Nickel

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Nickel
Designed by Kat Costa
Nickel.500px.jpg
Use strategy to form a line or L shape on a colorful, randomly-generated board
:Players Players: 2
:Time Length: Fast
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 2, 5 preferably
Number of colors: 5
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 5
Five-color sets: 2, 5 preferably
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
5x5 grid, 12 tokens in two colors
Setup time: 1 minute
Playing time: 5 minutes
0.0833 Hr
- 15 minutes
0.25 Hr
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: None
Game mechanics:
Theme:
"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
BGG Link: Nickel
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2020


Overview

Nickel is a two-player combinatorial game played on a 5×5 grid that is randomly populated with 25 pyramids. The goal is to form an L shape or straight line of 5 pieces in your color or to leave your opponent with no valid moves.

Materials

  • 25 pyramids in five colors, ideally all small
  • A 5×5 grid
  • 12 tokens in two colors (these can be pyramids of unused colors, if you have them, or they can be coins, stones, bottle caps, etc).

Nickel works best if you own five nests each of five colors so that all pyramids are identical in size. Small pyramids work best because they fit perfectly in the squares on a Volcano board when lying down. That said, size is unimportant to gameplay. If you own a smaller collection of pyramids, you can make things work by swapping in some mediums and/or larges and using a 5×5 board with larger spaces to accommodate the larger pieces.

::S::S::S::S::S
::S::S::S::S::S
::S::S::S::S::S
::S::S::S::S::S
::S::S::S::S::S
:Volcano
Ideal materials
::S::S::S::M::M
::S::S::S::M::M
::S::S::S::M::M
::S::S::S::M::M
::S::S::S::M::M
:Volcano
Pyramid Arcade

Goal

There are three ways to win Nickel.

  • Form a straight line of five pieces in your color (diagonal or orthogonal)
  • Form an L shape of five pieces in your color
  • Arrange it so that there are no valid moves at the start of your opponent's turn
Win by L-shape
O ::SPW O ::SPW ::SPS
::SPU ::SPS ::SPU O O
O X X X ::SPW
::SPW ::SPN ::SPU X ::SPN
::SPE ::SPW ::SPE X ::SPN
::SPW
   
Win by straight line
O ::SPW ::SPU ::SPW ::SPS
O O ::SPU X X
X ::SPS O ::SPU O
X ::SPN X O ::SPN
X ::SPW ::SPE X O
::SPW

Setup

The board will need to be randomly filled with 25 pyramids. Each pyramid will have a color and an orientation combination that makes it unique from all other pieces on the board. To begin setup, sort the pieces into rows and columns of color and orientation (North, East, South, West, and Standing-Up). Do this next to the board, not on the board.

::SPN ::SPE ::SPS ::SPW ::SPU
::SPN ::SPE ::SPS ::SPW ::SPU
::SPN ::SPE ::SPS ::SPW ::SPU
::SPN ::SPE ::SPS ::SPW ::SPU
::SPN ::SPE ::SPS ::SPW ::SPU



Now, alternating turns and moving quickly, each player takes any pyramid and, preserving its orientation, places it into a random space on the board. (Alternating players is simply the fastest way to accomplish placement. If it is more convenient for one player to do the entire setup in advance, that's fine.) Once the board is full, play can begin.


Example Setup
::SPE ::SPW ::SPU ::SPW ::SPS
::SPU ::SPS ::SPU ::SPS ::SPS
::SPN ::SPS ::SPN ::SPU ::SPW
::SPW ::SPN ::SPU ::SPE ::SPN
::SPE ::SPW ::SPE ::SPE ::SPN

Play

Start player must
play on an edge
::SPE ::SPW ::SPU ::SPW ::SPS Choose a start player. For the first turn only, placement is limited to one of the 16 squares on the edge of the board. Start player will choose one of these squares to place his token in.
::SPU ::SPS ::SPU ::SPS ::SPS
::SPN ::SPS ::SPN ::SPU ::SPW
::SPW ::SPN ::SPU ::SPE ::SPN
::SPE ::SPW ::SPE ::SPE ::SPN


Turn 1: Start player moves
to the ::SPE space
::SPE ::SPW ::SPU ::SPW ::SPS ::SPE Start player decides to place his token in the square occupied by the ::SPE. To do this, he picks up the pyramid in the square and, preserving its orientation, places it on the table in front of his opponent. Then he proceeds to place his token in the empty square.
::SPU ::SPS ::SPU ::SPS ::SPS
::SPN ::SPS ::SPN ::SPU ::SPW
::SPW ::SPN ::SPU ::SPE ::SPN
::SPE ::SPW ::SPE X ::SPN



Player 2 can move to any
of the highlighted squares
::SPE ::SPW ::SPU ::SPW ::SPS The next player looks at the pyramid her opponent has given her: she must place her token in a square that matches this pyramid in one of its two characteristics: in color or in orientation. Since the pyramid her opponent has given her is a ::SPE, she must place her token in a square occupied by a red pyramid or a pyramid pointing East.
::SPU ::SPS ::SPU ::SPS ::SPS
::SPN ::SPS ::SPN ::SPU ::SPW
::SPW ::SPN ::SPU ::SPE ::SPN
::SPE ::SPW ::SPE X ::SPN




Turn 2: Player 2 chooses
the ::SPE space
O ::SPW ::SPU ::SPW ::SPS ::SPE Player 2 chooses the space occupied by the ::SPE. She carefully removes it, places it in on the table front of her opponent with its orientation unchanged, and moves her token into the vacated space. At turn-end, she clears the space on the table in front of her by setting the ::SPE aside to form a discard stack. It will not be used for the rest of the game.
::SPU ::SPS ::SPU ::SPS ::SPS
::SPN ::SPS ::SPN ::SPU ::SPW
::SPW ::SPN ::SPU ::SPE ::SPN
::SPE ::SPW ::SPE X ::SPN



The game continues like this until one player has successfully formed an L shape or a straight line. That player wins! A player also wins if her opponent, on his turn, has no legal placement available.

Victory

A player wins by successfully forming an L shape or a straight line (diagonal or orthogonal) of five pieces in their color. If one player has no legal moves on their turn, the other player wins.

Win by L-shape
O ::SPW O ::SPW ::SPS
::SPU ::SPS ::SPU O O
O X X X ::SPW
::SPW ::SPN ::SPU X ::SPN
::SPE ::SPW ::SPE X ::SPN
::SPW
   
Win by straight line
O ::SPW ::SPU ::SPW ::SPS
O O ::SPU X X
X ::SPS O ::SPU O
X ::SPN X O ::SPN
X ::SPW ::SPE X O
::SPW