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Subject: A Glitchy Review of an excellent compilation rss

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Glitchy Predator
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As usual in my reviews, I won’t be rehashing the rules here, as those are readily available if people are interested. Instead I will be focusing on my opinion of the game itself, and the various gameplay mechanisms of the game.

Experience with the game
Prior to the kickstarter for Pyramid Arcade I had limited experience with the looney pyramid system, in fact I had limited experience with Looney games at all except for Fluxx, a game which I would like to never play again. I picked up on the idea of Zendo and wanted to try it out, but I had trouble finding the pyramids and I happened to stumble across the Pyramid Arcade kickstarter right at the right time.

Since receiving my kickstarter I have tried to play as many of the games as possible at a wide variety of player counts, including the ones in the back of the rulebook. The klickstarter came with a couple of extra sets of pyramids so some of the games use these, and I have glass bleads I have used for Zendo as well. While these don’t all come in the collection it’s easy enough to get beads to use if necessary.



Rules clarity
The rulebook is very well done. It’s easy to read, very well organized, and has fun history in it as well. The games are very easy to learn from the rules, and being abstract games most of them have only 1 or 2 pages of rules, yet very different feels.

I particularly like that each game has a box which says exactly what you need out of the game set to play, player counts, complexity, and length. It’s very well organized for the featured games, and really well designed.

The extra games in the back are just an extra, so not really part of the ruleset, and so I understand why they are organized the way they are. But… it’s my only (very tiny) complaint about the rulebook is it would have been nice to include rules for these games. For the most part it is no big deal to download these and print these out, in fact I have printed and bound a lot of these rules in order to include them in my box.


An excellent rulebook layout, along with a free holiday gift sent out and more printed rules.

Component Quality
The components are simple, but nice and they get the job done. The pyramids are fun to look at, and they look fantastic on the table. This set comes with so many different colors of pyramids that they are simply so much fun to play with. I have old pyramids as well and the new ones (the ones which come in Pyramid Arcade) are nicer, with rounded tips.

The dice are all very nice, as are some little extras in the game. One highlight is the deck of cards, one each for each game. This makes a fun randomizing way to decide which game to play, or, keep track of which ones you have played. They even have a sticker for a specific aluminum container to carry pyramids on the go. I’ve used the little case and I find it perfect for travel with some of the lighter games. Sure it doesn’t come with the container, but I do like that they included the sticker and even an explanation for why the container wasn’t included.


The tin for travel with some pyramids.

I’m a fan of nice inserts, and this game has a fantastic insert. Everything is very well organized. I’ve added enough stuff to my collection that I have extra pyramids and the aluminum container underneath. It still all fits easily, and is well organized with the insert.


An excellent insert for the game.

Gameplay
This game is a compilation of other games, so it is difficult to talk about gameplay. The games range from deep strategy games to dexterity games and pretty much everything in between. But what is nice about the games are that there are a lot of quality games, and the games which have been chosen for this compilation are by and large very good, I haven’t found a stinker yet (though I have not yet played every game in the collection).

Big favorites for me are strategy games like Petri Dish (plays well at low and high player counts, with lots of strategy), Zendo (you need a few extra pieces but it’s a great deduction game that can really be a brain burner), and Ice Tower (fun, fast, enjoyable).

As far as abstracts go the gameplay here is fantastic, with many of the games being a bit on the puzzly side. But there is something in here for just about everyone and every situation. Short, long, deep, simple, random, and non-random.


The cards for each game are a very nice addition.

Scalability
Due to the nature of the game the scalability is off the chart, with solo games up to very large number of players (somewhere around 10 players even). It’s all great fun, and this game scales as well as just about any game I have seen.

Final Thoughts
This game is the hidden gem of 2016 for me. Sure there are few new games within this box, and most have been around for a while, but this is the definitive collection, and a fantastic way to jump into the pyramid system. I highly recommend this game to anyone who has interest in abstract games. You will find something you like in this collection, and you will not be disappointed. It’s a work of art, and a great compilation of years worth of work. There won’t be many gamers who have any regrets adding this to their collection.

Score
9.5/10

If you enjoyed my review, see my other reviews here.
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Darin Bolyard
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I never dreamed of purchasing this until I found it for an unbeatable price. I honestly didn't have high hopes for it even then, but I gave it a whirl with some friends and my family. I've truly never been more surprised by a game(s) experience. I originally imagined selling it on if I didn't enjoy it, but after those first experiences it easily earned a permanent place among my games. Several of the games have been played multiple times since. When I'm scanning my shelves for a game to play, the Pyramid Arcade box always stands out as a fun option.
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John duBois
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A couple questions:
1. Did the clear pyramids come with? I don't remember seeing them in my copy (although I could be misremembering) and don't have my copy on me to check.
2. Where do you get the tin?
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Mack C
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Great review. There really is something for everyone. The designer always compares the pyramids to a deck of cards: Fits in your pocket and there's hundreds of games to play with them (closing in on 600 last I checked). OK, not quite as small and games like Zendo don't fit in your pocket unless you're wearing Jnco's (what's up, 90s kids), but three trios per person is all many of the games need. Serendipitously enough, that recommended tin holds 12 trios, 3 in 4 different colors. With the tin I carry in my bag, of the games I know how to play, I can play Hijinks, Pharaoh, Give or Take, Petal Battle, Martian Chess, Lunar Invaders, Homeworlds, and Freeze Tag. I should say that I also have a pyramid die in the tin and carry the chess board bandana from the Kickstarter. I also printed slightly shrunk versions of the Petal Battle and Lunar Invader boards on sticker paper and put them on the top and bottom of the lid and one on the bottom of the tin. Oh, I also have small, homemade cards under the pyramids so I can play Onitama.

Speaking of the tin, one reason Andy Looney is so crazy about it is that it holds the perfect amount for his favorite game, Homeworlds. I'm guessing since you say the tin is great for carrying the 'lighter games', you haven't play this one. While this is not a game for me, deep, pure strategy gamers love it. I have heard it referred to as 'chess on steroids'. 3 trios red, blue, green, and yellow, can be played on any flat surface. If you get good enough, challenge Andy to a game. If you beat him, you'll be presented with a medal. To date I believe only 14 people have earned it.

Oh, and if you haven't gotten around to Volcano, do it. It may be my favorite. It's very puzzle-y and can even be played solo, so hopefully you like that.

JohnduBois wrote:
1. Did the clear pyramids come with?


Yup. The Arcade comes with 3 Rainbow Stashes and 3 Xeno stashes. A stash is 1 trio of each color from that type. Rainbow = Red, Green, Yellow, Blue, Black. Xeno = Cyan, Orange, Purple, White, Clear. So you should have three trios (a large, medium, and small) of each of the 10 colors, totaling 90 pyramids.

JohnduBois wrote:
2. Where do you get the tin?

At your friendly neighborhood Container Store! Or online: http://www.containerstore.com/s/shallow-seamless-tins/d?prod...
It's the 8oz version. About $1.50.

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Mack C
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Here are some photos of my tin with the boards on them:





Bonus: There's something oddly nice about playing a game raise up a bit like that game of Petal Battle. Like it's own little dais.
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Glitchy Predator
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mackerous wrote:

Speaking of the tin, one reason Andy Looney is so crazy about it is that it holds the perfect amount for his favorite game, Homeworlds. I'm guessing since you say the tin is great for carrying the 'lighter games', you haven't play this one. While this is not a game for me, deep, pure strategy gamers love it. I have heard it referred to as 'chess on steroids'. 3 trios red, blue, green, and yellow, can be played on any flat surface. If you get good enough, challenge Andy to a game. If you beat him, you'll be presented with a medal. To date I believe only 14 people have earned it.

Oh, and if you haven't gotten around to Volcano, do it. It may be my favorite. It's very puzzle-y and can even be played solo, so hopefully you like that.


I have not tried homeworld yet. Looks great, just have not gotten around to everything yet.

Volcano I played 3 players yesterday actually, really enjoyed it a lot.

mackerous wrote:
Here are some photos of my tin with the boards on them:

Bonus: There's something oddly nice about playing a game raise up a bit like that game of Petal Battle. Like it's own little dais.


Nice! Awesome way to use the tin.
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Mack C
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If you want to try Volcano solitaire, the [geekurl=http://www.wunderland.com/WTS/Kristin/Games/Volcano.html]old Volcano rules page[/geekurl] mentions it.

Basically, you can pick a challenge of:

-Try to capture all of the red pieces with a minimum of other colors.

-Try to capture all of the large pieces with a minimum of other sizes.

-Try to capture exactly one complete tree of each color.

I think they recommend starting with one of the set ups at the top of that page, just would be harder with a random set up, probably.
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John duBois
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mackerous wrote:
Here are some photos of my tin with the boards on them:





Bonus: There's something oddly nice about playing a game raise up a bit like that game of Petal Battle. Like it's own little dais.

Weird. I cannot get my boards from Pyramid Arcade to fit in the 8 oz seamless tin.
 
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JohnduBois wrote:
Weird. I cannot get my boards from Pyramid Arcade to fit in the 8 oz seamless tin.


(EDITED TO ADD: whoops, I misread and thought you meant the pyramids, not the boards, doh.)

It takes a little bit of dexterous fiddling.

FWIW I stuck a smaller diameter thick cardboard circle onto the bottom of my tin to support the pyramid tips (in the center of the tin), so that the square bases (around the perimeter of the tin) were more vertical and aligned parallel with the tin edge. I think this makes it a little easier to pull them out, and it also reduces their ability to jostle up and down (so maybe is a little bit safer during transport).
 
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Mack C
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JohnduBois wrote:
Weird. I cannot get my boards from Pyramid Arcade to fit in the 8 oz seamless tin.


Somewhere in that novel I wrote up there I mentioned I shrunk down the game board graphics Looney Labs put on their site to fit the tin, printed them, and used spray adhesive to put them on (could use sticker paper too).

I'll put the file up in a bit, but you can get the boards and other art here: http://www.looneylabs.com/pyramid-arcade-game-badges-boards
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