanted to explain why I created
it, and what purpose I thought it should serve. Generally, we try to
achieve consensus via discussion, so people won't feel like they
don't have a say, but in the end, all that matters is what people
actually do on the wiki. So feel free to discuss my proposal; offer a
counter proposal, suggest a renaming for the existing page and set up
an alternate page that includes everything you want.
I think the best thing to do at this point is for you to create the
page that you want, and start a discussion about the naming of the
two pages (as I said, I'm not attached to calling the introductory
page to the best games "Choosing Games"), as well as which links
should be included on the front page and sidebar. Also, I'm going to
start doing some work on making the categorizations more useful, and
would encourage you to do so as well.