So, I found a pile of coins and a box of matches on my desk about an hour ago. I started playing around with them, and I think I've happened upon a really simple abstract game. It doesn't feel like one player is destined to win, and if there is any of that sort of brokenness, it feels like it would be easily fixed by adding more coins.
I was originally thinking about it as a space exploitation game (1X) with the coins being planets or asteroids and the matches being rockets, but your mileage may vary.
Throw a handful of pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters down on a table. Together with the other players, adjust their position so that each coin is at most one match length away from at least three other coins.
Decide who is going first. They place a match between any two coins, with the head on one and the tail on the other. They get no points for this first match.
The second player then places a match with the tail at the head of the first match, and the head on another coin. That player gets as many cents as that coin is worth.
Play continues, with each player placing a match with the tail starting on the coin where the previous match's head wound up. Each type of coin has a maximum number of match heads that can be placed on it.
Once there are that many match heads on the coin, no more can be placed there.
When the game reaches a point where no one else can play, the player with the most money is the winner.
And I'm done. Goodnight Everybody!
Interesting idea! Seems like quarters may be way too powerful (25 points instead of 1 point for a penny!) and pennies utterly meaningless, unless there are a lot of coins in play.
If there are a lot of coins in play, then it seems to risk opaqueness during most of the game (the game is "neutral" in the sense that all players have the same possible moves in a given position, so I'm not seeing any option for long-range strategic planning to improve one's own situation), until you hit the endgame and you can finally meaningfully read ahead instead of just playing opportunistically to grab the highest-value neighbor coin you can in the opening and midgame. So I'd expect it to have the effect of "OK, we're grabbing the highest coin we can over and over for a while... and now suddenly the situation is simple enough that I can read ahead to the end and see that in the remaining few turns I'll gain X points and you'll gain Y points."