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Subject: Gnostica's thematic element. rss

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Kayl
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This article focuses on Gnostica's thematic element. Mechanics, rules, etc. aren't touched upon.

With no regard for theme, Gnostica can be effectively played dirt cheaply with a self-printed “starter deck” and scraps of paper: fifteen scraps per player with a letter (indicating owner) and one, two and three (indicating size) arrows (indicating direction) on one side and the same letter and same number of dots (indicating an upward direction) on the other. Arguably, this is even the best way to play the game if the mechanics are all you are interested in. The translucent pyramids and particularly the Tarot card art adds significant chrome to distract the players and confuse beginners.

That being stipulated, for me, a major part of Gnostica's charm is its unique thematic component. The pyramids from Looney Labs are over priced for what they are but no doubt economically justified given the probable production levels. Mass produced Tarot cards with gold foil can run up to $50 but plenty with beautiful artwork are much, much less. I'm not into mysticism in the slightest but the artwork has value. With so many different decks in production, its takes a pretty unique person not to find one they appreciate. Check out http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/ for samples of over 500 decks.

Grab a deck you like, some stashes (pyramid sets) of your favorite colors and head to a pub. You'll get plenty of on-lookers and questions... which if you consider a bad thing, play in private. On rare occasion, beware the zealots on both sides: religious fundamentalists will try to make a big pile of rocks on you for the “devil inspired” cards and pyramids while the mystics take exception to “playing” with the tarot cards. Personally, I catch rocks pretty well and can throw even better.

Don't get me wrong. Glitter in no way makes a game. If you don't like Gnostica, no amount of chrome is going to make it better after you've played it once or twice. However, if you like the game, the beauty is a nice perk. I guess the same applies to people.
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Troy Holaday
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Re:Gnostica's thematic element.
kayl (#49190),

You can buy a paper set of 60 pyramids (a full stash in each of four colors) for $5. Of course you have to fold them yourself, but ...

The plastic sets are awesome. The plastic is durable, the colors bright, the sizes are just right, and errors in molding are nonexistent. Considering the quality, $8 for 15 pieces isn't really that expensive. A Zendo set ($27.80 from bouldergames.com) is well worth it, as that game is excellent and contains four Icehouse sets.

Many tarot decks can be obtained in the $12-15 range. With the paper pieces, you can have a Gnostica set for around $20. Consider, as well, that Icehouse pieces are not like buying Monopoly pawns - you can use them to play a huge variety of games, or substitute them fore more boring pieces in other games you already own.

As for Christians and mystics - remind them that the history of tarot cards has been much exaggerated. They were first and foremost just a variety of playing cards, despite wacky stories about ancient Egyptians and ethnically-unrelated travelling gypsies. Parlett's Oxford Guide to Playing Cards is one excellent source on this score.
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Ava Jarvis
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Re:Gnostica's thematic element.
Quote:

The plastic sets are awesome. The plastic is durable, the colors bright, the sizes are just right, and errors in molding are nonexistent. Considering the quality, $8 for 15 pieces isn't really that expensive. A Zendo set ($27.80 from bouldergames.com) is well worth it, as that game is excellent and contains four Icehouse sets.


I agree; the icehouse sets are NOT overpriced---they are high-quality pieces. I'm happy that the Loonies decided not to go with cheap pieces---these pieces will last.

Icehouse pieces can be used with many games that have cropped up around them---all of which have their rules online. The 12 in the Playing with Pyramids book are pretty good, and Gnostica is part of the Alternate Playing with Pyramids group of games (12 that are also pretty good). See http://home.earthlink.net/~guardcaptain/Icehouse.html .

Quote:
Many tarot decks can be obtained in the $12-15 range. With the paper pieces, you can have a Gnostica set for around $20.


The Rider-Waite tarot is actually in the free domain by now. It's one of the cheapest (and, I find, handiest) decks to get. There are also variations on the color scheme, from the original flat to soft colors.

Quote:
As for Christians and mystics - remind them that the history of tarot cards has been much exaggerated. They were first and foremost just a variety of playing cards, despite wacky stories about ancient Egyptians and ethnically-unrelated travelling gypsies. Parlett's Oxford Guide to Playing Cards is one excellent source on this score.


In addition, most of the tarot decks these days draw inspiration the Rider-Waite deck.

Rider-Waite imagery is primarily Judeo-Christian in nature. Weird but true. (You need to go to special decks to get the amount of pagan imagery that some people think are in a tarot deck; Golden Dawn gives you some more, but few decks out there are based on Golden Dawn).

A few decks are based on the Crowley-Thoth deck, which I've yet to really categorize. I'd say the imagery is most uniquely Crowley... but there are very, very few decks out there that use this deck. The art is very abstract, sometimes very beautiful, always evocative, and not evil.

There are all *sorts* of decks out there. I found a deck called "Tarot of a Moon Garden" and it's full of things like, oh, unicorns, more unicorns, castles, rainbows, and bubbles, and gardens. Oh, and fairies. It's a pretty tame deck! And based on Rider-Waite to boot, although the Wheel of Fortune is now a Merry-Go-Round, so you don't get the Sphinx and whatnot.

I've been thinking of getting it again. I pasted Zarcana stickers on my copy, and I think they're really better without the stickers.

It's a very groovy deck.
 
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Kayl
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Re:Gnostica's thematic element.
BilboAtBagEnd (#87006),

I think I was misunderstood. I think the pyramids are a good (possibly great) *value,* recommend them and own six sets (primary and secondary colors). Additionally, Looney Labs is customer friendly (at least they were to me): my Zendo box had one extra medium pyramid and was missing one small pyramid. Looney sent out a replacement immediately even though I bought the Zendo set from ThoughtHammer.com (I had contacted ThoughHammer first, they told me to contact Looney and if Looney didn't make restitution, to recontact them - thumbs up to ThoughtHammer too).

 
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