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Subject: Icehouse pyramid variant: "Ice Ketchup" rss

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Russ Williams
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We just tried a couple games of this variant "Ice Ketchup" I thought up recently using pyramids from the Looney Pyramids. We enjoyed it, and it seems to have potential as a quick short tactical Ketchup variant.

The basic concept is that pieces have values (1, 2, or 3) instead of all being worth 1. And you have a limited supply (5) of each size, as each player uses a stash of 15 pyramids (5 of each size in their color).

We played on a Neuroshima Hex board (3 hexes per side), smaller than a "standard" Ketchup board. (We also tried 4 hexes per side, but found it to be too open, given the limited number of pyramids in Ice Ketchup, unlike in regular Ketchup where your stones are unlimited.)



As you will see, Ice Ketchup is defined in terms of number of points in a group, whereas regular Ketchup is defined in terms of number of occupied hexes in a group.

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RULES:

Play on a hex grid with 3 hexes per side.

Each player gets their own stash of Icehouse pyramids in their own color.

The first player puts 1 point (a single 1-pyramid) on the board. (To be most like regular Ketchup, it would be 2 points. But 1 point seemed better to me, and in regular Ketchup the first player already has an advantage, and starting with a point less reduces that advantage in regular Ketchup.)

On a player's turn, they must add 3 points to the board if their largest group has fewer points than the opponent's largest group. They must add 2 points to the board if their largest group has more points than the opponent's largest group.

Your points can be added by any combination of 1, 2, or 3 point pyramids that sum to the required 2 or 3. Of course you are limited by the mix of unplayed pyramids still in your stash, which becomes significant in the endgame.

You can not cause your largest group to have the same number of points as the opponent's largest group.

If a player cannot make a legal play, the game ends, and the player with the largest group (by number of points) wins.

---------------------

If anyone tries it, please give feedback!
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Nick Bentley
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Great idea. I'm going to try to try it (I've got the pieces, but need to locate willing partner)

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Zack Stackurski
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milomilo122 wrote:
I've got the pieces, but need to locate willing partner


Ahhh... the endless refrain of the Icehouse addict

I too will try this ketchup variant if the opportunity presents itself.
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s m t
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I enjoy playing Catchup. And It's been over a year since a post here so has anyone tired "Ice Ketchup"?
It looks interesting and I am a sucker for variants.
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Russ Williams
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And has anyone tried it with Ketchup 4.0 rules? (I've still not even played Ketchup 4.0 at all, alas...)
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s m t
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russ wrote:
And has anyone tried it with Ketchup 4.0 rules? (I've still not even played Ketchup 4.0 at all, alas...)


I have mostly played Ketchup 4.0 which I prefer to the previous version. I am interested what your take on 4.0 will be russ.
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Nick Bentley
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russ wrote:
And has anyone tried it with Ketchup 4.0 rules? (I've still not even played Ketchup 4.0 at all, alas...)


I've tried it with the 4.0 rules

Naturally I believe it's better, or I wouldn't have gone to all the trouble. I'm heartened in that I've yet to play it with anyone who thinks otherwise.

The main differences:

1) There are no more illegal moves - helps game flow.

2) Sometimes in close games, the second or even third biggest groups come into play. So you have to "play the whole board" a bit more in tight games.

3) It's more balanced.

4) Most important, opening play is sharper, and the opening segues into the midgame faster. This matters because in the older version it was possible to play well simply by staying highly disconnected in the opening, even if you didn't otherwise know what you were doing. This isn't so much the case anymore, and interesting stuff now happens from start to finish.

I would love it if you played it and wrote another review (or revised your old one), as I'm not sure how much your old review applies anymore (and it's the only one).





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