Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] What is 2HOUSE?

  • From"Frank Smith" <smithfrankf@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 13 Nov 2007 00:16:33 -0500
On Nov 12, 2007 9:17 PM, Jorge Arroyo <trozo@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 11/13/07, Frank Smith <smithfrankf@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
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?

First. Although theoretically any game can be played without pyramids, the fact is that some are very easy to play this way while some are very hard, even impossible without changing the rules, so your example is quite pointless.

Considering that your response appears to be completely unrelated to the point, how would you know?

Now. Let's see some other 2 games: Game A, uses all the properties of the pyramids so it's hard to play it with other componets but is best played with 6 pyramids of one color per side. Game B uses 30 pyramids as if they were pawns on a board. See? I can also choose an example that supports my point, but, does it matter?

Probably not, but...
Assuming Game A has two players, it supports your point if and only if you can show (not merely assert) that the two nests used by a player _MUST_ be the same color rather than that the "same color" specification merely provides a trivial convenience.
If Game A has 3 to 5 players, I would call it solidly 2House and hence irrelevant to the discussion. (Do you disagree?)
Game B may or may not support your point (I'm not entirely sure what your point is...). Would you disqualify or down-rate it in a 2House-restricted competition, or would you consider it an acceptable (if perhaps not ideal) 2House game?


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?

Well, you basically agreed to this point here in the next paragraph...

Non sequitur. Paragraph below, with which I tentatively agree, claims that TH sets have seen greater success than previous pyramid marketing because it has an affordable entry point and is easily expandable. That claim is distinct from the paragraph above, where you claim that people buy additional sets because of a variety of games at each expansion point.

Consider the following possible scenario. Colorful packaging and a catchy game induce people to buy their first TH set. A second remarkable 2House game induces them to add a second set. A third truly awesome 3House game induces them to buy a third set. The affordability of that first set and the ability to expand to additional sets plus a Good Reason to expand is sufficient.

I am not actually disputing the value of variety. You made a positive claim, I simply asked you to support it.

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.

Ok. Did you actually read the quote from Bryan? I think he says "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." This, is exactly what I was arguing.

Why, yes. I did read the quote. Also the original post. Did you?
It seems quite clear to me that he is disputing the value of the phrase "absolutely required" because there are "no games that *absolutely* require" pyramids. (I would qualify that to "few games," though.) Therefore "absolutely required" is untenable -- one can almost always use something other than pyramids for the game. Therefore the ability to substitute of other components for pyramids should be irrelevant to the criteria.

I'll ask a third time -- has anyone other than you suggested that games in which the pyramid pieces _can be_ replaced by other components fails to meet criteria for inclusion in an Icehouse Game competition?

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

That's not the same game.

Raw assertion is _so_ convincing. Please be specific. What _exactly_ about TreeHouse played with paper chits makes it a different game?

[It appears that no one has implemented TreeHouse at superdupergames.org; probably a matter of intellectual property. I have no trouble imagining an implementation, though. At that would use no pyramids at all, just bitmaps. Would you still call it a different game?]

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.

You can use many components to play a game of Zendo, but each set of components basically transforms the game into something different.
But still indisputably Zendo. (OK, maybe not indisputably. Clearly, some people can dispute anything.)

Pyramids are the best way to play the game because ALL their special characteristics are all used to create countless possibilities when choosing rules. Also the pyramids are perfect to build the koans in many ways and they look pleasing to the eye. All those things combine to make Zendo an excellent Icehouse deduction/induction game, not just an excellent generic deduction/induction game.

<pedantry>"Pyramids are the best way to play the game ..." -- How do you know? Have you tried all other possibilities? How do you assess "best"? Maybe someone else thinks that Zendo played with chess positions is superior ...

To make it more clear, here are some examples from both sides: I can take the rules for Martian Chess, use numbered coins instead of pyramids and I don't need to change one word from the rules to be able to play the game. I will also be playing exacltly the same game. I can use some numbered coins for the public in Chicken Run and use exactly the same rules to play the game with 1 set. I could use wood cylinders as towers in Alien City instead of pyramids and the game would be the same too. You can't do that with Zendo, Icehouse, Treehouse, IceTowers and many other games that use a combination of special features from the pyramids. You'd basically have to duplicate those features into new piceces, or change the rules to accommodate new pieces.
This of course, doesn't matter that much, but let's not take the discussion to extremes and let's not say that ALL the games can be played with generic pieces easily.

Oh goody. Let's erect another strawman; the previous one was getting a bit tattered. [Hint: I have NOT at ANY time made the assertion above.]


Frank F. Smith