Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] What is 2HOUSE?

  • From"Jorge Arroyo" <trozo@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 13 Nov 2007 10:25:18 +0100
Ok. Let's keep this going, it's fun :)

On 11/13/07, Frank Smith <smithfrankf@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

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

I'll explain: To support your claim, you generalize all games  saying that they easily can be played with other components. This is not true, so your claim is unsupported.

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?

First. A game that doesn't use the characteristics of the pyramids and can be EASILY played with other components would probably get less points from me in any competition. After all a generic game disguised as an Icehouse game is worse than a 1HOUSE game disguised as a 2HOUSE game. My Game B is exactly that (in case you hadn't noticed). So even though I really like Martian Chess, it wouldn't get many points from me in an Icehouse competition for that reason.

About Game A. Let's extrapolate for a future competition. Imagine we're talking about a 3HOUSE only requirement. A game that uses colors to distinguish player pieces has to use more than 15 pieces per side in order to qualify for the contest, because even though it'd be very uncomfortable to play, if it uses 15 or less, it can always be played with two sets, each player using 2 or 3 colors. Do you see how ridiculous that situation would be?

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.

My claim was not really that. I just used the fact that individual Icehouse games sold badly (until the arrival of Treehouse) to support the fact that people don't usually buy Icehouse pyramids for just one game.

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.

Face it. The biggest selling point of the pyramids is the variety of games that can be played. I've seen this when selling them, and it's the reason why many people buy more than one set from the start. Even people that just buy one set (from my personal experience selling them) usually do so because they can use it to play more games, not just Treehouse.

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 competitio

LOL. Now you change your question. Very well...  Let me explain this again: I (and Bryan) just used the fact that games can be played with less pyramids in different ways (with other pieces, bookkeeping or mixing colors), to support our proposal that a game should not be rejected because it can be played with less pieces. Ok?

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?
Well ok, this game is not such a good example because it being basically 2d, it could be played with flat pyramids, which are easy to make. It wouldn't be optimal because you'd have to be careful with the positions, as in the real game the shape of the pyramids and gravity limit how they can be placed and when each action can be taken, and in 2D you could basically take any action anytime... but all right. That was a bad example.

[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?]

Any Icehouse game can be implemented as a computer game. Look at Zendo with the Povray framework. I don't think this fact is of any relevance to the discussion.

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.)

I certainly can, and so can you :)  See, this is why I think Zendo changes when you change the components: 

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 ...

First, do you need to insult me to make your point? (I'm assuming that pedantry tag was assigned to my quote, if it wasn't , I'm sorry). Now, there are two separate things here: First, the rules of Zendo are not generic. They say how rules should be made and how the characteristics of the pyramids can be used to create rules. The rules as they are written WON'T MAKE SENSE unless you play the game with pyramids (it even came with a set of cards which you can only use with the pyramids, too)... Yes, you can easily adapt the game to be played with many different components or even without them (Zendo with words) but you're ADAPTING the rules.

This is relevant because when I talk about a game that can be played with other components, that game can be played WITHOUT  CHANGING THE RULES.

Sorry for the caps, but I want those important bits to be visible.

Second. How is the game best played? Ok. Maybe I should have said "I think" first. The best way to play Zendo is a matter of opinion, but you won't deny that the game was created for and plays great using pyramids. It also uses all their features well. Would you say Zendo is not an Icehouse game?

BTW, I've played Zendo in a number of different ways (words, koan descriptions and even piecepack tiles) but I still like the original best (this is my opinion)

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.]
Ok. Let's recall why we're taking about those games in the first place. You said:

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.

I just explained why some of those games would be hard to play without pyramids, or just plain impossible without changing the rules as written. Why is this important? Let's not lose our bearing here. You claim that because any game can be played without pyramids, that it shouldn't affect whether a game should be entered in the contest, then you go on and say that if the game is played with pyramids and needs 1 set, it shouldn't be let it. (see your Game A and Game B examples above)

But first. If not all the games are equally easy to play without pyramids, your claim doesn't hold, because it becomes important to see how easy it is to play a certain game with less pyramids (be it mixing colors or substituting some or all of them). Second. There are no absolutes. You keep going to both extremes (a game can be played WITHOUT ANY pyramids, or a game is played ONLY WITH pyramids). I cited an example that sits in the middle. What happens when a game has two different types of pieces and you can represent one type with pyramids and another with glass beads?  What if the rules say that those pieces that can be represented with glass beads should be represented with pyramids? Isn't that another way to force a 1HOUSE game into a 2HOUSE game?  If we don't admit those games into the competition, then I assure you that a lot of games will be out, starting with Chicken Run (I have nothing against the game, it's just a good example).


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