Piecepack Game Design Competition (Ludic Synergy)
- Announcing the Summer 2002 piecepack Game Design Competition!
Theme: Ludic Synergy
Closes: 21 June 2002 (Summer Solstice, two months from today)
Winner TBA: 13 July 2002 (approx. three weeks later)
Prize: Complete set of games from tjgames.com, piecepack pyramids,
Mesomorph 2nd ed. piecepack with rules CD-ROM, and
Sponsors: Center for Ludic Synergy, Mesomorph Games,
Judges: Marty and Ron Hale-Evans
The theme for the Summer 2002 competition is Ludic Synergy. The prize
will be awarded to the game that best melds the piecepack
<http://www.piecepack.org/> with another commonly available game
system in a fun and interesting way. (A game system is a set of
components that function together in multiple games, much like the
One good example of a game that melds two game systems is Jim
Doherty's game Baseball <http://www.piecepack.org/rules/Baseball.pdf>,
which unites the piecepack and a standard deck of cards. Other
examples of game systems that can be melded with a piecepack set
include chess pieces and chessboards, polyhedral dice, alphabet decks
(such as Alpha Playing Cards), and dominoes.
For more information about the concept of ludic synergy, see the
homepage of the Center for Ludic Synergy <http://www.ludism.org/>.
The prizes for this contest are:
1. A complete set of games from tjgames.com
<http://www.tjgames.com/>, including the following:
* Alpha Playing Cards game system, with rulebook
* The HexGames game system
* Colvmn game
* Mutant Chess
2. Two sets of piecepack pyramids, handmade by Tim Schutz.
3. A second edition piecepack from Mesomorph Games
<http://www.mesomorph.com/>, including an up-to-date CD-ROM of
4. The Trophy Cloth: a card-table-sized tablecloth with a colour
piecepack suit emblem machine-embroidered on each side of the
table. The winner will sign and date the cloth in fabric paint,
then pass the cloth on when the winner of the next quarterly
contest is announced.
1. Your game entry must incorporate another readily available game
system as well as the piecepack, as outlined above. "Readily
available" means that the game system must be either in the public
domain, like a chess set, or easily obtained, such as an Icehouse
set. An obscure, out-of-print game system such as Orion
<http://www.ludism.org/orion/>, however interesting, doesn't
2. For the purposes of this contest, Tim Schutz's piecepack pyramids
will be considered a separate game system from the piecepack, so
entries that use only the piecepack and piecepack pyramids are
3. Submit your entry to Ron Hale-Evans at rwhe@.... The
submission must reach Ron by the end of 21 June 2002 Pacific Time
(-0800 GMT). (If you do not receive an acknowledgment of your
entry in email within 24 hours, please check with Ron to make sure
he received it.)
4. The entry must be either in platform-independent PDF format (for
example, it must print under GNU/Linux and the Mac OS as well as
Microsoft Windows), or plain text (with accompanying PNGs, JPGs, or
GIFs if needed for diagrams/photos).
5. The submission must be freely redistributable (feel free to retain
6. The submission must have a header containing fields for Title,
Version Number, Version Date, Number of Players, Approximate Length
of Game, Equipment Needed, Author, Copyright, and Licensing
7. Ideally, the winner of this contest will judge the next quarterly
piecepack game design contest (Fall 2002) and will donate an
interesting prize. However, this is not a requirement for entry,
and if you win, but don't want to judge the next contest, we'll
8. The winner will also receive the piecepack contest Trophy Cloth,
then pass it on to the winner of the next contest in due time.
We will judge the entries according to what we find most interesting
and fun, in a wholly subjective way. However, if you want to play to
the judges, we usually like games that:
1. Play in two hours or less.
2. Use the unique strengths of the piecepack as well as the strengths
of the other game system(s) melded with it (for example, a standard
deck of cards plus poker chips should not be easily substituted for
the piecepack part of the game).
3. Combine the game systems in a non-trivial way.
4. Have rules that are quick to read and easy to remember.
5. Have a well-integrated theme or background story.
6. Incorporate novel mechanics, especially novel piecepack mechanics.
For example, see James Kyle's comments
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/piecepack/message/342> on the novel
mechanics of Brad Johnson's game Conspiracy, which was entered in
the Spring 2002 "Time Marches On" competition. We hope the
competitions will spur piecepack game designers to develop a
"pattern language" or "bag of tricks" for the piecepack.
7. Incorporate strategic and/or tactical thinking, and are not merely
games of chance. It is best when the game's strategy and tactics
emerge elegantly from relatively simple rules.
8. Are not only freely-redistributable (a definite requirement), but
also freely-modifiable. In our opinion, the best way to make your
game free is to place it under the GNU Free Documentation License
<http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html>, but there are numerous
other free licenses.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE WINNERS:
If you are planning to judge the next contest, have an idea ready
about the theme of the contest _you_ will be judging well ahead of
time. We dithered for days about what our theme was going to be.
Also, feel free to crib from this document for your own contest
announcement, as we have cribbed from James's original:
Ron Hale-Evans ... rwhe@... & rwhe@...
Center for Ludic Synergy, Seattle Cosmic Game Night,
Kennexions Glass Bead Game & Positive Revolution FAQ: http://www.ludism.org/
Home page & Hexagram-8 I Ching Mailing List: http://www.apocalypse.org/~rwhe/