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Subject: What are your favorite Pyramid games? rss

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Mike James
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So, I've been browsing the Icehouse Wiki for about two weeks now, and I've noticed something; there are A LOT of games out there.

I've tried about twenty or so of these games and only found three or four that my wife and I really enjoy playing and desire to keep playing.

So, here's the question; what are your favorite Pyramid games?

Newcomers to these fun little gizmos will certainly be browsing these forums looking for new and exciting games to try, so don't hold back! I don't want this post to just be for my benefit.

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Russ Williams
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Some potentially helpful geeklists:

Icehouse Pyramid Games Sorted by Average Rating
Icehouse / Looney pyramid games explored by russ (my own geeklist)
More subjective, but (perhaps) more useful - an Icehouse list . . .
My Exploration of the Icehouse
Cerulean's Starship Captain List
Icehouse newb to "Starship Captain" in three days
What are your favorite 'Icehouse' games?

If you like longer more strategic games, then I recommend Homeworlds and Gnostica.

If you like shorter abstract strategy games, there are many! I like Pikemen, Blam!, Branches and Twigs and Thorns, Stack Control, Stawvs, Gleebs and Grues, Tic Tac Doh!, ... etc etc.

If you like lighter random games, someone else should give recommendations.

RAMbots and Zendo are also very worth trying.
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Pikemen, Volcano, Martian Chess, Zendo, Logger

I also enjoy playing the games I've designed as well, but seems odd to specifically mention those.
 
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Mike James
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Some of my favorites are
Ice Solo
IceTowers
IceDice
Timelock
Twin Win
Tic Tac Doh!
Logger
Pyrinoes

Don't be afraid to list the same game twice. It helps to see that lots of people really like a game
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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I especially like the genre of Pyramid games that use cards for shifting modular boards. Gnostica is the high-water mark here, but the most accessible of these games (and still lots of fun) is Zark City.

A type of Pyramid game for which I was a pioneer designer is the one that uses Pyramids with cards to build vertical structures. These include Aquarius Rising, Builders of R'lyeh, Tower War (by Robert Dudley, but not in the db), and Houses of Thoth (by me, also not in the db).

I'm also a fan of Volcano and its myriad variants, including Caldera.
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Pikemen, Binary Homeworlds, IceTowers, Volcano, and Blam! were the ones that hooked me initially and which I continue to enjoy.

An obvious soft spot for Penguin Soccer . . .
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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I'm not familiar with many games outside of the twelve which were included in Playing With Pyramids, but of those, RAMbots, Gnostica, and Homeworlds.
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Russ Williams
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kuhrusty wrote:
I'm not familiar with many games outside of the twelve which were included in Playing With Pyramids

You should rectify that!

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Mike James
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My wife and I tried Zarcana last night and we really liked it! I know, Gnostica is supposed to be far superior, but Zarcana sounded like it would be more "up our alley". I'll admit, I stopped reading the rules to Gnostica when I saw that players were eliminated from the game. I NEVER like that in a game. Especially one that can last as long as these type of games can.

Both of us had a lot of fun playing Zarcana, and we both started seeing some bizarre and fun strategies emerge towards the end of the game. I may still try Gnostica some day, but knowing our gaming preferences and our friends' gaming preferences, I think we will stick with Zarcana.
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Russ Williams
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michaeljzerby wrote:
My wife and I tried Zarcana last night and we really liked it! I know, Gnostica is supposed to be far superior, but Zarcana sounded like it would be more "up our alley". I'll admit, I stopped reading the rules to Gnostica when I saw that players were eliminated from the game. I NEVER like that in a game. Especially one that can last as long as these type of games can.

Out of curiosity, if you're playing 2-player, why does player elimination bother you? It's simply equivalent to the opponent winning. If you're playing 2-player, I certainly recommend trying Gnostica; it's an excellent clever fun game.

FWIW, in practice the mentioned "elimination" doesn't happen in Gnostica in any case, as far as my experience goes: a player doesn't declare victory (thus risking elimination) unless they are confident of their victory!


In any case, I still haven't played Zarcana but I hope to! It also sounds cool.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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russ wrote:
FWIW, in practice the mentioned "elimination" doesn't happen in Gnostica in any case, as far as my experience goes: a player doesn't declare victory (thus risking elimination) unless they are confident of their victory!

Yeah, you're never eliminated until you announce that you're going to win (at which point, everyone else has one turn to stop you)--and if you do fail, usually it's only a turn or two until someone else announces.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Oh yeah, I've never tried Zarcana--my understanding from something I'd read by Andrew Looney was that it's "more random" than Gnostica, and from his other games, I know he tends to favor more randomness than I like--cards which give the win to another player at the last minute, etc.--but I didn't realize until just now that he wasn't the designer of Zarcana.
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Jonathan Warren
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Volcano is my favorite pyramid game by a long way. Granted I haven't tried as many out as I perhaps should have. Maybe I should investigate some of the titles that others are suggesting.

I do quite like World War 5 but don't get to play it as often as I have in the past.
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Mike James
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russ wrote:
michaeljzerby wrote:
My wife and I tried Zarcana last night and we really liked it! I know, Gnostica is supposed to be far superior, but Zarcana sounded like it would be more "up our alley". I'll admit, I stopped reading the rules to Gnostica when I saw that players were eliminated from the game. I NEVER like that in a game. Especially one that can last as long as these type of games can.

Out of curiosity, if you're playing 2-player, why does player elimination bother you? It's simply equivalent to the opponent winning. If you're playing 2-player, I certainly recommend trying Gnostica; it's an excellent clever fun game.

FWIW, in practice the mentioned "elimination" doesn't happen in Gnostica in any case, as far as my experience goes: a player doesn't declare victory (thus risking elimination) unless they are confident of their victory!


In any case, I still haven't played Zarcana but I hope to! It also sounds cool.


I understand your point about the two player aspect. I still will try Gnostica at some point. The scores seem to be easier to keep track of than in Zarcana, which might be nicer in a two player game.

I wanted to try Zarcana because I thought our game group would enjoy the more "random" aspects of the game. Zarcana still felt very strategic in spite of it's occasional randomness. We've only played once, so I haven't gotten to see all the cards in action. I can already see that "The Moon" is a slightly overpowered card when placed on the board. It is worth 20 points in our deck and she used it a few times to fly out of danger. I thought it was funny, but some people could get frustrated with things like that. Even with her 20 point card flying around the board, and her lucky play of "The Fool" at the end, I still pulled out a victory of 52 to 50.

About the elimination in Gnostica, I wasn't aware that a player could declare victory after another player had done so. I thought it was like Zarcana where a player declares the end of the game and if they fail they are eliminated. Knowing that not so small detail you mentioned makes Gnostica slightly more appealing.

I know what the majority of our group likes, so, I still plan to stick with my gut when I present these Pyramids to them for the first time. The games I plan to try with them are Zarcana, Zendo, IceTowers, and, hopefully someday, Icehouse.
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Mike James
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JoffW wrote:
Volcano is my favorite pyramid game by a long way. Granted I haven't tried as many out as I perhaps should have. Maybe I should investigate some of the titles that others are suggesting.

I do quite like World War 5 but don't get to play it as often as I have in the past.


I haven't played Volcano, but Caldera, which is the same concept, is a really fun and very challenging little game.
 
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Mike James
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kuhrusty wrote:
Oh yeah, I've never tried Zarcana--my understanding from something I'd read by Andrew Looney was that it's "more random" than Gnostica, and from his other games, I know he tends to favor more randomness than I like--cards which give the win to another player at the last minute, etc.--but I didn't realize until just now that he wasn't the designer of Zarcana.


In my experience, a little randomness can go a long way to making a game more enjoyable for some of the non-strategy gamers in a group. It adds fun and excitement to games that could get a little too deep for certain people. Unlike Looney, I don't think every game needs it. There is a time and a place for everything
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My favorite's have changed over time, but at the moment they are:

* Pink Hijinks
* Zark City
* Homeworlds

The above games are ordered by complexity (depth) and the number of pyramids needed to get going.

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