Zen Blocks interview, originally planned to be part of my Game Systems series

Originally planned to be part of the Game Systems series, this is a
July 2005 interview by Ron Hale-Evans with game designer Jim Deacove
of Family Pastimes (http://www.familypastimes.com), in which we talk

* cooperative games and game systems
* game design
* Zen
* wabi-sabi
* the difference between games and puzzles
* games as social experiences
* games that come to us in dreams
* games that are “open systems that given the random starting
factors produce several integrated possible solutions, whatever the
hell that means”…

Apparently random ordering of numbers on D-Total solved

This post is about the D-Total, a 24-sided die that can emulate many
other kinds of dice, such as d4, d6, d8, d12, and d20.


I have found it confusing and frustrating that the designer didn’t
start all the emulated dice with 1 on the first side and increase them
individually. I even made a spreadsheet to show the much more regular
way the die “should” look, compared to the way it’s really
manufactured, which distributes the numbers in what seemed like a
needlessly complex way designed only to impress suckers.

But now I understand. The actual layout of the die probably isn’t the
only way it could be done, but it seems good enough.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Ron Hale-Evans
Date: Sat, May 15, 2010 at 9:34 PM
Subject: Apparently random ordering of numbers on D-Total solved
To: seattle-cosmic@yahoogroups.com


“Many gamers don’t know that, generally speaking, dice are numbered so
that the total of faces on opposite sides is one point higher than the
total number of faces on the die.  The opposing faces on most 6-sided
dice will total 7 (1+6, 2+5, and 3+4).  Dr. Simkin has followed this
tradition by making opposite sides of the D3 spots [on the D-Total]
always total 4, opposite sides of D4 total 5 and so on up to the
numbers in the center of the 24-sided die, which always total 25.”

So there you go, John B and Dave H. Mystery solved.

I feel much better.


Why my glass bead game must move from tables of correspondences to relational databases

I have two projects, Kennexions and GameFrame, that rely heavily on a
data structure called a “table of correspondences”, a concept that
goes back at least as far as the Hermetic magicians of the
Renaissance. Note that I’m *not* interested in the occult any more,
only in how these tables help me generate analogies and metaphors.



When I need a table of correspondences bigger than I can sketch on
paper, I use a spreadsheet like the following one from GameFrame:


But I have so many of these, and they’re getting so tangled,
multidimensional, and hard to manage, that I’m going to have to dump
everything into some kind of relational database management system,
probably one of the free SQLs. But then, at last, we may see some
interesting correspondences and relations come out.

Cheers, Ramon!


Game design: the Flathead Rainbow

Have an inkling that I’d like to design a game that could be played
with either the Fanucci Deck or Rainbow Deck. With 15 suits by 11
ranks (Fanucci) and 12 suits by 13 ranks (Rainbow), they each have
about as many suits as ranks, an interesting feature, very unlike the
standard French deck.

Fanucci: http://howell.seattle.wa.us/games/Fanucci/
Rainbow: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/59655/rainbow-deck