Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] What is 2HOUSE?

  • From"Frank Smith" <smithfrankf@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 12 Nov 2007 20:29:01 -0500
On Nov 12, 2007 5:33 PM, Jorge Arroyo <trozo@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Although I consider the original discussion pretty much exhausted (we can agree to disagree), and I've accepted what seems to be a decision of the majority, I'll happily keep on talking and discussing for the sake of it :)

On 11/12/07, Frank Smith <smithfrankf@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
IMO, whatever progress further discussion might make would be better served if you would STOP trying to erect this particular strawman.

Why? To me it shows how pointless it is to say that a game doesn't really need 2 sets. Why a game that can be played with 1 set mixing colors is out but a game that can be played  with 1 set because some of the pieces don't need to be pyramids is in?

Let's see. Two hypothetical games.
Game A, like most pyramid games, can be played without pyramids, but when it _is_ played with pyramids it needs only a single set.
Game B, like most pyramid games, can be played without pyramids, but when it _is_ played with pyramids it needs two sets.

Do you really see no logical or substantive difference?

It's illogical. Furthermore, as this is about selling sets: No individual game is going to drive people to buy a second set. What drives people to buy more sets is a variety of games that are better played with more pyramids.

Do you have any marketing data to support that, or are you trying to start a game of Dueling Anecdotes?

If a game is better played with two sets then it is a 2HOUSE set.

Agreed. The corollary to that definition, of course, is that a game for which the difference between playing with one set or two is trivial or non-existent is _not_ a 2H game.

In fact I think this is the very reason pyramids have not been a success as individual games until the arrival of TreeHouse, which is very cheap and easily upgradable.

Probably true, based on reports we've seen from the Looneys. For me, the Gateway Drug to pyramids (after Fluxx) was the LL paper pyramid product. Boxed set of Martian Chess was past my comfortable price point for initial purchase. But the paper pyramids were followed by boxed Zendo set not too long thereafter.

Has _anyone_ (other than, perhaps, you) actually suggested that the ability to play a pyramid game with things other than pyramids should be a factor?

At least one. Here's a quote from Bryan:

But was Bryan suggesting that the ability to play a pyramid game without pyramids _should_ or _should not_ be a factor in deciding if a particular game meets the criteria for inclusion? A subtle distinction, perhaps, but it can make the difference between a sound argument and a strawman.

Nevertheless, the conclusion _I_ reach is that because most pyramid games (nearly all, I suspect; Bryan explicitly claims "all" for at least the subset of 1-2 set games) can be played with some or all of the pyramids replaced by other components, the fact that such a substitution can be made for a particular game ought to be irrelevant to determining the games "2House-ness". However, this does _not_ imply that "2House-ness" cannot be determined.

There are no games that *absolutely* require a second Icehouse set.
All games could be played with, say, sets of playing cards with one
corner marked for pointing, or something equally ridiculous. This is
where I disagree with you; there are no absolutes here, and so I think
that we should allow games with are *best* played with 2 Treehouse
sets, not *absolutely required* to play with 2 treehouse sets.
So even though we may be a minority, it's not only me :)

How many pyramid games actually require ANY pyramids at all? I have not done an exhaustive survey, nor do I intend to do so, but a quick mental run-through leaves few contenders.

Most of the games you say no, would be quite difficult to replicate without pyramids. As an example, Martian Chess is a game that I'd consider very easy to play without pyramids, but games like TreeHouse, Icehouse, Zendo, and many others, would need to be modified to fit other pieces. This is not what I'm talking about.

Treehouse: trivial substitution of paper chits or coins
Icehouse: you might have noticed was one I indicated probably requires pyramids. I'll leave actual determination to someone with more Icehouse experience.
Zendo: ISTM that (except for record keeping, which is typically implemented with stones), all you need for Zendo is a set all of whose elements share characteristics with clearly defined enumerable values and (optionally?) a second set of defined relationships among elements in a koan. The canonical four monochrome stashes meets that requirement very elegantly, but you can play Zendo with any set of components that provide a comparable meta-structure. Of course, the master would choose a rule based on the characteristics and relationships expressed by the components in use, but that does not seem like a substantive change to the game to me.

If a game only uses pyramids as pawns with numbers (Martian Chess), or pawns with direction, they're very easy to replace without disturbing gameplay. A game that uses stacking becomes more difficult to play without pyramids, and the more special characteristics a game uses, the more pyramids are needed. But this all connects whith what I said above: We didn't buy pyramids to play any one game. We bought them because that's how you can play all those games in the most confortable and easiest way.



Frank F. Smith