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Subject: Zendo 2.0 in Playtesting rss

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Spencer C
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For those who haven't seen, the Looneys are experimenting with Zendo using three shapes (rectangular prisms, pyramids, and wedges, all one size).

See for yourself:




So, any thoughts about this? Anyone playtested these? Aesthetically I find it less intriguing than those darn pyramids, but I'm willing to keep an open mind regarding the new shapes' suitability for Zendo.
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The Compulsive Completist
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I'm not liking it at first glance.
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Jason Webster
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As someone who loves pyramid arcade, having shapes other than the pyramid just doesn't feel right
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Billy McBoatface
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I think that the pyramids have the right amount of complexity for Zendo, and the fact that they use the same parts as the rest of the pyramid games is a big plus. If these shapes are Zendo-only, then even if they're just as good as the pyramids, it's annoying. If these shapes are meant as a new type of "play tons of games with this" system, then it's annoying as well - do we really need two separate such systems from one company?
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Mike Fogus
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I played Zendo using the new shapes at LooneyCon and liked them very much. That said, Zendo is one of my favorite games and as a result I will play with all manner of objects and materials. There are a few things that are eliminated with the new shapes. First, because of the fact that they're all the same size, things like nesting are right out (though hollow-body stacking works in most cases). To me this is not a huge loss because I've always found nesting to be a challenge in Zendo because you often can't distinguish a nest at a glance. Related, there were no pips, but again pip-based rules are often the most difficult and not used much in my games. Second, there is a bit of a visual ambiguity between the pyramid and the wedge at certain angles. I would need to play a lot more to see if this visual ambiguity persists. Third, I'm used to playing Zendo with pyramids, so many of my go-to rules were not applicable. I personally find this aspect fascinating as now I have to come up with a new set of rules to lean on -- which is always fun. Finally, in the set we played with there were not enough pieces, and you probably already know what happens in that circumstance. I'm going to discount this fact because the set used was 3D-printed and put together for LooneyCon. I suspect that the upcoming set will have more pieces, but even if not then I _personally_ wouldn't mind grabbing more than one set.

I think that maybe the biggest change in the new set is that without pips and nesting then there might be an upper-bound on the complexity level of the koans. This may or may not be a problem for everyone and indeed with some imagination, quite complex koans can be devised anyway.

That's it. I hope that helps.

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Mike Fogus
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wmshub wrote:
I think that the pyramids have the right amount of complexity for Zendo, and the fact that they use the same parts as the rest of the pyramid games is a big plus. If these shapes are Zendo-only, then even if they're just as good as the pyramids, it's annoying. If these shapes are meant as a new type of "play tons of games with this" system, then it's annoying as well - do we really need two separate such systems from one company?


I don't claim to speak for LLabs, but it was my impression that the new pieces were NOT targeted to be a new system. However, that will not stop fans from using them as such of course.
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Billy McBoatface
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After watching the video and reading Mike's comment, I will admit that getting rid of the pips is one nice thing about the new set. I'm sure we've all played "Only if the pip count is prime" type rules; they aren't much fun, rules about colors and arrangements are way more entertaining. But I still like being able to play Zendo, then afterwards switch to a game of Homeworlds with the same pieces, so I'll put up with the pips since they make that possible.
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Mike Fogus
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wmshub wrote:
After watching the video and reading Mike's comment, I will admit that getting rid of the pips is one nice thing about the new set. I'm sure we've all played "Only if the pip count is prime" type rules; they aren't much fun, rules about colors and arrangements are way more entertaining. But I still like being able to play Zendo, then afterwards switch to a game of Homeworlds with the same pieces, so I'll put up with the pips since they make that possible.


Of course I haven't tried to play Homeworlds with the new pieces, but I don't see why it couldn't be done. I don't know what the final Zendo 2.0 colors will be, but I have to think that the HWs colors will be represented, but if not a logical mapping will help there. The bigger problem is that the pieces are the same size. To "fix" that we can imagine that ships instead upgrade to increasingly more angles wedge -> pyramid -> block or better yet, upgrade as one might carve a piece of wood into the ideal shape block -> wedge -> pyramid.

 
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Spencer C
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Just thinking through the ramifications of the changes a bit. Here's what I see as being lost and what is gained by the changes:

Qualities that are lost fully:

* Size
* Numerical Value
* Nesting
* Opaque or see through

Qualities that are lost partially:

* Stacking (Direct stacking is limited now)
* Direction (not clear where a block is pointing)


Qualities that are gained fully:

* Shape

Qualities that are gained partially:

* Face up or down (for blocks)
* Rotation (wedges are not rotationally symettric)
* Stacking (new structures can be stacked out of blocks and wedges like the stonehenge in the video)
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Mike Fogus
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UanarchyK wrote:

* Opaque or see through


That remains to be seen in the final set. It's certainly lost in the prototype, but it's unclear if that represents the colors/opacity of the final set.

IMO, Size/Shape are a wash.
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Jeff Wolfe
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fogus wrote:
UanarchyK wrote:

* Opaque or see through


That remains to be seen in the final set. It's certainly lost in the prototype, but it's unclear if that represents the colors/opacity of the final set.

It does not. The prototype pieces were 3D printed. The pieces in Zendo 2.0 will be made the same way the pyramids are made. At least that's my understanding of the plan from talking to Andy in August. In any event, it's a prototype. The final product will look different. That's the way it works.
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The Compulsive Completist
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Cylinders would make more sense than wedges.
 
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Mike Fogus
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Hockey Mask wrote:
Cylinders would make more sense than wedges.


I thought so too, but during LooneyCon Andy took some time to talk about some of the rejected shapes (and had some to show). Things like cylinders, cones, and domes were rejected because they are not easily stacked on and also tend to roll around on the table and onto the floor.
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Billy McBoatface
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Hockey Mask wrote:
Cylinders would make more sense than wedges.

True, but cylinders will roll around when placed on their side, which can accidentally change a koan from buddha to non-buddha and make things really confusing.

I don't much like the wedge idea either. How about a hexagonal prism?
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Ron Laufer
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wmshub wrote:
After watching the video and reading Mike's comment, I will admit that getting rid of the pips is one nice thing about the new set. I'm sure we've all played "Only if the pip count is prime" type rules; they aren't much fun, rules about colors and arrangements are way more entertaining.
To each their, own, but as a lover of that kind of out-of-the-box rule, I'll be keeping my old Zendo set...

Saw the Looney's demoing this at Gencon. Good on them for bringing back the game, and I wish them luck, but I'll stick with pyramids.
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river tam
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UanarchyK wrote:
Just thinking through the ramifications of the changes a bit. Here's what I see as being lost and what is gained by the changes:

Qualities that are lost fully:

* Size
* Numerical Value
* Nesting
* Opaque or see through

Qualities that are lost partially:

* Stacking (Direct stacking is limited now)
* Direction (not clear where a block is pointing)


Qualities that are gained fully:

* Shape

Qualities that are gained partially:

* Face up or down (for blocks)
* Rotation (wedges are not rotationally symettric)
* Stacking (new structures can be stacked out of blocks and wedges like the stonehenge in the video)


I also use with the current pyramids color/no color (clear, white, black)

 
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Jordan Bledsoe

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I will miss the pyramids but will be happy to see pips gone. In an email from the company I was told that it the new game is playtesting well and is expected to release in 2018.
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Ryan McGuire
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New Pieces:
To be honest, my initial, knee-jerk reaction was total dislike for the new set. How dare they mess with Zendo. HOWEVER, that lasted for only about 30 seconds. I can definitely see how the new pieces can add some new and interesting possible rules while taking away the fiddliness of pip counts.

I am certainly open giving the new pieces a try.


Theme:
A lot of the discussion over the last few year about the new version (reboot?) of Zendo had to do with reworking the name and theme.

Zendo 2.0: The name is perfectly fine with me. This is so much better than Xendo, IMHO.

Theme: If the Zen Buddhist theme went away, I'd be ok with that. As I've suggested in other BGG threads, I think Zendo should be pretty much themeless, despite the etymology of the name. No "koans having the buddha nature" or "particle clusters being positively charged" - just "patterns being marked white."

I'm on board.
 
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Ryan McGuire
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BTW, what are the dimensions for the new pieces? I have a 3D printer and would like to print up a set. Are all the shapes 1 x 1 x 1.75, like the regular large pyramid?
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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ryanker wrote:
BTW, what are the dimensions for the new pieces? I have a 3D printer and would like to print up a set. Are all the shapes 1 x 1 x 1.75, like the regular large pyramid?

Latest word is that they're planning to make the pyramids the size of mediums. They were larges in all the prototypes. As always, nothing is final until they start molding plastic (and sometimes even after that point), and nothing is official until they make an official announcement.
 
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Ryan McGuire
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UanarchyK wrote:
Just thinking through the ramifications of the changes a bit. Here's what I see as being lost and what is gained by the changes:

Qualities that are lost fully:

* Size
* Numerical Value
* Nesting

True. There will no longer be the possibility of one piece fitting fully in side of another. I'm a little sorry to see that go.

Quote:

* Opaque or see through

The original/canonical game of Zendo uses four transparent colors and thus didn't have this as a distinguishable property. Since students are allowed to ask the master, say, what color small is under the large black, opacity is a non-issue anyways and boils down to "is/is not black" (assuming you're playing with the Rainbow color scheme). If you like the idea of using opacity, just pretend that blue pieces are opaque for the sake of such rules.

Quote:
Qualities that are lost partially:

* Stacking (Direct stacking is limited now)
* Direction (not clear where a block is pointing)

So make something up. Each piece could be said to be "pointing" along a ray that starts at the middle of its top and extends directly away from the middle of its bottom. In fact, using this definition actually adds some interesting (IMHO) pointing options: "AKHTBN (or whatever the new terminology is) iff a piece is pointing parallel to the table."

Quote:

Qualities that are gained fully:

* Shape

Yay!

Quote:

Qualities that are gained partially:

* Face up or down (for blocks)
* Rotation (wedges are not rotationally symettric)

Upright pyramids and block are four-direction rotationally symmetric, while wedges are two-direction rot sym.

Quote:

* Stacking (new structures can be stacked out of blocks and wedges like the stonehenge in the video)


There was some possibility of stacking before, but the new pieces do definitely add some additional possibilities.
 
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