From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Designed by Matthew Rogers
Organize a harmonious group within the utopian phalanx
:Players Players: 1 - 2
:Time Length: Long
:Complexity Complexity: High
Trios per color: 3
Number of colors: 10
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 10
Five-color sets: 6, i.e. 3 RX
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Volcano board, 5 Volcano caps, set of double-six dominoes
Setup time: 3 minutes
Playing time: 30 minutes - 100 minutes
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: Medium
Game mechanics: Draw, Eruption
Theme: Utopian community
BGG Link:
Status: Playtesting (v1.0), Year released: 2013

Under development

This game is currently under development, in the Playtesting stage. Feedback is strongly encouraged! Feel free to give comments on game design or structure on the talk page.

Scenario[edit | edit source]

The utopian socialism of Charles Fourier (1772-1837) posited the ideal of a self-sufficient community of between 1500 and 2000 persons called a phalanx, inhabiting a physical plant called the phalanstery. Fourier wrote that in such a community, "Every innocent mania is admitted to the rank of laudable and harmonious impulses, provided that its devotees can gather together the nucleus of a series, consisting of at least nine persons, and arranged in a regular group." In this game, the players vie for priority in forming a harmonious group within the phalanstery. Perhaps the group is a knitting circle, a demolitions team, a sex club, or a Martian Chess league; it doesn't matter. In keeping with Fourier's theories, the game is competitive: "Super-composite liberty [includes irreconcilable rivalry] ... in total opposition to [received] philosophic doctrines."

Organizing these groups will depend on the mechanisms of "passional attraction" involved in the Fourierist scheme.

"C'est Dieu!"
"C'est Nature!"

Equipment and Setup[edit | edit source]

The pyramids are passions; the dominoes are persons.

Populate a Volcano board with monochrome pyramid nests as follows:

  • Put alternating white and black nests on a diagonal, with white in the center. Place caps on these five nests.
  • Place blue nests in the remaining two corners.
  • Two orange nests complete the diagonal defined by the blue corners.
  • The three nests remaining on each board edge should be a single color: violet, cyan, red, and yellow.
  • Place two clear and two green nests symmetrically on the last four squares, so that each color crosses the black-and-white diagonal.

See the image at right, or this diagram of the arrangement.

The Volcano board assemblage is "God," the source of the passions.

Begin with all 28 dominoes face-down in a pool, which is "Nature," the material source.

Designation and Inventory of Radical Passions[edit | edit source]

There are twelve radical passions, and in the game they are identified with the pyramid colors, as well as the number values of the dominoes. They fall into several classes: five Sensitive passions (here collapsed into two subclasses of Active and Passive), four Affective passions, and three Distributive passions. There is an additional Unitive passion which is synthetic and emergent, rather than radical.

Inventory of Passions
Passion Pyramid Color Domino Value Explanation Class
Tactile (Pink) none somatic Sensitive
Gustatory Black any active Sensitive
Aromatic Black any active Sensitive
Visual White any passive Sensitive
Aural White any passive Sensitive
Amicable Violet one-spot unisexual Affective
Amorous Cyan two-spot bisexual Affective
Familial Yellow three-spot consanguineous Affective
Ambitious Red four-spot corporative Affective
Cabalist Blue five-spot secretive/agonistic Distributive
Butterfly Green six-spot alternating/promiscuous Distributive
Composite Orange blank enthusiastic/comprehensive Distributive
Harmonist Clear any pivotal/integrative Unitive

Here is a printable PDF containing two copies (one for each player) of the table above, with additional columns relating to the universal application of Harmony.

  • The large pyramids (queens /...\) are germinal passions.
  • The medium pyramids (drones /..\) are industrial passions.
  • The small pyramids (pawns /.\) are inspired passions.

These three sorts/sizes relate to the way in which the passions are rooted in a given person. See the Development phase below for more details.

Play Sequence[edit | edit source]

The first player to identify the "innocent mania" animating his group will play first. Each player turn consists of three components in this order:

  1. Draw persons (dominoes)
  2. Develop passions (pyramids)
  3. Organize the group

Personal Phase: Draw[edit | edit source]

At the beginning of the game, all of the dominoes are face-down in "Nature." Draw two dominoes, at least one of which must come from the face-down supply as long as any face-down dominoes remain. Choose one to keep, and leave the other face-up in "Nature." Place the kept domino face-up as a potential member of your group.

Passional Phase: Develop[edit | edit source]

The domino spots identify the potential for germinal passions: these must be "developed" (i.e. matched with an appropriate queen pyramid), before they can support industrial and/or inspired passions:

  • Any person can develop the particular germinal passion indicated by the value of either domino end. For example: A five-spot, indicating the potential for the Cabalist passion, may be developed by adding a blue queen pyramid, i.e. a Cabalist germinal passion.
  • A Sensitive germinal passion (opaque -- black or white -- queen) may be used to develop any domino end, but it can then only be developed further with either: a Sensitive passion (opaque drone or pawn), a Unitive passion (clear drone or pawn), or the passion originally indicated by the domino end. If a Sensitive germinal passion is developed with a Sensitive industrial passion, the same constraints apply to any eventual inspired passion.
  • A Unitive germinal passion (clear queen) may be used to develop any domino end, and it may then be developed further with any industrial or inspired passion.
  • Affective and Distributive germinal passions may be developed with any industrial or inspired passions. (Likewise, Affective and Distributive industrial passions may be developed with any inspired passions.)
  • Pyramids/Passions may only be stacked on ones of larger size, so any stack will either be a pawn on a queen, or a regular pawn-drone-queen tree.
  • Each realized passional complex can ultimately consist of a domino/person with one or two stacks of adjacent pyramids, for a maximum of six pyramids.

During the Passional phase of the turn, play Volcano with "God" to acquire pyramids for immediate use. Continue moving caps and erupting for up to three eruptions, but you are not allowed to capture any passion without proceeding directly to attach it to a person according to the rules of development for the Passional Phase. Once a passion is developed, it may not be removed or transferred to a different person.

Phalanstery passional persons

Attractional Phase: Organize[edit | edit source]

Place your passional persons -- i.e. domino/pyramid complexes -- in a circle as desired, as you progress toward the creation of a Harmonious Group. (See the target criteria in the following section.)

Not all of your persons need to be included in the group. During this phase, it is also acceptable to exchange any person of yours for a person drawn/developed by the other player, if both players agree.

The Harmonious Group (i.e. Victory)[edit | edit source]

  • The group must include at least nine persons.
  • All three Distributive passions must be represented somewhere in the group.
  • At least two different Affective passions must be represented somewhere in the group.
  • Any person may have no more than one passion color in common with his or her immediate neighbors.
  • Any person may have no more than two passion colors in common with his or her neighbors-once-removed.
  • Each must have at least three passion colors in common with each of the other members of the group, i.e. other than the four who are neighbors and near-neighbors.

External Links[edit | edit source]