Chaos

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Chaos

An Icehouse game by Nate Straight.

Overview

In this game of controlled chaos, the players compete to capture all ten colors of pieces.

Object

The object is to become the first player to capture one each of all ten colors of pieces.

Equipment

10 stashes of Icehouse pieces, in all of the different colors that are available as of the date of this revision (black, purple, blue, cyan, green, yellow, orange, red, clear, and white)

2 ten-sided dice (preferably ones with single-digit faces rather than the "tens" faces)

2 to 5 players (2 or 3 players is optimal, 4 or 5 is difficult) and approximately 15 minutes

Setup

For each of the 10 stashes of Icehouse pieces, stack up all of the large pieces, all of the medium pieces, and all of the small pieces (with the stack of small pieces in front of the stack of medium pieces of the same color, and so on), then arrange these sets of stacks in each of the 10 different colors into a linear array according to the following color chart:

  1. White
  2. Clear
  3. Red
  4. Orange
  5. Yellow
  6. Green
  7. Cyan
  8. Blue
  9. Purple
  10. Black

Gameplay

On each player's turn, they will roll both of the ten-sided dice and then place two pieces of the appropriate color (as determined by the numbered color chart above) onto the game surface according to the rules of placement. Players must place both colors that they roll. Pieces will be placed either standing up or lying down on their sides. Pieces that are placed standing up are defenders, and pieces that are placed lying down are attackers (just as in Icehouse). In any given color, a number of pieces equal to (but never greater than) the number of players in the game must be placed as defenders before any pieces of that color may be placed as attackers (with 2 players, for example, there must be 2 pieces placed as defenders in any given color before any attackers may be placed in that color).

To place a piece as a defender, a player will place the largest available piece of the appropriate color (as determined by the roll) standing up onto the game surface, no more than six inches away from the nearest piece already in play and no less than six inches away from the nearest piece already in play of the same color as the piece to be placed (if the only piece already in play is a piece of the same color as the piece to be placed [when the first player rolls doubles, for example], the pieces must be placed six inches apart).

To place a piece as an attacker, a player will place the largest available piece of the appropriate color (as determined by the roll) lying down on its side with its base (the flat part opposite the point of the piece) perpendicularly touching either the base of a defending piece of the same color or one of the two sides of another attacking piece of the same color as the piece to be placed (see the title graphic for examples of the placement of attackers). The piece to be placed as an attacker may be placed anywhere along the length of the base of a defending piece or the side of another attacking piece, so long as no part of the base of the piece to be placed extends beyond the base of the defending piece or the side of the other attacking piece (again, see the title graphic).

The object of the game is to capture one each of all ten colors of pieces by pointing attackers at defenders in one of the four colors that each color of attacker is able to attack. Each color of attacker may attack a defender in any of the four colors that are adjacent or one step away from the color of the attacker in the linear array described above (the array loops around at each end, such that purple may attack white, black may attack white and clear, white may attack black and purple, and clear may attack black). For example, a blue attacker may attack either a green, cyan, purple, or black (but not a blue) defender.

Whenever an attacker is placed such that it points at a defender in one of the four colors that the attacker is able to attack, the player who placed that attacker captures a piece corresponding to the color of the defender by taking the largest available piece of that color from the linear array of pieces. Attackers must be no more than six inches away from their targeted defender in order to be considered as pointing at the defender. Attackers may point at any part of the defender from any angle of attack, but not through other attackers or defenders. Each player may only capture one piece of each color.

Ending

The game ends when one player has successfully captured one piece in each of the ten colors of pieces. That player wins (at present, there is no scoring system, so the only reason to take the largest available piece when capturing is to maintain consistency within the game and to allow the game to move along as quickly as possible; it may be possible to score each player's collection of captured pieces at the end of the game by simply assigning a 3, 2, or 1 point value to each piece based on their heights, but this is not currently the default way of winning the game and has not been fully play-tested).

Variants

At the time of this revision, there are only 10 total colors of Icehouse pieces. However, there has been some discussion at Looney Labs of the possibility of including new colors of pieces in potential upcoming box sets. I believe the colors under consideration are solid gray (to go with the current black and white pieces) and either magenta or pink (to be used in Volcano, I believe). If these colors ever materialize into reality, it would be most desirable to expand this game (thereby creating even more Chaos) to include them.

This would require a new way of selecting the colors to be placed on each player's turn, but if only two new colors actually come into existence, this problem could easily be solved with two twelve-sided dice instead of the original two ten-sided dice. If more or less colors become reality, however, a new method for color selection will have to be devised. Perhaps a modified deck of playing cards (either standard or Rook) would work.

Also, it is possible to play a scaled-down variant of Chaos (if you either don't have all 10 colors of Icehouse pieces or aren't in the mood for such a complex game). In the scaled- down variant, you use either six colors (white, red, yellow, green, blue, and black would be my suggestions) and two six-sided dice or four colors (red, yellow, green, and blue would be my suggestions) and two four-sided dice to play the game. Also, you should amend the rules for capturing such that attackers may either capture only adjacent colors (for the six color / six-sided dice variant) or may only capture one adjacent color (for the four color / four-sided dice variant; red -> yellow -> green -> blue -> red is my suggestion).

Neither variant has been play-tested, so, if you try them, tell me how it goes.