Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

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

  • FromShadowfirebird <shadowfirebird@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateFri, 5 Aug 2011 21:39:55 +0100

On Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 5:52 PM, Buddha Buck <blaisepascal@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

However, it (like the "zip code rule" below) is equivalent, under the
"equivalency" rule of Zendo ( two rules are equivalent if, given any
possible koan, they both would mark the koan the same way), to an
admittedly exceedingly complex rule that is definitely valid, so the
Scrabble rule is valid, except for the your house rule. 

I am interested in how *your* house rule is phrased as to eliminate
the Scrabble rule.

The only house rule we run, really, is that a koan rule must be discoverable using only logic and the pyramids on the table -- a rephrasing or superset of the Spock rule, if you like.  My feeling is that even with the scrabble book internalised, the rule would still fail that house rule.  But I agree it's a bit subjective.  As I said, it's never come up for us.    It would be nice to find a better house rule.

You have also indicated a suggestion to change the official rules to
ban the scrabble example (if the official rules don't ban it already).
 The discussion over the best way to form a house rule would work well
for coming up with a proposed official rule as well.

Indeed.  The only difference is that the official rule needs to be tighter and more objective still -- ideally.
For many groups, the "don't be a dick" rule is self-enforcing -- dicks
are not asked back to the group.  I suspect that in any group the
"Scrabble" rule would only be played twice.

I think it goes further than that: your "internalised scrabble rule" -- where the list of words is named in the rule -- is probably self-dismissing for a genuine, non-theoretical game.  Because when the players inevitably gave up, the chances of the master being able to say the rule out loud correctly (and in the process list all 179,000 words in the official scrabble word list!) is pretty small...   moreover, as the complexity of the rule increases, the chances that the master will make an incorrect ruling, or change the rule during play without realising it, increases (and this, incidentally, is my first reason why Zendo is not my favourite pyramid game).

Master, does the koan "Define the 'color number' for a pyramid to be 0
for red, 3 for yellow, 6 for green, and 9 for blue, and the
'duodecimal digit' for a pyramid to be it's color number plus it's
pip-count less 1.  Akhtbni it consists of a single stack which is not
capped by a small red and, when read as a duodecimal number from most
significant digit on top to least significant digit on bottom, is a
prime number" have the Buddha Nature?

I'd give that a white stone.  Although I don't know a single player who would be able to guess the rule.
Master, does the koan "Akhtbni it consists solely of a single upright
large red, OR a single upright small yellow OR a single upright large
yellow OR a single upright medium green OR a single upright small blue
OR a stack of two medium reds OR a medium red stacked on a small
yellow OR ...{insert continuation of enumeration of the large, but
finite, number of koans buildable with a standard 4-color, 3-size, 5
of each color and size Zendo set which would have the bn based on the
'duodecimal prime' rule above}" have the Buddha Nature?

Black stone.  Rules with many ORs are not readily susceptible to inductive logic.  If Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes were to play Zendo, and they had a week, maybe...

And this nicely illustrates the second and last reason why Zendo is not my favourite game (although I do like it): it's relatively easy to formulate a rule which is within the spirit of the game, but at the same time very, very difficult to guess, even with inductive logic.  I don't think any house rule can deal with that; it's built into the structure of the game.