Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] [Zendo] Another Spock Rule question

  • FromJoshua Kronengold <mneme@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 01 Aug 2011 11:27:07 -0400
On 08/01/2011 10:56 AM, Jody Chandler wrote:
I would say that incorporating the rules of other games counts as an
invalid reference outside the koan, but it is in that gray area of
things that are not specifically made example of in the rules of Zendo,
that I am aware.

Certainly not. For instance, the "set" rule (bn iff of orientation, color, size, each is either all different or all the same) is fine -- because it can reasonably be expressed in Zendo terms.

The problem is that while it is technically possible, with a Master that
has memorized the scrabble dictionary, to come up with the rule in other
terms, it has been pointed out it would be ridiculously complex. For
example, I looked up the letters brygopc (blue red yellow green orange
purple cyan) in an online scrabble word-finder since it was obvious you
were using both rainbow and zeno, and it came up with 42 valid scrabble
words. If I add just the letter "t" for "transparent," it jumps up to 70
words! Just imagine stumbling on the rule that produces that many
combinations of colors without reference to scrabble rules!

There's no argument that it's a terrible rule. I'd say that actually going on your phone to check validity of rules is crossing a line (as is using a scrabble dictionary, or pulling out a ruler or protractor).

Add to this the ambiguity of certain colors that you mentioned. Cyan is
Cyan, but Cyan is also Blue. Purple is also Violet. Clear is also
Transparent. These are valid ways of referring to the colors of the
pyramids and it adds an ambiguity that simply destroys the functionality
of the rule.

Actually, this isn't an issue, IMO. Ambiguity that is resolved by the master handling things one way and not another isn't really ambiguity. For instance, the roygbiv rule is only poor, not terrible the way the "scrabble" rules is -- because even if the students never get the rainbow thing (they will), they can tell from the marked koans whether cyan is "blue" and so it's really "red orange yellow green cyan blue purple" or whether the master has chosen another color ordering.

Ludicrously complex rules are more to the point; they're just bad.

Also, I'd argue strongly that there's a place for very hard (but -not- overly complex) rules. They're fun to get--if you're mastering them for a group that is on the right skill level to eventually figure them out, with enough time to solve them.

The master loses if the students do not get the rule.

The master and students -win- if the master masters a hard rule and the students are enlightened.