Players 2-4
Length 20-40 minutes
Equipment Required 1 piecepack; one set of piecepack pyramids or other tokens per player
Designer Chris Goodwin
Version 0.5
Version Date 2018-05-25
License Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License


A four-in-a-row game with a twist. The designer's first game for multiple game systems (Piecepack, Looney Pyramids, Sly)



piecepack version: Tingle.pdf

IceHouse version: Tink.pdf

Sly/Realm version: Ting.pdf


Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.

Reviews and Comments

Everyone is welcome to comment on Google Drive or here.

Tingle is a fun, solid alignment game like Gomoku or Renju, with a couple of interesting twists, such as the choice to strategically swap pieces for other types of piece. A four-player game among experienced players can take about half an hour, so this is a relatively fast game, but it is also relatively deep -- you can keep learning emergent strategies for some time.

Setup time is minimal, and because the game is quick and the ruleset is short and easy to learn, it's an ideal game to break out after you've finished another piecepack game but before you put the pieces away.

But that's not the only reason I awarded Tingle the Gold. In my opinion, Tingle is the vanguard of a new genre of piecepack games, of games in general, in fact. Chris explained on Facebook how he created the game:

Chris Goodwin I've got a game that I've designed for three systems: Piecepack, Looney Pyramids, and Sly. I'm not sure if that's enough of a novelty to qualify it for entry here, though.

Ron Hale-Evans You'll never know unless you compete, Chris! ...

Marty Hale-Evans Kudos for porting something to Sly, man. :)

Chris Goodwin It wasn't so much ported as looked at all three systems and tried to figure out what I could do with what they all had in common. I think it worked out pretty well. :) The Looney Pyramids version is called Tink, and is on the Icehouse Games wiki under that name. The Piecepack and Sly versions are called Tingle and Ting, respectively... [and] are identical to Tink mechanically. (Pieces on a grid...)

In effect, Chris took the intersection of the affordances (capabilities) of three different game systems -- piecepack, IceHouse, and Sly/Realm -- and created a new "conceptual game system" from these shared elements. In that system, he designed a theoretical game, then implemented this unplayable theoretical game as three concrete games, one in each of the three existing game systems.

Note: If you're a software developer, think of the conceptual game system in terms of "abstract classes" in Java programming. I tried to avoid using "abstract" in this context, because it already has a meaning in game design. I welcome suggestions for alternative terms.

Think of it this way: Have you ever seen an animal? You've seen dogs, octopuses, and roly-poly bugs, all of which are kinds of animal, but you've never seen an abstract animal as such. The conceptual game system Chris developed (I'm going to dub it Psi, for piecepack/Sly/Icehouse) is like an animal in the abstract, while the three concrete game systems are like the very real dogs, octopuses, and isopods you might have encountered. Chris's game design accomplishment is (metaphorically) to consciously develop an environment in which dogs, bugs, and octopuses can all three live and breathe simultaneously.

This is quite a weird and delightful way to design a game, but Chris would not have won unless Tingle were also a solid, playable, fun game. Chris hit both marks.

No other game in the contest gave me such unexpected things to think about as Tingle did. I've begun sketching a game myself at the intersection of the Decktet and Packtet (below), but that will have to wait a bit.

I hope one day Chris will create a Tingle Director's Cut, with a commentary track encompassing Tingle the piecepack game, and its Sly and Icehouse counterparts Ting and Tink -- not to mention the abstract game at their intersection, which I'll call Tin.

Refinements: Tingle bills itself as a game for two to four players, and the board sizes in the three game systems range from 8x8 to 10x10 to 12x12. It turns out that the two-player game is so fast and simple that it's better suited for children. Older players will find it easy to end the game without even bringing out all the types of piece, so it's not really recommended. The three-player game is more playable and significantly more fun because of emergent social strategies, but the game really shines with four players. Also, I recommend playing on the 8x8 or 10x10 boards rather than the 12x12, because bigger boards make for faster games with less player interaction.

Congratulations, Chris!

--RonHaleEvans, Where No One Has Gamed Before, October 2018