First off, I think the game does a decent job of combining aspects of a number of successful games: IceSickle, Synapse Ice—even Penguin Soccer. However, the game, as written, is broken.
The first thing that we noticed is that the game is written (tagged) for two players but that the setup rules suggest that it could work for four as well. The board is difficult to visualize as written, but if you think of a ten by ten board, with the corners of the imaginary roles chopped, there’s no reason for a ten by ten board for a two player game (as a 8X10 would suffice). I don’t see why you couldn’t play with four, especially if the game rules are fixed.
The main problem with this game is in the directions for "influence." It states that when a pyramid’s influence in interrupted by another pyramid, that influence ends within the square the blocking pyramid is placed in (inclusively), instead of before it: “the pyramid's line of influence terminates at (inclusive) that square. This means: if a 3-pip is pointed in the direction of an adjacent 1-pip (regardless of colour), the 3-pip only holds influence in 2 squares [its own and the 1-pip's]. NB: Influences can and will overlap.”
As worded, every game can be ended by placing four or five pieces, with no need to do any of the things allowed for in the rules (i.e., turning, removing, or moving or pieces). If a piece was actually allowed to completely block a piece in the rules (without the inclusive overlapping of influences), then the game might be playable. As it is, we found it unplayable. Perhaps these rules wouldn’t be a problem in a 4-player game, as there would be more available possibilities to block a given player, but this option is not written in the rules either.
Here is an example of the broken play:
Player 1 places a 3pip piece on E4
Player 2 blocks at F4.
Player 1 plays a 3pip piece at A4.
Player 2 places a piece at F5 to try to block off an easy win.
Player 1 simply places a piece at F4, pointed at the goal row, to win.
Result: This game is broken and does not make the cut. 5/1/11: Greg Lattanzio & Kari N.
Rpierce1892 I read the rules and came to some similar conclusions. The way it reads makes it feel similar to John Nash's game Hex and I think it may be fixable by editing some of the rules and playing the chess board at a diagonal where the pieces are pointing diagonal rather than orthogonal allowing to access more spaces than straight ahead. I may have read the rules wrong, but this was my understanding. Plus, I've yet to play the game.