Lava Flows

From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Lava Flows
Designed by Andrew Looney
A quick strategy game that rewards clever tactics and a sharp memory
:Players Players: 2
:Time Length: Short
:Complexity Complexity: Low
Trios per color: 3
Number of colors: 2
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes:
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
3x3 grid
Setup time: 1 minute
Playing time:
Strategy depth: unknown
Random chance: none
Game mechanics:
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BGG Link: Lava Flows
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2017

Overview[edit | edit source]

Lava Flows is a quick strategy game that rewards clever tactics and a sharp memory.

Materials[edit | edit source]

::LPN ::LPN ::LPN :3by3
materials needed: 12 pyramids and a 3×3 grid

Note that the pyramid colors must be opaque.

Goal[edit | edit source]

The goal is to get three "Cinder Cones" (::ML) into the three spaces in your goal row (the row closest to your opponent). If Black is playing south, this is a winning situation:

::ML ::ML ::ML

Setup[edit | edit source]

  • Each player chooses a color and takes all the large pyramids of that color.
  • Each player secretly places a medium black pyramid under one of his larges, a medium white pyramid under another of his larges, and nothing at all under the last large.
  • Each player places these large pyramids on the three spaces closest to her.
  • With the white and black medium pyramids remaining, shuffle them to randomly determine who will go first.
  • Stack the two medium pyramids with the first player's piece on the bottom, in the center square.


Initial Setup. The black pyramid is on top of the stack in the center square, so white will move first.

Play[edit | edit source]

Each turn, take one action from the below options.

  1. Move a Piece: Lift a piece in your own color, either a single piece or the top piece in a stack, and move it one space orthogonally. It may enter an occupied space; if so, place your piece on top of whatever is there.
  2. Slide a Stack: Slide an entire stack (or a single piece) one space orthogonally. It can only enter an empty space. Your color must be on top for this to be legal.
  3. Bubble Up: Move the lowest piece in a stack to the top of that stack. If the lowest piece is visible, simply do it; if the lowest piece cannot be seen, you have to say what color it is, then reveal the piece. If you were correct, proceed to place that piece on top of the stack. If incorrect, the bottom-most piece stays where it is and your turn is over. Bubbling Up is not allowed on a stack where your opponent Bubbled Up on his previous turn.
  4. Lava Tube Ejection: If the top three pyramids of a stack are an Oreo-like structure (white-black-white or black-white-black), you may remove this middle piece and move it one space orthogonally. You may even do this if the pattern is not currently visible: just correctly announce the existence and color of such a situation, then reveal your statement to be correct before proceeding to move the middle piece.
  5. Pass: Do nothing.

Solidification[edit | edit source]

When you have pieces in this configuration ::ML in your goal row (the row closest to your opponent), the two pieces form a Cinder Cone. A Cinder Cone behaves as though glued in place: its constituent parts may never be separated, and it may never move from that spot. If it is part of a stack when this happens, the Cinder Cone sinks to the bottom of that stack, with the other pyramids maintaining their relative order. Pieces on top of a Cinder Cone may move as normal, and new pieces may jump on top of it. However, a second Cinder Cone is never allowed to form in the same space.

::ML ::ML
Two cindercones

Game End[edit | edit source]

The game ends immediately when one player has managed to get three Cinder Cones of their color into the three squares closest to his opponent. Other pyramids on top of the Cinder Cones do not prevent victory.

History[edit | edit source]

Lava Flows was the 2017 Looney Labs Holiday Gift to fans, published in December 2017. An extended Pyramid Arcade card was included with online orders. The game was designed to be a solution to Pyramid Arcade's Glotz Challenge #3.

Links[edit | edit source]