Quicksand
Quicksand  

Designed by Erik Oosterwal  
A strategy game where you try to capture your opponent's pieces on a board that is in constant flux.  
Players:  2  
Length:  Long?  
Complexity:  Low  
Trios per color:  5  
Number of colors:  2  
      Other equipment        
4 Martian Coasters  
Setup time:  1 minute or less  
Playing time:  10 minutes 0.167 Hr  60 minutes1 Hr
 
Strategy depth:  Medium  
Random chance:  None  
Game mechanics:  Placement, Capture, Board Rotation  
Theme:  Abstract  
BGG Link:  73111  
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2009  
Contents
Objective
The objective of Quicksand is to capture 15 points (pips) of your opponent's pyramids by jumping over them with your own pyramids in a checkerslike manner.
Equipment Needed
2 Stashes of Pyramids
4 Martian Coasters (3x3 movable playing grid)
Setup
Arrange the four Martian coasters in a 2x2 square pattern. The resulting playing area will be 6 spaces by 6 spaces made up of four 3x3 quadrants.




Each of the two players receive one stash of pyramids in a single color.
Player 1 takes:
Player 2 takes:
Rules
After deciding which player will start first, the players take turns completing the following two steps in order:
 The active player may place a pyramid from their store on to any empty space
or
The active player may jump one, two, or three pyramids according to the jumping rules below.  After placing a new piece or jumping one or more pieces, the active player must rotate any one of the four Martian coasters 90°, 180°, or 270°.
 The active player may place a pyramid from their store on to any empty space
Jumping
Pyramids with 1 pip may jump only 1 adjacent pyramid in any direction diagonally or orthoganally.
Pyramids with 2 pips may jump exactly 2 pyramids starting with an adjacent pyramid. The two pyramids may be adjacent to each other or have a single space between them. If the pyramids to be jumped are adjacent, they must be in a straight line orthogonally or diagonally. The active player may jump two pyramids that are not in a straight line as long as there is an empty space between them. (See the examples section for more details.)
Pyramids with 3 pips may jump 1, 2, or 3 pyramids following the same adjacency and redirection rules as for a 2pip pyramid. (See the examples section for more details.)
All pyramids that are jumped are captured. The active player may capture any combination of their own and opponent's pyramids during a jump. The active player will place their own captured pyramids back into their store of pyramids. This is usually done when a player's store of pyramids is running low, when one of their own key pyramids is being threatened from multiple locations, or when it allows a player to also capture 1 or 2 of the opponent's pieces.
Restrictions:
 A player may not jump the same pyramid twice.
 All landing spots must be on the 6x6 playing area. When performing multiple jumps with a 2pip or 3pip pyramid, the intermediate landing spots must all be on the 6x6 playing area.
End Game Condition
The game ends when one of the following happen:
Points on captured pyramids is 15 or more.
 Captured pyramids are scored by the number of pips. A 1pip pyramid is worth 1 point, a 2pip pyramid is worth 2 points, and a 3pip pyramid is worth 3 points. The first player to capture 15 or more points worth of pyramids from the opposing player wins.
No valid moves
 If the active player is unable to complete phase I of their turn (place or jump) they lose. Scores may still be tallied to be included in sets of games. Under this end game condition it is possible for the winning player to have a lower score than the losing player.
Examples
Additional Game Notes
Power and vulnerability of the three pyramid sizes
The 3pip pyramid is the most powerful weapon on the board, but it has the drawback of being the most valuable as a target for the opponent to capture. Its great power comes from being able to jump one, two, or three pieces, at the descretion of the active player. This means that it can jump only one or two opponent pieces if jumping three would put it at risk of being captured on the opponent's next turn or if there are no other jumps available.
The 2pip pyramid is only slightly more powerful than the 1pip pyramid. The 2pip pyramid can jump more pieces, but its drawback is that it must jump exactly two pieces. If there is no suitable target for the second jump then it cannot jump at all.
The 1pip pyramid cannot jump as many pieces as either of the two larger pyramids, but it can often be placed in such a position that it can threaten a 2pip pyramid without being a valid target for that 2pip pyramid.
Relative strength of board positions
Most of the captures tend to occur near the center of the 6x6 board and along the two major axes running along the inner edges of the quadrants (Martian coasters). This means that the four corners of each quadrant are the most powerful spacesit is easy to rotate a new piece into a position to threaten an opponent's piece and just as easy to rotate a vulnerable piece to the outside corner where it is safe from being captured.
The center space of each quadrant is most vulnerable to attacks because there are spaces all around it where an opponent can land after a jump, and if it is being threatened it cannot be moved relative to the rest of the pieces on the board by rotating that quadrant. With that being said, a pyramid in this location can be used as a first jump for a 2pip or 3pip pyramid in an outside corner that would otherwise not be a big threat to the center of the board.
Arrangements for strong board positions
As with most board games where the main constructs of the game consist of placing pieces on a grid and capturing opponent's pieces (TicTacToe, Nine Mens Morris, Chess, Checkers, etc.), it is important to position your own pieces in such a way that your opponent's pieces are threatened from multiple locations while keeping your own safe from capture.
1pip pyramids are best used as threats to lone 2pip pyramids or as pieces to be jumped by your own 2pip and 3pip pyramids in order to get at the opponent's prized pieces and locations. They can also play an important role in jumping your own larger pieces if your store is running low or if there is no way to rotate the larger piece out of harm's way.
Clusters of pyramids, especially larger pyramids, can become more powerful because they provide the 2pip, and more often, the 3pip pyramids with a way to jump from a completely safe and nonthreatening position into the middle of where the opponent's pieces are sporadically placed. For instance, a 3pip pyramid at the corner of a 2x2 cluster of pyramids can jump all of the other three pyramids in one turn.
2pip pyramids are almost useless when the board is sparsely occupied. They become more powerful when the board is 1/3 to 1/2 occupied.
The rotation of a quadrant at the end of each turn offers a suprisingly potent element to a seemingly simple and familiar 2dimensional board game. What may seem like a safe or boring board layout can be warped into a volatile layout in a matter of one or two turns. This forces each player to be more aware of the timedimension or constant flux of the relative positions of each piece on the board during each turn.
Additional Languages
External Links
 Quicksand is listed on BGG.
 Rules available in French at jeuxicehouse.com.
 Rules available in Spanish at labsk.net (by gixmo).
License
http://i.creativecommons.org/l/byncsa/3.0/us/88x31.png
This work is distributed by Erik Oosterwal under the Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike 3.0 License.
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