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Name Change[edit source]

I propose the name: "Mini Homeworlds" as it is played with just 3 trios. It's amazing how rich the game is for so few pieces. But it's important to play the correct variant (see below). Homejinks with its original rule and dice is kind of boring and seems less balanced. Cuc (talk) 00:13, 4 November 2020 (PST)

Terminology[edit source]

  • Global Stash -> Bank
  • "Each player receives a single small pyramid" -> add: "from the Bank".
  • "Play proceeds counterclockwise" -> clockwise (this is standard in most games).
  • "(Idea) Perhaps the attacker must control more than the value of the target in that system, along with the size constraint." This condition only comes into play when the attacking ship is of equal size as the attacked ship. So, it could read: "If you attack a ship of equal size as your largest ship, you must own one more ship in that system." But this restriction makes it even more difficult to overtake a Large when you're behind. Why was this rule suggested?

Cuc (talk) 13:58, 4 December 2020 (PST)

Rule Clarifications, Please[edit source]

This seems to be an enjoyable tiny version of Homeworlds. However, some rules need clarification.

[EDIT. I noticed some terms are clarified at the END of the article under Terms. Great! As a result, there are only few questions left. See Setup point 2., Overpopulation, variant without dice.]

  • Materials. Of course you could use ANY color of pyramids for the Bank. You could even use different colors, but treat them all the same. If played with more than 2 people, it does not state how many trios to use, but I suggest 1 more trios than the number of players.
  • Setup. OK, so star systems are marked by the presence of one or more ships (from either player) and no other markers. Suggestion. If desired, a location can be marked with a poker chip or a playing card facing down. I use poker chips with letters to facilitate recording a game.
  • Setup, point 2. is confusing by mentioning the "homeship". Your starting ship is not special in any way, because there is no "homeworld" to defend. The game is only about ships. A game state consists of a collection of star systems (none more special than another) that contain ships (none more special than any other).
  • Order of Play. During playtesting, I noticed the following. Do you roll the die and THEN decide whether or not to sacrifice? This is suggested by the rules (and explains the word "and" in part 3.). If you do, then the first roll can be judged for usefulness. If not useful, then you could still decide to sacrifice and roll again for the number of pips. HOWEVER, as a variant, it's possible to say explicitly: "On your turn, decide if you want one regular action or if you want to sacrifice a ship. If you roll, you need to use this action (you can not then sacrifice a ship)." And under "Sacrifice": If you decide to sacrifice, first return one of your ships to the Bank. You earn as many actions as pips on the sacrificed ship. For each action, roll the dice to determine the action. You can perform the action in any system you occupy after the sacrifice."
  • Overpopulation. OK, so Terms clarifies that an overpopulation exists when all 3 ships of a size appear in a star system. Still, if you play with 3 people, would you increase the Bank with an extra trio? Does this affect overpopulations to all 4 ships?
  • Catastrophe. Perhaps the rule can be adjusted slightly. By now, considering the appearance of Pyramid Quartet Homeworlds and its adjusted rules, it feels more natural to have the freedom to call Catastrophe at any time during your turn.
  • Red Recapture. Because of the dice, recapture most likely will not result in draw, even in a 2-player game, because other options may become available, such as construct, move or trade. (But if desired, no-recapture can be introduced.) Because of the randomizer dice, I don't think the game is draw-prone. Note. For a recapture you can require a sacrifice as I propose for regular Homeworlds as well.
  • I'd propose the term "Upgrade" for the Blue action. And in conformity with current rules: Build for Green, and Conquer for Red.
  • What about the variant to this game that is played without dice, but where every action is according to your preference? Does this work?
  • I'm curious. Was this game playtested? (There is indication that it was, because of the N.B. with the Yellow action.) I'll give it a try and get back with findings. I see it is in development phase (label), but on the other hand it's complete (version V1.0) . . . It seems that with 3 trios, only 9 ships in the game, isn't the game rather trivial despite the different actions? In any case, I don't think the game can be very complex and after a few games, it's clear how to get ahead and win. If that is true, what would be the optimal supply instead? With too many ships, perhaps the game won't ever end? I really don't know yet. Can anybody share their experience with this game? That would be appreciated. I will be back on this subject myself.
    • The Bank seems about right for 2 persons. All playtested games were with 3 trios (see below). The games were NOT trivial, but wanting. I'm going to try a slightly larger Bank in another playtest. Cuc (talk) 03:35, 3 November 2020 (PST)

Cuc (talk) 17:34, 1 November 2020 (PST). Revised Cuc (talk) 23:02, 1 November 2020 (PST). 2nd Revision Cuc (talk) 03:24, 3 November 2020 (PST). 3rd revision Cuc (talk) 13:57, 4 December 2020 (PST)

Playtests[edit source]

I playtested the game, and it was fun to try. However, we found the game wanting and was not as fun because of the Black forced pass. We tried to come up with a different way of using the dice. We tried the following:

  • No dice. This definitely doesn't work. First player wins a rather short game. After both players do: Upgrade, Upgrade, Build, Upgrade, the first player will sac the Medium, move over to the Large and capture. Now, the first player has two Larges and the other player will not be able to catch up any more. The second player can choose to spread out, for example Upgrade, Build, Upgrade, Move (now they have two Mediums), but it won't matter.
  • throw a D6. If it's 1-3, then you are forced to pass; if it's 4-6 you get an action of your choice. This game is a bit more fun, but the amount of passes is too harsh.
  • throw a D6. If it's 1-2, then you are forced to pass; if it's 3-6 you get an action of your choice. This game is much more fun and isn't trivial. We still weren't satisfied with the forced pass.

We considered that it would be fun if you can ALWAYS have an action, but that the choice of actions are limited somehow. My game buddy Forest suggested that we should give 2 actions for 1-3 and the other 2 actions for 4-6. This gives 3 games:

Combo 1-3 4-6 Description
I R/Y G/B At first it seemed a good idea to have G/B together, but it didn't work that well.
II R/G Y/B This game works better, but the R/G combo is frustrating: if building would cause an Overpopulation, you're forced to pass.
III R/B Y/G This game is most balanced. The Y/G prevents passes / Overpopulations: if you'd create a Catastrophe with Green, you can use Yellow to spread out. We had great fun. It has reversal of fortune (you can win, even when you seem lost).

Table 1. "Two-Two" Combos.

  • On my way home I considered that, indeed, one could even assign 2 allowed actions to any throw of a D6 as follows:
N Color Combo
1 R/Y
2 G/B
3 Y/B
4 R/G
5 R/B
6 Y/G

Table 2. "Half-Half". All C(4,2) = 6 color combo's appear with equal probability.

I playtested this game, and it was delightful. Complete with what we have started to call "reversal of fortune" (see above). This game has the most intriguing scenarios of all the above variants; it is perfectly balanced. For each turn, a particular action has a probability of 1/2, but it's paired with one of the others at random. It works particularly well. Please, give it a try.

We noticed several patterns related to strategy:

1. the player who gets first to own all three Larges is winner. It's a matter of time. So, the other player should resign as a courtesy. But there's nothing wrong to see why and play the first game out to the end. The stronger player will gain traction but only slowly. Nevertheless, there will be a time they own the 3 Larges and the 3 Mediums. That's when finally a Large can be sacrificed without the risk of losing it to the opponent if at the same time there's a Small in the Bank.

2. If a player has the largest possible size for their ships, they are more prone to have to pass. But the weaker player only needs to pass when they are practically lost, and that may happen after more than 40 moves! Passing may happen but for the stronger player is some kind of "luxury problem". But beware not to lose your advantage. Correction. Since the combo G/R exists, some passes can occur for the weaker player as well. But the chances of Blue or Yellow equals 5/6. We also noticed that if you have one Star System and you get Y/R, Yellow is often your only option, but discovering a new Star System is futile: the game state does not change; it is effectively a pass.

3. The game is about the timing of the sacrifice. If you have only 3 ships and you want to sac a Large, it is not certain you will be able to get your Large back. But it depends on the Bank and the game state. Perhaps it's too early to sac. If you do it too early, your plan can backfire and may leave you very vulnerable to a counter attack. To assess whether it's too early, envision what would happen if your plan meets an obstacle (the dice). If you are too weak to be able to withstand a counter attack, reconsider and aim for a build or upgrade first.

4. You have a Large and a Medium. Your plan is to move to the star system with an opponent's Large and conquer it. What are your chances of success. At first, I reasoned: it's 1/2 chance to be able to move there, and another 1/2 to capture, so 1/4 to success. However, my playbuddy pointed out that once you're in the star system with the opponent's Large, the chances of neither getting Red nor Yellow (i.e., G/B) is only 1/6. So, you should give it a go. If your first throw doesn't allow you to travel, you will be in the same situation as your opponent was before you. Hence, to even the chances, you should try this, at least when you have the opportunity. However, it's even better to keep your Large together with a Medium. If your opponent is successful in capturing your large with this maneuver, and there is still a Large in the Bank, you need B followed by R. But if your first throw doesn't allow you to upgrade, you hope for a Y on either turn. The chances you don't throw a Y in two turns equals 1/4.

Cuc (talk) 03:25, 3 November 2020 (PST). Revised Cuc (talk) 23:55, 3 November 2020 (PST). Revised (added point 4.) Cuc (talk) 22:03, 3 December 2020 (PST)

Improved Dice?[edit source]

Previously, I made an error in counting and thought that some combos have a different probability to appear. But it's clear that any combo (say Red or Green) has a probability of 5/6 to appear, because only ONE combo doesn't have either color (in this case, Yellow and Blue). We do not need a different dice. But some probabilities may be lower by removing some colors (but which one?). I had a design of a dice that featured the probability of 4/6 for the combos (R or G) and (G or B). We can remove G from the Y/G combo to achieve this.

A dice that provides these probabilities is:

N Color Combo
1 R/B
2 Y
3 R/G
4 Y/B
5 R/Y
6 G/B

Table. Improved Dice?

Note that one throw has ONLY Yellow. I will playtest this and report back. Perhaps, additionally, you should be allowed to throw again until you get another number, if you throw G/B and the Bank is empty.


I considered that two combos that do not share a color, should be on opposite sides of the dice, and perhaps that there isn't a color that adds to 6 (1+2+3) or 15 (4+5+6), but this is impossible. However, we'd like the combos Y+R and G+B to be as close to the expected 5 x 3.5 = 17.5 as possible. The following dice delivers:

N Color Combo
1 R/B
2 Y/B
3 G/B
4 R/Y
5 R/G
6 Y/G

Table. Improved Dice?

I'm sure that in practice, this dice performs equal to any other dice that has the combos distributed in a different way, but this design appeals to my sense of aesthetics. R+Y has expected sum 18, while G+B has expected sum 17. Cuc (talk) 15:58, 16 May 2021 (PDT)