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Subject: Is it possible to recreate Zendo with a 52 card deck? rss

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Nick Knack
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Howdy!
So, I chanced upon learning about Zendo just recently, and the more I read about it, the more I absolutely want to play it.
Problem is, of course, it's waaaay out of print... though it could be re-created via buying the stacking triangle components and printing off a sheet of rules.

However, I have to wonder: How necessary are the colored triangles to the design? Convenient for creating shapes and color/pip patterns, yes, but could Zendo not be rebuilt using a standard 52 card deck and some beads?

I mean, obviously you wouldn't be able to make rules that use very specific cards, given there's only one each in a deck... but if the rules stuck to spacial/numerical/color/suit related topics, would it work well?
 
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Billy McBoatface
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The triangles work great but are not necessary.

A 52 card deck wouldn't work so well. Too many different cards, too few of each. E.g., if you suspect that the rule was "Must have the 5 of clubs," well, how many experiments can you run on that hypothesis?

Zendo is out of print, but like all pyramid games, all you need are the pyramids. Buy a few stashes and you'll be all set, plus then you can play homeworlds as well!
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Brian McCue
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You could do it, but I don't think the cards would work nearly as well.

If I had to make a Zendo set from scratch, I would go to the hardware store and buy four or five sizes of wire nuts and some spray paints. The original Zendo load-out is 60 pyramids--four colors x three sizes x 5 replications--try to come out close but don't sweat it, and 6 replications wouldn't hurt.

Then get the beads from the craft store.
 
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Chris Johnson
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Didn't Andy Looney sort-of-recently say that they were looking to bring Zendo back into print?
 
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Russ Williams
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Two options:

1. You can easily play Zendo with other objects instead of Looney pyramids. E.g. I've sometimes played it with colored wooden cubes, and sometimes played it with coins, and even played it with strings of forum emoticons in play-by-forum Zendo.

2. If you really want to use a standard 52-card deck for whatever reason, that won't work well for Zendo (as Bill noted upthread), but you can play the similar cool experimental/induction game Eleusis with 2 standard 52-card decks!
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Jeff Wolfe
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The Zendo boxed set came with 60 pyramids, so 52 cards would probably not be great. It might work with a 104-card double-deck. You'd have 8 of any given rank and 26 of any given suit. You'd lose out on pointing and stacking would be much different, but it might be interesting. You also wouldn't have size, but face cards and number cards would be possible groupings.

You could play Zendo with the pyramids in Pyramid Arcade with a little adaptation. You probably wouldn't want to play it straight out of the box because of the color distribution. If you backed the Kickstarter, the extra pyramids you get from that would be enough for Zendo. And, hey, the Arcade comes with a 65-card deck of playing cards, so you could do the Card Zendo experiment with that deck.

Andy Looney has indeed announced that Zendo 2.0 is under development. I got a chance to play it at GenCon, and there's a video out there somewhere about it, which I believe was shot at LooneyCon. Last I heard, they were planning to release it next year.

Edit: Here's a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mstV9dc6swA
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Jack of Clubs
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russ wrote:
1. You can easily play Zendo with other objects instead of Looney pyramids. E.g. I've sometimes played it with colored wooden cubes, and sometimes played it with coins, and even played it with strings of forum emoticons in play-by-forum Zendo.

Whatever happened to that whole emoticon Zendo game? Did it just die out? We should bring that back.

Buddha Nature:
devilrobot2colonist6

No Buddha Nature:
yuksobluebluetraind10-51vp

So yes, you can play some Zendo-like game with a deck of regular cards, or with nearly anything, provided you have enough of them.

With Looney pyramids, you've got the following classifications:
Color (4)
Size (3)
Orientation (upright, flat, weird)
Arrangement with respect to the other pyramids in the koan, using all the ways they can be arranged (stacked, touching, pointing, etc.)

With cards, you've got the following classifications:
Suit (4)
"Rank" which can be broken down into 2-4 groups, easily:
(2) Number / Picture, or Low / High, or Odd / Even
(3) Low / Middle / High, or Picture / Low / High, or Picture / Odd / Even
(4) Low / Middle / High / Picture
And cards can be oriented in various ways that are easy to distinguish (horizontal, vertical, diagonal /, or diagonal \)
And they can be placed overlapping each other or touching each other or side by side, etc. You probably shouldn't be allowed to completely cover a card - you should be able to see all of its relevant characteristics without having to move other cards away.

And yes, it might help to have 2 (or more) decks available to use, or one for each player.

And you can even build card koans that aren't just flat on the table - building "card houses" and such. Probably best not to make them too elaborate, but it's fairly easy to lean a few cards against each other.

If you have other card games available, you could play with those, especially if there are more than 52 of them, come with multiples of each, or have suits/ranks/types.

I don't own Zendo (or any Looney pyramids), but looking on my game shelf, I see a number of games I could play something like Zendo with: Qwirkle, Slide 5, Knights of Charlemagne, Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, and probably a lot more.
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Mark Jackson
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You can definitely play Zendo with a regular deck of cards. Naturally you will have to tailor your rules to what all youre playing with, but it's easy enough to do.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Whatever happened to that whole emoticon Zendo game? Did it just die out?

Yes, it just died out. Games started taking longer and longer because people weren't guessing very often and the last game just fizzled out because people stopped guessing altogether.
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Chad Smith
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I think many other "generic" games would work better for a Zendo remix than a deck of cards.

Dominoes (or any of the myriad variants)
Jenga (Especially one of the color-coded variants)
Piecepack - AKA "The Infinite Board Game"
Heck you could use anything - houses and hotels from Monopoly,
Chess Pieces, Checkers, a couple of sets of Polyhedral RPG dice, Ludo pawns, ... Or heck any combination there of that you have available.

Pretty much anything that can be described with multiple features... Direction, Orientation, Color, Size, Rank/Shape, Alignment, Layer, etc.

The Nature could be that the Queen is upside down, or that there are two houses for every hotel, or that the Doubled Domino is second from the top, or that the dice are all showing their second highest value....

And, as has been pointed out, Zendo 2.0 is coming, and Pyramids are still available.

Basically, though, I would imagine 3D things with more identical copies work better than 52 unique flat things. But you could probably come up with rules to make it work. Like you can't use ranks to define the nature - so every Heart card is the same... something to limit the uniqueness of the cards, and provide more duplicates.

But that's just this geek's opinion. Play how you want.

Hope that helps.
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Nick Knack
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Awesome.
Thank you all, you've been very helpful.
It sounds like the main factors to keep in mind for a passable makeshift Zendo (and do let me know if I'm off base) are providing a plethora of different visually unambiguous traits to build rules around (color/number/direction facing/shape/etc.) and providing many copies of the same pieces for rebuilding similar examples.

Yeah, sounds like 52 cards aren't quite a prime example. I do like the Jenga/colored cubes ideas though. God knows in my various board game collections I've got chits up the wazoo to scavenge.


Now I'm wondering about a combination between colored dice (I have a bunch from Steampunk Rally) and cards. (I like pocket sized components.)
Perhaps cards from Arboretum would do better. 80 cards, 10 suits cards 1-8 each, with each suit having a different color and obvious facing direction (up/down.)


Pondering aside, I think I'll take the recommendation to hunt down some looney triangles.

Thanks agin!
 
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Russ Williams
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realityfoible wrote:
It sounds like the main factors to keep in mind for a passable makeshift Zendo (and do let me know if I'm off base) are providing a plethora of different visually unambiguous traits to build rules around (color/number/direction facing/shape/etc.) and providing many copies of the same pieces for rebuilding similar examples.

FWIW I think the latter (many copies of the same pieces) is much more important than the former.

E.g. I've found that even with simply sets of a few different colors of same-size cubes, and not even playing with physical positioning or stacking being significant, so only the numbers of colors matter in a rule (e.g. "There must be a green cube" for an easy beginner rule or "The number of red cubes and green cubes must be equal" for a somewhat tougher rule or "The sum of red + green cubes must equal the product of blue * yellow cubes" for a hard rule, etc), the game works fine and interestingly, at least with non-hardcore players. (But I know that many other Zendo fans feel that making physical positioning be significant is an important fun part of the game.)

Quote:
colored dice

Colored dice seem an excellent simple substitute (e.g. you can have colors, top numbers, orientation, stacking all be significant if you like) which I've sometimes thought of trying out.
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Nick Knack
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russ wrote:

Colored dice seem an excellent simple substitute (e.g. you can have colors, top numbers, orientation, stacking all be significant if you like) which I've sometimes thought of trying out.


Brilliant. I'll pour 40 or so dice (10 each of 4 colors), some experiment/guessing beads, and some multi-color dice into a pouch and run a simple test run at the next game night.
Thanks for your input!

I had the beads hanging around anyway from an attempt to build an all bead+bag version of The Resistance.
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Ax Bits
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realityfoible wrote:
I had the beads hanging around anyway from an attempt to build an all bead+bag version of The Resistance.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who tried this.
 
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Nick Knack
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Maxx_Pointy wrote:
realityfoible wrote:
I had the beads hanging around anyway from an attempt to build an all bead+bag version of The Resistance.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who tried this.


Ha. It's a great concept, and I do love re-packaging my games into smaller, more portable, less cluttered versions of themselves.
But my group and I found that for a game about reading signal from the noise, it helps for your components to be as unambiguous and easy to read as possible, rather than merely symbolic, so that the deduction can exist exclusively on solving lies instead of also plying headspace into component interpretation.
 
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K H
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Lego bricks (or the cheaper off-brand look-alikes) work well too. Use bricks with 4x2 pips for "large", bricks with 2x2 pips for "medium" and bricks with 1x2 pips for "small". Conveniently they come in red, yellow, blue, and green. Use black bricks and white bricks as marking stones. Brown bricks can be guessing stones. See my player aid file for ideas on what attributes may or may not give a koan the Buddha nature.
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Bwian, just
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Beautiful. You've even retained the "hurts when stepped on" portion of the Buddha nature.
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Nick Knack
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russ wrote:

Colored dice seem an excellent simple substitute (e.g. you can have colors, top numbers, orientation, stacking all be significant if you like) which I've sometimes thought of trying out.



After tinkering for a bit, here's what I've wound up with!


(stones: red=incorrect, blue=correct, green=guessing)

I've given it a couple plays, and we've had some interesting rules crop up around color ratios in a dice column, and pip math.
Personally, I love how compact it's become.

The dice were salvaged from Steampunk Rally, and there are many more in the bag, not shown here.

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