The Quarterdeck of the Game Library of Babel

I found that many of the hundred book ideas I generated a month or two ago could be strengthened by combining and condensing them. Consider these two ideas, each already condensed from a number of others:

  • The Game Library of Babel: Reviews of imaginary games — compare A Perfect Vacuum by Stanislaw Lem — combined with 10^14 games — harmonized rules on strips of card like the sonnet lines in A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems by Raymond Queneau.
  • Book of book ideas, game ideas (including themes and mechanics), ideas for conceptual and performance art, etc., free for the taking. The book would be conceptual art itself because it would describe performance art that might never be performed, books that might never be written, and so on.

The second idea flowed naturally and recursively from my hundred-book-idea project: one of the books could be a book of book ideas itself… Condensing this with the first idea, one could have a book of game ideas free for the taking in the form of faux game reviews and randomly-generated rules.

On reading about the algorithmically-generated games of the Shibumi Project, it occurred to me that riffing the 10^14 rulesets (I'm sticking with Queneau's number) from off  a single game system might make the rulesets easier to integrate. At first I thought of the Kilodeck, but then I decided it would be easier to publish, not to mention play with, a subset. Shave off two dimensions of the cards (the border color and shading) from the Kilodeck's 10 and you have a deck of 256 (2^8) cards instead of 1024 (2^10) — close to the number of cards in the Rainbow Deck — but still eight dimensions to play with. Call it the QuarterKilodeck, or the Quarterdeck.

So, use the Quarterdeck for the 10^14 games in one half of the book, and add a couple of hundred free ideas for new games in the form of faux game reviews in the other half — this is beginning to look like a project I would enjoy undertaking. The only problem: who would enjoy reading it?

Frankly, it doesn't seem commercially viable. But you never know. Maybe it's better to ratchet the project up game by imaginary game on a blog or wiki, and see if anyone cares. What do you think?

I have another book project in progress that does seem potentially commercially viable. This is not it.


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