We played the Claude Soucie game Divide and Conquer at the laundromat.
It was very good, but we found the hand management to be hard. It was too difficult to imagine what the other player was holding.
We “extended” the game by allowing the players to see each other’s cards.
This doesn’t add any information to the game because the pack of ten cards, 2-10 and queen, are dealt to out randomly between the two players. Once you see your hand, you “know” the other player’s hand immediately. However, we found it strategically helpful to make the cards visible to the other player.
This broke the “simultaneous bid” mechanic of the game because it was no longer clear how to pick a card without revealing your choice to your opponent. We fixed the problem by dealing a second hand of cards, identical to the first, to each player. These became of their “bidding cards”. The original game rules still apply, but bidding is done from a secret hand which matches the face-up cards.
After two plays, the game needs more work-shopping.
We’ve been trying to think up a large multi-player game that can be played asynchronously, doesn’t involve lying or back-stabbing, and isn’t going to be wrecked by the players communicating with each other. In fact, it’d be great if the game encouraged players to communicate and work collaboratively. Such a game is still in the works; but, while we were working on it, the following occured to us.
I’ve just finished playing a hundred games of Catchup (BGG). Here are the rules. Below I’ll talk mostly about how Catchup feels and what it makes me think of.
I’d like to thank Sam Chapin, for his excellent sportsmanship in playing so many games of Catchup.
Last Friday, Parker and I began a new project: a six-week-long children’s program that is part homework help, part games workshop. Each class consists of forty five minutes of tutoring and forty five minutes of game play and discussion. Our first game of the workshop is Hex.
If you haven’t heard of Nick Bentley‘s game Catchup, go now. Just go. Read the rules, play the game, love it.
On his blog, Nick recently asked about the closest possible score in Catchup. Since Nick already talked about why the game cannot end in a tie, it doesn’t make sense to talk about a tied game, but one can talk about having the first few groups being tied. In his post on close games, Nick gave an example with the first seven groups tied. We’ve come up with an example where the first eight groups are tied.
We’d like to thank Nick Bentley for making such a lovely game. Hopefully we’ll have more to say about it later.
Zendo is a great game. It’s a really, really, great game. It’s one of those perfect examples of a game mechanism distilled to its finest and packaged into a game that really works. Kory Heath, the game’s designer, really hit on a genius idea. It’s also a very general game. You can play Zendo with Looney Pyramids, designed by Looney Labs, one of my favourite game companies, or almost any other set of things that are plentiful and can be assembled into a large number of configurations. I’ve played Zendo with pictures on a chalkboard, and with words over e-mail. As an illustration I’ve included below a game played with strings of zeros and ones.
The only thing that bothers me about Zendo is the theme. As Nick Bentley points out, Zendo is about science. I feel like the Zen theme distracts one from the core lesson that the game can teach and might put some anti-religion folks off of the game. I’ve re-written the rules below, in part to see how well the science theme fits the game. The original Looney Labs version is, of course, the best. The write up of the game in Playing With Pyramids is beautiful, with lots of great examples.
(Rules below the cut)
Raj is my new ‘new favourite game’. I learned about it by reading up on what Boardspace.net has available, and after reading the rules I instantly fell in love. Raj has that essentialness which is shared by certain abstracts. It is the simplest possible expression of a fundamental game mechanic and yet it still playable as an interesting game in itself.