Cardinal Connections

From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Cardinal Connections
Christopher Hickman
In Cardinal Connections, players try to make more pyramids point towards themselves than toward the other players.
:Players Players: 2 - 4
:Time Length: Medium
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 1
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 1
Five-color sets: 5
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Setup time: 5 Min
Playing time: 5 Min - 30 Min
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics: board
Theme: Abstract
BGG Link: Cardinal Connections
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2005

Cardinal Connections is a quick and simple abstract strategy game for two to four players that uses a single stash of Icehouse pieces. The players take turns trying to make more pyramids point toward themselves than toward the other players.

Setup[edit | edit source]

The initial setup has four upright large pieces stacked near the center of the play area, with four medium pieces lying flat, each pointing away from the center in the four orthogonally adjacent squares (the cardinal directions--north, south, east, and west), and with four small pieces next to each of those. (See Figure 1.) Set the remaining three pieces aside to form the pool, in easy reach of all players.

Figure 1
   X=stack of four large pieces
<>^v=medium pieces lying flat 
   .=small pieces lying flat in the same
     direction as the adjacent medium pieces

Play[edit | edit source]

Use any mutually agreeable method to determine a starting player. Starting with that player and then going clockwise each player takes one of the pieces from the pool and plays it onto the board orthogonally adjacent to an existing piece. After the piece is played, the player takes the following steps:

  1. Remove one upright piece that is adjacent, either orthogonally or diagonally, to the played piece and put it into the pool. If there is no adjacent upright piece, the player skips this step (and the pool shrinks by one piece).
  2. Change the orientation or direction of adjacent pieces using the following rules:
  • A flat piece changes the direction of adjacent flat pieces of the same or smaller size to match its own
  • An upright piece changes the orientation of adjacent flat pieces of the same or larger size to upright

For example, a small piece played flat will make adjacent small flat pieces point in the same direction, but not medium or large pieces. If that piece were large, it would change the orientation of all adjacent flat pieces. A small piece played upright will make all adjacent pieces upright, though a large piece played upright will only affect neighboring large pieces.

Note that while the initial game setup has a stack of pieces, you cannot play a piece on top of another. Also, the orientation of the large pieces in the center stack cannot be changed until the top three have been removed (by playing a piece adjacent to the stack).

See Figures 2 through 4 for an example of the first few turns of a game.

Figure 2Figure 3Figure 4
The first player takes a medium piece from the pieces set aside (currently one of each size) and plays it to the board pointing toward himself. He then takes a large piece from the center stack and sets it aside, then changes all the adjacent flat pieces of equal or smaller size (all, in this case) to also point toward himself. The second player takes a small piece from the pieces set aside (currently two large and one small) and plays it to the board upright. Since there are no adjacent upright pieces, nothing gets set aside. She then changes all the adjacent pieces of equal or larger size (all, in this case) to upright. The first player takes another turn, playing a large piece (currently two large pieces are the only pieces set aside). He sets aside one of the large pieces from the adjacent center stack, then rotates all the adjacent flat pieces (since they are all equal to or smaller than the large piece he played) to point toward himself.

Winning The Game[edit | edit source]

When no more pieces remain in the pool at the end of a player's turn, the game is over. The player who has the greatest number of pieces pointing at him or her is the winner. It is possible for more than one player to have the greatest number. In such case, those players share the win.

Credits and Copyright[edit | edit source]

This game was initially designed by Christopher Hickman and was placed on It is licenced under the Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial).

Variations[edit | edit source]

Cardinal Connections can be played with a Treehouse die. At the beginning of each player's turn, he or she rolls the Treehouse die and performs the rolled action as if playing Treehouse. This adds more complexity and chance to the game of Cardinal Connections.

Needs[edit | edit source]