PiecepackGlossary

Glossary of piecepack Terms

Note: words in bold are defined elsewhere in this glossary.

This page is an expanded version of the more canonical but less comprehensive Piecepack Glossary at Piecepack.org.

See also EsperantoPiecepackGlossary.


Alphabetic quick links:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

abstract
adj. describing a game with no theme. Some abstract games have a very thin gloss of a theme (like the supposed war theme in Chess) but that theme is not an integral part of the enjoyment of playing the game.
abstract strategy game
n. an abstract game characterized as having perfect information (no hidden information) and no chance elements, usually two-player. Classic abstract strategy games are Chess, Checkers and Go. Backgammon is not an abstract strategy game, as it uses dice for random moves. Stratego is also not one, as it involves hidden information.
ace
1) n. a special value used on coins, tiles, and dice; the default numerical equivalent for an ace is 1, but rulesets often ascribe special meaning to the ace; an ace is represented by a suit symbol on tiles and dice, and by a swirl or spiral symbol on coins. Piecepack Expanded uses a stylized letter "A" on both the tiles and coins instead, while the JcdPiecepack uses the swirl at all locations.
2) n. the traditional name for the first card in each suit of a standard playing card deck.
adaptation
n. a ruleset describing how to play a already existing game using a piecepack. See port.
adaptor
n. the author of an adaptation ruleset.
anchors
1) n. An alternate symbol used for the blue arms suit in some versions of piecepack (JcdPiecepack). Considered a dark suit.
2) n. one of the black suits in an Empire playing card deck.
arms
n. one of the four standard piecepack suits; the suit of arms is represented by the color blue and the fleur-de-lis symbol. Some piecepack versions (Piecepack Expanded) use a shield symbol for this suit, or an anchor (JcdPiecepack) instead.

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B

bits
n. the pieces or parts of a game. Often used in the phrase "extra bits" to describe auxiliary pieces or equipment used in a game that are not part of the piecepack standard.
black
1) adj. the color associated with the piecepack moons suit.
2) adj. the default color used for the grid lines on tiles and the values and pips on coins.
3) adj. the color associated with the Spade and Club suits from the MesomorphGames PlayingCardsExpansion.
blank
adj. describing the absence of any markings. See null.
blue
adj. the color associated with the piecepack arms suit.
board
n. a horizontal surface upon which a game is played, often divided into spaces that delimit the movement and/or legal positions of the pieces in the game. Boards in piecepack games are often constructed out of piecepack tiles.

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C

chance elements
n. the features of a game that involve random actions or information. Some examples are: die rolls controlling movement or decisions and randomly drawn coins or tiles.
clubs
1) n. a piecepack suit used in some extended piecepack sets; the suit of clubs is represented by the color black (MesomorphGames PlayingCardsExpansion) or the color green (Piecepack Expanded) or yet another dark suit (JcdPiecepack) and the traditional playing card suit symbol ♣.
2) n. one of the black suits in a traditional playing card deck.
coin
1) n. a disk-shaped token marked with a suit symbol (in the associated color) on one side and a value (in black) on the other; there are six coins (one of each each value) associated with each suit in a piecepack, for a total of 24 coins in a standard set. Each coin also has a directional marker on both sides called a pip or tick mark. Coins are typically just the right size to fit inside one of the squares on the grid-side of a tile.
2) n. any of several embossed metal disks issued by countries as (usually fractional) currency.
color
n. the hue associated with a particular suit. The piecepack suits use black, blue, red, and yellow or green for the moons, arms, suns, and crowns suits, respectively. The MesomorphGames expansion piecepack sets use black for spades and clubs, red for hearts and diamonds, light blue for spring (flower), orange for fall (leaf), , purple for summer (fish), and white for winter (snowflakes). The Piecepack Expanded set uses black, blue, red, yellow, purple, orange, white, green, and gold for the moons, shields, suns, crowns, spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs, and stars suits, respectively.
combinatoric game theory
n. a mathematical discipline using surreal numbers to analyze abstract strategy games invented by J.H.H. Conway in his book On Numbers and Games and further expanded by E. Berlekamp, et al, in the book series Winning Ways for Your Mathematical Plays.
copyright
1) n. the legal right under a countries laws of a creator to control the copying, distribution or modification of a creative work. Most countries abide by a set of international copyright laws called the Berne Convention. See also public domain.
2) n. a notice asserting the legal rights of a creator over a work. A notice must include the word "copyright" or the c-in-circle symbol ©, the year of creation, and the creator's name. See also license.
crowns
1) n. one of the four standard piecepack suits; the suit of crowns is represented by either of the colors green (MesomorphGames) or yellow (Piecepack Expanded) or yet another light suit (JcdPiecepack) and by a crown-shaped symbol.
2) n. one of the red suits in an Empire playing card deck.
cut
1) v. to divide a deck or stack of cards or tiles into two parts and then placing the formerly bottom part on top to again form a single pile.
2) v. a method of selecting a random card or tile from a deck or stack by pulling a subset of cards or tiles off the top of the deck or stack and exposing the bottom card or tile of the pulled subset.

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D

dark suits
n. the following piecepack suits are considered dark suits: Moons, Anchors/Arms, Spades, Clubs, Fall, and Spring. This concept was introduced by JonathanDietrich for his monochrome JcdPiecepack.
deal
v. to evenly distribute (possibly after shuffling) a set of game pieces (such as cards or tiles) among all the players in a game, usually without exposing the values of the pieces. Dealing is usually done by giving a single item to each player in turn and then repeating until either a set number of items has been distributed to each player or until the whole set of items is exhausted.
dexterity game
n. a game where the manual dexterity of the player is a major non-incidental part of game play. Examples are flicking games like Crokinole and Carroms, stacking games like Jenga, and balancing games like Saturn and Villa Paletti.
diagonal
adj. related to the line connecting non-adjacent corners of a rectangle or other polygon. Diagonal movement is like that of a bishop in Chess. See also orthogonal.
diamonds
1) n. a piecepack suit used in some extended piecepack sets; the suit of diamonds is represented by the color red (MesomorphGames PlayingCardsExpansion) or the color white (Piecepack Expanded) or yet another light suit (JcdPiecepack) and the traditional playing card suit symbol ♦.
2) n. one of the red suits in a traditional playing card deck.
die
pl. dice
1) n. a cube with each side marked with one of the standard piecepack values (null, ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5); a piecepack has one die for each suit and the values on a die are marked in the color associated with its suit.
2) n. any of several polyhedral solids marked with numbers (or other symbols) used in games to generate random values. Standard dice are cubes marked with the values 1 to 6. Also easily available are dice with 4, 8, 10, 12, 20 and 30 sides. For everything you ever wanted to know about the possible shapes for dice, see the Properties of Dice web page.
draw
1) v. to pull a random tile or coin out of an opaque container such as a bag or cup. See also shake.
2) v. to pick a random a card or tile from a face-down pile or stack. See also shuffle.

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E

economic game
n. a game whose theme is related to commerce or making money. Economic games often use virtual money as victory points.
empire playing card deck
n. a deck of cards which expands the traditional 52 card playing card deck by adding two additional suits (anchors and crowns) for a total of 78 cards.
end-game
n. the closing phase of a game. In the end-game players make their final push to win the game. See: opening and mid-game.
equipment
n. everything needed to play a game, especially anything extra needed besides a standard piecepack. See also bits.
expose
v. to make some piece of hidden information visible to all the players in a game. See also peek.

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F

face
1) n. one of the labeled surfaces of a die.
2) n. the side of a tile showing the suit and value.
3) n. the side of a coin showing its value. See also obverse.
face-down
1) adj. describing a tile which has its value and suit hidden. See also suit-side-down, grid-side.
2) adj. describing a coin which has its value hidden. See also suit-side-up.
face-up
1) adj. describing a tile which has its value and suit exposed. See also suit-side-up.
2) adj. describing a coin, which has its value exposed. See also suit-side-down.
facing
n. the direction indicated on a coin or tile by its pip.
fall
n. one of the piecepack suits in the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion set; the fall suit is represented by the color orange and a leaf symbol.
fiddly
(ant. streamlined, elegant, intuitive)
1) adj. describing a small, easily-forgotten rule, particularly one that exists only to patch a problem caused by other rules.
2) adj. describing a set of small pieces that require excessive and/or difficult movement.
3) adj. describing a game or design with an excessive number of fiddly rules, pieces, or record-keeping.
fish
n. the symbol used to represent the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion purple summer suit.
flick
1) v. to propel a game piece (such as a piecepack coin) across the playing area with a single finger. A flick is not a sustained push, but a sudden snap or impulse. A proper flick is performed by resting a single fingertip on the playing surface with the fingernail against the game piece, then either (1) suddenly straightening the finger with the hand held motionless, or (2) suddenly straightening the whole hand at the wrist with the arm held motionless. Note that cocking your finger with your thumb results in not only loss of control but can also be very painful when your finger strikes the flicked piece.
2) n. an act of flicking a piece.
flicking game
n. a game where the principal method of moving pieces is to flick them.
flip
1) v. to turn over a tile or coin so that the side previously hidden is now exposed, and vice-versa.
2) v. to toss a coin in the air so that it tumbles and lands showing a random face.
flower
n. the symbol used to represent the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion light blue spring suit.
four seasons suits
n. the new suits added by the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion: spring, summer, fall and winter.

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G

game system
n. a unified set of related components that are used to play a large variety of games. Examples are: piecepack, Icehouse and a deck of cards.
gold
adj. the color associated with the Piecepack Expanded stars suit.
green
1) adj. one of the two possible colors associated with the piecepack crowns suit. Note: the original specification for the piecepack design called for the crowns suit to be colored yellow, but green is easier to see against the color of the typical wood tiles used in many piecepack sets. See also yellow.
2) adj. the color associated with the Piecepack Expanded clubs suit.
grid-side
adj. describing the side of a tile opposite the suit-side showing a 2x2 grid of squares. See also face-down, suit-side-down.

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H

hearts
1) n. a piecepack suit used in some extended piecepack sets; the suit of hearts is represented by the color red (MesomorphGames PlayingCardsExpansion) or the color orange (Piecepack Expanded) or yet another light suit (JcdPiecepack) and the traditional playing card suit symbol ♥.
2) n. one of the red suits in a traditional playing card deck.
hidden information
n. any piece of information about game state (such as the value of a face-down tile) that is either not equally known or totally unknown to all the players in a game. See also peek, expose, perfect information.

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I

Icehouse
n. a game system consisting of several sizes and colors of plastic pyramids, produced by Looney Labs. Sometimes used in conjunction with the piecepack.

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J

joker
n. an extra card or tile that does not belong to any suit. The standard symbol of a clown for a joker in playing card decks is possibly derived from the Fool card in Tarot decks.

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K

kibitz
v. (from Yiddish) to look on and offer unwanted, usually meddlesome advice to others. The term is often used in the context of a game.
kingmaking
v. a derisive term for the actions taken by a player who is in the position of being either impossible or highly unlikely to win a game and deliberately makes moves that throws the game to the player of their choice.

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L

leaf
n. the symbol used to represent the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion orange fall suit.
license
n. the terms under which a creator allows others to make use of a work protected under the copyright laws. Common licenses used for piecepack games are the "Creative Commons License" and the "GNU Free Document License" (FDL).
light blue
adj. the color associated with the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion spring suit (flowers).
light suits
n. the following piecepack suits are considered light suits: Suns, Crowns, Hearts, Diamonds, Summer, and Winter. This concept was introduced by JonathanDietrich for his monochrome JcdPiecepack.

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M

meld
n. a displayed collection of matching cards or tiles. The goal of most rummy like games is to form melds.
mid-game
n. the middle phase of a game between the opening and the end-game.
moons
n. one of the four standard piecepack suits; the suit of moons is represented by the color black or yet another dark suit (JcdPiecepack) and a quarter-moon symbol.
movement points
abv. MP
n. an allowance of points that a player expends to control the amount of movement of one or more of that player's pieces. There is not necessarily a direct one-to-one correspondence between the number of movement points spent and the number of spaces a piece moves.
multi-player solitaire
n. a possible derisive term for a game with very little or no interaction between the players.

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N

NdM?
n. a notation borrowed from Role Playing Games (RPGs) for the sum of the values obtained by rolling N M-sided dice. For example, 2d6 means the sum after rolling 2 standard 6-sided dice resulting in a value in the range 2-12.
null
n. a special value used on coins, tiles, and dice; the default numerical equivalent for a null is 0, but rulesets often ascribe special meaning to the null; a null is represented by the absence of a number or symbol. See also blank.

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O

obverse
n. the side of a coin showing the value. See also face, face-up, suit-side-down, reverse.
opening
n. the beginning part of a game. In the opening, players establish their initial positions and strategies. See: mid-game and end-game.
opening moves
n. player actions during the opening phase of a game.
orange
1) adj. the color associated with the Piecepack Expanded hearts suit.
2) adj. the color associated with the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion fall suit (leaves).
orthogonal
adj. having to do with right-angles. Orthogonal movement is to move parallel to the edges of a rectangular board or space; that is, moving like a rook in Chess. See also diagonal.

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P

pawn
n. a game token often used to represent a player's position on a game board; a piecepack contains one pawn for each suit, for a total of four pawns; a pawn is marked in the color associated with its suit and, ideally, is marked with the suit symbol as well.
pawn belt
n. a small strip of paper which wraps around, and is affixed to, a pawn which shows the pawn's suit and doubles as a directional indicator for the pawn. Pawn belts were invented by JonathanDietrich as his solution to the lack of directional indicators on pawns as well as a way to identify pawns without relying on colour for the JcdPiecepack.
pawn saucer
n. a disk with a well in the top of the correct size to hold a pawn and a pip on the rim to show direction. Pawn saucers are marked in the center of the well with a colored dot to match the corresponding suit so that they may be used as stand-alone pieces. Pawn saucers were invented by MesomorphGames as their solution to the lack of directional indicators on pawns.
peek
v. to examine some piece of hidden information in such a way that does not expose it to any other player.
percentile dice
n. a pair of differentiated 10-sided dice use to roll the digits of a percentage value in the uniform range 00-99. 00 can be used to mean either 0% or 100%
percentile die
n. a 100 sided (zocchihedron) die (seen here). A percentile die is not a practical die for gaming. Its many sides means that it can take a long time to come to rest (rolling too far), and makes it difficult to read the result. When a random number in the range of 0-99 or 1-100 is desired, it is much more practical to use percentile dice as noted above. Note: this is not a really a mathematically fair die.
perfect information
n. a game with perfect information has all elements of the game known at all times to all players. Note that a game with a random starting setup (such as a board created with randomly placed tiles) can still have perfect information as long as the information is exposed before the start of the game. See also hidden information.
phase
n. a temporal segment of a game. The term "phase" is sometimes used to denote broad parts of the flow of a game, i.e. the beginning, middle and end phases of a game. It is also sometimes used to denote the sub-parts of a turn.
piecepack
1) n. a simple, flexible, public domain standard for abstract board games. See Anatomy of a piecepack set for a complete description.
2) n. a set of game components built for compatibility with the piecepack standard; a piecepack consists of 24 tiles, 24 coins, 4 dice, and 4 pawns.
3) adj. of or having to do with a piecepack.
pip
1) n. a dot, small line, or other suitable symbol marked near the edge of a coin (in black), which can be used to indicate facing. See also tick mark.
2) n. the suit symbol in the corner of a tile (in the associated color) which can be used to indicate facing.
3) n. a dot on a standard die, domino, or Icehouse pyramid.
place
1) n. used with an ordinal number to denote the order that players finish a race-like game or contest. The winner is in first place, the next player to finish or reach the goal is in second place, etc. Also used with "last" to denote the final finisher.
2) n. used as in 1) to denote relative player positions at any intermediate stage of a race or contest.
player
n. a participant in a game.
player order
n. the sequence in which players take their turns in a game. The default player order in most games is clockwise around the table in the order the players are sitting.
playing card deck
n. the traditional deck of 52 cards (or 54 with two jokers).
playing card suits
n. the extra suits added by Piecepack Expanded, JcdPiecepack and the MesomorphGames PlayingCardsExpansion: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.
playtest
v. to play a game before its official public release with the intent to uncover flaws, ruleset omissions and ambiguities, broken mechanisms, and difficult to understand rules. The intent is to generate feedback for the game designer.
playtester
n. a participant in a playtest session.
port
1) v. to adapt a game for play using a piecepack possibly with a change of theme. See adaptation.
2) n. a game adapted to the piecepack.
public domain
n. or adj. the total absence of copyright protection. The piecepack standard is public domain.
purple
1) adj. the color associated with the Piecepack Expanded spades suit.
2) adj. the color associated with the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion summer suit (fish).

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R

race game
1) n. a game whose theme is related to a racing event, such as auto racing or horse racing.
2) n. a game where the winner is the first player whose piece reaches some goal in physical space, often by moving the piece along some linear course. See also place.
red
1) adj. the color associated with the piecepack suns suit.
2) adj. the color associated with the suits of hearts and diamonds in the MesomorphGames PlayingCardsExpansion.
reverse
1) n. the side of a coin showing the suit. See also face-down, suit-side-up, obverse.
2) v. to change direction so as to go in the opposite direction.
3) v. to flip over a coin or tile to show its other side.
roll
v. to throw or toss a die onto a surface causing it to tumble indeterminately so as to settle showing a random face.
rotating player order
n. a game mechanic where the first player to take a turn in each round of a game rotates one place around the table each round. For example, in a four player game, the players would take turns in the order ABCD then BCDA then CDAB then DABC then ABCD, etc.
round
n. a temporal segment of a game typically consisting of each player taking a single turn in some order.
ruleset
n. a set of instructions for playing a game using a piecepack (possibly in conjunction with other components or equipment).

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S

score
1) n. a numeric measure of a player's standing in a game.
2) v. to be rewarded victory points in a game.
seasonal suits
n. term used by the JcdPiecepack for the four seasons suits due to MesomorphGames decision to trademark the name 4 Seasons Expansion
sequence
n. a meld of cards or tiles being formed of all one suit and of consecutive values with no gaps.
set
n. a meld of cards or tiles being formed of all the same value but all of different suits.
shake
v. to mix coins by agitating them so as to create a random distribution (in an opaque cup, an opaque bag, or an enclosure created with two hands cupped together).
shields
n. An alternate symbol used for the blue arms suit in some versions of piecepack, such as the Piecepack Expanded set.
shove
v. to propel/push an object (overhanging the edge of a table) along a smooth surface, by hitting it with the heel of one’s hand. Used in Shove piecepack.
shuffle
1) v. to mix face-down tiles so as to create a random distribution. See also deal.
2) v. to randomize a deck of cards; usually by dividing the deck into approximately equal parts and interleaving the parts back together one or two cards at a time, repeating several times.
simulation
n. a game using a theme that attempts to accurately represent the features of some real world activity or event. Examples are: sports games such as Soccer and TabletopBocce, war games that re-enact some famous real battle, and economic games such as Taxicab.
simultaneous
adj. describing events happening all together at one time. Simultaneous movement is done by more than one player at the same time, instead of taking turns.
snowflake
n. the symbols used to represent the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion white winter suit.
solitaire
adj. or n. a game or puzzle played by a single player. See also kibitz. :)
spades
1) n. a piecepack suit used in some extended piecepack sets; the suit of spades is represented by the color black (MesomorphGames PlayingCardsExpansion) or the color purple (Piecepack Expanded) or yet another dark suit (JcdPiecepack) and the traditional playing card suit symbol ♠.
2) n. one of the black suits in a traditional playing card deck.
spiral
n. the default symbol used on piecepack coins to denote the ace value. Also called swirl.
spring
n. one of the piecepack suits in the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion set; the spring suit is represented by the color light blue and a flower symbol.
square
1) n. a space on a board with a rectangular grid, particularly one the the four spaces on the grid-side of a tile.
2) adj. the shape of a tile.
stack
1) n. one fourth of a standard piecepack; all the bits associated with a single suit (the 6 tiles, 6 coins, one die and one pawn, all of the same color and suit). See also stash.
2) v. to place a piece (coin or tile) on top of another, usually so that the value of the covered piece is completely hidden.
3) n. a pile of stacked pieces considered as a unit.
stars
n. one of the piecepack suits in the Piecepack Expanded set; the suit of stars is represented by the color gold and a 5-pointed star-shaped symbol.
stash
(from Icehouse) 1) n. a set of Icehouse pyramids in a single color, five of each size. See also stack(1).
2) n. the set of pieces controlled by a player, but not located on the board or playing field.
suit
n. an arbitrary division or categorization of components; there are four standard piecepack suits: (in default order from highest to lowest) suns, moons, crowns, and arms.
suit die
n. a die marked with suit symbols instead of values used to randomly select a suit.
suit-side-down
adj. with the suit icon on the piecepack component hidden. See also face-up(coin), face-down(tile), grid-side.
suit-side-up
adj. with the suit icon on the piecepack component exposed. See also face-up(tile), face-down(coin).
suns
n. one of the four standard piecepack suits; the suit of suns is represented by the color red or yet another light suit ([1]) and a sun-shaped symbol.
swirl
n. the default symbol used on piecepack coins to denote the ace value. Also called spiral.

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T

taxonomy
n. a classification of a set of objects into categories based on shared common features. See the TaxonomyOfPiecepackGames.
theme
n. the background story associated with a game. A theme typically provides information about the goals and/or mechanisms of a game. A theme can be very weak so as to be just "pasted onto" an abstract game, or so strong that the game is a simulation of some aspect of reality. The theme of a game is often an integral part of the enjoyment of playing a game.
tick mark
n. the directional marker on a coin. See also pip.
tile
n. a square component marked with suit and value (in the color associated with the suit) on one side and a two by two grid (in black lines) on the other; a piecepack contains one tile for each combination of suit and value, for a total of 24 tiles. Tiles are typically 2 inches on a side or a little over twice the diameter of a coin.
token
1) n. one of a collection of (possibly indistinguishable) items (stones, pawns, beads or coins) used in a game to mark positions, count points or any other purpose.
2) n. a game piece that represents a player. See also pawn.
toss
v. to throw a coin or die in order to obtain a random value. See also roll, flip(2).
traditional game
n. a game with a long history, often of unknown authorship, that is usually taught word-of-mouth. Examples are: Chess, Checkers, Go, many sports, billiards and many card games.
train game
n. a game whose theme is related to railroad trains. Sometimes used as a derogatory term for a non-train themed game that could be easily re-themed with trains.
turn
n. a temporal segment of a game usually devoted to the actions of a single player.

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V

value
n. the ordinal rank of a coin, tile, or die roll; there are six standard values for piecepack components: (in default order from lowest to highest) null, ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Vassal Engine
n. a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board games and card games. It allows users to play in real time over a live Internet connection (in addition to playing by email). It runs on all platforms, and is free for personal use. Mentioned here because a [JonathanDietrich/VassalModule module] exists for Vassal that facilitates playing many piecepack games, as well as many games that rely on other components. In addition some people make use of the [JonathanDietrich/VassalModule module] to create diagrams for their rulesets.
victory points
abv. VP
n. a numeric measure of of a player's standing in a game. Usually the player that receives the most victory points by the end of a game is the winner. See also score.

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W

white
1) adj. the color associated with the Piecepack Expanded diamonds suit.
2) adj. the color associated with the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion winter suit (snowflake).
winter
n. one of the piecepack suits in the MesomorphGames 4 Seasons Expansion set; the winter suit is represented by the color white and a snowflake symbol.

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Y

yellow
adj. one of the two possible colors associated with the piecepack crowns suit. See also green.

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Z

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