Talk:Magma

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Ah! The old puzzle sliding game converted to pyramid pieces. Even after a few years of playing with them, I'm constantly amazed at their versatility.

Just so! I was kind of surprised something very close to this wasn't yet documented. Maybe I missed it, and someone will yet point it out. --Carthoris 00:13, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Well I just tried it out with the newest rules, with a pattern I made up. It's actually a lot harder at first than you'd think. Soon, you realize that, once the empty space leaves the boarder rows, it will never return. So the trick at first seems to be to jump the corresponding medium pyramids to the outside while not making too much of a mess of your inside pieces. Then it's good if you can visualize several moves ahead.
I'm not a huge fan of solitaire games with pyramids, but this works. It works so well that I think that it makes it to the top of my list of solitaire pyramid games, which means that I'll probably return to it more often than I would the others.
Yes, I think the game is always solvable, especially if you're willing to break up the work that you've already done. --nihilvor 07:37, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I had noticed myself the difficulty in getting back to the edges, although not being able to put the empty space there doesn't mean that you can't put pyramids there that weren't before. (Pyramids get "sucked" out to the edge by flows with jumps that move to the center. Another useful thing I've discovered is that if you have the right colors in a given row or column, it's possible to just run flows on that line until it un-shuffles to the desired pattern. --Carthoris 13:37, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh, but if you can't get the empty space back to the edge, then you can only complete a pattern in which the empty corner start space matches the color of an interior space. So I've changed the rules now to put the start space in the center. --Carthoris 14:55, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh yes, I recognized that not being able to move the empty space to the edges isn't a defect. The game works well as it is.
Good catch on the potential empty square issue, but I think it should read "Randomly draw the medium pyramids out and stack each one on a large, until it is all filled except for the middle space." That would eliminate any confusion as to what is intended.
I had thought about making the empty square it's own unique color. However, that would actually make the puzzle a lot more difficult to solve, as the empty space would always have to end up in that same space to solve the puzzle (as opposed to on any of the large pyramids of the same color). Perhaps that could be an advanced variation.--nihilvor 18:21, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it matters at all where the empty square is at the beginning, as long as the puzzle is set up to put it somewhere other than an edge at the end. That's why I made the last change. Any color confined to a single space will make the game more challenging. (There are four of them in the "Space Whirl" example I gave, and one in "Stooping Dragon.") --Carthoris 18:32, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I love the pictures you've added. Do you have a volcano board on top of a lightbox? --ts52 19:27 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Glad you like 'em. The illuminated effect was entirely accidental, and it's just from the reflection of the incandescent light from overhead off of the white Volcano board squares under the translucent large pyramids. The pictures really remind me of Andy Looney's intimation that the light crystals from Land of the Lost were perhaps a seminal inspiration for his game pyramids. --Carthoris 20:18, 27 January 2012 (UTC)


Critical Rules Correction

As originally drafted, this puzzle would usually be unsolvable! The use of a simple jumping two-space move would mean that any given medium pyramid could only have access to half of the other squares on the board, so that the initial random placement would often fail to make a solvable puzzle. A simple one-space move would revert the game to its sliding-tile puzzle origins, and lose some of what made it attractive. I considered a three-space move, but that would be even worse, effectively immobilizing the middle pyramid, and containing the pieces in the cross of the middle rank and file.

The "flow" mechanism that I settled on has the virtue of making the game even more Volcanic, while solving the problem of how to make it possible for any moving piece to reach all squares on the board. --Carthoris 13:46, 24 January 2012 (UTC)