Talk:Shapeshifter Wars

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From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki

I played this one for the first time today, and enjoyed it quite a bit. The one thing I found frustrating was the mechanical act of moving the stacks that had pawns and drones nested inside of queens, especially since I was playing on a Volcano board with ridges between the squares. The logic of the game is really tight and elegant. Although I like the color scheme you give, we played with a purple king and pink knights against a clear king and yellow knights. --Carthoris 03:02, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Cool, I'm glad you liked it! I'm with you on the movement since I play on the exact same board. I think it would be fine on a printed board, but it's not like we'll stop using these awesome Volcano boards anytime soon. Honestly, you really only need the top pyramid of a stack on the board at any time. When you shift, you can just take that pyramid off the board and put on the one that's the next level down. I wrote the rules using trees mostly for aesthetic purposes, but it does stop players from accidentally shifting into the wrong size. As for the colors, pink and purple are also my colors when I play this. Good call there. :)
- brilk 03:25, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Another possibility that could help retain the visual impressiveness of the stacked pyramids would be to build trees by stages. So the current starting pieces (pawn on top) would simply be queens, the second-stage pieces (drone on top) would be drones stacked on queens, and the third-stage pieces (queen on top) would be full trees. --Carthoris 03:38, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Regardless of the actual stack designs used, the game seems like it could benefit from some concise nomenclature for the three "shapes." I've been calling the first-stage (pawn-superior) the latent shape, the second-stage (drone-superior) rampant, and the third-stage (queen-superior) potent. Thus, for example: "Her rampant king captured his potent knight." The more I reflect and fiddle, the more I like my suggestion above of simply building trees in three stages. It eliminates the need to lift pieces off of the board when not moving or capturing. --Carthoris 00:44, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
My biggest issue with your suggestions is that they add more complexity to the rules. I really don't think any potential benefits outweigh that problem. The shapeshifting rules especially are short, easy to understand, and thematic. I've never actually had a need to refer to shapeshifters by which pyramid is on top outside of explaining the rules. I'm pretty sure I'll just go with regular terminology like small, medium, and large if it happens. Thanks for the comment, though.
- brilk 02:21, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
I see how you could take the shape name suggestions as adding complexity (and yet they don't; they're just additional indices); but I really think that the tree-building stack designs reduce the complexity of play dramatically, even if they make the rules description a tiny bit less efficient. Anyhow, it's your design and you can certainly have it however you like it. I'm just letting you know how I'm likely to play it. --Carthoris 02:32, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Carthoris, I think I may be misunderstanding your arguments, or at least viewing them differently than you. I just don't see any dramatic reduction in the complexity of play with your method. I see an increase in complexity, in fact, though it's in no way dramatic. Currently you move the top pyramid of the stack to the bottom when shapeshifting. I don't see much room for complexity there. With your method, you add a pyramid, then add a pyramid, then (I'm assuming) remove the top two to shift again. That seems more complex to me, since you're adding in a second method of changing the stack. You stated the rules description would be "a tiny bit less efficient." I'm not seeing that, either. The best entry for your method of shapeshifting that I can figure is much longer and more complex than the current brief, clear sentence.

I don't think we're seeing eye-to-eye on this at the moment, so if you can clear things up I'd appreciate it. I'd really like to know what I'm missing here if it will improve the game.

- brilk 03:04, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Okay, when you say "move the top pyramid of the stack to the bottom," it's a very efficient verbal formula that covers all cases. However, in practice, what that means is: lift the stack off the board, remove the top pyramid, place it underneath, and then replace the stack. I find that a lot more complicated than: add the next smaller pyramid to the top of the stack, or take off the top two if it's already a complete tree. Removing entire stacks from the board creates opportunities for error and dispute, in addition to being a fiddly chore when the stacks are strange nest/tree hybrids. As a final advantage, the difference between 1-pyramid, 2-pyramid, and 3-pyramid stacks is far easier to discriminate visually than either the rotating stack, or even the single pyramid being promoted to the next pip-value. That's my thinking in extenso. I hope it makes sense to you. --Carthoris 03:23, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I get what you're saying. I didn't realize that you've been lifting the entire stack off the board to transform. That seems to be the problem here instead of the mechanics of the game. Here's what I do: lift the top pyramid straight up, move the bottom two with your other hand, drop the top pyramid straight down, then place the other two on top. The only way you're messing that up is if someone tackles you mid-shift. Honestly, I'm perfectly fine with the physical aspect of the game being off if people play it oddly. Thanks for clarifying!
- brilk 03:58, 17 January 2012 (UTC)