Comments on PiecepackExpansions

# 15 Comments. # I'm considering rewriting this page but would like to check first if people agree with my approach.

The page is quite confusing. It lists various types of things under the same heading. I would like to create different sections. The words to describe those things is also confusing. And it's missing a couple of things.

The way I see it, there are at least 3 different things listed on this page, maybe even 4:

Piecepacks with alternative suits

Those are standard piecepacks but with playing card, season and expanded suits but also the missing element suits and others.
I guess this is what's mostly meant with "expansion". Although I find the term confusing in this context.

Combinations of piecepacks

That's mixing specific types of piecepacks. Those are the SixPack, HoardPack, DualPiecepacks and StackPack.
Any idea what to call those? "Combos"? I'm not sure how well they fit with the other things on this page. This category is more about synergies and what happens when combining piecepacks.

Additional pieces

Those are saucers, pyramids and matchsticks, but also the missing suit dice, star coins, HexPack and various tokens/money. I would consider the MystiqueDeck to be among these as well.
The page is clear on what to call them, those are "accessories". Although those seem more like "expansions" to me.

Substitutes for pieces

I'm not sure if this category is necessary. Those are maybe the dice cards / paper dice. If not its own category, they would be listed under "additional pieces" above.
I know dice cards don't fully substitute dice, but could do if you kept a list of previous rolls and re-roll whenever a roll had already happened.

-- selfthinker 2020-02-03 01:49 UTC

I think rewriting this page is a good idea. I think it's fine if you come up with your own nomenclature. It would be even better if you mention the old nomenclature more or less prominently ("some people call the items on this page accessories", etc.).

I have a suggestion for reconceptualizing this page's morass. What if you start with the concept of suit and work upward? A standard piecepack would consist of the suits of Suns, Moons, Crowns, and Arms. But you can combine suits in different ways. A SixPack is the suits of Suns, Moons, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds, and Clubs. You don't have to make up a special name like "combo". A SixPack is just a piecepack with those six suits. A BackPack (from PiecepackLetterbox) is a six-suited piecepack with Suns and Moons (same as a SixPack) and four other suits.

James Kyle did not intend "piecepack" to be a proper noun. That's why it's in lower case.


-- RonHaleEvans 2020-02-03 03:33 UTC

It's kind of like set theory. 😁

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-02-03 03:35 UTC

I wonder if they could all be called "expansions". Then the different types could be distinguished by just describing their difference, sort of like I already did in here.

Yes, mentioning what things were called before or elsewhere makes sense.

The combos are not just about combining different suits, the StackPack is about combining different sizes and the DualPiecepacks are about combining piecepacks with 1 other difference other than suit that can be anything (but is often light and dark).

-- selfthinker 2020-02-03 09:32 UTC

I think historically the first piecepack manufacturer MesomorphGames called the non-standard four suited packs they sold in addition to their standard piecepack "expansions" and their PawnSaucers which they eventually included for free with each of their packs an "accessory". So MesomorphGames considered things they sold separately from their standard piecepack as "expansions" and the non-standard-components bundled with their standard piecepack as "accessories". Then later piecepackers called extra "decks" of suits "expansions" and non-standard extra playing pieces (like the saucers) "accessories".

Although I agree with RonHaleEvans that the SixPack can be analyzed as just a six-suited piecepack (and in piecepackr one can indeed create such a 6-suited piecepack "configuration") I agree with Anika that having three or four separate sub-headings in the article as slightly more useful. Although theoretically one could simply make and sell such a SixPack "deck" in practice one usually makes or buys a standard piecepack "deck" plus a playing cards "expansion" "deck" and then combines the two to get a SixPack when they want to play SixPack games. However the number of expansions is small enough it doesn't matter too much which way you divide them up.

What about some variation on the following four headings?

Whether an article goes under "additional game tokens" or "related game systems" is fuzzy and could be based on whether the designer feels that their game tokens are mainly a separate game system designed to be synergistic with a piecepack (arguably HexPack and Mystique) or mainly as an accessory for the piecepack but which happen to be game systems in their own right (arguably PiecepackDiceCards or PiecepackPyramids).

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-02-03 19:56 UTC

I agree that the distinction between extra bits and bits that stand on their own can be fuzzy. I guess a good reason to list them separately would be if you can play games with those bits alone without a piecepack. (To my knowledge, only the Mystique Deck falls under that category, at least when only considering published games.)

The headings get less accurate.

The other thing that might be worth mentioning on the page is that most of the "expansions" are just a concept. Half of them are not used in any (published) game, some are used in exactly 1 game and only the pyramids and saucers are used in at least a handful of games.

-- selfthinker 2020-02-04 23:12 UTC

> "Extra four-suited piecepack decks" would not include all the piecepacks with alternative suits that have more suits... "Many-suited packs" is a very vague term."

I agree "Many-suited packs" is vague. In my head I was lumping all the 5+ suited piecepacks in this grouping including the six-suited SixPack, the eight-suited DualPiecepacks, the twelve-suited HoardPack, and the arguably eight-suited StackPack (which could be classified in other ways as well). Other than the defunct Icepack Games piecepacks (I think the Zodiac piecepack was also by them?) none of these seem to have been commercially sold separately and perhaps other than the SixPack have had few published games explicitly targeting them.

> The word "tokens" confuses me in "additional game tokens". I would expect other things like counters and pawns when I read that term.

I agree "tokens" includes things like counters and pawns. Need a word that includes "saucers", "pyramids", "cards", and maybe "stones". To me "bit" also works as reasonably well.

> I guess a good reason to list them separately would be if you can play games with those bits alone without a piecepack.

The HexPack has Rummy Runners. You can adapt Mate and Euchre to play with PiecepackDiceCards (version two allows even more games to be adapted like Pinochle). Several Looney Pyramids games can be adapted to be played with PiecepackPyramids. I don't think there have been any published games though specifically targeting either of the latter two though by themselves and I think they were originally designed to primarily be used in conjunction with the piecepack. I think the HexPack was intended to be a somewhat independent (but still related) game system by the designer but not much has happened with it. The main reason to have separate categories would be mainly to massage designers feelings who may not be happy theirs was classified as a "mere" accessory. Could possibly throw in the StackPack in here as well (if you'd prefer to classify it as an accessory/game system but where the extra bits are a differently sized piecepack).

As I said the number of total articles is sufficiently small I don't think it matters too much which way you classify things and there probably isn't a uniquely best way of classifying things.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-02-05 05:57 UTC

Ah, I misunderstood. I thought your headings were supposed to be the equivalent of mine just rephrased. I didn't realise you were thinking of categorising the games a bit differently.

I agree that there is probably enough of a difference between "a piecepack with other (4) suits" and "a piecepack with more suits (or more ranks)". I guess "a piecepack with changed parameters" would be more accurate to then also include the minipack, more ranks, etc. But that term isn't very user-friendly. And it gets fuzzy again because the SixPack could be either in "combination of piecepacks" or "a piecepack with more suits".

I'm surprised you consider the DualPiecepacks eight-suited. They certainly can be eight-suited but they don't have to be. You could combine two "normal" piecepacks, both with the same 4 suits, and would get DualPiecepacks. You could, for example, combine the Workman edition and one of the Blue Panther editions. (Although one crown suit is yellow and the other is green, but you get the point.) It wouldn't look as aesthetically pleasing as a set which was made to work together, but it would work.

I wonder if all of those could simply be categorised as "alternative piecepacks". Sub-categories could be "piecepacks that don't change gameplay" (i.e. they just have different suits and/or colours, but I would count the minipack among them) and "piecepacks that change gameplay" (i.e. they change the structure of a piecepack, like adding more suits or ranks).

Other than the defunct Icepack Games piecepacks (I think the Zodiac piecepack was also by them?) none of these seem to have been commercially sold separately

Blue Panther also offered the Zodiac piecepack commercially, see

I agree "tokens" includes things like counters and pawns. Need a word that includes "saucers", "pyramids", "cards", and maybe "stones". To me "bit" also works as reasonably well.

"Bits" would work for me. The reason why I have chosen "pieces" initially, although it's pretty vague as well, is because I thought all the piecepack components are called "pieces" in the original spec. And these would just be extra pieces. Now that I've double checked this I found the heading for the pieces in the spec is actually "components". Hmm, maybe that is the better word?

It's difficult to determine if, e.g. the HexPack pieces are "just extra pieces" or a game system on its own if it's lacking the games to understand how it's used. Rummy Runners is not using the HexPack on its own, it only works with a Mystique Deck. And it's not using a piecepack either (although can optionally). The Dice Cards might not be "just extra pieces" as you could use them on their own. But again, there are no games for them. The games you list can be (and are originally) played with a standard deck of playing cards, so don't need the Dice Cards.

As far as I understand, all the accessories have been invented to enhance the piecepack. Until you pointed it out, I thought the HexPack would be similar, although now I see that it probably is separate. Maybe we should only count the intention of the designer? In that case the Mystique Deck is definitely separate as well.

My proposed new headings:

-- selfthinker 2020-02-05 16:26 UTC

You might have noticed that I have summarised some of the alternatives under "Variations" on Now that I remembered that, I guess "variation" might be a better word than "alternative"?

-- selfthinker 2020-02-05 16:51 UTC

My proposed new headings:

The five headings seems fine to me.

>components... Hmm, maybe that is the better word?

I consider (game) "piece", "bit", "token", and "component" to be more or less interchangeable. There will already be lots of "piece" in the article so I think using "bit", "token", or "component" to be more aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, "variation" and "alternative" seem pretty equivalent to me.

> Blue Panther also offered the Zodiac piecepack commercially, see

Thanks! Didn't know that ever existed.

> I'm surprised you consider the DualPiecepacks eight-suited... You could combine two "normal" piecepacks, both with the same 4 suits, and would get DualPiecepacks. You could, for example, combine the Workman edition and one of the Blue Panther editions.

You could arguably classify that as eight suits: "IBG Suns", "BP Suns", etc. Wikipedia says that "a suit is one of the categories into which the cards of a deck are divided." Unicode comes with eight playing cards suits including "Black Spade Suit" and "White Spade Suit". I'm fine if you want to classify it as "combinations of piecepacks and other concepts" or "alternative piecepacks with a different structure" instead of "alternative piecepacks with different suits". It can be reasonably classified in several ways.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-02-05 21:02 UTC


Lots of the linked pages are very outdated. I was tempted to not add any links. But instead I will probably just update some of them.

I've also added some 💰 and 🎲 characters to indicate if something was available commercially and if something has games for it. I think that is important for people to understand the impact of an expansion. I'm not sure about the characters themselves, though. Two potential issues: Although both are Unicode characters, they might not be as well supported as other characters ($ and ⚄). I also wonder if 💰 could be misinterpreted that there are no free versions available, which would be misleading.

-- selfthinker 2020-02-09 14:40 UTC

This is beautiful. Thank you, selfthinker. I wish I could have participated more in the discussion leading up to the final page design, but I don't think I would have made it any better.

I have one tiny comment at present that I hope you'll find constructive: I prefer the alternative versions of the dice and money icons because I think the original ones are harder to read at small screen sizes.

Thanks again!

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-02-09 23:00 UTC

Interesting, when I look at the emoji characters (💰 and 🎲) on a smaller screen size I find them easier to read than the other characters ($ and ⚄). Especially the monochrome die (⚄) is difficult to see and recognise. But because the emoji characters are so colourful, they stand out a lot, which might not be a good thing. It makes them seem more important than they are. I'll change them.

-- selfthinker 2020-02-10 10:11 UTC

It probably depends on your device and OS, as well as screen size, resolution, and other variables. On my Ubuntu laptop, Firefox displays the two color emoji in monochrome. On my Android phone, they appear in color, but they're just blurs. I can recognize the dollar sign clearly on my phone because it's bolder, with less detail. The accompanying die is harder to recognize, but I at least have a chance.

I'm talking about the resolutions at which I normally read the wiki. If I pinch-zoom on my phone or whatever, all bets are off.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-02-12 07:14 UTC

Nice job Anika!

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-02-18 01:33 UTC

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