FAN CLUB MEMBER TYPE
Fan, Game Technician, Game Designer, Game Playtester, Author.
20210204 - Following Andy's publication of Peaceful Homeworlds, I've been trying to fix the rules. Andy incorporated some of my suggestions, such as Transfer of Crystals, and called a rule after me. But see my BGG contribution to the subject: BGG Discussion about Peaceful Homeworlds.
Update 20210429. As of late, I've made a 180 about my opinion on Peaceful Homeworlds: besides some minor issues that were fixed right away, I don't think there is anything wrong with Peaceful Homeworlds at all. I'm planning a formal apology to Andy in a forthcoming document that I'll post on BGG. The reason for my change of mind is that the phenomenon of stalling that I discovered, is an emergent feature of the game that occurs at a higher skill level. Unfortunately, not many people have reached this level, so that my argument on BGG was misunderstood as being arrogant. For casual players this may not come up at all. I was also operating under a wrong assumption that everybody would dislike a game with a strategy that could force a draw. This put me on the wrong leg, assuming that there was something wrong with the game that needed fixing, causing quite some stir (not intended). Yet, the same is true for tic-tac-toe, and that is because it is very easy to solve the game, after which you can play "perfectly" and always end in a draw. In Peaceful Homeworlds, knowing about stalling is akin to (partially) solving the game. Just as with tic-tac-toe, after you've solved it, the game is not that interesting any more. That's NOT because there's anything wrong with the game, but because you were good enough at it that you've solved it. No rules can "fix" a game that's not broken in the first place. Nevertheless, I plan on designing a game that has a similar mechanic and does NOT allow for stalling, with the understanding that the resulting game is a totally different game, with a different feel and strategy.
20201217 - I designed a new game this week, called Homeworlds Settlers. Check it out. Update 20210429. I've included it in my favorite games, too.
ABOUT MY HISTORY WITH LOONEY LABS
I discovered the Looney Pyramids system by accident in 2010, but was charmed mainly by (Binary) Homeworlds. I have since studied more than 20 games and introduced this game system to my family in the Netherlands in April 2016.
Most notably, Homeworlds has gone through quite some changes lately. The most current official rules are those provided with the Pyramid Quartet set (Promo Picture), see Homeworlds Rules (Version 13 as of this writing).
In 2020, I self-published Play Homeworlds on lulu.com (currently the 4th revised edition), but can be downloaded for free as well. See Play Homeworlds (PDF) on BGG. The aim was to get a clear and succinct description of the rules, to eradicate as much of the current confusion as possible. Most notably, my book contains (at least) 14 variants, most new, many of which can be combined. Also, I propose more ways of handicapping. In the appendix, there is additional information and a repository of references to old and new websites.
I am a Master of Science in Mathematics, graduated in 1993 at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. I am an author of non-fiction books in Philosophy of Religion, and several books on games (Go, Abalone, Homeworlds).
Recently, I've fully embraced my love for games as a skill, and actively promote playing games. I teach and play games, including Go, mainly for their ability to stimulate both hemispheres of the brain and help the mind become balanced and flexible. This comes in handy in a variety of situations, such as with learning computer skills. In addition, games have a social component, are a pleasant pastime, and can be the subject of and the inspiration for interesting discussions. Games have many more benefits, such as: increased memory, fluidity of thought, focus, attention span. Also, they serve as a tool to learn critical thinking skills, strategy, deductive logic, inductive logic, creativity.
LOONEY LABS GAMES I PLAY/PROMOTE
It is best to provide my Star Ship Captain List of my favorite games (see below).
The list has changed over the years, but the main theme is abstract strategy games. There are some notable exceptions, such as Zendo and Icehouse.
- Zendo is an inductive logic game, and although it has some strategy, this may only come into play when you are already very good at the game.
- Icehouse is a game I've never actually played yet. This game, I've been told, is more like a sport. It comes with etiquette rules (cool/uncool behavior descriptions). Yes, it's a strategy game, but in real time; it could just as well have been soccer or baseball, none of which I consider to be abstract strategy games either.
Fun Fact. Can you believe that Icehouse was the first Looney Pyramid game (from 1989), gave the name "Icehouse pieces" to the Pyramids, and was based on a vague description in Andrew Looney's book "The Empty City" of a game played on Mars, 20,000 years ago? Together with his friend John Cooper, Andrew Looney figured out the exact rules, and they've played this game with everybody for about 6 years before the first OTHER game with Looney Pyramids was invented, namely Martian Chess (1995). Since then, this fan-site is the testimony of the success of the Looney Pyramid game system, with 500+ playable games.
STAR SHIP CAPTAIN LIST
As a service to all other Starship Captains, here is my list of preferred games in order of preference (as of 4/20/2020, updated from 1/31/2016).
Compiling this list, I wished the top 3 contains more slots! If I have added "multiplayer", then that is the version I prefer, and I will mention the range of players. If I have added "2-player", then that is the only version that exists. If nothing is added, I do not prefer any version.
Games marked with * can be played with a Homeworlds set. A Homeworlds set consists of 12 trios in total, with 3 trios each in 4 colors. NOTE. Some of the games indicated need an Icehouse stash per player, that is 5 trios in a single color. To be able to play these games, I recommend the following. Create combos of two colors: Shell (Red, Yellow) and Ocean (Blue, Green). This gives you 6 trios in each combo, and you're all set to play these games.
5. (+1) * Martian Chess / [Martian Chess Rules (Original)]
6. (+5) * Pikemen / [Pikemen Rules (Original)]
7. (-) * Ricochet Pyramids / [Ricochet Pyramids Rules]
8. (-) * Blam! (2-player) [Blam Rules (Original)]
9. (-2) * Tic Tac Doh! (2-player) / [Tic Tac Doh! Rules (Original)]
10. (-) * Rambots (multiplayer, 2-3) / [Rambots Rules (original)]
11. (-) * Ice Dao (2-player) / [Icedao Rules]
12. (-) * Martian Mud Wrestling (2-player) / [Martian Mud Wrestling Rules (original)]
13. (-5) * Zark City (multiplayer, 2-4) / [Zark City V2.0 Rules]
14. (-5) * World War 5 (multiplayer, 2-4) / [World War 5 Rules (Original)]
15. (-11) Icehouse (multiplayer) / [Icehouse Rules (Original)]
16. (-6) * IceTowers (multiplayer, 2-4) / [Ice Towers Rules (Original)]
17. (-5) * Pharaoh (multiplayer, 2-4) / [Pharaoh Rules (Original)]
18. (-5) * Pink Hijinks (2-player) / [Pink Hijinks Rules (Original)]
20. (-5) * Treehouse (multiplayer) / [Treehouse Rules (Original)]
H1. Mini Homeworlds (multiplayer, 2-4) / [Mini Homeworlds]
NOTES WITH THE STARSHIP CAPTAIN LIST
I own an extended classic Zendo game, 5 Rainbow stashes and 5 Xeno stashes for a total of 150 pyramids in 10 colors. Furthermore, I designed, printed and laminated all my boards: 8x8, 7x7, 6x6, 5x5, 4x4, 4x3, 3x3, Hextris, 6 quadrants of Multiplayer Board (for Branches-Twigs-and-Thorns, Pikemen, etc.). In addition, I have a World War 5 board and 10 Good and Evil cards (for multi-player Homeworlds). I backed the Kickstarter Pyramid Arcade and as of the end of 2016, I own two PA sets (not opened), to give away one day. I backed the Kickstarter Pyramid Quartet in March 2020 and contributed to many last minute changes in the rules of PQ Homeworlds. In January 2021, I received 1 Martian Chess Set (Silver), and 4 Homeworlds sets, also to give away.
20201217 - Designed a new game called Homeworlds Settlers. See News.
20201101 - My next project is to collect the rules of 10+ abstract strategy games playable with the Homeworlds PQ set. See the list above for most likely games included.
20201030 - Just before the launch of the PQ games, I published today the 2nd edition of the book "Play Homeworlds. Rules, Strategies, Variants" You can download a copy here: Play Homeworlds! After the submission has been approved, the most recent version can also be found on BGG here: (BGG Play Homeworlds).
202008 - The first edition of the book "Play Homeworlds. Rules, Strategies, Variants." is ready. It contains the major rules and variants of Homeworlds, has 2 sample games, and game notation similar to SuperDuperGames.org.
- Bolt, - Atom, - Split, - Arrow, - Pyramids, and - Recycle.
20210429 - Added some comments. Added player ranges for multiplayer games playable with Homeworlds Set. Mini Homeworlds can actually be played with many more players, but the orientation of the ships becomes a problem to distinguish them. So, I chose to include 2-4 players, rather than 2-11 . . .
20210418 - Added Nomids Dice (for experimental reason).
20210319 - Edited some entries, included Peaceful Homeworld discussion.
20201101 - Adjusted the top 20 with 2 additional games playable with the Homeworlds Set (Ice Dao and Martian Mud Wrestling).