Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Thoughts on Zark City

  • FromJoseph Peterson <jeepeterson@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 25 Mar 2008 21:28:03 -0700 (PDT)
> We've played the game a few times now (2-players) and one thing I've
> noticed is that games tend to derive into (kind of) a tug of war, 
> with many open fronts and usually end when one of us makes a mistake.

This is a good thing... except for you making mistakes.  

I haven't put my thoughts on Zark City out there yet, so here goes.

I really like Zark City.  We played it with 3 first (with the original
draw rules and only face cards to attack).  In the two or three games
we played, it wound up that I won when one player refused to stop me
assuming the next person could do so. That seems to be common in 3
player games.  Some days, I'm okay with that, some days I don't care
for it.  Another game was won when my two opponents attacked each other
too much and essentially gave me 2 or 3 free turns.  They couldn't
recover and stop me after that.  Overall, it was fun and I was
convinced it would suck as a two player game.  

We did try it as a two player game, though.  It started a little slow
and I thought it would never end.  It seemed like it was going to come
to a point where no one could win.  But then I started expanding the
board.  It got amazingly tense.  I was eventually able to set up a way
for me to win two ways.  My opponent couldn't stop both.  We were both
amazed at how well it played.  I was so convinced it would suck.

Since them we've played it with two several more times and with four a
couple other times.  With four, there is too little control over the
board.  The rounds are relatively quick, but there really is nothing
much for you do to between turns.  You can't plan ahead because the
board changes too much.  It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great.  With
three, it's a little better, but if there is an exchange between two
players, the third player has a significant lead.  

Zark City really shines with two.  Today we added the aces as attack
cards (which I dislike on a conceptual level... it isn't a face card,
so it shouldn't be an attack card.  I don't believe that "it's not a
number" and "it should be powerful" are good reasons to make it an
attack card.  Perhaps I just play too many card games for those
concepts to be ingrained in me.)  It makes the game more chaotic (in a
bad way) but it also shortens the game considerably.  So there is an
interesting trade off.  You can't play a slow building game like you
can with aces as land cards.  It reduces tension (which is bad) and
adds excitement (which is good).  Overally, I'm not sure which way I
prefer yet.  I'll have to play it with aces as attack cards a few more
times.  I would like to see if this change makes playing with 3 or 4


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