Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] What is 2HOUSE?

  • From"Frank Smith" <smithfrankf@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 13 Nov 2007 10:53:19 -0500
On Nov 13, 2007 4:25 AM, Jorge Arroyo <trozo@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
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.
Actually, the now-snipped examples I gave directly address the questions you asked. You're correct, that was probably pointless.

Since I have never claimed that all games can be easily played with other components, your response here is irrelevant. A strawman of your own devising -- argue with him.

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.

OK, in a generic Icehouse competition, ceteris paribus, you would give a lower score to a game that made less use of characteristics of the pyramids than to a game that makes better use of pyramids as pyramids. Fine. No argument here. (I might take other factors in account, if any.)

Apparently, in an _explicitly 2House_ competition, you would also rank a game that uses 2 sets (but under-uses their "pyramidness") lower than a game that use a single set (but makes good use of the pyramids' characteristics). I find that view difficult to understand, nor do I grasp your reasons for holding that view, but fine.

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?

Extrapolation is risky. Nevertheless, I don't think "Rainbow vs Xeno" or "dark vs light" would be especially onerous; I'd need to see the game itself to judge, though. So, no -- I _don't_ see how ridiculous that situation would be.

Even if using 3, 4, or 5 colors per side did not work, it does not follow that 2 colors per side is a problem.

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.

I must be missiing the subtle difference between "people don't usually buy Icehouse pyramids for just one game" and "people usually buy pyramids because there is more than one game".

Since individual Icehouse games (boxed sets of Martian chess, Ice Towers, Zendo) apparently sold inadequately _despite_ the contemporaneous existence of a variety of games, having a variety of games does not appear to have been a factor. It may well be for the Treehouse marketing scheme.

<snipping rest of marketing discussion. I do not disagree with anything except presentation of anecdote as evidence or unsupported assertion as incontrovertible fact.>

<more snippage of prior comments in re quote from Bryan about "absolutely requiring" 2 TH sets>

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.

Have I?  Let me see, in my first post I asked
"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?"

You responded with Bryan as a example. He evidently is not (as you agree below), so your reason for citing him remains obscure, as I indicated with my (rhetorical) question in response:
"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?"

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?

OK. So let's try a thought experiment (or try for real, if you want) with the two games actually mentioned in the prior thread: Chicken Run and Mundialito. [Mundialito might not be an ideal example. From a quick read of the rules, it looks like a fine game that will play quite nicely with no pyramids at all. Substitute another, more "icehousey" game if you wish.]

You have before you the rules for the game, any ancillary equipment explicitly required by the rules, and a single Treehouse set. And Nothing Else.

Which game can you play? For which game do you need to get something else, like a second Treehouse set?

I think the answer is obvious and definitive. YMMV.


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

No, it wasn't. Aren't you glad I called you on it? You're welcome.

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.

I'm not sure about "any", especially across web. Turn-based games, sure. Games like Icehouse or IceTowers are problematic.

<more snips>

<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?

No insult intended. The pedantry tag was intended to be wrapping _my_ comment. I should have used a closed tag as well...

(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.

Agreed -- the _rules_ of Zendo were written to use pyramids. They do an outstanding job.

My contention is a bit more philosophical, and distinguishes the _rules_ from the _game_. The _game_ of Zendo can be played with other components than pyramids. The rules, of course, must adapt to fit changing circumstances. Are other forms of the game better or worse? That depends. (The pyramids are such a good fit, anything else would have a hard time surpassing them, though.)

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.

And if the rules had been written for other components, you'd have to adapt them to play with pyramids.

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)

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.
Actually, I think the only one in my "no" group still in dispute in Zendo, and that comes to a philosophical difference. I will happily concede Zendo as impossible to play as written in the published rules without using pyramids.

"Few contenders" stands.

Why is this important? Let's not lose our bearing here. You claim that because any game
can be played without pyramids,

Again, I have never made that claim. Go argue with your strawman.
<snipping rest. Any strawmen reading this thread can go back to the prior post.>


Frank F. Smith

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