Magma

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Magma
Designed by Matthew Rogers
Nightflower2.JPG
Jumpy patience on a Volcano board
:Players Players: 1 - 2
:Time Length: Long?
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 5+
Number of colors: 5+
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 5+
Five-color sets: 5+
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Volcano board, opaque bag
Setup time: 3 minutes
Playing time: 20 minutes
0.333 Hr
- 60 minutes?
"minutes?" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.
Strategy depth: n/a
Random chance: Medium
Game mechanics: puzzle, jumping
Theme: Volcano
BGG Link:
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987


Concept and Materials

This is a very straightforward puzzle/patience game played on a Volcano board. Besides the board, the game requires 25 large and 25 medium pyramids where each large has a matching-color medium pyramid. There should be at least five different colors. The greater number of colors there are, the more difficult the puzzle will be. An opaque bag is also required.

Setup

Use the large pyramids to create a distinctive design on the Volcano board. You can name your design if you like it. (See the example images below.)

Nightflower: A fairly easy Magma design in six colors (pictured in infobox above scrambled and ready for play)
Space Whirl: A more difficult Magma design in ten colors
Stooping Dragon: An asymmetrical Magma design in eight colors


Remove from the set of medium pyramids one corresponding to the large pyramid that is in the center of the board, and put the remaining 24 mediums into the opaque bag. Randomly draw the medium pyramids out and stack each one on a large, until it is all filled except for the last space.

Goal

The object is to reproduce the design of the base layer of large pyramids in the upper layer of mediums, so that each medium pyramid is on a large of the same color.

Play

As the characteristic play in Volcano is the eruption, the play used in Magma is the flow.

Move any medium pyramid onto the unoccupied large by jumping it in a straight line over one intermediate square. Jumps may be orthogonal or diagonal. Then, take the medium pyramid from the square that was jumped over, and move it back to the large pyramid vacated by the jumping medium. (With relatively little practice this compound move can become habitual.)

Continue flows until the design is completed.

Two-Player Variants

Do and Un-do

Build the pattern with matched large-medium stacks, omitting the central medium. One player then uses exactly thirty flows to scramble the mediums. The second player must attempt to unscramble them in thirty or fewer flows.

Level-Up

The first player plays as in an ordinary solo game, keeping count of the number of flows required to complete the design. Place the missing twenty-fifth medium on its matching large pyramid in the center.

Then put a corresponding set of small pyramids in the opaque bag, and set them up randomly on top of the mediums for the second player, who plays as before, completing a topmost layer of the design so that the board is filled with monochrome trees. Compare flow counts, with the lower count indicating the winner.

For this variant to reflect more skill rather than mostly chance, it is desirable to use at least seven different colors of pyramids.

Tips and Tactics

  • It is almost always necessary to undo some "finished" part of the puzzle in order to make progress on what remains. For this reason, the game becomes more psychologically difficult as it nears its end. (Fear not; press on!)
  • As a general rule, it's best to try to sort out the edges of the board before the center.
  • It is possible to run a series of flows in a single row, column, or diagonal until the pieces fall into any given sequence within that line.