Dominoes come in a variety of sizes in order to permit both more people to play and to permit a wider variety of games to be played.
Why don't piecepacks come in a some variety of sizes to permit similar changes of play.
Upon hearing this, many people will say either "Of course there is. Try the XXX expansion" or "Of course there is. Try the XXX accessory." But I find this unsatisfying.
We should be able to agree to some set sizes of piecepack sets.
Let's start with some nomenclature. The base piecepack could be called "Four suit, four component, six range piecepack" but this would permit a little too much variety.
Which do you think is better: "How many suits would you like, how many components, oh, and how much range would you like?"; or "Would that be small, medium, or large?"?
So let's agree that the base piecepack is a "four suit piecepack" and go from there.
First off, the order of the suits, comparing the logo to the order of suits:
I find this fascinating because I am a math geek and this looks a lot like the geometric proof of successive squares being calculated by adding successive odd numbers. I can already see that the next five should be:
But the patterns go further than that. If we consider why a fleur-de-lis would represent "arms" we are immediately reminded of "coats of arms" or marks of nobility, that is those who rule (hopefully) nobly. This goes along with crowns, or those who rule by right. Taking these together we get additional patterns of:
|Power||Rule nobly||Rule by right|
As we move to the right we get "lesser" and as we move down we get "more concrete" concerns.
Going even further, the simplest accepted symbol for the sun is a circle with one point, the simplest symbol for the moon is a crescent with two points, the simplest crown is a crown with three points, and the simplest sign for a fleur-de-lis is three lines joined at the bottom for a total of four points.
Now let's look at the components. We have two components which are one per suit, and two components which are six per suit. The pawn stands up like a one; the die is a device which can stand or be thrown (two); the coin which can be used to show possession, value, or as a randomizing device (three); the tile is divided into four sections.
It goes even further with pawns and tiles clearly being "board game components" (what could be more basic than a board and pieces, and dice and coins being described as randomizing units.
|Theme||Base||Random||How Many etc.|
|Astronomical||1||sun||pawn||2||moon||die||one per suit|
|Power||4||arm||tile||3||crown||coin||six per suit and directional|
Finally, the odd suits are light and the even suits are dark.
Armed with this analysis, we can explore the question of extra suits and components.
The Fifth Suit: The fifth suit is astronomical, associated with the number five, and "less than" moon, and light. How about star. Stars are astronomical, "less than" moon, and can be drawn with five points.
What color should the star be? I’m sticking with resistor code colors. They have been used successfully for years and been found differentiable enough to allow people to know which resistor is which. The resistor colors are black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, grey, and white. The remaining colors are brown, orange, purple, grey, and white. It needs to be a light color, let’s go with white.
The Sixth Suit: The sixth suit is related to power, associated with the number six, and "less than" rule by right, and a dark color. How about a grey sword. A sword could be drawn to have six points, and can represent the idea of rule by might, and grey can be dark.
Before we look at the seventh suit, we have to consider what the theme of that third row is. It needs to be "more concrete" than power. I suggest seasons. It's an artifact of nature so it can be remain in the public domain easily, enough cultures have expressed an order to the seasons that we can use one (spring first), and some cultures decided to treat part of the year as 'non-time' (winter) so we can choose to only have three seasons.
The Seventh Suit: The seventh suit needs to be "two less than" spring, associated with the number seven, a season, and a light color. How about fall. A leaf could be drawn with six points and the stem could be the seventh point, and it can be orange.
The Eighth Suit: The eighth suit needs to be "less than" spring, associated with the number eight, a season, and a dark color. How about summer. The head of a wheat grain could be drawn to have eight points, and it can be brown.
The Ninth Suit: We've already given this one away. This could be represented by a four leaf flower with a dot in the middle. Each leaf would be two points and the dot in the middle would be the ninth point, and purple (our last unused resistor color) can be a light color.
The Tenth Suit: Astronomical, less than star. Void or the emptiness of space. I imagine this to be five swirls somewhat like many drawings of a black hole.
Now color becomes a problem. We’ve used all the resistors and I don’t think we want to start using colors like chartreuse (what color is that anyway). My proposal is that these next suits have two colors.
Void needs to be dark, let’s go with black and blue. The pawn will be black with a blue band around the middle, the saucer will be black with a blue ring around it.
The Eleventh Suit: Power, less than rule by might. Chaos. The lack of rule.
The Twelfth Suit: Season, less than fall. Winter.
Something "more concrete" than the seasons. I suggest states of matter. Once again, an attribute of the physical world and easy to keep in the public domain.
The Thirteenth Suit: Plasma (very less dense than solid).
The Fourteenth Suit: Gas (much less dense than solid).
The Fifteenth Suit: Liquid (less dense than solid).
The Sixteenth Suit: Solid.
Dominoes don't come in every size imaginable. There aren't double-seven dominoes. Piecepacks should be no different.
In picking these sizes, let's be guided by two facts: first, the piecepack logo is a square; second, we've added suits is a way to generate squares.
I think this means that our standard piecepack sizes are one suit, four suits, nine suits, and sixteen suits.
Before I start discovering components, let's think about how many components we need.
A four suit piecepack has four components. I don't think this means that a sixteen suit piecpack needs sixteen components. In fact I have a hard time believing that most good games would have sixteen components. I know that someone will immediately point out a game they know which twenty different components which is just the best game they've ever played. I said "most good games". For piecepacks we are looking for universals not one-offs.
The four suit piecepack has four components! Ah, that doesn't mean that an n suit piecepack has n components. There are other ways to take 4 and turn it into a 4.
Let's think a little about that smallest piecepack, the one suit piecepack.
|If the relationship is||One suit piecepack have||Gmes you can play would be|
|n/2+2||one pawn and one die||die games|
|n/3+3||one pawn, one die, and six coins||solitaire game with a "board" of coins|
I think we all agree that piecepacks are about board games, so the relationship must be n/3+3.
So let's start discovering these additional components.
The Fifth Component: There is one per suit -- wait a second. We already have this. Pawn saucers are one per suit. That must be why the inventor of piecpacks appears to have accepted them so well. What else can we tell about them? They are also described as being specifically multi-use.
The Sixth Component: There are six per suit, it is directional, and it is multi-use. Hmmm... Let's think about those tiles and coins again. There are four different possibilities for information on one side of a two sided object.
|Nothing||Suit||Value||Suit and Value|
Tiles use the outside two and coins use the inside two. Let's keep that pattern and have this new device use the outside two.
I hereby declare and release into the public domain the idea of piecepack cakes. These are small squares which can fit into a quarter of a tile, 3/4" x 3/4" x 1/8". They have a direction mark visible from both faces as well as the edge. One face is blank and the other face has suit and value marked. They can used like cards, they can serve as stackable components where suit and value are important, they can have a coin stacked on them to permit pieces that have two directions (like one to move and one to see), and they can be flicked or flipped to mark special behavior.
I must admit I'm out of ideas here. I can't even discover how many there are, I just know that it has to be multi-use. Someone with more sight than me must discover the next two components before we can truly make sixteen suit picepacks.
|Astronomy||1 (light)||pawn||2 (dark)||die||5 (light)||saucer||10 (dark)||.||One per suit|
|.||red||sun||black||moon||white||star||black and blue||void||.|
|Power||4 (dark)||tile||3 (light)||coin||6 (dark)||cake||11 (light)||.||Range per suit|
|.||blue||arm||green or yellow||crown||grey||sword||?????||chaos||.|
|Seasons||9 (light)||.||8 (dark)||?????||7 (light)||?????||12 (dark)||.||?????|
|Matter||16 (dark)||.||15 (light)||.||14 (dark)||.||13 (light)||.||.|
How much am I now asking you to carry around?
|One Suit Piecepack||3 components, 0-3||0.69||Domino|
|Four Suit Piecepack||4 components, 0-5||27.2||VHS Tape|
|Nine Suit Piecepack||6 components, 0-7||85.8||Backgammom Set|
|16 Suit Piecepack||8 components, 0-11||225+||Clarinet Case|