Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
20 Posts

Ivory Tower» Forums » Variants

Subject: Ivory Tower for Dummies: a much more regularly successful variant rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As PD warned in the Decktet Wiki, I found the game stalled out really quickly. But I spent a couple hours messing around with it and I think I have something that may work.

The goal is the same make a straight flush A-Crown.

But instead I have 6 resource piles - one for each suit.

You may place anything (with the correct suit) to start the pile.

Furthermore you may add any card to a resource pile as long as it is of any lower rank (not limited to one step lower) and it does not share a suit with the immediately preceding card (like the original).

But to move cards from one pile to another, the top card of the stuff being moved must be one rank below the pile being moved onto. For example lets say you have a C-8-7-5-2 pile and you need the 7. You'll have to place a 6 in another resource pile that does not share a suit with 5 the so you can move the 5-2 onto it.

Because getting an Ivory Tower is much more regularly achievable, I've added scoring to the variant. At the end of a successful game I add up the highest card of the lowest run each resource pile (Crowns and empty piles count as 10's). Examples: 8-9-C = 10pts, 7-8-C= 8pts (missing 9 breaks the straight), A-2-3-6-7-8 = 3pts, 6(single) = 6pts

As such the highest possible score from the resource piles is 60 points.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have also been considering taking the number of trips through the deck into account. I was thinking about something that would use the extended deck cards to keep track of the trips you've made, and I kind of want to get something that could add up to 100 in a perfect game.

The two things I've thought about doing are:
A) Start with the excuse on top. At the beginning of each round flip over a card from the extended deck. After you succeed give yourself 5 bonus points for each unflipped pawn/court card.
B) Each trip after the fourth round costs you 10 points. (Don't use the excuse, just stack the pawns on the courts. After you succeed, give yourself 10 points for each unflipped court card.
C) Super simple, keep track of the number of passes and just subtract that number times 5 for the final score.

Here is the record of my successful games (I hit about 50/50):
53pts(4rounds) A:53+25=78pts | B:53+40=93pts | C: 53-20=33pts
55pts(5rounds) A:55+20=75pts | B:55+30=85pts | C: 55-25=30pts
51pts(8rounds) A:51+05=56pts | B:51+00=51pts | C: 51-40=11pts
52pts(4rounds) A:52+25=77pts | B:52+40=92pts | C: 52-20=32pts
44pts(4rounds) A:44+25=69pts | B:44+40=84pts | C: 44-20=22pts
48pts(3rounds) A:48+30=78pts | B:48+40=88pts | C: 48-15=33pts
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

(note that the base score as shown is 49, but I should have moved the 8 onto the 9 to score a total of 51 points).

Until further notice, here is my vote for "option A"

So scoring would be your base score + each unflipped court / pawn card. So the first round (flipping over the excuse) is a freebie but after that each time you go through the deck you "lose" 5 points.

So the theoretically perfect game is 100 points (60 points in resources and only one trip through the deck, leaving 8 pawns and courts).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like your variant a lot and also toyed with it for a couple of hours. In addition to your variant, what about this:

- only a Crown can start a resource pile.
- you can only move one card at the same time from a resource pile to another pile.

To prevent the game from becoming too easy, consider the following:

- add the Pawns and/or the Courts. They can be placed on resource piles if they don't share a suit with it's topmost card, but once they are placed no cards can be placed upon them. In practice they close a pile, but Pawns and Courts can be moved to other non-closed piles to free the cards beneath them.

I haven't thought about scoring in any form yet, so I can't comment on that. Maybe later. I prefer solitaires that are more about 'winning the game' than about 'scoring high' though, so I don't know how much attention I will give the subject.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In addition, add both the Pawns and the Courts to make the game harder, but let an Ace allow you to remove the topmost cards from one of the resource piles if it shares a suit with that Ace (I don't know yet whether it should be allowed that you can remove Pawns and Courts this way).

Also, your score could be determined by the number of cards left in the draw pile; one point for every number card, extra points for Aces, Pawns, Courts and Crowns (Pawns and Courts 2 points, Aces 3 points, Crowns 5 points?).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the ideas, especially in the second post (both scoring and aces), I think one can use the pawns and crowns to make the game harder as desired (ala adaman) and your proposed scoring is a hell of a lot more elegant than current approach....The ace idea may be a huge step forward because it could salvage a dead hand (with something trapped behind another card that is otherwise immovable).

I'm not sure about the restrictions to the resource pile, I don't think you need to make the scoring piles harder if you have scoring. If it is a success/failure type of game (as the type you prefer) then that would make sense.

I'll definitely have to mess with them when I have some time!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
P.D. Magnus
United States
Albany
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just tried out a version of this variant. I allowed up to six resource piles and allowed a card to be played into a resource pile if it was lower (rather than just one lower) than the previous card. The game is definitely beatable this way.

As an alternative to a scoring system, I suggest the following extra challenge: After finishing the first tower, you must start and complete a second tower. In order for this to be possible, you will need to pick the suit for your second tower which never appears with the suit of your first tower. For example, I just played a hand in which I completed a Moons tower and then started on a Wyrms tower.

Completing the second tower is much harder, because the original tower is out of play. So there are fewer resource piles and fewer cards to push around.

With this version, finishing two towers would be a big victory. Finishing just one would let you count the height of your second tower as a score, if you want to discriminate between modestly successful hands.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I guess its time to bone up on my anti suits!

I really dig this scoring idea...this might be the magic bullet...

Did you allow cards to be moved between piles?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
P.D., nice idea of the two towers (the game has a LotR theme now!)

Did you also try the 'Pawns and Courts'-rule and the 'Ace'-rule I proposed? Can you share your opinion on it?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
P.D. Magnus
United States
Albany
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I allowed cards to be moved between piles, but only as single cards using the usual rule - not as a whole stack.

I did not try either the Pawn-Court or the Ace rule.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just played four games with the following rules:

- six Crown piles
- plays must be at least one lower
- two ivory towers
- the towers are build at the same time
- Ace rule included
- Pawn and Court rule included
- Pawns and Courts where allowed to move (but did not move often in practice)
- Aces could also remove Pawns and Courts
- sometimes we couldn't resist to peak at the next card in the draw pile

Personally, I think the Ace and Pawn and Court rules are a good addition. Without those rules the game can end unsatisfying; sometimes you just can't reach a card in the draw pile. Now you have some cards you can play to open up your draw pile, but you don't want to, because they fill up your Crown piles. I like these kind of decisions. Next time I will play with the restriction to build only one tower at a time to make the game more difficult, because I won three out of four games.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've played some more games with the rules as described above, but with the following additions:

- the two towers are build one after another (following P.D.'s proposal).
- once you've started the first tower and encounter the Ace of the second tower, you may play it on a Crown. No card can be played upon that Ace (except Pawns and Courts ofcourse), so by doing this you restrict your own movability.
- the Excuse was added. The Excuse gave you the right to remove any of the topmost cards of the Crown piles.
- you have to turn over four cards at the same time from the draw pile.
- the score at the end of the game is determined by the number of cards left in the draw pile. The object is to get a low score. This score is calculated once you finish the second tower. If you couldn't finish two towers, you have lost. If you finish two towers and end up with an empty draw pile, you've got an ultimate victory!
- I forgot to mention last time, but I only move cards one at a time (so no moving piles).

The game is a lot of fun this way! While I type this, my girlfriend is busy with one of her many attempts to beat the game. It's extremely addictive!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm a little confused at the rules you are working with, could you maybe post again with a comprehensive rule set? I got a little lost trying to refer to to previous posts! Cheers!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Start with the extended deck as the draw pile.

Your goal is to finish two Ivory Towers. If you fail at this, you lose. If you succeed, your score is the number of cards left in your draw pile. The goal is to get a low score. If you finish the game with an empty draw pile, you've pulled off an ultimate victory.

Cycle through the deck by drawing four cards at a time.

If you encounter a Crown, you can start a resource pile. You can play number cards on these piles that don't share a suit with the topmost card and are of lower rank. You can move cards from resource pile to resource pile if they meet the same restrictions.

Aces have two purposes. With two of them you have to start Ivory Towers (either Moons-Wyrms, Suns-Leaves or Waves-Knots). Once you've started your first Ivory Tower you're not allowed to start the second tower untill the first one is finished. The suit of the second tower is already fixed though and if you encounter it's Ace you're allowed to bring it into play by playing it upon a Crown with a different suit. It may never be played upon a different card other than a Crown.

The other four Aces have a different purpose. By playing such an Ace you can remove any (even Pawns and Courts, see below) of the topmost cards of the resource piles that matches the suit of that Ace.

The Excuse has a similar purpose; with the Excuse you can remove any of the topmost cards of the resource piles, undependant of it's suit.

The Pawns and Courts can be played upon a resource pile to free up cards in the draw pile. They can be played on cards that don't share a suit with it. No cards can be played upon them. They can be moved from resource pile to resource pile under the above restrictions. Pawns and Courts can be removed by matching Aces, as described above.

Once you've finished the second Tower, the number of cards in the draw pile are counted.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks! I'll have to try it out when I'm not working 7 days a week! =)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My only complaint I have right now (with my own version) is that it is beneficial to play conservative; don't play cards you don't need for the tower you're currently building. Of course, sometimes you have to, but players tend to avoid it. The game could be more interesting though if this strategy wouldn't be this rewarding. Any ideas? The game is still addictive though!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Seabie wrote:
The game could be more interesting though if this strategy wouldn't be this rewarding. Any ideas?

Solved! My solution is the following:

Drop the Pawns and the Courts for a while; they only participate if you want to make the game harder (see the end of this post). The Excuse stays in the game, but you can play without it if you want.

Play with the rules as I posted above but add one new rule;

Whenever you reveal a number card (2-9) from the draw pile (either by flipping over four cards or by playing a card to a resource pile) you have to look at the topmost card of each resource pile. If the number of the revealed number card matches any of the topmost cards, you have to play that card to any of the resource piles if a legal placement is possible without having to move cards first. (Ofcourse, if there is no match you're also allowed to play it, but it's your own choice then.) If no legal placement is possible, you don't have to play the card, even not if it would have been possible if you moved some cards.

With this rule you have to think more carefully how you place your cards in the resource piles which was almost absent before. The object is no longer to empty your draw pile; just finish the two towers.

You can add some Pawns and Courts to make the game harder. If you do, play with the rules for Pawns and Courts as described in my earlier post. Playing without Pawns and Courts is regarded as playing at level 0; playing with all of them is regarded as playing at level 8.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The results of my last three games:

Level 0: 1 win, empty draw pile.
Level 2: 1 win, empty draw pile.
Level 4: 1 win, one card left in draw pile.

If finishing the two towers is indeed the win condition (which I think is a much better end condition than emptying the draw pile), than the first couple of 'levels' might be a bit to easy. I guess that 'level 8' should be the standard in this case, but I will test it. In other words, I think it would be better to make the inclusion of the Pawns and Courts mandatory.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And again three more games. This time they were all at 'level 8' and completing the two towers was the only goal. I won 1 out of 3 games. Both times I didn't succeed I still reached a second tower from Ace to 7. So, almost there! I feel the game is great when playing with the Extended Deck and playing with just finishing the two towers as the goal of the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniël Muilwijk
Netherlands
Zeist
Utrecht
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've tried to write down the rules for this variant, thereby making use of the original Ivory Tower rules available from the Decktet wiki. Comments are welcome.

------------------------------------------------

Ivory Towers

A Decktet solitaire game for the extended Decktet. The game can be played with a standard deck only, but in that case the game will be a little easy to win. Therefore, the extended deck is recommended.

The object of the game is to complete two towers. A tower is a stack of cards all having a specific suit symbol, in order from Ace to Crown.

Draw Pile

At the beginning of the game, shuffle the deck, including the Pawns, Courts and the Excuse.

You begin by turning over the top four cards of the deck, so that you can only see the fourth card. This packet is placed to begin the draw pile.

At anytime you may turn over four more cards from the deck. When you reach the end of the deck, turn over the draw pile and resume. You may recycle the deck in this way as many times as you like.

The top card of the draw pile is always available to play. In the beginning of the game it even is the only one available to play. In some cases you even have to play, see the end of the ‘Resource Piles’ section. Available cards may be played to build resource piles and towers.

Two Towers

The object of the game is to build two towers, which you will build one at a time. Each tower begins with an Ace and contains cards in increasing rank order, all sharing a suit symbol. After the Ace, its matching 2 has to be played it, after that its matching 3, and so on. A finished tower consists of an Ace, the numbers 2 to 9 and is finished with a Crown. Note that Pawns and Courts aren’t part of towers.

At the beginning of the game it is undecided what suits the two towers will be. Once you play an Ace to start the first tower, however, the suit of the first tower is fixed and all the cards of that first tower must have the suit of that Ace. By playing an Ace to start the first tower, the suit of the second tower is also determined; your two towers will either be a Moons and a Wyrms tower, a Suns and a Leaves tower or a Waves and a Knots tower. The second tower will only be build though once the first tower is finished.

You are not required to start a tower if an Ace becomes available. For example, you may decide to pass on an Ace if you have already buried some of the cards of its suit in a resource pile. Just turn over the next four cards of the deck on the draw pile and continue the game.

Cards that are played to form a tower are not available and can not be moved. They stay were they are for the rest of the game.

Resource Piles

If you have a Crown available from the draw pile you may start a new resource pile. The deck contains six Crowns, so six resource piles can be started during the game.

Once a resource pile is started, you may add an available number card (2-9) to it with two restrictions: (a) The new card must be of lower rank than the last card played to the resource pile. (b) The new card must not share any suit symbols with the last card played to the resource pile.

For example: You begin a resource pile with the Crown of Waves. Later, you play the Pact (9 of Suns and Moons) to the pile. You may then play a 5 to the pile, but not a 5 of either Suns nor Moons.

The last played card to a resource pile is always available to play. You may move it to the tower that’s currently being build or to a different resource pile, provided it meets the rank and suit requirements.

Whenever you reveal a number card (2-9) from the draw pile (either by flipping over four cards or by playing a card from the draw pile and thereby uncovering the card underneath it) you have to look at the topmost card of each resource pile. If the number of the revealed number card matches any of the topmost cards, you have to play that card to any of the resource piles if a legal placement is possible without having to move cards first. (Ofcourse, if there is no match you're also allowed to play it, but it's your own choice then.) If no legal placement is possible, you don't have to play the card, even not if it would have been possible if you moved some cards.

Special Cards

Aces have two purposes. Two of them will be used to start the two Ivory Towers, as stated above in the ‘Two Towers’ section. As explained in that section, once you've started your first Ivory Tower you're not allowed to start the second tower until the first one is finished. The suit of the second tower is already fixed though and if you encounter it's Ace in the draw pile you're allowed to bring it into play by playing it on a resource pile. There is an extra restriction though, the Ace has to be played directly on a Crown. It may never be played upon a different card in a resource pile other than a Crown. The play still has to follow the normal placement rules for playing cards on resource piles (it has to be of lower rank, which it always is, and it is not allowed to share a suit with the Crown it is placed upon). The Ace may be moved to different resource piles, but the same restrictions still apply.

The other four Aces have a different purpose in the game. When such an Ace is available you can remove any of the topmost cards of the resource piles that matches the suit of that Ace from the game (even Pawns and Courts, see below). When you do this, the Ace itself should also be removed from the game. Be careful not to remove any card from the game that you will need to finish the two towers.

The Excuse has a similar purpose as those four Aces. When the Excuse is available you can remove any of the topmost cards of the resource piles from the game, independent of its suit. When you do this, the Excuse itself should also be removed from the game.

The Pawns and Courts are not of much use in the game. On the contrary, most of the times they are simply just getting in your way by clogging up your draw pile. However, somehow you have to deal with them and therefore the following rule might come in handy. Pawns and Courts may be played upon a resource pile if the topmost card of that resource pile doesn’t share a suit with that Pawn or Court. Once a Pawn or Court is placed on a resource pile, not a single card can be played upon it. They can be moved to a different resource pile though if they meet the same restrictions. Pawns and Courts can be removed by matching Aces, as described above.

The End

You win if you complete both towers. If you get stuck before the two towers are finished, you’ve lost.

Unlike some solitaires, Ivory Towers is not the sort of game that you can win every time if you are careful and attentive. Luckily, this variant of Ivory Tower is much more easy than the original, in which winning was pretty damn rare.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.