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Solitaire Puzzle Game:

Needs 7 stashes, container, and chessboard. Randomly pull pyramids from a container and fill a chessboard with them, square by square. Disregard all unplaced pyramids. A move is made by swapping a pyramid with its orthogonal neighbor. However, the piece being moved MUST end the move adjacent to a same-color pyramid (but it doesn't have to start the move next to one). Furthermore, you cannot break up color groups; a neighboring piece cannot be separated and isolated from like-colored pieces. The puzzle is completed when all pieces of a color are orthogonally into one region, forming seven distinct colored regions on the board, with no isolated pyramids remaining. Not all random setups can be solved. Note that size is irrelevant in this game.

My wife adapted this from a puzzle game on the internet, and it became her obsession for two days.

Patterns in the Frost

My wife and I looked around to determine if there was a pyramid game akin to Dominoes, with tile pulling, piece placement, and set scoring. In an inventive spirit, we tried to make one up. The story is told here.

Attempt 1

I took inventory of my game components. Stashes of all ten colors were at hand, so I decided that it would be really cool if my game used all of them. Since I wanted it to be a tile-pulling game, I scrounged a large bucket, too. Of course, a tile-laying game needs a board structure (since the pieces have bases of differing sizes), and I rolled out my large grid battlemat.

I asked myself what the game objective could be. I didn't have enough of a game to work out a scoring system, so I went with the simpler goal of simply ending a turn without any pyramids left in your play hand. Pyramids would be played on the mat, adhering to placement restrictions, or a pyramid would be randomly drawn if no valid move could be made. What I needed now was a set of placement rules that would be challenging but not too restrictive. So I tried this on my own as a solitaire experiment.

Our first set of rules were simple; a pyramid must be placed orthogonally adjacent to a piece of its own color. If it was the first piece of its color, it could be placed anywhere. This didn't work, as it was too easy to place pyramids, and it became even easier as more pieces were played. I wanted a placement scheme that would slightly become more difficult as the game progressed.

Attempt 2

Now we tried a different approach. A piece could be placed in a square if it shared either size or color with each of its orthogonal and diagonal neighbors. This required a starting formation, so we dropped four pieces in the center to start. Eventually we found this too restrictive, with many squares simply being unplayable as no pyramid could cohabitate with four or more neighbors.

Well, how about "A placed piece cannot have anything in common with its immediate neighbors, but must be 2 squares away from one it shares commonality with"? This didn't work, either. Pieces were just played in predictable line formations until it hit the board edge and the game stalemated.

Next we tried "A placed piece cannot share a trait with its orthogonal neighbors, but must share a trait with each diagonal neighbor". This actually worked, with a good balance of obstruction and permissiveness. We ditched the hand-elimination goal in favor of reaching a scoring level. A placed pyramid was worth points equal to the number of adjacent pyramids, thus rewarding more challenging plays.

We now had a workable game that was intriguing, but it felt more like a cooperative puzzle than a contest of skill. Bravely we forged ahead.

Attempt 3

At this point we pitched the board, and aimed instead at stacking. We came up with an array of towers. "A piece may be placed on top of a tower if a) the top piece of the tower is the same size as the placed piece or larger and b) the tower does not already contain that color". We went back to hand elimination as the goal. If no piece in hand could be played, the player could either draw a pyramid, or start a new tower with a piece from their hand and then draw two pyramids. This proved to be both a competitive game of bluffing, and a simple game similar to dominoes. We now had a game much like what we wanted in the first place.

Comments from Others

This is not only simple and beautiful, but it is more than just a dominoes adaptation or variant. And the crystal-formation metaphor actually works. I look forward to trying this. - misuba 20:14, 29 Aug 2005 (GMT)

Tried it last night. I had to guess at the beginning hand size, as that wasn't given in the rules so far - we went with 3 large, 3 medium, and 3 small. in general, this worked well, but we both found that after going through our initial hand of pieces, we just felt around and drew only 1-pip pieces, as drawing anything larger increased the chances of having to draw more later due to a lack of possible moves.

Perhaps a restriction on drawing would be practical? instead of drawing only 1 (if not playing a piece) or 2 (if you do play), it might work with requiring that if you cannot play, you must place a new piece, and then draw one pyramid of each size. - Throkda 11:42, June 12, 2007 (GMT)

Pyramids+Dominoes idea

Turn options:

  1. Add (limited)
  2. Push
  3. Jump
  4. Split
  5. Grow
  6. Teleport

Game end: out of pyramids, or out of dominoes Winner: occupies highest spot count (too mathy?)

Micro-Martian Chess

There are two players identified by home region, North and South.

It's South's turn.

Score: N-4, S-3.

B 3 up dir.png R 3 up dir.png Empty square.png
Empty square.png R 2 up dir.png Empty square.png
B 3 up dir.png Empty square.png Empty square.png
Empty square.png Empty square.png R 3 up dir.png
Empty square.png B 1 up dir.png Empty square.png
Empty square.png Empty square.png B 2 up dir.png

Quotations Template

I created Template:Quote on accident, but you are welcome to improve it if you can, and put it to good use.

Better IGDC infobox

Icehouse Game Design Competition, Season 20XX
Winner: Pylon
2nd: Subdivision 3rd: Zamboni Wars
Other Participants: Martian Coaster Chaturanga, Moon Shot, Penguin Soccer, Trip Away

Playing with variables

It is now → 11:45 UDC on Sunday, 5 February, 2023.

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