Martian Life

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A Looney pyramid game by Kerin Schiesser.

The game is played with 2 stashes of different colors on an 8x8 board.

The game starts with the center 4 squares occupied by small pyramids, 2 of 1 color diagonally adjacent and 2 of the other color diagonally adjacent, e.g.:

. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . R Y . . .
. . . Y R . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .

Determine a start player by any mutually agreeable method.

The sequence of play is as follows:

  1. First player moves
  2. Dying pieces are culled repeatedly
  3. Check for a win
  4. Second player moves
  5. Dying pieces are culled repeatedly
  6. Check for a win
  7. Repeat

Moves: When it's your turn to move, you may do one of:

  • Place a small piece of your color onto any empty square.
  • Promote a small piece of your color by replacing it with a medium of your color.
  • Promote a medium piece of your color by replacing it with a large of your color.

"Dying pieces": Pieces that are too crowded or not crowded enough are dying pieces. The count of "neighbors" is the number of pieces (of either color) in the 8 adjacent squares.

  • A small piece needs 1 to 3 neighbors.
  • A medium piece needs 3 to 5 neighbors.
  • A large piece needs 5 to 7 neighbors.
If there are dying pieces after a move, then all are culled (removed from the board) simultaneously, and another check for dying pieces is made. This continues until there are no dying pieces on the board.

It is theoretically possible for a game to end in a tie with no pieces remaining on the board. If that happens, then any piece played will immediately be culled, hence the game cannot progress. So far this has only been observed in cases where both players are deliberately trying to make it happen.

Win condition:

Each large piece on the board counts 3 points. Each medium-sized piece counts 2 points. Each small piece counts 1 point. If either player has more than 15 points on the board, and also has more points than the other player, then the player with the most points on the board wins.

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