?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Icehouse Word Game - Queue — LiveJournal
March 12th, 2002
10:03 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Icehouse Word Game
Sometime, I need to come up with an Icehouse word game. Ideally, I guess it would only use Icehouse pieces and a Quiddler deck, since Quiddler is sold on Contagious Dreams. It might be nice to use Boggle cubes, though, since rolling Boggle cubes would be fun, even though Boggle is owned by the huge, evil megacorp.

Anyway, anyone got any ideas?

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:surrealestate
Date:March 12th, 2002 08:45 am (UTC)
(Link)
I've done small rule changes to games, but I've never none anything resembling game design, so forgive me if everything I say is really dumb. But hey, when have I let -that- stop me? And y'know, I'd love to be involved in the design of a new game. :)

Offhand, a basic structure that comes to mind is something involving cards laid down, probably out of hands, and pieces placed upon them. Some sort of goal about making words from cards that you occupy on the board. We'd need to hash out the details of course, whether multiple pieces can share a card, what piece size on a card indicates, moving cards around, etc. I see potential, though. What do you think?
[User Picture]
From:queue
Date:March 12th, 2002 08:56 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, I was also thinking along the lines of Icehouse pieces occupying cards.

And, yeah, I definitely want piece size to mean something. Maybe something like small means you can start a word with that letter, large means you can end a word with that letter, and medium means that letter can be in the interior of the word. So, maybe either everyone only gets 3 pieces, and the pieces move around somehow during the game, and they have to mkae words every round. Or, everyone has multiple pieces, and the words they make up have to follow the rule with any of their pieces.

For example, if I had a small on "t", a medium on "r", and a large on "e", valid words would be: trance, trade, tirade, tricycle, torque.

Add to that some mechanism for moving the pieces around and interacting with other pieces, so you can try to get on more advantageous combinations and force your opponents into less favorable combinations.

Then have to figure out some sort of scoring mechanism or other victory condition.
[User Picture]
From:magid
Date:March 12th, 2002 05:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
For example, if I had a small on "t", a medium on "r", and a large on "e", valid words would be: trance, trade, tirade, tricycle, torque.

how would you determine which letters you'd need to have pieces on, and which you could just use?

1st thought for size: using the letter 1x, 2x, or 3x in the word.

[User Picture]
From:slinkr
Date:March 13th, 2002 03:03 am (UTC)
(Link)
how would you determine which letters you'd need to have pieces on, and which you could just use?

One way might be to use the pieces to claim consonants, but make vowels fair game for everyone. Or the other way around, but if you're using Quiddler cards, the vowels are low-point cards but you need them to make words. Of course, the problem with this is that if you turn up a vowel you've done everyone else a favor and gained nothing.

Hmmmm. Another alternative for turns: Flip a card. Then move to wherever you want (including the new card). Only restriction is that you can't stay where you are.
In general, there needs to be something to prevent players from planting themselves on high-point cards like the Z or Q and not moving all game.

Also, what about letting players use their big pieces to steal cards on which other players have placed smaller pieces?
[User Picture]
From:queue
Date:March 13th, 2002 04:58 am (UTC)
(Link)
I was more in Boggle mode, thinking of scoring being related to word length or number of words found, not points on the cards.
[User Picture]
From:queue
Date:March 13th, 2002 05:00 am (UTC)
(Link)
A valid word must contain the three letters that you have pieces on. You can use any other letters in the alphabet you want for the rest. So, basically, when you're taking your turn, the only part of the board that you care about is the three cards you have your pieces on.
[User Picture]
From:slinkr
Date:March 13th, 2002 06:02 am (UTC)
(Link)
Any other letters in the alphabet? So if I get "C", "A", and "T", then I can make "catastrophic", "catatonic", "categorization", and "concatenation"? That's pretty easy if you've got three relatively common letters, even with a 30-second time frame.

"Any other letters on the board" would be more restrictive, and "any unclaimed letters" would be even better because it gives players an incentive to steal letters from other players. If I can use any letters I want, my interest in which letters you get is limited (particularly if the board is big enough that I can't strategize to leave you stuck with difficult letters).

If we use Boggle scoring and I can make words using my 3 letters plus anything else in the alphabet, that means that my search space (the portion of the [mental] dictionary from which I'm trying to pull words for a high score) is words that are 8 or more letters. That's kind of interesting because many word games (including Boggle, Scrabble, and Quiddler) emphasize the 8-letters-or-less space. One can make longer words in those games, but most words are shorter.

This gets me wondering to what extent the emphasis on short words contributes to the playability of Boggle, Scrabble or Quiddler. I like long words. In a game that favored long words, nobody would be looking up "ai" or "ga" in the dictionary, and that would be a refreshing change. On the other hand, you'd need a much bigger dictionary because the Scrabble dictionary won't tell you if "cinquecentist" is a word. So then you have to decide how heavy a dictionary you're willing to lug to Diesel on a Tuesday afternoon (although I suppose that an electronic dictionary might alleviate this problem).

This started out being opposed to "use any other letters in the alphabet", but now I'm undecided.
[User Picture]
From:queue
Date:March 13th, 2002 06:16 am (UTC)
(Link)
Any other letters in the alphabet? So if I get "C", "A", and "T", then I can make "catastrophic", "catatonic", "categorization", and "concatenation"? That's pretty easy if you've got three relatively common letters, even with a 30-second time frame.

No. What words you can make depends on which size piece you have on which letter. Any words you make must start with the letter you have your small piece on, must end with the letter you have your big piece on, and must contain somewhere in the interior the letter you have your medium piece on.

So, if you have your small on C, your medium on A, and your large on T, "caveat", "carat", and "cleat" would be valid words.

If you have your small on A, your medium on C, and your large on T, "act" and "ascot" would be valid words.

So, the ease with which you are able to come up with words depends heavily upon which pieces you have on which letters.

I think this restricts the search space enough.
[User Picture]
From:slinkr
Date:March 13th, 2002 06:45 am (UTC)
(Link)
D'oh! I'm not doing a very good job of aggregating the rules that are scattered around the thread. Serves me right for getting up at 5 this morning. Let's see if I've got it now:

Start with a 5x5 board laid out face-down.

Pieces are placed in fixed starting positions and cards with pieces on them are turned face-up.

First player gets to move one piece (own or opponent's) in any non-diagonal direction. If the piece is moved to a face-down card, flip the card. After the move, there's a timed period for writing down words. This cycle repeats for each player until there are no more face-down cards.

Your words must begin with your small piece letter, contain your medium piece letter, and end with your large piece letter. Any other alphabet letters can be used in between.

Scoring is Boggle-like, based on number of words and letters per word. All letters are worth the same number of points.

Is that right?

What about allowing players to replace a face-up card with the next card in the deck instead of moving a piece on their turn?

Can you move your own piece to an occupied card? Maybe let a bigger piece take a card from a smaller piece (or vice versa), with the losing piece moved to the card where the winning piece started.

[User Picture]
From:queue
Date:March 13th, 2002 06:54 am (UTC)
(Link)
It all sounds right, except I haven't decided exactly on the scoring, yet. Maybe a modified Boggle scoring, once we determine how the restrictions affect word length. And maybe doing something to the scoring to make it so that fast writers don't have a huge advantage.

I like letting players have the choice of replacing a card with the next card in the deck.

I'm not sure how I feel about piece interaction. If there is some form of "piece combat", I think that takes away from the word aspect of the game. I think letting players move other players' pieces may be enough interaction between the players, but I'm not settled on that idea. I think I'd want to playtest first as is and see what happens. Anyone interested in playtesting this with me? I can probably make myself available most any time from now through the weekend, since I have few planned events. Hmm, maybe I could see if I'd get any takers at OPN?
[User Picture]
From:slinkr
Date:March 13th, 2002 08:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'd be up for playtesting. The weekend's a bit overloaded, but I'll be at Diesel on Tuesday afternoon.
[User Picture]
From:treacle_well
Date:March 13th, 2002 12:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'd be happy to playtest. I'll be at OPN tonight, and can be available at other times too.
[User Picture]
From:queue
Date:March 12th, 2002 10:00 am (UTC)
(Link)
Random 5 x 5 layout of cards. Maybe face down? Each person has one piece of each size. Pieces get placed in a fixed starting position, and the cards you start out on are turned face up. Person with the longest name goes first (by letter count - I guess this is the game where hrafn always goes first). On your turn, you get to move one piece on the board one space in any of the four cardinal directions. It can be yours or an opponent's. If the card beneath it is face down, turn it up. Then everyone gets some smallish fixed amount of time (30 seconds?) to write down as many words as they can for their pieces, following the rules I set out in an earlier comment to this. There is some sort of scoring that goes on. Play passes to the left. That person gets a chance to move one piece, then everyone plays again. The game is over when all cards are face up. Can use the extra Icehouse pieces to keep score. Can vary the size of the board depending on the number of players. Can vary the starting positions of the pieces.
[User Picture]
From:bitty
Date:March 13th, 2002 11:00 am (UTC)
(Link)
Mmmm. To cut down on some of the confusion, maybe a deck that isn't Quiddler? I'm thinking of My Word, for example, which may be too small for your game, but has no point values on the cards themselves. Also, like Quiddler, it has pre-existing letter combinations. Which could help or hinder the game, of course.
The point being, a word game deck w/o assigned values for letters.
[User Picture]
From:magid
Date:March 13th, 2002 11:13 am (UTC)
(Link)
could instead perch the ice house pieces on boggle cubes... cubes wearing hats!
[User Picture]
From:slinkr
Date:March 13th, 2002 11:28 am (UTC)
(Link)
Giving you the added challenge of trying to remember what your letters were because the relevant faces of the Boggle cubes are obscured by Icehouse pieces.

As for using a non-Quiddler deck, I was thinking that the double-letter cards in the Quiddler deck would make things interesting (although they'd be more of a hindrance than a help. Starting with "C" lets you play any words you'd be able to play if you started with "CL", but starting with "CL" is much more limiting).
[User Picture]
From:bitty
Date:March 14th, 2002 10:21 am (UTC)
(Link)
My Word also has letter combinations, although different ones, but the reason I was saying it could also hinder play is would *you* want to try and find a word that ended in "CL"? That's the catch. Some of the Quiddler combos don't work as final letters.
[User Picture]
From:queue
Date:March 14th, 2002 11:12 am (UTC)
(Link)
More in my post later today, but I'm fiddling with a variant where you take turns placing pieces on a face-up board, so you wouldn't get stuck with something like a final "CL."
My Website Powered by LiveJournal.com