For the first time in a while, I find myself speechless on the topic of games. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed them—I have, greatly, and more so in the past few months than in a long, long time.
Right now I’m enjoying myself in one of the island’s quaint cafes, with an iced Mango Ceylon (which isn’t a half-bad blend, even if it turns out to be Republic of Tea, which does turn out decent blends some of the time). My iPad is before me, sitting actually vertically in the Logictech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, and IA Writer is giving me the three-line focus mode that I am starting to love dearly.
(Really, it’s as though only seeing the last three lines in black, rather than a faded grey, is giving me permission to ram straight ahead and edit later instead of worrying over previously written words; good for first drafts of just about anything. Most of my blog posts are really just first drafts anyways, so this should help with the blogination. I wish more editors had this kind of mode. Although a side effect is that this parenthetical is going on for far longer than it should.)
So anyways, I’m getting interested in game systems again—that is, gaming materials that allow you to play more than one game with them. A great game system allows for many interesting games. A regular deck of cards is a great example, whether it’s a Western deck of hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds; or a tarock deck of cups, swords, batons, coins, and major arcana; or a hanafuda deck of seasons and flowers. Dominoes are another example, with both Western and Eastern flavors.
Often what can be thought of as a single game system (like a deck of 52 standard Western cards) can be combined with copies of itself to fuel more games. Such game systems can even only be partially used—consider a Pinochele deck, which consists of two Western decks but only the 9s to Kings plus Aces.
Game systems can take on a variety of shapes and forms. The chess set can be considered a game system with the many, many variants that can be played using the pieces. And there are numerous modern games out there, such as the esteemed Lost Cities, that can be implemented with one of the simplest game systems around: a deck of cards with six suits, numbered 1 to 15.
With a good game system, or even set of game systems—there’s no rule against combining different ones—one can have a small box of more games than one could play in a year, playing one game every day. I bought a My Little Pony lunchbox with this in mind.
The game systems I have in mind are more modern ones. I’m thinking of fitting the following into the box:
- Piecepack set, the base set only
- Pyramids, perhaps 15 per color
- Chessboard bandana, folding purposes
- Decktet, two extended packs plus suit chips
and maybe a few other odds and ends of games, plus Penny Gems for markers. Or maybe even full out suit chips.
My iPad will carry the rules, though it won’t be packed with the games.
And now I need to return to reading the Decktet book. I have the Decktet loaded into CardWarden, and have been enjoying the solitaire game Adaman.
Whether I enjoy myself with the Box O’ Gaming, I’ll need to tell you over the next few weeks. For now it’s just fun to gather the needed components (such as temporarily printing out my own extended decktet).
Hm. I really need to find a nice place to play some Agricola. I wish I had my game stuff with me, but it’s all at home and it’s way too nice to head home just yet.