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Subject: Physical Tetris rss

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Kendall Merriman
United States
Santa Clara
California
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When organizing a room full of games, one must pay careful attention to the delicate balance of the boxes, and also to the rules of order and stacking. Hence is born a game I call physical tetris.

Physical tetris is a game of skill, speed, strategy, and, occasionally, reaction time. This is a description of one of my most recent sessions:

12:30. Game night is wrapping up. We've played the games, packed the boxes, and started to clear out. Well, my opponents have at least. But I've got one last solo game to play, before I can call it a night. In my room at the back of the house is the perilous game of physical tetris, and tonights playing pieces consist of settlers, cosmic encounter (the big avalon hill one, overstuffed), cribbage, and bang (stored in a cigar box). A slight challenge, but an overall easy session. Afterall, none of these games go on the bottom of stacks.

Starting with the small ones, as this tends to be the easiest strategy on the board I've been given, I place settlers back where it belongs, next to seafarers and cities and knights. This is an easy placement, as it stands nicely on the long side fitting perfectly in the space between two games. Like a classic line block in real tetris, this piece fits the whole so perfectly, and scores highly.

Secondly, the cribbage board. Long and flat, this one tends to be hard to place more often then not, so I find an opening on the top of the shelf wide enough to place it, and slide it in there, pushing it as far in as possible. It hits the wall behind, and doesn't stick out too far, so that was a success. Not as high scoring as settlers, but a good placement nonetheless.

Now, for an easy one. I grab the bang box, and slide it on top of the big box of card games on top of the shelf. Almost out of my reach, I may regret that placement next time I want to play. A lowish scoring placement, but acceptable.

The final piece still looms.... cosmic encounter. The normal spot for it on top of starcraft is occupied by the games usually stored on top of cosmic, and pulling all that down from the top shelf would be painful and time consuming. Time for the careful slide maneuver. Using one hand in the middle of the underside of the box, I carfully left it so the top is roughly flush with the top of starcraft. I use my other hand to start the slide... carefully moving the stack forward to be on top of cosmic. Suddenly the balance feels off! The games are tilting! They could all come down, on MY HEAD! Quickly, I shift my pulling efforts to balancing efforts, and keep the stack stable. Carefully, I shift the weight a bit, and resume the slide.

This time it goes off perfectly, and I lift the stack to slide it on top of starcraft. Now it is done. This one scores high for difficulty, but low for the near catastrophe in the middle.

Overall, I finished the game, and won, getting everything back into the wall. But my score is much lower then I would have liked.
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Ryan Twombly
United States
North Carolina
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Nicely done. I play the suitcase packing variant frequently, but the core gamebox game is much more intense.
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David Gibbs
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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rtwombly wrote:
Nicely done. I play the suitcase packing variant frequently, but the core gamebox game is much more intense.


I often play the suitcase version myself. I get in trouble, though, when on the way out of the house I've gotten a major score for a perfect packing job. Then... it is time to come home... and the game won't fit back in. I know they can... they all did earlier... but they won't anymore. Doh!
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Denis Maddalena
United States
Fort Meade
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Being in Iraq right now, I can tell you there is certainly an art to "physical Tetris". You only have one storage box, and it's subtly awkwardly shaped, adding a sort of difficulty modifier to the whole situation. Standardization is part of the key, combined with finding enough "filler" games to act as, literally, filler.
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Markus
Finland
Helsinki
Uusimaa
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Well played, bravo!
 
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