Comments on PiecepackMatchsticks

# 11 Comments. # Very cool! Some possible ideas:

  1. If you use a suit symbol as your pip (or at least have your pips/numbers vary by suit) and go from one pip to six pips your matchsticks become more color blind friendly.
  2. If you have a "stand" for your matchsticks (many ways to go about this, in my head I have something like the old Chinese coins with a square cut out) they could replace Piecepack Pyramids for a subset of games like IceFloe.
  3. If you make a hex board with square tiles with diagonal "hex lines" in the corner and you want to lay matchsticks on the edge (i.e. to make a "road") you'll want to use the "one" and "two" matchsticks (i.e. use the "two" on the diagonal hex edges and a "one" on the orthogonal hex edges).
  4. One could use them to construct 3D boards...

-- TrevorLDavis 2018-06-17 04:38 UTC

Trevor's #1 and #4 had occurred to me too. I didn't think of accessibility, but I did think it would be cool to have suit symbols instead of notches. I don't see why you would need 1-6 notches instead of 0-5. In fact, for better piecepack compatibility, I would recommend a special Ace mark instead of 5 notches.

As for #4, 3D boards would be great! You'd need some kind of "nodes" to go along with your "struts", probably. See

-- RonHaleEvans 2018-06-17 05:11 UTC

So another "more piecepack like" option that seems it should still be accessible for the color blind might be to put a rank symbol in the center (the "classic" choice would be nothing for null and a suit symbol for ace) and to add a suit symbol at the end (for direction). I've added the Matchsticks accessory with such a design as default (should be able to configure locations and symbols) to my long list of features to eventually implement in the PiecepackRPackage.

-- TrevorLDavis 2018-06-17 05:55 UTC

Such exciting ideas! You could probably drill or 3D print a square hole in the null cubes to insert sticks vertically. Not as sturdy as a coin, but would be self-contained within the matchstick system. You could even make the cubes a little bigger and put holes in each side that sticks could fit into. I am a fan of Zometool, and I think it may have subconsciously influenced my design.

Trevor, I am intrigued by the idea of a symbol in the center and one at the end; there are plenty of situations where it could be helpful to have a mark at the center of the stick, and accessibility is valuable. I think it would be more practical to put the the rank at the end with suit in the center. This would make it easier to line up sticks endwise and tally values, for example. Since the cubes have their own distinct shape, it wouldn't be too distracting to have a suit symbol on one face. Plus, then they could be rolled like dice for low-probability outcomes.

One of my considerations in design was the ease of making 3D sets by hand, which is why I didn't initially add suit symbols by default. I also wasn't sure how well a 3D printer would resolve suit symbols and numbers at this scale. Since the matchsticks will be numerous and facing many directions, I personally lean toward pips as rank markers.

-- Dan_Burkey 2018-06-18 03:19 UTC

Hi Dan. About the pips and suit symbols: I think it's really important with any changes you make to your initial design to be careful to harmonize them with existing piecepack bits. Look at piecepack pyramids. I really like them in a number of ways, but if I could change one thing, it would be the A..F lettering system, which is like nothing else in the piecepack world. I know from playing with prototypes that Tim experimented with a number of different systems for them, but in the end, I think the letters are less flexible than confusing. OTOH, I think the gold standard in this area is the different features James Kyle gave coins and tiles.

About Zometool: the "new geometric possibilities" diagram (figure 4) and the relative lengths of your sticks were strongly reminiscent of Zome. Which I think is a good thing in this case. No one has ever done it for piecepack before, and it really expands the options for gaming -- of course, this half of the contest is all about expansion.

-- RonHaleEvans 2018-06-18 06:33 UTC

Another idea, a bit more zany: matchstick-ready piecepacks, including tiles, coins, dice, and pawns with predrilled holes. The small holes shouldn't affect play otherwise...

Strictly apart from the contest, if the community appreciates matchsticks and starts using them, you should look into the possibility of piecepack manufacturers like Blue Panther making them.

-- RonHaleEvans 2018-06-18 07:04 UTC

  1. I agree that that DIY-manufacturing-wise it would be easier to cut out notches or 3D print (or even drill/hammer!) simpler symbols for the various suits (perhaps circular pips for one suit, square pips for another, triangular pips for a third, etc.) but it might be worth it to mention for those who want a more "classic" piecepack look some of the "easier" DIY ways to add traditional piecepack suit/rank symbols to wood/3-D printed plastic i.e. paint/ink with stencil (maybe replace the fleur-de-lis with something more DIY stencil-friendly); make and use (wood)stamp; or add on some labels printed out via label paper. If designing a matchstick to receive labels might be worth putting in a little indentation on the matchsticks to receive and protect the label(s) (like the GameCrafter die/pawns designed to take stickers).
  2. I suggested a rank in the center and suit at the edge because piecepack tile faces and coin faces (and die faces) all have the rank in the (sometimes off-)center with another symbol to indicate direction and in the tile faces it is in fact the suit symbol at the edge (canonically in the corner) that indicates a special direction (and although not in the Anatomy of a Piecepack often designers add a suit symbol on the edge of piecepack dice as well). The value of switching that around may or may not be worth it or one could even put both symbols at the edge (which might be easier if adding them with labels since one could put both on with one label). My aesthetic leans towards suit symbol at the edge and rank symbol in the center to be more consistent with other piecepack components (I suspect given the difference in sizes between stick ranks tallying up scores will not really be much harder this way) but for all my components I allow users in my program to override my aesthetic defaults and customize where symbols go (and which symbols to use) depending on their own personal aesthetics. I agree with Ron that aesthetically I would have preferred Piecepack Pyramids to use the traditional piecepack ranks n-5 instead of A-F.
  3. Pre-drilled holes would allow some pretty cool 3D boards but might be hard quality-control-wise to always put them in the center so their presence could leak information about the other side of the components. Also some people might find the hole visually distracting although if one were to make a piecepack with a bunch of extra ranks one could strategically place them and the symbols so easy to distinguish the 6/9, 2/↊, and 3/↋ like the use of dots in Settlers of Catan and other games.

-- TrevorLDavis 2018-06-18 18:00 UTC

I fiddled with some prototypes using various combinations of suit and rank markings. I like the feeling of a vertically oriented matchstick with number in the middle and suit symbol on top. I think the span of a matchstick will have the most meaning with the number in the middle, and vertical orientation makes a prettier arrangement when players spread them out to use as counters. It also creates an "ace end" and "null end" to the matchsticks that has a nice piecepack resonance.

I had designed a dexterity game that involved numbers at the ends, but I can adapt it for the updated design. I think the new matchsticks will inspire better games.

-- Dan_Burkey 2018-06-21 04:07 UTC

"I think the new matchsticks will inspire better games." I like to hear that! Will we get to see a Matchsticks 2.0 before the competition deadline?

-- RonHaleEvans 2018-06-24 21:18 UTC

I am working on it. I spent a couple days making some wooden sets, and they are really fun to mess around with: like a building set you can play games with. A set will be on its way to you before the deadline. I need to update the intro document with photos and a clarified definition. Updating the templates may take a little longer. I am also play testing and finalizing my rule set for Piecepackman, the inaugural game for the matchsticks. I would have posted a draft already, but it needs significant organization and editing.

-- Dan_Burkey 2018-06-24 23:33 UTC


-- RonHaleEvans 2018-06-24 23:52 UTC

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