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Kory Heath (Original), David Artman (Variation)
Players achieve satori when they discover the secret rule that explains which koans have the elusive Buddha-nature
:Players Players: 2 - 100
:Time Length: Medium?
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 1
Number of colors: 5
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 5
Five-color sets: 1
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
2 colors of marking stones (1 of each)
Setup time: 2 minutes
Playing time: 5
5 Min
0.0833 Hr
- 30
30 Min
0.5 Hr
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics: Inductive logic, Turn-based
Theme: Abstract
BGG Link: Ikkozendo
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2006
Published on December 5, 2006

"Ikko" - one, a fragment, single

"Zendo" - the way of Zen, a mind-expanding game

"Ikkozendo" - a whole game of Zendo in one pocket!

Ikkozendo is a variant of Zendo that is played with a limited number of people who all are present at the game start. All must be present at game start because Ikkozendo is a single stash game and, as such, there will not be enough pyramids for the Students to build koans to seek the secret rule or for the Master to build koans to disprove a rule guess. Because no more than two koans are made during a game, the players' memory of previous configurations of the koans is critical to finishing the game. Thus, if players come and go, as is allowed in Zendo, then the game can get stuck in "cycles," as the same configurations are reused over and over again to disprove already-attempted guesses.


A single stash of Treehouse pyramids. In a pinch, you may also use a single monochrome stash, though you will not be able to use color as a potential element in the secret rule (obviously!).

One or two marking stones (of different colors, if two). In a pinch, you can use the Treehouse die to mark the koan that conforms to the secret rule--I use the DIG side upright; can you "dig" it?


Begin as in normal Zendo: the Master thinks up a secret rule and makes two koans, one marked as conforming to the secret rule and one marked as not conforming to the secret rule. The koan that conforms to the secret rule is said to "have the Buddha-nature."

Determine who goes first any way that is legal in your area, and proceed clockwise around the table with each turn. Alternately, for a realtime variant, the Master may permit Students to shout out rule guesses as they come up with them. In this realtime variant, the Master must gently restrain any Student who is rapidly making rule guesses to the exclusion of other Students' chances to guess.


Students do not build koans and do not ask "Mondo" or "Master" and do not acquire guessing stones.

Instead, on a Student's turn, the Student attempts to guess the secret rule or must pass. In the realtime variant, a Student just shouts out a rule guess when one occurs to him or her.

If a Student guesses and is incorrect, the Master must adjust one of the koans so that it disproves the guess. In doing so, the Master may remove pyramids from the koan or add pyramids to it. The Master also may use pyramids from the other koan or adjust the other koan in any way, as long as, after all adjustments, one of the koans disproves the guess while both retain their original relationships to the rule (i.e. the true koan remains true and the false koan remains false).

Note that, if the secret rule involves color, the Master will often have to add or remove pyramids from both koans, because there are only three pyramids of any given color (and only one of a given size and color!) in a Treehouse stash.

After the Master's disproof, it is immediately the next Student's turn. In the real time variant, the Master must be sure not to let a Student double-up guesses and dominate the game, which can happen as an excited Student begins to close in on the secret rule.


If the Student's guess matches the Master's secret rule, that Student has won: shake his or her hand as everyone laughs... or groans. That Student is the next Master (or, alternately, rotate the role of Master counterclockwise each round... or let the loudest whiner be next).

External Links


http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/88x31.png This work is distributed by David Carle Artman under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.