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Xactika» Forums » General

Subject: Spheres, Cubes, Cones, and OH MY!!! rss

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Bee :)
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First of all, "balls" are the what the Set company calls them, but the technical description is "spheres." I mean after all, they called two others "cubes" and "cones." Perhaps, the maker had a sense of humor and made a very conscious decision to call them "balls"...
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Now, the big question is, what is the technical name of the three-dimensional solid that the company calls "stars?"

I have conducted extensive research and found:

According to this image, I would say the proper name for this mystery solid is: "Small stellated dodecahedron!"

It's quite clear why they've opted to call them "stars."

They could have just used cylinders or pyramids instead to avoid this ambiguity, but I suppose the box design wouldn't be ask cool if that small stellated dodecahedron wasn't used.

You may be wondering why the 3D solids on the Xactika cards were of any interest of me. Well, the answer is simple: I am currently teaching a geometry unit to my students and solid figures are a topic we've already covered. If I decide to buy a copy of this card game for my classroom, I want to be prepared for that one student who says, "The cards have spheres, cubes, cones and some star-like shape. Teacher, what do you call that star-like shape?" The look on any child's face when getting an instantaneous response like "small stellated dodecahedron" would be priceless. And they thought they could stump the teacher!!!
 
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Me, sin? Pf! Nah! Chill
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Yes. In fact, they could have used four 2-dimentional shapes if they wanted (circles, squares, triangles, pentagons) or four colors, or four random symbols (squiggly lines, telephones, umbrellas, and pastrami sandwiches).

I'm glad they went with the 3-d shapes, and the Kepler-Poinsot solids are among my favorites. They could have used the four of them, but they're probably a little too easy to confuse with each other, especially at the small sizes on the cards.

Oh, and as to why "balls" instead of "spheres": I think it's so Xactica can have its own equivalent of "wood for sheep" - you can say "I have eleven with two balls".
 
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